Whether or not a recession happens in the near future, the risk of one is high. Therefore, now is the time to get prepared to weather a downturn in sales, reduced budgets, and an increase in pressure to lay off people you can’t afford to lose. Read about the proven strategies for resiliency in tough times.

Today’s Maintenance Program Challenges Are Worsening

You are already facing a skilled labor shortage, now add escalating costs for parts and materials, budget cuts, and further delays in replacing aging equipment. “The perfect storm” is on the horizon – more maintenance work required and fewer resources to get the work done. The end result will be the profitability impacts of higher downtime and reduced production capacity.

With the looming risk of this scenario happening, you need to act now to increase control of your costs, improve efficiency, and gain flexibility to rapidly changing conditions.

Increase Visibility and Control

Yes, maintenance is somewhat an unpredictable function, but it doesn’t need to be utter chaos. You can gain control through effective maintenance management supported with data. And actionable data comes from fully digital work management.

“The first reason to prioritize digital transformation ahead of or during a downturn is that improved analytics can help management better understand the business, how the recession is affecting it, and where there’s potential for operational improvements. The second reason is that digital technology can help cut costs. Companies should prioritize “self-funding” transformation projects that pay off quickly, such as automating tasks or adopting data-driven decision making. The third reason is that IT investments make companies more agile and therefore better able to handle the uncertainty and rapid change that come with a recession.”

Harvard Business Review article, How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward

Know Where the Money is Going

Cutting budgets is not fun but actionable data will allow for an objective conversation. Investing in cost-saving processes and technologies will provide you with the ability to show the consequences of reducing maintenance budgets and cutting labor.

“The ability to budget and control maintenance cost can increase income by 10 to 30 percent during strong business cycles, and over 100 percent during weak cycles. It may be the difference between profit and loss in the worst business cycles… Industry benchmarking has found that total maintenance cost can be reduced by 10 to 35 percent.”

Richard Lamb, P.E., CPA, President of Cost Control Systems, Cost Budgeting and Control for Maintenance.

With the right planning and budgeting tools, you can understand where the money is spent and see the impact of the changes you make in maintenance management.

Gain Control of Spending

Parts and materials can represent half the maintenance budget. And when equipment breaks down, the consequences of not having a part in stock can be significant including downtime, loss of production capacity, and rush shipping costs. Effective maintenance planning and budgeting will improve forecasting, inventory, and availability of parts and materials. That is if you can get to the details on the materials needed for both preventive maintenance and common corrective tasks. Historical data of the tasks and materials that were used needs to be complete and accurate. Data quality comes from automating the capture and upload of this information to your EAM system.

Improving maintenance effectiveness ratios will drive the biggest impact in materials management and create the highest cost savings. This shift from reactive to proactive maintenance will also result in increased visibility and control over your materials requirements.

Improve People Management

Labor and contractor resources represent half of your budget, and is a key target for budget cuts. And most maintenance organizations, face under-staffing and the challenges to hire and retain skilled labor. The objective here is to get more work done with your current staffing while reducing costly overtime and the use of contractors.

“Some layoffs are inevitable in a downturn; during the Great Recession, 2.1 million Americans were laid off in 2009 alone. However, the companies that emerged from the crisis in the strongest shape relied less on layoffs to cut costs and leaned more on operational improvements.”

Harvard Business Review article, How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward

Improve people management through better management tools. Planning and scheduling technologies are designed to support the decision-making required to assign the right person, at the right time, to the right task. Mobile technologies in the hands of technicians provide immediate access to work instructions, manuals, and schematics. The result of technologies like these can increase first-time fix rate and technician wrench time from 25% to 50%.

Increase Your Adaptability and Responsiveness to Change

“Recessions are a high-pressure exercise in change management, and to navigate one successfully, a company needs to be flexible and ready to adjust.”

Harvard Business Review article, How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward

Structured digitized processes provide a consistent framework for work procedures and information sharing. When the process is clear to everyone, it is easier to communicate and reinforce a change in that process. Look for software with low-code and no-code technology. Low-code/no-code tech puts the power in your hands. Processes can be modified easily to quickly enforce new procedures. This flexibility ensures your automation investment today will “future-proof” against your needs in a recession and into the future.

Take the Next Step

Sigga offers powerful digitization and mobile solutions to reduce costs and improve maintenance management.

Increase worker productivity and reduce overtime with Sigga EAM Empower; a mobile app providing online and offline access to information enabling technicians to correctly complete their work the first time. The software is built on a no-code platform which provides you the ability to change the software faster than traditional mobile apps.

Sigga Warehouse and Inventory is designed to automate warehouse data capture for real-time visibility and control of inventory for parts and materials.

Sigga Planning & Scheduling solution allows maintenance planners to replace tedious spreadsheet work to automate schedule creation. The solution automatically checks capacities, assigns resources, prioritizes work orders, tracks order status, and assists management to make informed decisions based on real-time data in SAP. Add-on the Sigga Budgeting module to automate the process of building and tracking your maintenance budget for full visibility and control of maintenance spending.


Contact us about recession-proofing your maintenance program.

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