You are probably not familiar with English actor Christopher Parker, but there is a quote attributed to him that is good to know: "Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill." It is common knowledge that putting things off until the last minute tends to have poor results, however, sometimes it simply cannot be helped, can it? Whether you are a business owner, facilities manager, purchasing agent, maintenance supervisor, or any other position involved in keeping your facility running, chances are that you are extremely busy. You probably keep a running list of priorities: what can wait and what needs to be handled immediately? While we would all love to be able to knock out every maintenance issue at once, the sad reality is that most of us have to manage our priorities and put off lower priority tasks until more pressing matters are handled. That being said, without having all the information in your hands, you may be accidentally putting something off that will make the “bill” far more serious in the future.
When it comes to boilers, most of you will either concentrate on immediate problems that threaten the continued operation of your facilities, or you will be thinking about upcoming issues that may result from those lower-priority tasks that you’re forced to put off until later. But how often have you considered the system components that are NOT in need of immediate attention? The old saying goes “out of sight, out of mind,” and with so much on your plate, you’re probably happy to not concern yourself with things that are currently running just fine. However, if certain parts of your system fail, do you know how quickly you can repair them and get back online?
Well, we live in a world where just-in-time manufacturing (building it when you get an order) has become an increasingly popular model, as it prevents a lot of up-front spending on inventory that would likely sit on a shelf for months, if not years. The only downside to this model is that if you need an emergency part and it has a long lead time or is not regularly stocked, you could be down for an exceptionally long period of time. While smaller/common valves, gauges, regulators, and pumps may be stocked, many larger, more expensive parts are seldom ordered and will have a long lead time. For example, some pumps for superheated systems can have a standard lead time of 6 months or more! While this may not be the case for you, many other parts can still take a while to produce. How long can you afford to be down? A few days? Several weeks?
To avoid a potential shutdown crisis in the event of a complete parts failure, take inventory of your most important boiler parts—things that you have no way of providing a temporary fix for—and get a price and lead time on them. It might not be feasible to stock spare parts for everything, but you can still get an idea of what your options will be in the event of an outage. Knowing the cost and time that it will take can help you with introducing redundancy measures, prioritizing your maintenance, building a backup plan in case you do have an unexpected shutdown, and having answers ready for the people in your organization that will surely be pressuring you to get back online as soon as possible.
If you need a help sourcing boiler parts or forming a contingency plan for a temporary solution, the experts at WARE are more than happy to help you out! You can check out boilerwarehouse.com.com to see if your critical parts are among the more than 40,000 parts that WARE regularly stocks, or call in to work up a contingency plan. Don’t procrastinate— knowingly or otherwise. Instead, make informed decisions when you plan out your priorities, and when that dreaded day of crisis finally arrives, you can remain calm and know that you have prepared for it.