Effective and regular maintenance is crucial for the efficiency and reliability of businesses and institutions in every sector. Ensuring you have an optimal maintenance system and routine in place ensures the longevity and condition of your business’s assets, therefore providing benefits such as cost-effectiveness, improved safety and asset uptime.
However, this raises the question — should you in-house or outsource maintenance tasks - or perhaps adopt a hybrid of the two? It’s a question that many business owners ponder over while they weigh up the advantages of each maintenance solution. So, let’s find out the answer!
Why is maintenance needed?
Maintenance is crucial for any business that hopes to ensure the quality and reliability of its assets. Assets can include machinery, equipment, property and quite literally anything else that’s essential for your business. Without maintenance, you’ll be using assets until their inevitable failure, and will then face costs for repairs and replacements. This not only comes with the cost, but will also mean assets will be underperforming or malfunctioning, which hinders productivity, can result in increased energy usage and risks the safety of employees.
With an effective maintenance system in place, businesses have peace of mind knowing their assets are in good condition at all times. Introducing planned preventative maintenance keeps assets in good condition, maintained in line with legislation and minimises maintenance costs through the avoidance of full breakdowns of assets. By introducing planned preventative maintenance into your maintenance regime, issues, malfunctions or damage are more likely to be identified and can be rectified before the asset breaks. This prevents many issues that stem from insufficient maintenance and have a severe impact on businesses.
The in-house or outsourced maintenance debate
As you can imagine, there’s bound to be a debate over whether you should in-house or outsource maintenance. It’s a debate that exists in all industries. Of course, both options have their unique advantages. Some businesses prefer to handle maintenance in-house to ensure complete control and maximum awareness, whereas others prefer to outsource to maintenance specialists to benefit from their expert knowledge, technology and the guidance they offer. But you’re here to decide for yourself.
Below, we’ll highlight a few of the key benefits of each solution and help you to decide whether in-house or outsourced maintenance best suits your needs.
Advantages of in-house maintenance
- Maintaining control: Outsourcing maintenance tasks is cost-effective, but it can lead to restrictions when working with contractors. A good example is a business owner's inability to instruct or manage an outsourced maintenance workforce. Additionally, it prevents issues such as maintenance approaches or management styles that clash — leading to delays, conflict or an impact on the working environment. Simply put, some business owners feel uncomfortable bringing in outside help and prefer to handle it themselves.
- Facility familiarity: In-house employees spend lots of time at their workplace and therefore develop a strong sense of familiarity with its requirements and the expectations of their employer. This can prove to be valuable as business owners feel their knowledge makes them the best candidate to perform maintenance work and ensure things run smoothly. The longer an employee spends at the facility, the more they learn — including site maintenance functions, equipment needs and aspects regarding a company's ethos.
- Opportunity to train or promote employees: It's always positive when businesses invest in their employees and provide opportunities to climb the ladder. For some, this comes in the form of increasing their maintenance professionals' responsibilities, skills, and knowledge. Bringing in outsourced experts removes this opportunity. However, this is only an advantage if you are looking to implement a permanent maintenance team in-house and are willing to invest in their development.
- Duplication of roles: Keeping things in-house can prevent the potential of overlap of management roles, in-house and outsourced professionals overlapping duties, and contributing to higher maintenance costs. Doing so can lead to inefficient maintenance and organisation while creating the potential for conflict within the workplace. This isn't to say that the two cannot work together. It just means you need to be clear about which roles contribute to specific areas/tasks.
- Higher quality: One of the biggest risks with outsourcing maintenance work is that it’s not your employee. This means whoever comes in may not fit your business and how you expect your employees to be, meaning you need to make it clear what your expectations are and monitor them closely to determine if there are any issues. With in-house maintenance, you can make it clear what your expectations are from the beginning and be more at ease that the quality of work will be in-line with your expectations.
Advantages of outsourced maintenance
- Cut costs: Cutting costs is a top priority for every business and a key motivation for outsourcing. In-house employees require wages and employment benefits (sick days, holidays, etc.) — none of which needs to be worried about with outsourced professionals.
- Industry-leading specialists: When you outsource to specialists, the opportunity exists to gain a wealth of varied maintenance skills, knowledge and guidance. The expertise of those who work with many sectors can provide invaluable insight and bring creative approaches to your maintenance regime. This by no means means that in-house teams are inferior. It simply provides a more specialised and deeper well of knowledge from experts who are consistently looking for ways to improve maintenance solutions across the board. You don’t need to scour your staff to find someone with the right skills or put them through training to get up to speed - an outsourced vendor already has the specialised expertise needed.
- Time and energy to focus on business needs: When it comes to in-house or outsourced maintenance, one of the most critical advantages of the latter is having more time and freedom to focus on your business. With less time spent managing and dealing with maintenance concerns, business owners have more time and energy to focus on the many aspects that help companies grow and achieve new levels of success. While the maintenance specialists work, you can focus on what you do best.
Flexibility: Outsourced maintenance professionals are able to flex to suit your needs, whilst managing the overall general facility needs. Generally speaking, they will be better placed to handle facility expansions or upgrades whilst keeping systems operating and attending to planned (and reactive) maintenance. If your business is growing and you need a flexible and responsive maintenance team, then outsourced vendors tend to be in a better position to adapt much faster..
- Industry-leading technology: As you can imagine, maintenance specialists are at the forefront of their sector. This means they utilise the best and most up-to-date equipment and technology, ensuring the highest quality service and results. Maintenance software is a great example, which can be used to realise full asset lifespans, cut costs, avoid downtime, and minimise unplanned, reactive maintenance.
Making a decision
In-house and outsourced maintenance both have their own advantages, and there is no right or wrong answer as to which you should choose. It all depends on your business and which system will benefit it the most, whether that’s bringing someone in-house to help with growth, or if it’s outsourcing someone to boost ROI whilst you’re in the optimising stages. Maintenance software can also help you streamline your business operations considerably, and is worth considering if you’re looking to optimise your maintenance regime.
Maintenance software: How it works
SFG20’s preventative maintenance software allows you to identify and maintain all of your business’s assets compliantly and efficiently. Our cloud-based software provides the industry benchmark for ensuring assets such as equipment and machinery are kept in their best condition, allowing you to avoid concerns about under or over-maintenance. You can plan maintenance with ease and align schedules with your facility’s assets through a web-based interface. It’s a truly bespoke experience.
With effective guidance in place and the ability to monitor your maintenance requirements whenever you need to, you have utmost peace of mind about remaining compliant. Our software is consistently updated by our team of technical experts to reflect the latest legislation and regulation changes. With quick and easy access to maintenance tasks, frequencies and criticalities, you have increased awareness of your maintenance needs, ensuring the efficiency and safety of your facility.