Management is an essential component to running operations in a smooth and intelligent manner. It’s about tracking work orders, business assets, and direction and utilizing human resource talents to have a competitive edge over an ever-changing landscape. But when it comes to quality of output and efficiency, will your organization need a centralized or decentralized maintenance?

The Difference between Decentralized and Centralized Maintenance in a Nutshell

If there’s an authority (such as the top management) dictating the decision making and planning, this is called centralized. On the other hand, the reverse happens with decentralized where top management will give this authority to low-level management.

These maintenance structures are commonly used in governments, businesses, management and purchasing. The type used will vary based on the location and capacity of the decision-makers in the system.

Centralized Maintenance


  • Systematic and consistent because the authority is just a few key people from management
  • Vertical decision-making process and proper coordination
  • Full control over organization, thus getting a more consistent result
  • Fit for small-sized businesses and organizations


  • Decisions for projects coming from top management may take time
  • Since there are only one or a few key people from top management, progress can be slower
  • It’s not fit for large organizations

During the earlier times, this was a commonly practiced method, as this retains authority for the organization’s planning and direction. The workflow may be seen as easier to follow since only top management gets to decide and the rest follow orders. However, junior staff will maintain to follow commands from the top and are not allowed to actively participate in an organization’s growth. Also, top-notch management is prone for burn-outs and making hasty decisions that may negate an organization’s momentum. Bureaucracy and red-tapism are some of the negative things that came from this model.

Decentralized Maintenance


  • Organized dispersion of authority from the top level to the middle to low management.
  • Open communication
  • May get faster results compared to other methods
  • Shared decisions unload the top management burden
  • Fit for larger units and organizations


  • It may not get consistent dispersal of authority, as multiple authorities are involved

Contrary to centralized, this method focuses on delegating decision-making authority from top to departmental, unit managers or divisional managers. The increasing stake of getting ahead of the competition will require speed and innovation. The authority given to subordinates creates various decisions that reduce top-management burden, enhances innovation, finding quicker solutions and better communication lines that utilize human resources’ talents and thinking. Effective decentralization has the capacity to create better solutions for an organization’s growth though it may seem ‘chaotic’ and uncoordinated.

In Summary

Whether you use decentralized maintenance or centralized maintenance, results and ease-of-use will vary. However, the strength of each method will depend upon the size and leadership of those in the top level management. Since there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for maintenance success, this will greatly depend on decision-makers and use of a model that will work best for the organization. Top decision makers should make an honest assessment as to the needs and direction of the organization and how management will need to sharpen their approach to innovation without sacrificing quality and vision.  

Need ways to streamline maintenance for your organization? We’re here to help every step of the way.