Maintenance costs, as defined by normal plant accounting procedures, are normally a major portion of the total operating costs in most plants. Traditional maintenance costs (i.e., labor and material) in the United States have escalated at a tremendous rate over the past 10 years. In 1981, domestic plants spent more than $600 billion to maintain their critical plant systems. By 1991, the costs had increase to more than $800 billion, and they were projected to top $1.2 trillion by
the year 2000. These evaluations indicate that on average, one third, or $250 billion, of all maintenance dollars are wasted through ineffective maintenance management methods. American industry cannot absorb the incredible level of inefficiency and hope to compete in the world market. Because of the exorbitant nature of maintenance costs, they represent the greatest potential short-term improvement. Delays, product rejects, scheduled maintenance downtime, and traditional maintenance costs—such as labor, overtime, and repair parts—are generally the major contributors to abnormal
maintenance costs within a plant.
The dominant reason for this ineffective management is the lack of factual data that quantify the actual need for repair or maintenance of plant machinery, equipment, and systems. Maintenance scheduling has been and in many instances still is predicated on statistical trend data or on the actual failure of plant equipment.