Maintenance KPIs Explained: 9 Metrics to Track

In business, good KPIs are like flashlights; they illuminate unseen opportunities to improve standard operating procedures (SOPs), worker performance, and waste management.

This analogy is especially true when it comes to O&M departments. But that doesn’t mean that even the most capable maintenance managers don’t sometimes cringe when asked about KPIs.

This article will provide an overview of how to build a data-focused maintenance team, which metrics to track, and how to streamline data management with computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). After reading, you will feel more confident discussing KPIs with others.

What is a maintenance KPI?

Maintenance KPIs are measurements that link the effectiveness of organizational processes with specific maintenance goals. O&M managers use maintenance KPIs to measure, analyze, evaluate and improve processes to enhance asset reliability.

Good maintenance KPIs act as quantifiable benchmarks that correlate with broader company goals. For example, an organization wanting to cut costs may set a KPI to minimize maintenance costs by 10 percent. Of course, no two maintenance departments are exactly alike. Additionally, best practices can vary widely by industry, sector, and location.

Maintenance KPIs can measure:

  • Efficiency
  • Asset downtime
  • Asset performance
  • Inventory management
  • Maintenance task management
  • Maintenance spending and costs
  • Workplace safety and compliance

Put simply, organizations use maintenance KPIs to measure the performance of maintenance technicians, operational systems, and processes.

When first approaching maintenance KPIs, it’s helpful to think of your department as a miniature business. Yes, it exists in support of your organization’s primary goal: profitability, but it’s also a unique ecosystem with its own processes, expenses, and desired outcomes.

As the manager of this ecosystem, you can shift your maintenance department from a “necessary expense” to a “profit-generating” unit. What is the key to making this shift?

It’s tracking maintenance KPIs, of course! Acting upon the right KPIs is the difference between running an average maintenance program and a world-class one.

Tracking key performance indicators can help you make better decisions around maintenance scheduling, procedure standardization, asset management, inventory management, and more.

The best maintenance teams optimize equipment reliability so much so that their organizations make significantly more money than they spend on maintenance-related expenses.

Maintenance metrics vs KPIs

Though maintenance pros often use the terms maintenance metrics and maintenance KPIs interchangeably, there are some slight technical differences.

Maintenance performance metrics are measurements that provide insights into the effectiveness of maintenance team and systems operations. Managers can use performance metrics to quantify daily maintenance activities compared to their target numbers.

Alternatively, KPIs technically refer to the target numbers themselves. For example, say your KPI is to minimize average maintenance costs by 5 percent within the next quarter. You can track maintenance performance metrics to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts.

Evaluating metrics like maintenance overtime, planned maintenance percentage (PMP), and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) can help you reach the KPI.

9 Essential maintenance metrics to set KPIs for

As mentioned above, maintenance objectives should align with overall organizational goals to be effective. Goals can vary substantially according to business size, type, and location. However, most maintenance departments can benefit from tracking and setting OKRs for some or all of the following metrics:

1. Equipment downtime

For asset-intensive industries, such as manufacturing, unplanned downtimes are costly. The International Society of Automation (ISA) estimates that factories lose between 5 and 20 percent of productive capacity during each downtime incident. Periodically tracking downtime is a crucial aspect of establishing a baseline for the effectiveness of all maintenance department activities.

The best way to reduce downtime is to place all critical pieces of equipment on PM maintenance schedules in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines. Not only will routine maintenance reduce costly breakdowns, but it will also extend asset life cycles.

2. Maintenance backlogs and overtime

Maintenance backlogs can play a significant role in the recruitment of maintenance technicians. Consistently tracking maintenance time and cost data will reveal whether a department is overstaffed or understaffed at any given time.

Too many outstanding worker orders suggest the need to hire additional staff. Alternatively, no backlogs could indicate an unnecessarily large team that could be trimmed.

Managers can also measure overtime to determine if the department is relying too heavily on reactive maintenance. An over-reliance on reactive maintenance leads to technician burnout, unnecessarily high maintenance costs, costly downtime, and reduced productivity.

3. Asset performance metrics

Asset performance metrics allow you to track the effectiveness of your maintenance programs. The most revealing metrics to track include:

  • Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): MTBF refers to the amount of time it takes before asset failure occurs. It measures the amount of time between failures. MTBF is only measured for repairable assets. Increasing your MTBF for critical assets can help optimize your overall maintenance strategy and improve productivity.
  • Mean Time to Repair (MTTR): MTTR measures the average amount of time it takes your maintenance team to repair a broken-down asset. This maintenance performance metric includes diagnosis, repair, and recovery time. MTTR is key to identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in maintenance processes.
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): OEE is a metric used to gauge overall facility performance. It measures the productivity of facilities, machinery, and process. When measuring OEE, it’s essential to factor in equipment availability, performance efficiency, and product quality. OEE helps identify departmental waste and inform improvements to SOPs.

Always seek to identify the root cause of poor performance metrics. This requires investigating SOPs for problematic bottlenecks, gathering input from maintenance personnel, and evaluating existing communication systems, among other necessary digging.

4. Operational metrics

Operational metrics such as Planned Maintenance Percentage (PMP) and Schedule Compliance are also worth keeping an eye on.

PMP measures the percentage of your overall maintenance time that’s dedicated to planned maintenance. Higher PMPs suggest that your maintenance plans are effective and your team isn’t overly reliant on reactive maintenance.

Schedule compliance, also referred to as preventive maintenance compliance, is a metric used to measure the percentage of PM activities completed as scheduled. Just like PMP, higher schedule compliance suggests that PM planning and scheduling are effective.

5. Maintenance cost as percent of RAV

Lastly, track your replacement asset value (RAV) if you’re trying to determine the cost-effectiveness of your maintenance operations.

RAV refers to the amount of money it would cost to replace a production plant along with its existing assets at the current moment. When calculating RAV, include the facility itself and all of the physical assets within it that require routine maintenance.

However, don’t include working capital such as raw materials. Other maintenance metrics worth tracking include replacement parts inventory management, asset uptime and availability, the number of workplace incidents and accidents, and the number of requests for rework.

6. Mean Time between Failures (MTBF)

Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) is a useful KPI for leaders when considering total maintenance costs and equipment costs. MTBF equals the operation time between equipment failures divided by the number of failures. In other words, if this metric is accurate, it can help inform capital allocation to increase efficiency across the operation.

MTBF Formula:

MTBF = Production Time / Failures

For example, a production line unit (Asset A) may have been on for 2500 hours in a given year. In that year, however, the unit overheated and went down 12 times. Therefore, the MTBF for the line is a little over 208 hours. If comparatively, the average MTBF of similar production line assets in the factory has an MTBF of 800 hours, you can quickly identify your outlier.

The higher the MTBF, the longer a system is likely to work before failing. If the MTTR is 2 hours, Asset A has caused 24 hours of downtime in your operation. If this production line yields $20,000 per hour, those 24 hours of unplanned downtime could amount to $480,000 of lost production output. If you factor in the cost to repair Asset A, both labor and parts, you may conclude that it makes sense to allocate budget to replace Asset A this year.

7. Scheduled Maintenance Critical Percent (SMCP)

Scheduled maintenance critical percent (SMCP) is a tool used by companies to organize recurring planned maintenance tasks and prioritize overdue maintenance tasks. The tool calculates how late your maintenance tasks are in relation to their frequency of occurrence. Tasks with higher percentages are given priority.

So, why is SMCP needed? Ideally, it is performed on the exact manufacturer’s recommended scheduled day, and everything works out perfectly. However, as any seasoned technician will agree, things do not always work out as planned on paper.

SMCP is calculated by adding the number of days scheduled maintenance is late to the number of days in a maintenance cycle. Divide your result by the number of days in the maintenance cycle and multiply that number by 100 to arrive at a percentage.

SCMP Formula:

SMCP = (number of days late + number of days in cycle) / number of days in cycle * 100


Two scheduled maintenance tasks on the same system are overdue. The first task, typically completed every 30 days, is 3 days overdue. The second task, which is performed every 90 days, is five days late. So, which task should your maintenance team tackle first?

Task 1: (3+30) / 30 * 100 = 110%

Task 2: (5+90) / 90 * 100 = 105%

According to SMCP, Task 1 has the higher percentage and, therefore, you should prioritize it.

8. Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) refers to the average time maintenance teams spend diagnosing, repairing, and recovering failed pieces of equipment. MTTR is a baseline that maintenance departments use to improve asset efficiency, minimize unplanned downtimes, boost bottom lines, and assess equipment value.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) provides a useful productivity benchmark for organizations seeking to reduce prolonged repair times and their associated expenses.

Conducting an MTTR analysis allows organizations to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their maintenance strategies, processes, and practices. For many industries, organizational effectiveness is dependent on asset reliability.

Calculate Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) by tracking the total amount of time an asset undergoes recovery after downtime, then dividing by the number of times the asset in question has failed within a given time.

MTTR Formula:

MTTR = Total downtime / Total number of failures

For example, if an organization spends 50 hours total on unplanned maintenance for an asset that broke down eight times in one year, the asset’s MTTR is 6.25 hours. Notably, MTTR does not depend on an asset’s uptime. It only factors in how long each unplanned stoppage lasts. The MTTR formula assumes that well-trained maintenance personnel perform all maintenance tasks sequentially.

9. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a key metric for organizations to measure production effectiveness and efficiency. The metric identifies underperforming assets and connects poor performance to availability, performance, and/or quality issues.

This information provides useful insights for planning, scheduling, and conducting maintenance activities. In the end, OEE helps optimize maintenance strategies and reduce costs.

Successful manufacturing plants consistently monitor several critical equipment parameters that contribute to operational performance. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is one such metric that helps organizations identify the percentage of productive manufacturing time.

OEE helps operational managers identify underlying losses, eliminate waste, benchmark progress, and improve manufacturing processes. Notably, Seiichi Nakajima, the pioneer of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), established the metric in the 1980s.

To calculate OEE, multiply Availability by Performance Efficiency and then multiply this number by Product Quality.

OEE = Availability Performance Efficiency Product Quality

How to determine which KPIs to track

We recommend that beginners track no more than five maintenance KPIs at any given time.

Staying “lean and mean” will help prevent data overwhelm and support the kind of incremental improvements that lead to lasting change. So, how do you determine the right KPIs to track?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What specific changes would most benefit your department?
  • What specific outcomes would most benefit organizational goals?
  • Which performance metrics could you use to measure progress?
  • What management SOPs could you put in place to streamline tracking?

Prioritize the maintenance objectives that most strongly support your organization’s unique goals. It’s a good idea to run your proposed KPIs by executive leadership to ensure everyone is on the same page.

As previously mentioned, chosen KPIs and maintenance metrics can vary substantially based on industry, location, and other factors. With that said, one of the most common KPI-related questions we receive is deserving of its own section.

Streamline KPI tracking with MaintainX dashboards

MaintainX helps maintenance managers create, assign, and oversee work orders; catalog information on assets, parts, and vendors; and access visual performance reports within seconds. Seriously, it’s a breeze!

In MaintainX Reporting, you have access to eight reporting dashboards, as well as grouping reports by user or asset and looking at all repeatable work orders. From each of these reports, you can drill down for more real-time details. Simply click on the name of the chart for a full-screen view of that report.

MaintainX Reporting has 8 real-time dashboards that facilitate tracking understanding valuable performance metrics:

  • Created & Completed Work Orders
  • Repeatable & Reactive Work Orders
  • Work Orders by Status
  • Work Orders by Priority
  • ·Work Orders Completed with Inspection Check
  • Work Orders by Time to Complete
  • Work Orders by On-Time & Overdue
  • Time & Cost Reports

Real-time data enables you to check your workforce’s efficiency and effectiveness, equipment, assets, and inspections. As they happen. We cannot really be any faster than that.


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Caroline Eisner

Caroline Eisner is a writer and editor with experience across the profit and nonprofit sectors, government, education, and financial organizations. She has held leadership positions in K16 institutions and has led large-scale digital projects, interactive websites, and a business writing consultancy.

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