Project Description

Preventive Maintenance

If you wouldn’t wait until your car’s engine fails to get the oil changed, then you already know the value of preventive maintenance. Simply put, maintenance performed on a regular basis to reduce the likelihood of failure is preventive maintenance.

Also sometimes called planned maintenance, preventive maintenance is conducted throughout an asset’s normal operating conditions. This helps avoid unexpected breakdowns and their pricey consequences, such as unplanned downtime.

Preventive maintenance is not based on a machine’s condition. Instead, it is based on recommendations from the asset manufacturer or on the average life cycle of an asset. Basing maintenance on a calendar, rather than on condition, can mean that some maintenance tasks are undertaken when they aren’t strictly necessary. But it also means that maintenance teams can ensure that they have the budget, inventory, and scheduling in place to perform the planned maintenance tasks.

A computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS, can simplify preventive maintenance even more through features such as auto-scheduled work orders. Streamlining maintenance practices reduces emergency, reactive work and increases worker safety and efficiency.

Performed consistently, preventive maintenance can help your organization avoid expensive downtime and disruptions.

Preventive maintenance tools

A CMMS makes it possible to schedule, plan, manage, and track maintenance activities in one place. Calendar-based and meter-based preventive maintenance tasks can include detailed descriptions, such as how-to guides and relevant regulations, so the work gets done consistently and correctly. Robust automated recordkeeping around inspections ensures accuracy and simplifies audits and compliance.

Because an effective preventive maintenance program is by nature predictable, teams can take advantage of the scheduling and inventory management tools within a CMMS to have the right staff and right parts at the right time for every task. Preventive maintenance tasks can also be automatically generated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or based on usage.

eMaint X5 screenshot on multiple devices

Additionally, a CMMS integrates data from tools and sensors so maintenance teams can conduct preventive maintenance as well as achieve continuous improvement. Tools and sensors commonly used as part of a preventive maintenance program include those measuring or monitoring alignment, current, voltage, temperature, vibration, and power quality.

Condition monitoring software enables teams to remotely monitor multiple assets and receive alerts when assets begin operating outside of defined ranges. Teams can then respond to these notifications in real time. Ultimately, this means shorter response times, reduced unscheduled downtime, and less maintenance spending.

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What are the benefits of preventive maintenance?

An effective preventive maintenance program offers numerous benefits and helps organizations reduce costs while improving their processes and operations. Some of the specific, quantifiable improvements resulting from preventive maintenance include:

  • Extended asset life and increased equipment uptime
  • Enhanced productivity and efficiency
  • Diminished paperwork and manual data entry
  • Stronger work execution
  • Reduced unexpected breakdowns
  • Improved audit compliance

Preventive maintenance is the simplest and most straightforward maintenance strategy to implement. It requires following manufacturer recommendations and establishing a standard maintenance schedule for critical assets and equipment. A preventive maintenance program helps maintenance teams boost their planning and efficiency while reducing unplanned breakdowns and lost production. Switching to preventive maintenance can be done one step at a time, starting with the most critical assets.

What does a preventive maintenance program look like?

Often, preventive maintenance is just one strategy practiced by a maintenance team. Some of the best maintenance programs take a proactive approach, where 60% or more of all maintenance activity is preventive, and fire drills and disruptions are not a daily occurrence. A world-class maintenance program reflects an organization’s goals, and works toward them through planning, implementation, and evaluation. This strategy helps organizations improve quality and output, increase equipment uptime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), reduce costs, and more.

With an eye on the future, the focus of maintenance shifts from reacting to problems, and a short-term “keep it running” ideology, to continuous improvement through performance analysis and other methods. Preventive maintenance enables this through providing planning, scheduling, coordination, and reliability.

Real-world client successes from implementing preventive maintenance include:

  • Reducing downtime 85% in six months
  • Maintaining a 99.8% uptime rate
  • Achieving a 100% compliance on SLAs

Real-world client success graph

Designing and launching a preventive maintenance program requires time and effort—from developing procedures and schedules to training and communicating with your team. However, according to Life Cycle Engineering, for every hour of effective planning, the typical return is three hours in maintenance labor time saved, or an equivalent savings in materials and production downtime.

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How to design a preventive maintenance program?

eMaint has developed six steps to create an effective, world-class preventive maintenance program.

Start with the end in mind: What does your company want to accomplish? Define your procedures clearly to align with organizational goals. For example, many manufacturing organizations focus on improving work efficiency. This goal helps guide your processes to reap benefits such as reducing equipment downtime, improving work completion rates, and maximizing production time available per machine.
An asset criticality assessment makes it easy to focus and prioritize your maintenance tasks. Begin by creating an inventory of your fixed assets. Then consider what makes equipment valuable or critical to your organization.

  • What is the total cost of ownership for a piece of equipment?
  • If this piece of equipment goes down, how is safety impacted?

Your asset criticality assessment is a tool to evaluate how specific asset failures impact company-wide performance and help prioritize work. What equipment failures would be most detrimental to production, fulfilling customer orders, or safety? Those are your highest-ranking assets. Remember that the most expensive and complex equipment is not automatically the most critical.

Preventive maintenance programs should include a list of resources necessary to perform work, such as scissors lifts, forklifts, drills, wrenches, etc. A job plan should provide information on job scope, crafts, and hours to enable the supervisor to assign and schedule the correct skills. A computerized maintenance management system helps organize and centralize this.

Job and labor resource chart

Crafting job plans keeps labor organized and efficient. An effective job plan includes:

  • Step-by-step information on how to complete work
  • A list of specific tools and skills required to finish tasks or projects
  • Bill of materials and parts list
  • Any associated photographs, diagrams, maps, etc.
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs) necessary to complete work
  • Any critical safety instructions, lockout/tagout procedures, etc.
Once your assets and jobs are defined, it’s time to start scheduling. Begin by selecting your first preventive maintenance candidate using your asset criticality ranking.

Start with the big picture and create a schedule for the year: List daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annual tasks based on manufacturer recommendations, history of the asset, and input from your operations team. Repeat this process for all critical assets.

The preventive maintenance scheduling software  within a CMMS can auto-schedule work orders based on a calendar or meter basis or use import tools to populate schedules. Assign work with the click of a button and view all work at once on a calendar, leading to improved communication and coordination throughout your team.

Weekly plans should include preventive maintenance work to be completed plus flexibility for emergency work, projects, or internal or external audits. Layer this short-term schedule within your long-term schedule from the step above to define your preventive maintenance program.

Several principles will help maximize your scheduling efforts:

Scheduling principles
  1. For plans with the lowest required skill level, identify the number of people necessary to complete work, the number of work hours, and the duration of work.
  2. Remember that schedules and job priorities are of the utmost importance, so take time and effort to outline them.
  3. Schedule from a forecast of the highest skills available: Consider scheduling multiple jobs for the same crew on the same system. Begin applying preventive maintenance tasks to these projects.
  4. Schedule for every work hour the percentage of wrench time available, with flexibility for emergency work.
  5. Establish a crew leader and assign them responsibilities such as producing the daily schedule, matching names to tasks, and coordination of resources.
  6. Measure performance by analyzing your scheduling success. Monitor and measure performance to standards to support continuous improvement and provide feedback on the accuracy of organizational scheduling.
If your employees aren’t clear on how preventive maintenance will help make their jobs easier, your program is more likely to fail.

Dedicating time for training staff is vital: Offering training will help employees understand the “how” and “when” of maintenance and will reduce costly repairs resulting from incomplete or ineffective inspections.

A preventive maintenance strategy is a sound strategy for organizations of all sizes and sectors.

Achieve your short- and long-term maintenance goals

Over time, preventive maintenance programs help organizations achieve both short-term and long-term maintenance goals and achieve quantifiable results. These include:

  • Extending the life of assets, and increasing equipment uptime
  • Reducing manual data entry
  • Minimizing paperwork with mobile maintenance capability
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • Improving audit compliance with extensive documentation
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What is a Preventive Maintenance Plan?

A preventive maintenance plan (sometimes called ‘preventative maintenance programs’) attempts to help you proactively perform maintenance, repairs, and replacements so that you can prevent failures before they ever have the chance to occur. A preventive maintenance plan will keep your operation running efficiently, extend the lifetime usage of your assets, and bring your maintenance costs down. Here’s some quick answers on how to get it done.

By designing an effective Preventive Maintenance (PM) program, organizations can experience substantial improvements in their overall business processes, including increased productivity, decreased waste, improved work execution and reduced unexpected breakdowns.

Compare these benefits to the statistics of organizations currently operating in a reactive mode:

  • Most maintenance organizations operate between 10% to 40% efficiency
  • Most spend more than 50% of time on emergency work
  • Reactive maintenance costs 3-5 times more than preventive maintenance

These metrics can mean falling just short of corporate or production goals and complying with safety regulations or Service Level Agreements. How would your business landscape change if you went from 40% efficiency to 60%? What about 80%? What could you do to leverage that boost in productivity?

What Do World Class PM Programs Look Like?

World class maintenance programs embrace a proactive approach, in which preventive maintenance represents 60% or more of all maintenance activity, and firefighting is not a daily challenge. Effective maintenance programs reflect an organization’s future goals, and integrate best practices of planning, implementation and evaluation. PM programs contain planning, scheduling, coordination and reliability support throughout an organization.

World class maintenance programs help organizations improve quality, reduce costs, increase equipment uptime, increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and more. The focus shifts from reacting to problems and a “keep it running” ideology to performance analysis and continuous process improvement.

For example, here’s a few client success stories from those who have implemented PM programs:

  • Achieved an 85% Downtime Reduction in Six Months
  • Maintained a 99.8% Uptime Rate
  • Maintained 100% Compliance on SLAS

So, what goes into designing a Preventive Maintenance program? To help you get started, eMaint developed six steps to create an effective, world class Preventive Maintenance program.

1. Identify the End Goal

The most effective way to begin developing procedures for PM programs is to start with the end in mind. What does your company want to accomplish? Define your procedures to align with organizational goals. For example, many manufacturing organizations focus on improving work efficiency. This goal helps guide your processes in order to reap benefits such as reducing equipment downtime, improving work completion rates, and maximizing production time available per machine. Other organizations want to ensure regulatory compliance. With this focus, results such as improved planned maintenance percentage, labor tracking and work history will follow suit.

2. Determine Asset and Equipment Hierarchy

Another vital step to developing a PM program is to identify asset equipment lists (an inventory of your fixed assets) and set up asset hierarchical structures. An asset hierarchy is the relationship between the highest level of equipment and subordinate units, which allows you to easily identify which assets you can perform maintenance on versus all of your tangible pieces, parts and/or equipment. Here are a few tips to begin creating an asset hierarchy:

Again, start with the end in mind. Consider what makes equipment valuable or critical to your organization.

  • What is the total cost of ownership for a particular piece of equipment?
  • If this piece of equipment goes down, how is safety impacted?

Make sure your asset hierarchy is unique. Your hierarchical asset structure should not be cut and pasted from another source. Put a good deal of thought into why it makes sense for your organization.

  • For example, look at a building diagram of your asset domain. What natural groupings do you notice? What is the natural geography that drives your decision making?
  • Develop “parent-child relationships” for assets. For example, in an equipment hierarchy, a tractor might be classified as two levels above its carburetor system.

design a preventive maintenance

Rank assets based on criticality. Ranking assets by criticality helps organizations create asset hierarchies. Asset Criticality Ranking is a tool to evaluate how asset failures impact company-wide performance and help organizations prioritize work. What equipment failures would have the most detrimental to production, fulfilling customer orders, or safety for your organization? Those are your highest ranking assets.

3. Establish Job and Labor Resources

Preventive Maintenance programs , whether written or stored on a Computerized Maintenance Management System, should also include a list of resources necessary to perform work, such as scissors lifts, forklifts, drills, wrenches, etc. A job plan should provide information on job scope, crafts, and hours to allow the supervisor to assign and schedule the correct skills.

Crafting job plans will help keep labor organized, controlled and efficient. They offer support to avoid delays and a head start on other job information for the technicians. An effective job plan includes:

  • Step-by-step information on how to complete work
  • A list of specific tools required to complete work
  • A list of skills required to complete work
  • Bill of materials and parts list
  • Any associated photographs, diagrams, maps, etc.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) necessary to complete work
  • Any critical safety instructions, lockout tagout procedures, etc.

Maintenance planning defines the “what” and “how” of labor and materials, and maintenance scheduling encompasses the “when” and “who.” Accurate planning and scheduling is the most critical element to ensure a proactive approach to maintenance. In fact, Lifecycle Engineering found that for every hour of effective planning, the typical return is three hours in maintenance labor time saved or an equivalent savings in materials and production downtime.

4. Starting With The Big Picture: Long Term Scheduling

No matter what you want to accomplish by implementing a PM program, you want as many of your most critical pieces of equipment on a PM schedule as possible. Begin by selecting your first PM candidate using the data from your asset hierarchy and asset criticality rankings.

Once that piece of equipment is selected, start with the big picture and create a schedule for the year. List daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and annual tasks based on manufacturer recommendations, history of the asset and input from your operations team. Then, continue this process for all critical assets.

The preventive maintenance scheduling software (also called preventative maintenance) within a CMMS can reduce the amount of manual labor by auto-scheduling work orders based on a calendar or meter basis, or use import tools to populate schedules. When you are able to assign work by clicking a button and view all work on a calendar, communication and coordination between schedulers, maintenance crew and managers can be greatly improved. It also helps reduce work backlog because you can adjust work order schedules and assignments when resource and inventory availability changes to reduce the time it takes for work to be completed.

5. Drilling Down: Short Term Scheduling

With a better understanding of the most critical tasks at hand for the year, establishing weekly maintenance plans for your team will not be as daunting a task. Weekly plans will include Preventive Maintenance work to be completed, outlined procedures, accounted necessary parts , as well as some flexibility for emergency work, projects or internal or external audits. Layer this short term schedule within your long term schedule from the step above to end up with the most thorough PM program. There are a number of principles that will help maximize your scheduling efforts:

Scheduling Prerequisites

Principle #1: For plans with the LOWEST required skill level, identify:

  • The number of people necessary to complete work
  • The number of work hours
  • Duration of work

Principle #2: Remember that schedules and job priorities are of the utmost importance, so take time and effort to outline them


Establish the Basis of the Scheduling Process

Principle #3: Schedule from forecast of HIGHEST skills available:

  • Consider scheduling multiple jobs for the same crew on the same system
  • Begin applying preventive maintenance tasks into these projects

Principle #4: Schedule for every work hour of the percentage of wrench time available with flexibility for emergency work

Principle #5: Establish a crew leader, and assign them responsibilities such as:

  • Producing the daily schedule
  • Matching names to tasks
  • Coordination of resources

Set the Overall Indicators for Scheduling Control

Principle #6: Measure performance by analysis of scheduling success

  • Monitor and measure performance to standards to support continuous improvement
  • Provide feedback and analyze the accuracy of organizational scheduling

6. Offer Training To Employees & Clearly Communicate Goals

Preventive Maintenance programs are only as good as those performing the work. If your employees do not know how to perform the work or cannot understand how these changes will help make their job easier, programs are more likely to fail.

Dedicating time for training staff on PM tasks can be vitally important in ensuring the success of a PM program. Offering training will help employees understand the “how” and “when” of maintenance. Employees learn to perform functions correctly, eliminating time-consuming trial and error, and preventing costly repairs due to incomplete or ineffective inspections.

Keeping employees in the loop not just with the “how” and “when,” but also the “why” of preventive maintenance is crucial. Clearly communicate and demonstrate the benefits of PM program. It is also important to promote innovative ideas, celebrate successes, and involve team members in designing of the program. You can also create incentives for compliance and share positive results to engage your team.

Designing a Preventive Maintenance program is no small task. It requires developing procedures and maintenance schedules, as well as dedicating time to training and communicating with your team. However, the power of a PM program is undeniable. They enable organizations to achieve long-term and short-term maintenance goals, help better maintain equipment condition, reduce maintenance costs, downtime and so much more. Your PM program coupled with work scheduling software found within a CMMS can help spark serious quantifiable results, such as:

  • Extending the life of assets, and increasing equipment uptime
  • Reducing manual data entry
  • Decreasing paperwork with mobile maintenance capability
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • Improving audit compliance with extensive documentation

Interested in testing the power of eMaint’s Preventive Maintenance software? Get Your CMMS Software Free Trial Started Today!