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What is Preventive Maintenance A Complete Guide_1

What is Preventive Maintenance? A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Preventive Maintenance is performed on physical assets on a regular and routine basis to reduce the possibility of equipment failure and unplanned machine downtime. This is done as such instances can be very costly for maintenance teams and Facility Managers

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive Maintenance (PM) is used to strategically maintain, repair, or replace equipment before an uncertainty occurs, with the aim of improving the uptime of heavy equipment and machinery.

Effective Preventive Maintenance is planned and scheduled using real-time data insights. Since maintaining a Preventive Maintenance schedule for a large amount of equipment is challenging, many businesses often use software such as a CMMS. To avoid unexpected breakdowns, preventive maintenance is performed while the equipment is functioning.

Preventive Maintenance is the exact opposite of Deferred Maintenance, whereby managers tend to postpone maintenance and repairs to a later date due to the lack of resources and to save money or meet funding levels.

Why do you need a Preventive Maintenance plan?

“A successful maintenance strategy usually requires the planning and scheduling of equipment maintenance prior to the occurrence of an issue”.

A Preventive Maintenance plan is a set of processes, guidelines and tools required for carrying out maintenance checks on a regular basis. This helps keep the facilities in working condition and avoids downtime due to failures or breakdowns. 

Planned Preventive Maintenance, sometimes referred to as Scheduled Maintenance also includes keeping records of past inspections and equipment servicing.

When do you plan Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive Maintenance includes both planning as well as scheduling the maintenance. While the plan addresses what needs to be done and how; scheduling addresses who will perform it and when.

Property Managers can plan Preventive Maintenance based on a number of factors. Using time-based and interval-based maintenance techniques, simple  Preventive Maintenance tasks can be planned in advance. For tasks that are fairly complex in nature, a combination of time-based, interval-based, and condition monitoring Preventive Maintenance activities can be used.

Preventive Maintenance can also be planned based on failure finding, following a risk analysis, prescriptive maintenance or predictive maintenance.

Advantages of Preventive Maintenance

For businesses that rely on their assets for revenue, the process of scheduling routinely planned maintenance is critical. As a result, most businesses that are relying on their assets prefer preventive maintenance over other strategies such as reactive maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance provides several advantages to businesses including;

#1. Prolonged Equipment Lifespan

By ensuring that equipment runs according to specifications, you can help to extend the asset’s life. Failing parts reduce the life of your equipment, resulting in costly repair or replacement.

#2. Reduced Risk of Injury and Improved Safety

Maintaining assets reduces the risk of potentially dangerous failures, reducing the risk of injury and any associated liability lawsuits.

#3. Cost Reduction

Running a piece of equipment to failure is estimated to cost ten times as much as performing routine maintenance. The cost is incurred as a result of surprise repairs and downtimes. Understanding the maintenance requirements allows you to schedule necessary repairs or part replacements at an appropriate time. It does not matter whether they are done internally or require the services of an outside professional.

#4. Increase in Productivity

According to statistics, poor maintenance can reduce a company’s production capacity by 20%. You can prevent this drop in productivity as well as reduce downtime to enable greater efficiency and productivity by meeting maintenance requirements.

#5. Reduction in Energy Consumption

“Preventive Maintenance can also be beneficial to the environment because poorly maintained electrical assets consume more energy than those that are properly maintained”.

Of course, there is also the financial benefit of reduced electricity bills.

When you run regular preventive maintenance on your HVAC system, it consumes less amount of energy for heating and cooling the building and hence costs less to run.

5 Advantages of preventive maintenance - i4T Global

Disadvantages of Preventive Maintenance

Just like everything has its pros and cons, Preventive Maintenance also has a few downsides.

Upfront Costs

Regular maintenance is not cheap. Property Maintenance Companies seeking to develop a Preventive Maintenance Plan need to put aside a budget. This budget is then allocated to all the preventative maintenance tasks that will be carried out during a specific timeframe.


Budget is not the only thing that needs to be set aside. You will require more staff to carry out all the steps required for Preventative Maintenance. This means that the staff are spending more time on preventative maintenance, when they could be doing other work. It could also mean more personnel needed to be hired and paid for the same. These personnel include plant managers, supervisors and operators. You might also need to take into account vendor management to hire and manage technicians carrying out specific maintenance tasks.

Chances of Over-Maintenance

When you are too vigilant about maintaining your assets, you tend to over-maintain them, unnecessarily spending resources on non-critical issues. In fact, in some cases, it’s actually more cost-effective to let some assets run to failure, if the results are not catastrophic.
3 Disadvantages of preventive maintenance - i4T Global

Types of Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is classified into the following types:

  • Predictive maintenance
  • Prescriptive maintenance
  • Failure-finding maintenance
  • Risk-based maintenance
  • Time-based maintenance
  • Usage based maintenance
  • Condition based maintenance

To avoid unplanned failure, a variation of these types of preventive maintenance should ideally be scheduled and performed on all items of equipment. Manufacturers frequently provide recommendations on how to best maintain their equipment.
Your maintenance team can schedule preventive maintenance using the appropriate type of preventive maintenance in addition to real-time data insights. Examples of each type of preventive maintenance are provided below.

#1. Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance calls for determining when an asset might fail and carrying out the right course of action to prevent it before it happens. The idea behind predictive maintenance is to maximise the uptime.  Essentially, this ensures that the asset is never down. Information about the asset is collected via IoT sensors attached to it, that collect data about performance and equipment health. This information helps make predictive maintenance possible.

#2. Prescriptive maintenance

As the name suggests, prescriptive maintenance suggests why the failure has happened. This method takes into account various options to fix the problem and the outcomes of each. After careful analysis, a certain course of action is suggested.

#3. Failure-finding maintenance

This kind of maintenance is carried out to ensure that protective equipment is working properly. Such protective equipment serves to safeguard against accidents or shut downing processes. Failure-finding maintenance is done by physically checking the hidden parts of an equipment to detect a potential error.

#4. Risk-based maintenance

Risk based preventive maintenance focuses on the probability and the impact of a failure. The maintenance is then prioritised based on the risk score. The higher the risk the more immediate attention is required.  Risk based maintenance optimises the asset as well the cost of maintaining them. This methodology is also helpful in decision making about frequency and timing of inspecting equipment.

#5. Time-Based Preventive Maintenance

Also called periodic maintenance, the  time-based approach schedules preventive maintenance tasks on a regular basis, such as every 10 days. Other examples include starting preventive maintenance (such as a regular inspection of critical systems) on the first of every month or once every three months.

#6. Usage-Based Preventive Maintenance

This is also known as performance based or metre based maintenance. When asset usage reaches a certain benchmark, usage-based preventive maintenance initiates a maintenance action. This can be after set production cycles, the number of kilometres, or hours. A motor vehicle’s routine maintenance being scheduled every 10,000 kilometres is an example of this cause.

#7. Condition-Based Preventive Maintenance

It is a maintenance strategy that monitors an asset’s actual condition to determine what maintenance tasks need to be performed. According to condition-based maintenance, maintenance should only be performed when certain indicators indicate a decline in performance or an upcoming failure. For example, a malfunction in a smoke alarm will never be identified unless the alarm is triggered.

Finding the best preventive maintenance type for you

Now that you understand what the different types of preventative maintenance are, it’s time to decide which one best fits a given scenario.

The main factors that you need to consider here are:

  1. Cost of asset failure: To determine this cost you need to ask yourself what will be the impact in case the equipment breakdown. These impacts can range from equipment downtime, repair costs, employee safety and environmental impact. If you know why the equipment fails, it would be easier to develop a plan to prevent it.
  2. Ease of monitoring the asset: This factor considers the cost of monitoring the equipment compared to the cost of letting it fail. If the monitoring cost is more, the strategy is not worth implementing.

Based on these two factors, you can now put together a team, analyse how much it will cost you if the asset fails, rank your strategies based on highest to lowest cost of monitoring for each asset, and finally choose a maintenance strategy based on this.

The Preventive Maintenance Workflow

Setting up a preventive maintenance schedule for your major equipment ensures that your facilities are functioning efficiently and productively.

A typical preventive maintenance workflow is depicted in the flowchart below. Your organisation may choose to add, remove, or adjust steps as needed to fit your specific processes. A preventive maintenance workflow typically includes the following action items.

  1. Inspection
  2. Detection
  3. Correction
  4. Prevention

Industrial Benefits from Preventive Maintenance

A well executed Preventive Maintenance plan tends to provide several benefits that add up to the bottomline of the company. 

#1. Security

Preventive Maintenance carried out on assets ensures that they are safe to use by the staff operating it. Physical hazards such as explosion or overload can easily be avoided at the plant with the right preventive maintenance strategy

#2. Quality

Preventive Maintenance carried out on industrial assets not only ensures the quality of the entire production process but also promises to deliver an up to mark final product. With the equipment operating in its best shape, the production defects can be avoided.

#3. Cost

With zero downtime and highest level of quality of the products, costs related to repairs or halt to production is reduced significantly. This in turn contributes to business profitability.

#4. Availability

Preventive maintenance ensures that all the equipment is always available and ready to be used. This means no more time wasted on breakdown or repairs.
4 industrial benefits from preventive maintenance - i4T Global

Checklist to create a preventive maintenance plan

A preventive maintenance checklist outlines all the routine and non-routine tasks that technicians need to carry out in a step by step manner to prevent and correct critical issues.

These are created based on the type of asset that needs to be maintained for example, machinery, building or vehicles. While there is no one-size-fits-all checklist, there are certain steps that are common among all.

Step 1: Lay out the objective

You begin with the goal of the preventive maintenance and what you wish to accomplish as a result. Your objective could be to cut down operational costs, minimise downtime, improve compliance or safety.

Step 2: Run an equipment audit

Document the condition of your equipment in detail. Take note of model, serial number, parts replaced in the past, average downtime, time to repair and maintenance costs.

Step 3: Take into consideration standards and regulation

Some maintenance tasks need to be carried out in order to comply with state regulations. When creating your checklist make sure you are adhering to these requirements.

Step 4: Choose assets for maintenance 

Prioritise assets that need to be taken care of first, in terms of preventative maintenance. You can categorise your assets based on risk associated with them and the impact it would make if not attended.

Step 5: Make a list of task to be performed for each asset

Think about what preventive maintenance tasks are required for each asset. Make a list and add things like tuning, change over and regular upgrades. Also consider the frequency and priority of each task.

Step 6: Add instructions for each task

Whatever you put on the task list, make sure it is described in full detail so the technician would know exactly what to do and how to do it. Along with these details, mention the time it needs to be completed at.

Step 7: Train your team to use the checklist effectively

Outline best-practices to carry out each task in the checklist to ensure quality of work. Make sure each member of the team is well-versed on how to use the checklist for the intended purpose. If not, provide training where needed.

Step 8: Measure results and adjust checklist items accordingly

Just like any other activity, preventive maintenance checklist also needs to be measured in terms of how useful it has been to achieve your objectives. Over time, you would be able to identify unnecessary items or may find the need to add something more to it. Tracking the results will help you do that.

checklist for creating a preventive maintenance plan - i4T Global

How Can Preventive Maintenance Software Help?

“Many businesses use preventive maintenance software to coordinate all of their preventive maintenance tasks because it simplifies what would otherwise be a complicated process”.

Preventive maintenance software saves a company’s maintenance data on a computer so that all inspections, repairs, and replacements can be easily tracked.

Preventive maintenance software can be used to effectively manage work orders, purchase orders, inventory, and maintenance records because all data is conveniently stored in one location. Preventive maintenance software even prioritises maintenance tasks and collects the information required for maintenance work.

There are several key advantages to using preventive maintenance software.

It helps in managing all maintenance tasks (as well as the records of those tasks) to ensure that maintenance operations run smoothly. It can also save cost on maintenance because the system can plan and prioritise maintenance tasks based on operations.

This minimises disruption to the work schedule when maintenance is performed. Finally, preventive maintenance software relieves technicians of administrative duties, allowing them to focus on their work.

Types of Preventive Maintenance Software

Preventive maintenance software comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from highly specialised systems to massive platforms that connect maintenance to other business units. The most common types of preventive maintenance software are listed below.

Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)

Maintenance teams can use CMMS software and maintenance apps to keep detailed and centralised records of all assets, equipment, and completed work. A CMMS enables facilities to plan, track, and optimise work orders, inventory, and all other aspects of maintenance.

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)

EAM software provides a comprehensive view of the physical assets of an organisation and infrastructure over its entire lifecycle. This includes everything from design and procurement to operation, maintenance, disposal, and replacement. EAM systems manage work orders, coordinate inventory purchasing and usage, organise labour, track contracts, measure costs, and spending, and calculate key performance indicators (KPIs)

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Accounting, human resources, and maintenance are just a few of the business units that keep a company running. ERP software connects everything these various departments do so that the entire organisation has the same processes and information.

Using a CMMS Software for Preventive Maintenance

An innovative PM Software will not only automate preventive maintenance tasks for you, but it will also replace bulky stacks of paper and cluttered spreadsheets. Your team is held accountable by software, which gives them instant access to asset information and preventive maintenance protocols in the field.

Creating recurring preventive maintenance tasks and procedures using a work order and the PM scheduling module.

Users of location-based asset mapping software can filter through assets using an interactive floor plan map to see only the asset pins they need. This feature is especially useful if a team member is assigned to inspect or service all assets of a specific type as part of a preventive maintenance program.  An example could be to inspect all emergency exit signs for burnt-out bulbs).

Accessing PM Information for assets in the field using any electronic device.

A CMMS Software gets your team up and moving, allowing them to complete more work throughout the day. A CMMS can function on any mobile device and eliminates the need to print work orders for preventive maintenance activities. This means you will no longer be tied to your desktop computer and printer.

Uploading asset documentation, receipts, and proper O&M manuals for future use.

Facility document management software protects your most critical building documentation and provides instant access to it on the field, where it matters the most. Any document, including O&M manuals, warranty information, receipts, and as-builts for commissioning reports, can be uploaded and stored.

Keeping updated with a data reporting dashboard.

Many facility managers are data-driven and seek quantitative evidence of success. A statistics dashboard, which serves as a one-stop-shop for departmental data, is available in some facility management software solutions. This information is useful when creating annual reports for your organisation’s administrators.

Other Types of Maintenance Strategies

Although preventive maintenance is preferred by 80% of maintenance personnel, there are other types of maintenance strategies that can suit various industries and operations. Other types of maintenance include:

Reactive Maintenance

A reactive maintenance strategy (also known as breakdown or corrective maintenance) is the practice of only repairing equipment after it has failed. Although this method can result in high breakdown repair costs and unplanned downtime, it is recommended for 10% of your asset inventory.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM)

The practice of gathering analytical data from sensors and IoT devices, storing it in a maintenance management system, and predicting when assets will fail is known as predictive maintenance. Predictions are based on asset condition monitoring, with the goal of identifying maintenance before failure.

PdM analyses data gathered from experts, equipment readers, and previous experience to determine when specific conditions are met. Industry 4.0-based Internet of Things feedback is increasingly being used to inform PdM and help optimise PM requirements.

Bottom Line

Preventive Maintenance (PM) is the regular and routine maintenance of equipment and assets in order to keep them running while preventing costly unplanned downtime due to unexpected equipment failure.

“Preventive maintenance is planned based on usage or time-based triggers. The goal of the PM is to reduce the likelihood of equipment failure”.

In many cases, preventive maintenance is the best maintenance strategy to use. Implementing a PM strategy is much easier with the help of maintenance software, such as CMMS software.

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With our cutting-edge technology and in-depth knowledge of how the Field Service Management sector operates, the i4TGlobal Team loves to share industry insights to help streamline your business processes and generate new leads. We are driven by innovation and are passionate about delivering solutions that are transparent, compliant, efficient and safe for all stakeholders and across all touch points.

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