In a maintenance management system, the cost contributes both to quantify financially the use of a given maintenance item or the loss of not being able to use it as required.

The term cost has, therefore, a wider scope in maintenance than it has in a purely administrative management situation (this probably explains why the dialogue between both actors is so often difficult.) In administrative management the term cost is associated with an accounting document, such as an invoice or receipt, whereas in the environment of maintenance, cost may have different sources, such as human effort, expressed by man-hours involved in the work; parts out of store; contractors’ services; costs of inefficiency; loss of activity due to a failure, and so on. In most cases, in the logical sensitivity of the maintenance manager, the accounted costs express poorly the real figures of the overall maintenance cost. Imagine this dialogue:

Maintenance manager: – This year maintenance performed very well. Practically no break downs; no stoppages; costs were much better than last year!

Chief accountant: – What!? You do not know the figures. We have spent much more with contractors and the overall maintenance costs were scandalous. 16 % above last year’s!

In another conversation, the Chief Accountant: This year yes, it was good. We have spent 22 % less than last year.

Maintenance manager: – I beg your pardon! Main generator has been inoperative for 3 weeks; no supply of energy and steam; we still have a 20 day repair in front of us! Your figures have gone mad!

These dialogues illustrate the different perspectives of both managers and could take place around many subject matters.

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