What Is Routine Maintenance?

January 12, 2022

What Is Routine Maintenance?

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.

Why Is It Important?

Routine maintenance programs consist of small, simple tasks that don’t require specialized skills. Work orders are completed 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 extends the lifespan of assets. Put simply, the importance of routine maintenance programs cannot be emphasized enough. 

Types of Routine Maintenance

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

  • Failure-Finding Maintenance (FFM): The goal of FFM is to detect hidden failures in a piece of 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 action to maintain uptime. Work orders are assigned upon identification of issues needing care.  

Attributes of Routine Maintenance

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

  • It takes a proactive approach to maintenance. 
  • Tasks are often 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, asset 101 must be serviced every 15 days).
  • Its maintenance activities are funded from an annual operating budget.

Examples of Routine Maintenance

Here are examples of routine maintenance activities:

  • Property management teams clean, sanitize surfaces, and water plants daily. 
  • Factory workers clean, lubricate, and adjust a specific machine every six months. 
  • Warehouse technicians inspect high-risk assets for unseen issues every month.  
  • A car owner changes a vehicle’s oil every 5,000 miles. 

Advantages of Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance takes 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 that are 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 CMMS Support Routine Maintenance?

The key to a well-run maintenance program is developing a schedule and tracking 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 track fulfillment in seconds with CMMS. The performance of maintenance tasks can even be monitored remotely.
  • Controlling Spare Parts Inventory: Some CMMS solutions allow managers to build a spare parts inventory where they can receive notifications of stock quantity, track usage, and forecast future needs. This functionality helps ensure maintenance teams will always be adequately prepared to deal with asset malfunctions as they arise. 
  • Storing Maintenance Data: CMMS software collects, stores, and analyzes data in order to provide asset maintenance history. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)  reporting can help management identify ongoing problems. For example, a CMMS can identify that an organization has spent 10X more resources than average when fixing a particular forklift in 2020. 

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


Routine maintenance is an excellent approach to ensuring increased asset efficiency, reduced need for equipment replacement, and excellent ROI. It’s a straightforward strategy that’s easy to implement regardless of maintenance skill level. 

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