Patti-Engineering-deferred-maintenance

What is the Cost of Waiting to Replace Obsolete Systems or Deferring Maintenance?

Blog post by Lynn Minard, Director of Finance

When thinking about replacing or completing maintenance on an obsolete system, the focus is often put on the cost of the new system or maintenance. This is definitely something you want to consider, but equally so would be any costs you may incur if you wait.

Have you ever had an old printer that worked perfectly fine, so you held out on replacing it? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the adage, right? Have you ever gone to buy ink for said printer only to find they don’t sell it anymore? Then you rush to decide on a new printer that may or may not have all the features you want, isn’t at the price you wanted, and isn’t in your budget. Or, you are online trying to find some obscure seller that may still sell the ink, but you aren’t sure that they are credible and that the ink is still within the usage date.

Okay, maybe this example dates me a little, but you get the gist of it, and the same holds true for obsolete systems. Here are some questions you may want to think about if your system is getting old…

Q: Are replacement parts still available, and if so, who sells them and how easy are they to obtain? Is the seller credible?

If parts are not readily available, you may face the costs of downtime, while you wait for the replacement parts to come in. You may have to pay a higher cost for the parts or pay to expedite them. If you do not know the seller, you may not receive what you ordered.

Q: If your system goes down, who can service it?

As systems become outdated, fewer and fewer people may know how to service it. This could lead to more downtime, or higher service costs. In fact, some systems are no longer supported by the manufacturer making it even harder to resolve an issue if it occurs.

Q: What benefits are you missing from the new system?

There may be a cost savings if the new system has added features, or streamlines a process creating more efficiency.

Q: Have you researched your replacement options?

If your system fails, and needs to be replaced, you probably don’t want to make an uninformed decision. If the solution you pick is not fully vetted, the costs to correct it could be high.