Research & Best Practices

Should you Outsource Some or all of your Industrial Maintenance Operations?


Industrial maintenance is a key component in keeping your production floor running properly. It’s an unavoidable, necessary task that must be performed regularly to keep operations running efficiently. If you neglect scheduled maintenance, you’re guaranteed to encounter an unplanned maintenance emergency at some point, and likely sooner rather than later. While maintenance is an important part of production quality and overall asset health, it’s still sometimes treated as an ancillary process. The challenges of regular or preventive maintenance add to this impression.

Many manufacturers believe performing regularly scheduled or preventive maintenance is:

  • Time-consuming, eating valuable production output time
  • Difficult, especially for more specialized maintenance requirements that may be outside the knowledge of an in-house maintenance generalist
  • Resource-intensive, with a scope far greater than just machinery upkeep and repair; a full-maintenance and MRO operation includes sourcing, inventory, troubleshooting, vendor communication and more

Selective outsourcing

Outsourced maintenance comes in many shapes and sizes. A facility can choose to outsource its entire maintenance program, or can work with an outsourced maintenance partner to augment short-term needs. Only you know the exact maintenance needs of your plant — but in general, there are several advantages to outsourcing partial aspects.

These include:

  • Coverage for production surges: Maintenance requirements increase during peak production times — machinery hours accumulate more quickly, production volume is higher, and personnel are needed to do more overall. Downtime during these peak periods can be disastrous to any production schedule. In these situations, a short-term maintenance solution can help keep your operations on track.
  • Reducing downtime: While downtime during a surge in production must be avoided at all costs, any unplanned downtime cuts into your bottom line, and should be reduced as much as possible. If extensive repairs are needed — or if you’d like to increase the speed and efficiency of a scheduled maintenance event — short-term maintenance supplements are an option to consider.
  • Managing a job order backlog when high-priority maintenance is needed: If several high-priority maintenance requirements occur at once, lower-priority — yet still important — jobs may suffer as a result, creating a backlog. Bringing in a short-term maintenance task force can help your current personnel stay on top of job orders — giving them the time to reduce or fully eliminate the backlog.
  • Addressing gaps within in-house expertise: If a unique or rare maintenance scenario occurs, it’s entirely possible that in-house staff may not have the expertise to address it. In these scenarios, a short-term maintenance solution that provides highly skilled technicians can cost-effectively bridge that gap.

Comprehensive outsourcing

Full outsourcing of maintenance services offers a supplemental set of benefits in addition to those that selective outsourcing provides.

These include:

  • Streamlined management: With a comprehensive maintenance solution, your maintenance management and logistics burden are reduced even further. You no longer need to choose which tasks should be outsourced and at what frequency — your maintenance partner will handle every aspect.
  • Institutional expertise: The personnel fulfilling your comprehensive solution will develop a deeper understanding of your overall operation and processes, increasing the value and return on your investment.
  • A lesser maintenance burden on you: While a selective solution can take some maintenance tasks off your plate, a full, comprehensive plan returns the most amount of time to you in order to focus on management, innovation and other high-level core processes.

Should you outsource part or all of your maintenance operations?

A few questions can help you determine whether it’s a good idea to consider outsourcing some or all of your maintenance operations:

  • Do your in-house maintenance costs seem high compared to the bottom-line value you’re receiving?
  • Do you find yourself delaying scheduled maintenance due to a lack of resources? Are unplanned maintenance events occurring more frequently?
  • When you have open positions in your maintenance staff, do you struggle to find and hire qualified candidates?
  • Do you need to “recruit” workers from other areas of the facility to assist maintenance technicians with standard tasks?
  • Do you find that some maintenance personnel are unequipped to address more technical maintenance issues?
  • Are you experiencing a “skills gap” in your maintenance staff?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, it’s worth considering outsourcing your maintenance — in whole or in part.

Outsourced maintenance options from ATS

As a full-service provider of industrial maintenance solutions, ATS is ready to discuss your maintenance needs and help you decide how you can realize the benefits of a short-term or comprehensive outsourced maintenance solution. With over three decades years of experience in both whole and partial maintenance services, we’re here to ensure your production assets are operating efficiently, allowing you to thrive in your industry. Contact us today to learn how we can improve the safety and efficiency of your plant’s operations.

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