Nothing prevents maintenance quite like preventive maintenance.

Nothing prevents maintenance quite like preventive maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance Software

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance (PM), or preventative maintenance is any sort of routine maintenance performed on a piece of equipment to keep it running and prevent unplanned downtime or emergency repair costs. Preventive maintenance management can be difficult, which is why many companies handle it with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Examples of preventive maintenance:

There are two types of preventive maintenance, usage-based, or time-based. This will need to be considered for each type of equipment.

Time-based preventive maintenance is basically when a piece of equipment is inspected or maintained based on time, for example on a yearly or quarterly basis.

Usage-based preventive maintenance is when a piece of equipment is inspected or maintained based on how much it has been used, for example a car getting an oil change every 3000 miles.

What are the benefits of preventive maintenance?

Here are just a few of the advantages of regular preventative maintenance:

  • Increases the lifespan of equipment by preventing breakdowns
  • Helps avoid costly machine downtime by addressing potential problems before they occur
  • Saves money by reducing expensive reactive/emergency repairs
  • Improves safety by decreasing machine breakdown
  • Tracks historical information which can help with audits and inspections

What is included in preventive maintenance?

The type of maintenance required will vary for each type of equipment, but generally PMs include things such as cleaning, oil changes, overall inspections, lubrication, and parts replacement. Prior to setting up PM tasks on a piece of equipment, it is a good idea to review audit and inspection regulations to ensure those will be met.

PM also includes maintaining accurate historical data on each piece of equipment. Over time, these records can be analyzed to help with future business intelligence and maintenance decisions. For example, by reviewing historical data, a worker may discover that a belt is being replaced every three months, even though it isn’t close to being worn out. The worker then might decide to have it replaced every four or five months instead, thus lowering overall costs. Conversely, regular inspections as part of PM tasks may reveal that parts are wearing out sooner than originally thought.

What is preventive maintenance software?

Preventive maintenance software is a program that was specifically designed to help with all aspects of PM planning and execution. Preventive maintenance software helps lower operating costs and promotes operational efficiencies that increase profitability.

What are the benefits of preventive maintenance software?

Here are some of the benefits:

  1. The preventive maintenance program will help lower operational costs. A good preventive maintenance software program will decrease costly machine downtime, help ensure all necessary tools and parts are available prior to PMs being started, and reduce expensive reactive repairs.
  2. Preventive maintenance software will increase productivity. Better work planning and scheduling maximizes crew efficiency, so PMs can be completed faster.

What should preventive maintenance software include?

  • Preventative maintenance. The software should allow users to create a maintenance schedule for each piece of equipment that outlines all required inspections and PM tasks.
  • Work orders. Work orders are the backbone of PMs, so any preventive maintenance software should have that capability.
  • Reporting capability. A good CMMS will allow users to create various reports to spot trends and pinpoint areas for improvement.
  • Checklists. Accessing checklists directly within a preventive maintenance program helps ensure that each specific PM task on a piece of equipment is completed and noted.
  • A mobile application. While it may not be a “must-have” for many companies, a preventive maintenance CMMS with a mobile app can be a huge time saver, and can also enable users to attach photos – right from the maintenance floor – to PM tasks.
Preventive Maintenance Software

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How do I create a preventive maintenance plan?

  1. Get people on board. When planning for preventive maintenance, the right people need to be involved in the decision-making process. Top management, as well as any staff member who understands how the company’s maintenance department operates should be included in the planning.
  2. Identify the end goal. Short-term and long-term PM goals should be established right at the beginning. Some goals may include things like decreasing downtime by a certain number of hours, or reducing reactive repair costs by a certain percentage.
  3. Inventory equipment. Create an inventory of all equipment. This should include all relevant information, including serial numbers, specifications, and current condition of the equipment. Ensure all equipment has a unique identifying number. That number should be clearly marked on the machine, perhaps with a barcode label. Consider using Routes to group like equipment together, so only one generated PM work order can involve multiple pieces of equipment that all require the same procedure. This is especially helpful with inspections.
  4. Determine frequency of preventive maintenance. Not all machines will need the same amount of maintenance. Decide what type of PM is needed for each equipment. The same PM job steps can be triggered by either usage (# of running hours or cycles or miles) or else by elapsed time. For example, changing the oil either three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. The system will know which one triggered it and not duplicate an unnecessary work order, both triggers get reset when the work order is generated. If you are not sure what to do, check with the Manufacturer (either website, or manual, or even talk with a representative) to see what procedures they recommend.
  5. Consider the timing of PM Procedures. When setting the frequency, consider if they should be generated in advance to allow time to gather and/or order parts. Also, spread out the timing of the work orders, so for example if there are eight monthly procedures to cover all equipment, do two each week so they are not all due on the same day of the month.
  6. Plan the labor time. When it comes to the labor, include the estimated time to complete the task(s) so workers can better plan their day. Optionally you could specify who is doing the work, either by individual, or more generically by Crew, Craft, or Shift.
  7. Ensure everything is covered by a PM. Always start with the most critical equipment and identify what should be done weekly, monthly, annually, and so forth. After the critical ones are setup, for production operations, start at the beginning of a production line and work your way to the other end: follow the flow of the product. For facility maintenance, go floor by floor, and room by room. Eventually everything will be included, and keep in mind the average across all industries is 2 – 3 years to establish a complete, comprehensive plan. Of course, you can get started generating PM work orders within one day, all you need is one equipment and one procedure to kick start the process.
  8. Training. Provide proper training for all maintenance personnel that will be completing the PM tasks. If preventive maintenance software is used, make sure each person is familiar with how to use it. Repeat training as necessary.
  9. Measure effectiveness and adjust if needed. If preventive maintenance software is used, various reports may be available which will show important data such as downtime and reactive maintenance costs. Once those reports are analyzed, adjustments can be made. A Checklist is an added benefit to ensure none of the job steps are missed, and since the checklist answers are electronically tracked, they can be reported on for audit purposes or used for trending analysis.
  10. Review and update the plan regularly. Once historical data is gathered and analyzed, make any necessary adjustments to the PM schedule. Review this information on a regular basis.

How do I track preventive maintenance?

The key to ensuring preventive maintenance is effective is to track it correctly. In the past, companies relied on spreadsheets or hand-written papers to house this information. Now though, companies are seeing the true benefits of using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) with preventive maintenance software for this purpose.


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