Preventive maintenance is the routine and regular maintenance of equipment and assets to keep them running and avoid costly unexpected downtime due to unexpected equipment failure.
A successful maintenance strategy necessitates the planning and scheduling of equipment maintenance before a problem arises. A good preventive maintenance plan includes records of previous inspections and equipment servicing.
Because maintaining a preventive maintenance schedule for many pieces of equipment is complicated, many businesses use preventive maintenance software to organize their required preventative maintenance tasks.
What Are the Different Kinds of Preventive Maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is used to anticipate and prevent equipment breakdowns and should ideally be performed on all equipment items to avoid age-related failure. Manufacturers frequently provide recommendations for maintaining a piece of equipment, but there are three major types of preventive maintenance tasks:
Mandatory vs. Optional Tasks
Mandatory tasks must be completed as soon as possible and frequently include safety-critical checks. Non-mandatory tasks are still important, but they can be postponed without causing a critical failure or a reduction in performance. A preventive maintenance checklist should categorize tasks as mandatory or optional.
Non-Pyramiding / Pyramiding Tasks
When maintenance is scheduled for a specific date but is not completed, it overlaps with a later scheduled maintenance. If a new PM task becomes due in this case, the previous one is canceled. A cancellation should include an explanation, and the new task should consist of the original due date to track how far behind the job is. Some businesses prefer a non-pyramiding structure because it eliminates the need to record the missed task and instead uses the new date as the baseline.
Inspection and Task-Oriented Activities
Inspection tasks necessitate checks before the results are converted into work orders for planned maintenance to correct any problems discovered. Minor repairs and adjustments can be made during the inspection, reducing the amount of work that needs to be written up as work orders on the inspection sheet.
When Should Preventive Maintenance Be Performed?
The precise preventive maintenance required will vary depending on the equipment and the operation being performed. Standards are used in industry to help determine maintenance schedules so that assets do not fail prematurely. These guidelines will also specify the type of inspection or maintenance required.
Ideally, a PM schedule should ensure proactive maintenance by following manufacturer or standard guidelines rather than resorting to reactive maintenance when something has already begun to fail.
Following this type of predictive maintenance schedule requires accurate recording of inspections and servicing against an understanding of the lifespan of a specific piece of equipment through tasks such as condition monitoring. These records will aid in determining when preventive maintenance is necessary.
7 Advantages of Preventive Maintenance
Deferred maintenance exposes your facility to lost productivity and increased costs. Here are seven advantages of performing preventive maintenance that every facility manager should beware of.
1. Extend the life of an asset
The most crucial benefit of preventive maintenance is increased asset lifespan. Keeping your equipment in excellent condition allows it to run for extended periods, reducing costs. MTBF (mean time between failures) is a standard key performance indicator (KPI) used by facility managers to make informed maintenance decisions. Tracking information such as MTBF allows you to plan preventive maintenance optimally, catching the equipment before it fails.
The impact of a sound downtime tracking system is so significant that 78% of companies that track and implement preventive maintenance report an increase in the lifespan of their equipment.
2. Reduced breakdown risk
Another significant advantage of preventive maintenance is a lower risk of breakdowns. Most of the advantages listed here are due to a lower risk of corruption. Waiting until something breaks before performing maintenance puts your facility at risk of lost productivity and a tarnished reputation.
Only about 10% of industrial equipment wears out due to proper use, meaning that 90% of mechanical failures are due to preventable problems, which can be avoided with a good preventive maintenance plan. Proactively scheduling maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of your equipment failing, providing you with peace of mind as a facility manager.
3. Improve efficiency
Equipment that receives routine maintenance last longer and runs more efficiently. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a popular maintenance management KPI that measures efficiency. The availability, performance, and quality of equipment are all rated by OEE.
Preventive maintenance improves the overall performance of a piece of equipment, such as an HVAC unit.
Downtime for reactive maintenance is typically more extended than downtime for scheduled preventive maintenance; opting for preventative maintenance means more equipment uptime and availability.
Performance: Well-maintained HVAC units can keep the air at a constant temperature and distribute it evenly throughout the space.
Quality: An HVAC unit with its air filter and coils cleaned regularly will heat and cool more efficiently and produce cleaner, higher-quality air.
4. Minimize unplanned downtime
Whether you choose reactive or preventive maintenance, machine downtime is unavoidable. On the other hand, you can significantly reduce rest by planning ahead of time with a preventative maintenance plan. In the case of a spontaneous maintenance repair, the machine’s downtime may be prolonged by wait times to see specialized mechanics or the shipment time of required parts.
When performing preventive maintenance, you can schedule the procedure at a convenient time for you and your facility (for example, when occupants are out of the building or operations have concluded for the day), minimizing disruptions in production and efficiency.
5. Encourage health and safety
Accurately tracking and performing preventive maintenance can improve your facility’s health and safety. Health and safety are often thought of as primarily a concern in facilities with dangerous equipment in the context of preventative maintenance. Still, health and safety are essential in all facilities, including office buildings and schools.
Utilizing a CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) to track preventive maintenance will allow you to oversee all equipment in your facility and store critical safety information in a single digital hub. CMMS software also simplifies safety audits—the complete maintenance history and safety protocols for all equipment items are available with a few clicks on a smartphone. Preventive maintenance and CMMS software can help your facility prepare for fires.
6. Increase customer satisfaction
Keeping equipment running as efficiently as possible saves money and increases revenue, but it also helps build a strong brand image and boosts customer satisfaction. Preventive maintenance in manufacturing facilities to avoid breakdowns and maintain the quality of the goods ensures customer satisfaction with the product, strengthening the brand image.
Even in facilities that do not manufacture goods for sale, “customers” can be employees or students. A comfortable environment has been shown to increase productivity in office spaces and schools—preventive maintenance can ensure productivity is never lost due to a broken-down HVAC unit.
7. Conserve money
All the reasons above point to one overarching benefit of preventive maintenance: saving money. Unplanned maintenance is typically 3 to 9 times more expensive than planned maintenance.
The cost of rushed shipping of necessary machinery parts, compensation for specialized technicians, and lost sales revenue or productivity while the equipment is not in use must all be factored into reactive emergency maintenance. Worse, failing to implement preventive care may necessitate a complete equipment replacement, increasing costs.
The initial preventive maintenance costs may appear intimidating, especially if your facility is on a tight budget. However, maintaining your equipment is an investment in the future of your business.
Mistakes in Preventive Maintenance
Making Uncertain Instructions
Preventive maintenance programs can be complicated, and many organizations make common errors that cost time and money. One of the most common errors is giving unclear or ambiguous instructions. Make sure to include specific measurements and tasks to complete in your step-by-step instructions. Remember that “check this” or “inspect that” can mean different things to different technicians. Inadequate instructions can cause maintenance technicians to mark a preventive maintenance task as completed without completing it. Make specific instructions, such as “check that the temperature is at or below 0 degrees F.”
Not Outlining Realistic Timelines
Although having a short window of opportunity to perform preventive maintenance tasks is a good idea, it’s important to remember that doing so too early or too late both cause problems. Over-maintenance of equipment can result in a company saving valuable labor and financial resources. In many cases, performing maintenance tasks too frequently does nothing to prevent failure and is essentially a waste of time and resources.
Prioritize the assets and activities with the best chance of preventing failure before implementing a preventive maintenance program. You will reap the most benefits from your preventative maintenance program if you tie it to those pieces of equipment that play an essential role in keeping your production lines moving or ensuring the safety of your employees.
Mistakes in MRO components
Keeping a solid MRO inventory on hand is critical so that your maintenance technicians have the tools, testing equipment, and other resources they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. Starting a work order only to realize you need essential tools is inconvenient and inefficient.
Failure to document all completed work
Finally, tracking your preventive maintenance program is critical to identify and make improvements. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can assist you in making better business decisions by providing detailed analysis and reports.
Preventive Maintenance’s Drawbacks
Now consider the disadvantages of preventive maintenance:
Preventive maintenance front regularly maintaining requires a tiny investment.
More labor-intensive, so have adequate staff on hand.
Possibility of over-maintenance
One of the significant disadvantages of preventive maintenance is the last point. If you do too much, the costs of your PM program will eventually outweigh the costs of reactive maintenance, especially for non-critical assets.
Possibility of Over-Maintenance
Even for mission-critical equipment, there is a risk of over-maintenance. Some types of failures are less dangerous to your operations than others. If you put resources into preventing every problem, you may be wasting resources on PM. It is critical to balance proactive failure prevention and reactive repair work.
When preventive maintenance programs are applied too broadly, they can result in significant financial waste. You should sometimes test components, parts, and entire machines for failures. For example, a typical office light bulb should be left on until it burns out. Nothing terrible happens if that lightbulb fails prematurely, so replacing it or even inspecting it regularly wastes resources.
Failures that were not expected
Furthermore, specific components and parts may fail randomly, rendering preventive maintenance ineffective in consistently avoiding that failure. In such cases, it may be prudent to consider practical ways to deal with the consequences.
The frequency of preventative maintenance tasks should not be determined by the mean time between failures, as is standard practice. Instead, it is critical to base this decision on the valuable life of a specific component.
Success Requires Constant Training.
Another disadvantage of some preventive maintenance programs is that field technicians’ ongoing education and needs must be addressed. The bottom line is that if your maintenance technicians need to understand the significance of your preventative maintenance and are adequately trained to perform them, they will fail to complete them entirely and correctly.
Establish Clear Expectations
Some organizations also fail to distinguish between failure detection and preventive maintenance tasks. When someone performs failure-finding duties, they inspect a component that has already failed but is not yet affecting a larger piece of equipment or a production line.
Performing preventive maintenance tasks on an ongoing and consistent basis is critical. Trying to complete all preventative maintenance tasks in one or two weeks is often a waste of time.
A Good Example of a Preventive Maintenance Plan
Consider the case of a heavy machinery preventive maintenance program. This type of asset may be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment your company owns, and it may also be costly to repair. In our example, this asset is critical to the day-to-day operation of your business.
A preventative maintenance program can effectively reduce maintenance and repair costs. Preventive maintenance can cut overall maintenance costs by a quarter in some cases. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing a preventative maintenance program:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Putting Preventive Maintenance in Place
1 As a company, commit to a preventive maintenance program.
That means you’ll need support from both top management and maintenance technicians. Ascertain that you have the necessary tools and processes in place and a person in charge of the preventive maintenance program.
2: Create a checklist for preventive maintenance of your critical equipment.
Manufacturer recommendations or technician experience can be used to create PM checklists.
3: Determine the primary reasons why your critical asset fails.
By identifying the most likely causes of failure, you can create a preventive maintenance program directly linked to lowering the likelihood of that failure. Equipment may fail suddenly due to an apparent reason, intermittently due to a less obvious cause, or gradually as wear and tear reduce asset efficiency. Many failures can be attributed to temperature or mechanical issues.
4: Become acquainted with your assets.
If you’re working with a brand-new machine, take the time to read the manual and become as familiar with it as possible. Once operational, use the knowledge of the operators and technicians who work with the equipment. They will begin gathering a wealth of information about how the asset works and what maintenance tasks appear to be most beneficial. Use CMMS to help document all of this information for future reference.
5: Incorporate a continuous improvement and ongoing training component into your preventive maintenance program.
Employees must understand how to use their equipment effectively as well as how to care for their machinery. Furthermore, if operators are trained to see themselves as valuable company members, they will be more likely to spot suspicious equipment activity and sound an alarm.
6: Begin with the recommended maintenance schedule.
Remember that heavy equipment manufacturers typically spend significant time testing their machinery before allowing customers to use it. It can be a great place to start when developing a preventive maintenance program. However, exceptional circumstances such as how your organization uses the equipment, local weather, and specific site conditions should be considered. Mud, snow, humidity, and heat can all shorten the time between preventative maintenance activities.
7: Maintain a record of all information and changes.
With time, you’ll be able to amass a wealth of knowledge, beginning with manufacturer manuals and instructions. You will, however, be able to see what types of maintenance tasks and repairs have been completed over time. The accuracy of this data will assist the management team in making sound decisions about future maintenance activities and repair and replacement decisions.