What Is Planned Maintenance Optimization (PMO)?

January 11, 2022

What is Planned Maintenance Optimization?

Planned maintenance optimization (PMO) refers to a set of organizational methods used to improve existing maintenance practices. PMO analyzes asset failure history and ongoing preventive maintenance (PM) routines to improve outcomes. The analysis involves reviewing existing maintenance tasks, eliminating unnecessary work processes, and adding missing assignments to maintenance schedules. 


Often confused with reliability-centered maintenance (RCM), planned maintenance optimization is an alternative, PM-based strategy best suited for smaller organizations, facilities, and teams. While both practices share similar goals—reducing downtime, increasing reliability, decreasing unnecessary costs—RCM is a resource-intensive process that takes significant time to develop and implement.

For this reason, maintenance teams with large budgets, advanced technologies, and reliability engineers on staff are its primary proponents. Conversely, planned maintenance optimization provides organizations of all sizes with a more flexible template for efficiently carrying out preventive maintenance activities. 

Planned Maintenance Optimization is ideal for organizations that: 

  • Experience equipment downtime, excessive stock inventory, and underutilized workers
  • Have yet to perform objective evaluations of PM workloads
  • Don’t previously have clearly defined maintenance goals

PMO analysis begins by assessing known asset failures and maintenance tasks already being performed. Organizations then modify existing routines to develop new maintenance schedules and frequencies based on asset failure history. This approach is different from RCM, which analyzes every failure mode on a given piece of equipment. 

Phases of Planned Maintenance Optimization

Planned maintenance optimization includes three phases: 

  1. Data Collection: Organizations need high-quality, reliable data to begin optimizing their maintenance strategies. They should consistently collect data on equipment performance, especially on asset failure. Tools such as computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) make it easier for organizations to organize accurate equipment data and identify behavioral patterns.
  2. Analysis, Review, and Recommendations: After collecting data for a few months, organizations should take a closer look at the key performance indicators (KPIs) for their most critical assets. Factors determining how critical assets are to plant operations can include mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to repair (MTTR), and the average cost of asset repair. Next, this information is compared against existing PM routines to align with MTBF and MTTR data points. The review also helps determine whether the failure points fall within acceptable tolerances set by industry standards and equipment manufacturers. Substantial deviations indicate a need for improvement. Operational managers can recommend modifying existing PM tasks. The review should lead to optimizing maintenance schedules and frequencies as well as addressing inefficient or missing maintenance activities.
  3. Commitment to Implementing Data-Backed Improvements: Managers should delegate recommended adjustments to technicians who appropriately perform tasks. Workers should continually monitor the progress of required actions.

Maintenance programs become optimized with a consistent commitment to data collection, data analysis, and readjusting programs over time. 

Benefits of Planned Maintenance Optimization

Lab Manager estimates PMO programs help organizations in the laboratory and life sciences industries reduce maintenance costs by 25 percent. Maintenance experts suggest most organizations realize the benefits of PMO within two years of initial implementation. 

The benefits of planned maintenance optimization include:

  • Increased asset uptime and improved reliability 
  • Greater return on investment from their assets
  • Eliminated waste and more efficient, effective, and leaner maintenance strategies
  • Enhanced employee morale through enhanced skill sets
  • Increased ability to base maintenance approaches on a proven system

Planned maintenance optimization enables organizations to enjoy benefits similar to RCM but with less analysis, in less time. It aims to ensure equipment setbacks are avoided, and maintenance approaches are practical and efficient.

How to Optimize a Planned Maintenance Program

Generally, organizations take one of two initial approaches to optimization: 

  1. Seek feedback from technicians responsible for performing maintenance tasks: While this approach is logical—these workers interact with pieces of equipment day in and day out—it isn’t the most reliable in providing consistent information. Personal bias and forgetfulness sometimes skew qualitative data. 
  1. Use the 6:1 Rule: This approach dictates that organizations find a corrective maintenance task in every six PM tasks performed. This method provides organizations with a starting point to fine-tune preventive maintenance processes and programs. 

Analysis of existing PM tasks can help determine how best to optimize their quantity and timing. 

Utilize Planned Maintenance Optimization Best Practices:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive maintenance plan that includes maintenance priorities and goals, routines and schedules, key performance indicators, and maintenance processes.
  • Adopt a centralized communication system between maintenance technicians and operational managers.
  • Optimize staff functions so employees can better leverage skill sets. 
  • Collect as much data as possible in a user-friendly CMMS.
  • Create a system for maintenance awareness and reporting failure.


Planned maintenance optimization (PMO) is the first step on the journey to continuous maintenance departmental improvements. PMO frees resources, minimizes reactive maintenance, and creates more organized asset management systems leading to better decision-making. However, PMO processes don’t occur overnight. Effective implementation takes time, resources, and user-friendly CMMS software.

Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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