The True Cost of Deferring Lighting Maintenance

When do you fix a piece of equipment that you own? Being able to justify expenditures for repairs can be very fuzzy whether you are looking at your home or your business. Recently we read an article by Rick Fedrizzi called 'Do The Math' that made me question the wisdom of 'saving now'.


Fedrizzi quoted David Tod Geaslin, an operations and maintenance consultant from Houston who has done the math and made a clear point about the real costs of delaying scheduled and even un-scheduled maintenance. We all know that the longer we operate a piece of equipment that needs repair, the more it will cost to fix it. A guess would be that deferred maintenance may cost us double in the long run but that would be wrong. The real-world cost would be 15 times the cost of simple maintenance and may often exceed 40 times the cost. Mr. Geaslin created a formula called the "Inverse-Square Rule for Deferred Maintenance". The rule states: "If a part is known to be failing and the repair is deferred and allowed to remain in service until the next level of failure, the resultant expense will be the square of the failed part."

This is why a $40 brake shoe left in service (until the brake shoe rivets damage the brake drum, the drum ruins the core value of the shoes, the truck breaks down on the road, a second truck and driver need to be dispatched, the load transferred, one driver out of commission while driving back with the tow truck. etc.) results in an expense of the square of $40 ($40 X $40=$1600). If the brake problem causes personal injury, the cost can easily be squared again to $2.5 million.

Examples like the one above are endless. Let’s explore how this rule could apply to poor lighting maintenance.

Here is one example:
A fluorescent lamp burns out in a call center. The burned out lamp is not changed causing stress on the ballast, which results in overheating and premature failure. When the ballast fails it shorts out tripping a breaker knocking out lighting in the room. The actual cost of such a failure could easily be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, when considering the cost of an electrician and lost production from employees.

Here are some other examples of how poorly maintained lighting could adversely affect your business and invoke the “Inverse-Square Rule for Deferred Maintenance”.

• Employee attempts to change a light bulb by standing on a chair
• Maintenance staff for a warehouse uses a forklift to work on a fixture
• Customer in a restaurant sees debris in a light fixture and has the perception that the facility is dirty
• Customer sees lighting out in your parking lot, feels unsafe and decides to take their business elsewhere
• Lighting over a machine in a manufacturing facility goes out requiring shutdown until the fixture is repaired

There are many more examples of how improper lighting maintenance could invoke the "Inverse-Square Rule for Deferred Maintenance".

Think of it this way, most of us are pretty good about getting the oil changed in our cars on a schedule. We can easily grasp the concept that failure to do so, will, without a doubt, result in a major repair bill.

Lighting is something that most of us take for granted, that is, as long as it is working.

CGE's R.A.M.P. Program can head off problems before they become bigger problems. With our easy monthly payment plan your lighting maintenance is a fixed expense with no surprises. Don’t put it off any longer, sign up for CGE's R.A.M.P. Program today and start reaping the benefits of worry free lighting maintenance.