Building a World-Class Preventive Maintenance Program

What Is a Preventive Maintenance Program?

Preventive maintenance is all about getting on top of maintenance issues before they cause downtime.

By regularly performing preventive maintenance activities, your team can prevent expensive, unexpected breakdowns and minimize equipment failures.

Developing a preventive maintenance schedule that suits your company requires a coordinated effort and an in-depth look at your asset metrics. However, by setting aside time to analyze what needs to be done and when, you and your team can set up a robust and efficient PM program that continues to pay off well into the future.

“Preventive maintenance is a simple idea. But, like many simple ideas, it can be challenging to make it a reality. In practice, a preventive maintenance program can be quite complex: there’s a great deal of data to be collected and analyzed and many competing tasks to schedule, prioritize and cost.”

How Do You Create a Preventative Maintenance Program?

A preventive maintenance program considers each of your assets, how critical each asset is, and how much upkeep an asset needs. It also looks at which success indicators you’ll use to measure the outcomes of your maintenance program.

This maintenance strategy focuses more on critical assets. You can set maintenance requirement triggers at a certain number of operational hours or a set time period (e.g., a lubrication protocol that happens every month). Preventive maintenance software or a CMMS makes this a breeze, triggering work orders for predictive maintenance tasks at specific intervals.

When critical assets are prioritized, your maintenance team can be clear on what is most important. This allows your team to respond to competing priorities in the most efficient way.

When you assess your maintenance needs in total, you’re setting up your maintenance team for success. PM reduces expensive reactive maintenance and keeps your most critical assets online–without overspending on upkeep.

When NOT to Use Preventive Maintenance

It’s important to note that this approach isn’t always the best course of action.

Other types of maintenance, like run-to-failure maintenance, might actually be a better choice for certain assets. Unplanned downtime can be frustrating. However, if it affects a piece of equipment with low financial value, a single-use asset, or an asset specifically designed for short-term use, it can be more cost-effective to simply deal with failures as they happen.

This is because the cost of performing maintenance should always be less than the cost of asset failure. So, for example, say you are running a machine that costs $1000 to buy. But what if the forecast preventive maintenance costs over the machine’s lifespan add up to $5000? Maintaining that asset is a false economy.

To ensure your maintenance technicians are delivering real cost savings when looking after your equipment, including the return on investment figures in your PM plan.

“Three key areas show particular promise for increasing asset productivity at many organizations: preventative maintenance, cost management excellence, and people.”

6 Steps to Building Your Preventive Maintenance Plan

1. Know Why You’re Maintaining Your Assets!

Get clear on your asset management goals–and know that different team members may have different needs within your PM program. For example, smoothing out staff utilization and reducing urgent, drop-everything repairs might be the highest priority for your maintenance crew.

Supervisors may want to report higher uptime results to management and show efficient team utilization. Management teams may be more interested in keeping capital expenditure in check by maintaining their current assets more effectively.

No matter your goals, getting all stakeholders on the same page and agreeing on which goals take priority is the first step.

2. Decide What to Measure

Once you’ve agreed on your goals, the next step is to decide which success indicators you’ll use to measure the outcomes of your maintenance program.

Metrics like OEE or Overall Equipment Effectiveness offer a snapshot of productivity. Metrics provide a way to map the intersection of asset availability, asset performance, and product quality. Another KPI to include is Mean Time Between Failures, indicating the uptime between two failure states for any repairable asset).

Recording, analyzing, and improving your KPIs is critical to any continuous improvement program. So, set your KPIs and make time to review them regularly.

3. Perform Criticality Analysis on Each Asset

Criticality is the measure of how integral a piece of equipment is to your business. A criticality analysis is a scoring matrix used to prioritize asset management and routine maintenance.

The idea is to rate each piece of equipment on how integral it is to your company’s productivity using factors such as the seriousness of a potential failure, how likely it is to happen, and how difficult it is to identify a fault.

This process will reveal which of your assets requires the most attention so that you can prioritize preventive maintenance work to minimize negative impacts on the business.

4. Match Maintenance Activities with Triggers

An effective preventive maintenance program centers around triggers and KPIs. Your teams perform cyclical, planned maintenance and then track and measure the outcome of that maintenance.

For your preventive maintenance strategy to be effective, you need to input the necessary triggers into your maintenance software or CMMS. This allows a schedule to be created for each asset, simplifying work order management.

Most proactive maintenance tasks are triggered by time-based or usage-based stats, such as 100 hours of use or a quarterly replacement of worn parts. Each asset is unique. You map out all the regular maintenance that should happen and set real-time notifications for your maintenance crew. This streamlines day-to-day preventive maintenance tasks and workflows in your business.

MaintainX Procedure Library

5. Develop a Preventive Maintenance Checklist

One of the key benefits of preventive maintenance is its predictability. Everyone in your team knows when corrective actions are going to happen, what is required, who needs to be involved, and what needs to be done.

Ensure that assets are maintained the same way every time. Do so by building a preventive maintenance checklist for each piece of equipment. Of course, the metrics you measure will vary for each asset. However, to illustrate how this might look in a facility management application, we’ve put together this article detailing some potential PM tasks to check off.

For example, a checklist for an HVAC system could include changing air filters monthly, checking duct connectors for leaks, inspecting electrical hardware, and so forth. Your equipment manufacturer’s service manual is the best place to start identifying routine maintenance tasks.

6. Review Your Numbers Regularly

All your hard work in setting up a preventive maintenance program is wasted if you’re not regularly reviewing your metrics.

Pulling reports out of your CMMS can offer insights such as how much time your maintenance crew spent on PM tasks last quarter, whether your MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) is falling as predicted, and whether an asset is continuing to fail despite regular maintenance, indicating it could be due for replacement.

Looking at your historical data and adjusting your actions to reduce waste and increase efficiency is the cornerstone of running a lean operation, so ensure you pencil in time to review your PM reports regularly.

Revolutionizing PM: The Power of CMMS and Industry 4.0 Integration

Integration of a CMMS with Industry 4.0 technologies can transform preventive maintenance programs. This combination harnesses data, automation, and smart devices to monitor equipment performance effectively, proactively identify issues, and schedule maintenance tasks. Consequently, companies can decrease unexpected downtime, cut maintenance costs, and extend asset life.

Industry 4.0 technologies like IoT, AI, and machine learning, when coupled with a CMMS, enhance real-time data collection and analysis, providing a comprehensive view of equipment health. These technologies empower maintenance teams to build predictive models for identifying possible failure patterns and timely scheduling of maintenance tasks. Data-driven insights also guide optimal maintenance intervals, resource distribution, and inventory strategies, enhancing operational efficiency and productivity in a preventive maintenance program.

Kick Off a Successful Maintenance Program with MaintainX

Building a preventive maintenance schedule takes the guesswork out of maintaining your equipment and ensures your team focuses on the right assets at the right time.

With MaintainX CMMS maintenance software, you can create PM tasks for an infinite number of assets, each set to align with the maintenance needs of every piece of equipment. Assign work orders, monitor progress, keep track of spare parts consumption, and digitally sign off on completed tasks.

Then, access the maintenance history for each asset to analyze upkeep costs for the entire lifecycle of your equipment. Get started with MaintainX for free.


How long does it take to implement MaintainX?

For the average customer, it takes three weeks to implement one site. For customers on our Premium & Enterprise plans, our team ensures a smooth transition to MaintainX within your organization. Partner with a dedicated implementation specialist through our structured three-week onboarding process. Learn more about our Implementation services here.

Is MaintainX secure?

MaintainX is compliant with security standards, including SOC 2, ISO 27001 & GDPR. It also supports Single Sign-On (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and custom permissions and roles. For more information, visit our Trust Center page.

Does MaintainX support multiple sites?

Yes, MaintainX Enterprise allows you to manage multiple plants or facilities within the same platform. You can also create customized reporting dashboards to track KPIs across multiple sites on the same screen.

author photo
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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