Maintenance: in-house or outsource?


Maintenance: in-house or outsource?

In the times of Industry 4.0, is it still wise for an industrial enterprise to keep its own maintenance staff or is it more profitable to hire external partners for maintenance? We will discuss the pros and cons of this issue here.

It’s truly a dilemma! Many industrial enterprises downsize their in-house maintenance team to a minimum. Keeping such a team at 100% operational availability comes at a high price which many are not prepared to pay. On the other hand, maintenance teams should ideally be available 24/7 (including a back-up team) which naturally leads to increased personnel expenses. In addition, there are also costs for special tools used in maintenance as well as regular trainings. Some equipment, such as torque and vibration measurement technology, is extremely costly and its acquisition is of no clear benefit considering the limited operation hours.

In the end, the company’s financial situation is the deciding factor whether a dedicated maintenance team can be sustained or not. If you are thinking about establishing an in-house maintenance team, you should know the pros and cons!

In-house maintenance – an overview

An in-house maintenance crew is invaluable in case of an emergency when a prompt response is of great importance. The biggest advantage lies in the fact that the team gets to know all the ins and outs of their machines over the years. Due to their in-depth experience, the team knows the weak spots of their machines which prompts a very specific response.

Due to continuous staff cutbacks in many companies, maintenance technicians often become maintenance coordinators by hiring external firms when necessary. The unfavourable consequence is a deficit in responsibility when outsourcing maintenance tasks to external partners, and potentially dangerous loss of expertise within the company. When companies opt for external maintenance partners, constant availability must be guaranteed in case of emergencies so that the machines can be tended to under any circumstances.