What Is Routine Maintenance?

July 13, 2022

Routine maintenance (RM) is defined as maintenance activities carried out regularly. Tasks can be performed daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. Routine maintenance typically includes regular inspections and machine servicing. The primary goal is to identify problems on an ongoing basis before they result in equipment failure.

routine maintenance workflow

Why Is It Important?

Routine maintenance (RM) programs consist of small, simple tasks that don’t require specialized skills. Workers complete work orders on a regular schedule—every day, week, month, or year. RM is a type of preventive maintenance

Routine maintenance reduces the need for emergency maintenance, keeps production facilities consistently functional, reduces wear and tear, and increases the useful life of assets. Put simply, the importance of routine maintenance programs cannot be over emphasized. 

Effective maintenance is not simply upholding the status quo. Because technology is evolving so quickly, maintenance processes must continuously become faster, more accurate and more efficient. Engineering and innovating these processes means businesses can use maintenance to grow and scale production. 


Types of Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance tasks aim to prevent breakdowns and prolong the lifespan of the equipment. There are four primary types of routine maintenance: 

Time-Based Maintenance (TBM)

TMB emphasizes replacing parts at fixed intervals, times, or usage markers regardless of condition. It’s mostly used for assets with clear service lines where failure is age-related. As reported by Efficient Plant, less than 20 percent of failure modes are age-related.

Failure-Finding Maintenance (FFM)

The goal of FFM is to detect hidden failures in equipment. It’s mostly used on assets that perform protective functions, like safety valves. FFM is conducted at fixed-time intervals to prevent safety equipment shutdowns, safety hazards, and emergency situations

Risk-Based Maintenance (RBM)

RBM prioritizes performing preventive maintenance on high-risk assets. Risk levels are determined by analyzing the likelihood of equipment failure and the severity of its associated consequences. 

Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)

CBM involves monitoring assets for signs of impending breakdowns and taking appropriate actions to maintain uptime. Work orders are assigned upon identifying issues needing care.  

Attributes of Routine Maintenance

As mentioned, RM is a common strategy for handling standard equipment issues before they cause unplanned downtime. Routine maintenance can be distinguished from other maintenance strategies by the following attributes: 

  • It takes a proactive approach to maintenance. 
  • Tasks are performed daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  • The majority of associated tasks revolve around fixed intervals (e.g., Asset #100 must be serviced every 72 hours of run time, and Asset #101 must be serviced every 15 days).
  • Routine maintenance activities are funded from an annual operating budget.

Examples of Routine Maintenance

Examples of routine maintenance include:

  • Property management teams clean, sanitize surfaces, and water plants daily. 
  • Factory workers lubricate and adjust a specific machine every six months. 
  • Warehouse technicians inspect high-risk assets for unseen issues every month.  
  • Car owners get their oil changed every 5,000 miles. 

Advantages of Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance is a proactive approach to prevent failure and minimize unnecessary downtimes. Performing it has the following advantages:

  • Reduces Downtimes: Assets that are regularly inspected and maintained perform consistently better than those ignored. Reduced downtimes translate to increased equipment lifespans, decreased inconveniences, and increased efficiency. 
  • Minimizes Reactive Maintenance: Taking a proactive approach to maintenance reduces the chances of dealing with expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes hazardous failures after they occur. 
  • Improves Productivity: Consistently high-performing equipment leads to increased productivity, which translates to higher profitability.  
  • Engages All Employees: Because routine maintenance often doesn’t require specialized maintenance skills, every team member can contribute. 

With proper planning, this type of maintenance doesn’t pose any drawbacks. Organizations that regularly care for essential assets only stand to benefit from a proactive approach. 

How Does a CMMS Support Routine Maintenance?

The key to a well-run maintenance program is to develop a schedule and track maintenance performance. While 55 percent of facilities still rely on in-house spreadsheets and schedules to manage their maintenance activities, a user-friendly computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can revolutionize any routine maintenance program. CMMS supports routine maintenance in the following ways:

  • Scheduling and Managing Maintenance Activities: Assign tasks to specific team members, indicate due dates, and set priority levels. Track fulfillment in real-time with CMMS. Robust CMMS monitor the performance of maintenance tasks remotely.
  • Controlling Spare Parts Inventory: Some CMMS solutions allow managers to build a spare parts inventory so that they can receive notifications of stock quantity, track usage, and forecast future needs. This functionality helps ensure maintenance teams are always prepared to deal with asset malfunctions when they arise. 
  • Storing Maintenance Data: CMMS software collects, stores, and analyzes data to provide asset maintenance history. Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting helps management identify ongoing problems. For example, a CMMS can identify that an organization has spent 10X more resources than average to fix a particular forklift. 

As organizations move from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance, CMMS can play an integral role to simplify the transition. CMMS solves basic maintenance challenges such as the lack of a proper maintenance structure, weak inventory controls, and inconsistent maintenance schedules.


Routine maintenance ensures increased asset efficiency, reduces the need for equipment replacement, and increases ROI. It’s a straightforward strategy that’s easy to implement regardless of maintenance skill level. 

Thinking about implementing routine maintenance? Try MaintainX for free!

Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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