What is this?

This is your go-to guide for everything related to maintenance management. After reading this, you should know what maintenance management is, what the main maintenance strategies are, how to apply them and which strategy is right for you.

You’ll also learn about Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), how they can greatly improve the efficiency of your operations and reduce costs, and even 5 signs that you may need to invest in one.

In the end, you’ll be able to download a Preventive Maintenance Plan Template to help you make your operations smoother than ever.

What you’ll find here


What is Maintenance Management?

The goal of maintenance management is to control the allocation of resources, time and costs to ensure the efficiency and adequacy of the maintenance operations, avoiding waste of resources or even periods of downtime due to faulty equipment.

Let’s imagine the following situations:

  1. In a factory, at a given moment, all the available technicians are tasked with performing maintenance on pieces of equipment that are not essential to production, such as air conditioners or lighting equipment. Meanwhile, an essential production machine is left on hold;
  2. Several technicians are tasked with repairing a given piece of equipment, where the work of a single technician would have been sufficient to resolve the failure in due time.

Both situations are examples of bad maintenance management. In case 1, the production may need to be halted because of a failure that is not repaired due to improper allocation of technicians; in case 2, the attribution of the same maintenance work to multiple technicians will result in an unnecessary loss of money for the company.

What does this tell us?

We realise that adequate work scheduling and cost control are two of the main purposes of maintenance management. The manager should understand the company’s operations and needs in order to choose which maintenance works to prioritise to minimise the harm caused to the company. Moreover, they should always evaluate which options, in terms of cost, are the most sustainable, both short and long-term — for instance, choosing between buying a more expensive, but more durable, set of equipment, or rather a cheaper but less durable one (in most cases, the answer would depend on the relatio ofn lifetime/cost for each of the options and, ideally, the one with the highest ratio should be chosen).

Another important aspect of a maintenance manager’s job is the compliance with rules and regulations – looking back at example 2 above, it is possible that a given maintenance work is legally required to be performed by more than one technician for safety reasons. In this case, although assigning a single technician could, in theory, be sufficient and cheaper for the company, the law should always prevail, and the maintenance manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with it.

Maintenance management also involves the definition of the most adequate maintenance strategies, which you can read about in the next sections.


What are the main types of maintenance?

There are multiple approaches you should take into account when defining the types of maintenance that work best for your operations and which are within your budget.

The three main types of maintenance that you must consider are Corrective Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance. An ideal maintenance strategy would incorporate all of these approaches, as appropriate for each type of equipment, depending on their value and how critical they are to your operations. Let’s dive into each one of these types of maintenance:


What is Corrective Maintenance?

Corrective Maintenance is the technical activity carried out after a failure has occurred and its purpose is to restore an asset to a condition in which it can perform its intended function, either by repairing or replacing it.

This does not mean that Corrective Maintenance is only relevant when not adopting any other type of maintenance. It can be used as a strategy on its own, or together with other maintenance strategies that are in place.

On one hand, if Corrective Maintenance is used on its own, it’s also known as run-to-failure maintenance. No precautionary actions are performed on the equipment, which is deliberately left running until it breaks down, then being repaired or replaced.

On the other hand, even if Preventive Maintenance or Predictive Maintenance plans are in place, Corrective Maintenance can (and should) be taken into account. In this case, it is known as reactive maintenance.

As good as they are, these proactive types of maintenance are not 100% effective. Failures (although fewer) will happen even if they aren’t predicted or expected. Corrective actions will often need to be taken, so it’s best to be prepared for them.

According to the general rule of thumb (the 80/20 rule), only 20% of time spent on maintenance should be directed towards corrective actions, while the remaining 80% should be spent on proactive maintenance. Which brings us to…


What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a set of interventions carried out to prevent the occurrence of failures and to monitor the performance of the operation.

How does it work?

It is a type of planned maintenance that is performed in equipment regardless of its current operating condition, with the purpose of avoiding failures and mitigating the consequences of equipment breakdowns.

It is, therefore, suitable for assets which have a critical operational function, that is, without which the company’s operations can continue running normally, as well as equipment of higher value, whose reparation or even substitution can be expensive.

The preventive work is performed cyclically, and usually determined by either time (e.g.: every 6 months), events (e.g.: every 500 uses), or meter readings (e.g.: every 3,000 miles), with limits that are usually established based on statistics about the expected or average life of the equipment.

How to adopt this strategy?

To adopt Preventive Maintenance as your main strategy, you’ll need to prepare a preventive maintenance plan, which consists of a document, annually updated by the Maintenance Manager, with the list of equipment and the periods in which they must be checked throughout the year: monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annual, annual, or as required. Read into the next section to find out more about this.

How to prepare a preventive maintenance plan?

The full performance of a Preventive Maintenance strategy is only possible with the elaboration of an effective preventive maintenance plan.

A good preventive maintenance plan ensures that equipment has the necessary follow-up to fully comply its functions and present fewer failures. Preventive Maintenance is also responsible for extending the useful life of the assets, which brings benefits such as saving of natural and energy resources and avoiding the need to acquire new equipment. Preparing a good preventive maintenance plan is easier to do than you might think:

First, all the assets should be listed and properly organised by category and location. The maintenance plan should also present the list of tasks associated with each piece of equipment, as well as their measurements and audits, if applicable. These tasks should have an associated periodicity, which will ultimately lead to the creation of your calendar of preventive maintenance interventions.

The purpose of a preventive maintenance plan is to ensure that all listed equipment is properly reviewed and their measurements taken in order to maintain their full operation, as well as to ensure hygiene and safety related to them.

At the end of the year, the manager must analyse the duly completed preventive maintenance plan, in order to contribute to the preparation of the plan for the following year. Each piece of equipment, its performance and related tasks should be evaluated, and then the manager should measure the needs for the following year: does it take more time than expected to perform this task? This piece of equipment is already consuming more than the previous year, would it be time to replace it? Issues such as these need to be addressed by the manager in order to make the most of the Preventive Maintenance Plan.

What are the steps of the preventive maintenance plan?

  1. The preparation of a preventive maintenance plan begins with the inventory of existing equipment inside a building. Separated by families of equipment, they should be listed and described;
  2. Then, each one has its list of associated tasks, which may or may not enter the maintenance plan. The manager must check the measurements to be carried out for each piece of equipment and according to the specifications contained in the data sheet;
  3. According to the manufacturer’s recommendations and/or the ruling standards, the maintenance manager defines how often interventions will be made in that asset.

After entering information like these for all equipment, maintenance management will have its preventive maintenance plan defined and ready to be fulfilled.

Still confused?

Don’t worry – at the end of this page, we actually have an awesome Preventive Maintenance Plan Excel Template full of automations, instructions and ready to be used, which will make your work a lot easier. Skip to the preventive maintenance plan.


What is Predictive Maintenance?

Predictive Maintenance, also known as condition-based maintenance, is another form of proactive maintenance, which aims to predict when failures might occur and to prevent them.

How does it work?

It is based on the actual physical or operating condition of the equipment at the time of maintenance, instead of statistics and previously defined schedules, unlike Preventive Maintenance.

The idea is to predict the occurrence of a failure before it actually happens, by consistently monitoring and testing the condition and performance of the equipment in question using advanced techniques such as vibration analysis, oil analysis, acoustic, infrared testing or thermal imaging.

When certain undesirable conditions are detected, then a repair is scheduled before an actual failure happens. This way, it is ensured that the repairs are both necessary and timely, which isn’t always the case with Corrective Maintenance or Preventive Maintenance (keep reading to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of all these types of maintenance).

This approach is suitable for equipment of high priority, without which your company’s operations would not be able to run properly, and only for assets whose potential failures can be cost-effectively predicted with consistent monitoring.


The three main types of maintenance compared: advantages and disadvantages

As you may have already noticed, these approaches should be applied to different types of equipment and depending on your priorities, your goals and, of course, your budget.

So first of all, what are the advantages?

1. Corrective Maintenance

Although they’re frequently overlooked, there are plenty of advantages of Corrective Maintenance. Since this approach is characterised by performing maintenance on a given piece of equipment after a failure has been detected, it is ideal for equipment of low priority, that is, without which the operations of the company can continue running normally.

The same applies to equipment of relatively lower value, since the work needed to keep it regularly maintained or monitored can ultimately cost more than its reparation or substitution when faulty.

Since there’s little to no planning needed for this approach, its implementation cost is very low when compared with the alternatives.

2. Preventive Maintenance

The advantages of preventive maintenance are immense, considering its main purpose is to, well, preventfailures from occurring. Therefore, it’s a good strategy to implement for high priority equipment – that is, those your operations cannot live or will malfunction without.

Since it is relatively simple to plan and execute, its implementation requires no expertise and its cost, although higher than that of its Corrective counterpart, it’s still modest when compared with Predictive maintenance.

3. Predictive Maintenance

This approach is based on the actual physical or operating condition of the assets at the time of maintenance, instead of statistics and previously defined schedules. Therefore, the maintenance performed will always be better informed, necessary and timely, since the equipment will only be serviced when a failure is anticipated, which will bring down the costs and man-hours spent on maintenance.

What about the disadvantages?

1. Corrective Maintenance

Seeing that no precautionary maintenance actions will be performed when adopting a Corrective Maintenance approach, the lifetime of equipment will end up being shorter than when using one of the other types of maintenance.

If applied to high priority or expensive equipment (it really shouldn’t be, though!), it will eventually lead to downtime and possibly massive repair costs.

2. Preventive Maintenance

Because they are not based on the actual condition of the equipment,  schedules defined in a Preventive Maintenance plan can often be inefficient and result in maintenance actions, including part replacements, that are unnecessary and still cost time and money.

This effect is aggravated when a preventive approach is applied to low priority assets which could end up having a lower cost if repaired on a run-to-failure basis.

3. Predictive Maintenance

The need to invest in specific monitoring equipment and to train personnel to use it and to correctly interpret the data collected makes the implementation of this strategy expensive.

For this reason, it is not cost effective for assets that are not essential for the normal functioning of your operations.

As we’ve mentioned above, the best maintenance strategy should incorporate different types of maintenance depending on the equipment concerned.


Computerised Maintenance Management Systems

A Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a management software which is extremely useful to help schedule and manage maintenance works, as well as your budget and assets. They simplify all these processes by gathering and storing all necessary information, thus facilitating communication between maintenance managers and technicians through platforms accessible in multiple devices.

While you, as a maintenance manager, may think you have it all under control, there are a few signs that you may need to consider investing in a maintenance software to help you successfully carry out your duties. Let’s talk about them, shall we?


5 signs you may need to invest in a CMMS


1. You are still using Excel (or worse… paper)

If you are still using Excel spreadsheets (or any other spreadsheet platform) to keep track of your work schedules, assets and costs, you are definitely missing out on a lot of features that other companies are benefiting from with a CMMS.

For instance, unlike a spreadsheet, a maintenance software will be able to notify you and the maintenance technicians regarding preventive maintenance schedules and other unplanned events, such as reported equipment failures.

Bearing all this in mind, we don’t even need to discuss the use of paper, do we?

2. Your decisions are more guessed and less informed

With a maintenance software, you will be able to make much more informed decisions regarding various aspects of your job, such as maintenance schedules, allocation of technicians or investment in equipment.

This does not necessarily mean that your decisions without a CMMS are unjustified or not informed at all. However, with traditional tools (such as the aforementioned Excel) it is much harder to achieve the same level of insights you can easily get from a maintenance software.

This kind of system provides you with a myriad of reports and insights that are automatically generated from the available data.

3. You are experiencing excessive downtime

Nobody wants downtime. It is harmful to your company, both in terms of costs and of reliability and trust from your clients. As we’ve already discussed, focusing on a Preventive Maintenance Plan will reduce the number of unexpected failures in essential equipment that could otherwise result in downtime.

With a CMMS, the planning and monitoring of maintenance plans and assets are made much simpler and effective, therefore keeping downtime and unnecessary costs to a minimum.

4. You don’t really know who is doing what

If you are managing a bigger maintenance team, it’s understandably challenging to keep track of which technicians are performing which works, and when. With a CMMS, however, it couldn’t be easier. These systems track every work order for each technician and can even calculate the time until each work order is complete, thus providing insights on each technician’s performance.

5. Communication is troublesome

Calls after calls, long email chains, then a few more calls and a lot of time wasted. Sounds familiar? Probably, but it shouldn’t. A great advantage of a CMMS is its ability to greatly improve communication (both in quality and time) between managers and technicians.

Since it is possible to access it from mobile devices, you can add, update or delete work orders and the responsible technicians will be able to easily view the changes or even be automatically notified about them.

On some CMMS, like Infraspeak, you can even associate files, pictures or videos with failures and assets, which the maintenance technicians will have instant access to, eliminating unnecessary and often misunderstood verbal explanations.

Do any of these signs apply to you?
If so, you should probably consider a free demonstration of Infraspeak!

But that’s not all! A Computerised Maintenance Management System will not only optimise your maintenance operations, but they’re also a path towards significant cost reduction. Here’s how:


How can you save money with a CMMS?

1. Productivity enhancement

You’ve probably heard that “time is money”. Well, it is. And all that time spent manually assembling reports, tracking key performance indicators and managing schedules could be spent on more productive tasks.

Not only that, but a CMMS’s planning functionalities will also maximise your labor resources through better planning and scheduling of your team’s operations.

2. Fewer equipment breakdowns

If equipment isn’t properly maintained, it will eventually lead to downtime, which is not only costly but could also harm your company in terms of reputation and will put a lot of pressure on the technicians to solve the failures as soon as possible.

A CMMS allows you to schedule, track and review preventive maintenance plans, whose ultimate purpose is to avoid unexpected equipment breakdowns, therefore saving you precious money.

3. Extended asset lifetimes and optimised asset costs

The above-mentioned preventive maintenance plans, which you can track with a CMMS, will extend the lifetime of your assets by having them regularly maintained before any malfunctions manifest.

But there’s more to it – with a CMMS’s tracking capabilities you’ll have access to insights which will help you decide between repairing or replacing a given piece of equipment, based on various metrics such as the age, running hours or miles, thereby improving your return on assets.

4. Better inventory and parts management

A CMMS can help you keep track of your stock and, therefore, to avoid delayed maintenance due to unavailability of needed equipment or spare parts. You can have a much more comprehensive overview of your inventory and avoid both overstocking and understocking since the CMMS will provide accessible data on the current quantities of your materials and spare parts.

5. Cost management functionalities

A CMMS like Infraspeak, for instance, will allow you to register and properly identify all kinds of expenses, whether related to materials, trips, or resources (such as machinery or skilled labor). This will allow you to generate more in-depth reports and to make more accurate estimates regarding budgets and the development of works from an economic standpoint.

With these and other aspects (such as better energy use, identification of problem areas and aided compliance with laws and regulations), it is hard (not to say impossible) to argue against the cost-saving power of computerised maintenance management systems, isn’t it?


Mobile CMMS apps

Going mobile (by having a CMMS with an integrated mobile app) is the key to achieve the agility, speed and practicality which is increasingly demanded of the maintenance teams. Being able to use their day-to-day tools, such as smartphones or tablets, in their job and having much faster access the information that they need are great advantages to maintenance teams, which constantly need to be on-the-move around the facilities.

Here’s why a mobile CMMS app is extremely beneficial to maintenance teams (and, in particular, to technicians):

1. Shortened reaction time

2. All information centralised

3. Much faster access to equipment information

4. Real-time information update

5. Adding multimedia files

Read about each of these points in our article on why having a maintenance management app is great.

Do you want to know more about these systems and how you can apply them to your operations? Talk to us (no strings attached!).


Preventive Maintenance Plan Template (Excel)

Are you looking to create a Preventive Maintenance Plan but don’t quite know how to start, or don’t really have the time to work on it?

Preventive Maintenance Plan

Well then, we’ve prepared a (free!) Excel template with loads of instructions, examples and automations that will allow you to easily build your Maintenance Plan and generate an automatic report regarding its execution.

Check it out and download it here!

Would you like to know more about Infraspeak and how it can help greatly improve your operations?
Schedule a free demo here — no strings attached!