Aug 19, 2021
By Kate Camerlin

What Is Preventive Maintenance? Here Are The Top Things You Should Know

Preventive maintenance (PM) is the process of maintaining your assets and equipment proactively. The goal is to prevent problems before they occur by conducting routine or regularly scheduled maintenance.

Preventive maintenance can help you extend the life of your devices or assets by providing a mechanism for regular check-ins and upkeep. It includes tasks like cleaning the equipment, performing regular safety inspections, and noting and replacing worn parts.

One commonly cited example of preventive maintenance is the process of changing the oil in your car; depending on its make and model, you should change your vehicle’s oil at regular intervals to avoid a complete mechanical failure. However, you want to make sure you’re not changing it too often, as this can lead to unnecessary costs and downtime while your car is being worked on.

Also note that preventive maintenance is different than corrective maintenance, which is a reaction to an issue that’s already arisen. Corrective maintenance includes things like repairing a faulty part in a piece of equipment or replacing a clogged filter, and it often involves fixing a system that has broken down.

Types of Preventive Maintenance

There are a few different types of preventive maintenance, including:

  • Usage-based maintenance: This entails monitoring how often a device is used (often, sensors can help with this kind of PM), and then scheduling maintenance when the level of use reaches a certain predefined threshold.
  • Time-based maintenance: In this method, you schedule maintenance based on a pre-determined timeframe (for example, planning to perform maintenance on the asset every six months, regardless of how often it has been used).

The type of maintenance you use will depend on the type of equipment you’re working on, the manufacturers’ recommendations, and the work order history of that particular piece of equipment.

The Importance of Preventive Maintenance

Establishing an effective preventive maintenance program has many benefits, including:

Optimizing how you allocate your resources: If you’re able to catch problems before they arise, your technicians can better plan and prioritize their tasks. You’re not responding to emergencies; instead, you’re strategically planning where to spend your time and resources.

Preventing equipment downtime: Although (as we noted above) there’s a slight danger of over-scheduling the maintenance of your assets, in general, it is far more costly to repair an asset experiencing unexpected downtime due to equipment failure. When an asset breaks, it can lead to rush-ordering of critical parts, and (depending on the asset and application) it can have a direct impact on your consumers. For example, an oven unexpectedly breaking down in a restaurant during peak hours can significantly affect that business’s bottom line.

Return on investment: One study shows that establishing a solid preventive maintenance plan pays for itself over time and leads to a significant return on investment. The study found that preventive maintenance provides an ROI of 545%, most of which came from increasing the useful life of the equipment.

Establishing a Preventive Maintenance Plan

Due to the sheer number of different assets that organizations typically maintain, preventive maintenance plans can be complex and difficult to implement. In a hospital, for example, HVAC systems and clinical equipment require vastly different maintenance schedules and tasks, and they follow different regulations. It’s hard to set a schedule for every piece of equipment and then track it all—especially if you’re using manually maintained spreadsheets and systems.

For this reason, software solutions can help you streamline and manage it all. When considering these solutions, here are just a few things to keep in mind.

Track All Equipment in One System of Record

One of the main ways you can help establish an effective preventive maintenance program is by making sure you have an accurate inventory of all your equipment in one platform. This enables you to track work history, manufacturer recommendations, safety checklists, and equipment documentation all from one place. You can take stock of your assets and devices, and if possible, establish a plan for the high-priority equipment first.

With a software solution in place, you can also set up alerts or triggers based on pre-determined criteria, so work orders are automatically assigned to the right teams at the right time. This means you don’t have to manually schedule or manage the maintenance of all of your assets; instead, you can automate these workflows and adjust as necessary.

Enable Technicians to Enter Asset Data Directly from the Field

When technicians are able to access asset data from the field, it becomes much easier to maintain an accurate system of record. For example, they can enter notes about the equipment or update work orders while performing preventive maintenance tasks, reducing manual or double entry, and ensuring your data is up-to-date and accurate.

Maintenance teams can take advantage of checklists when performing periodic inspections—such as for safety checks or custodial rounds. And by making the documentation available in the same place, teams can more efficiently look up asset information and complete maintenance work. Plus, if they uncover an issue (such as if a part is wearing out), they can submit a work order automatically to fix it.

Establish Reports and Identify Trends

One additional way to streamline and optimize your preventive maintenance program is to identify trends with your equipment. If you’re using a software solution to manage information about your equipment, this becomes much easier. You can set up reports or dashboards to visualize equipment performance and maintenance more easily. When you can see which equipment is consistently failing, or which needs additional maintenance, you can more accurately forecast costs, adjust your maintenance plans, manage resources, and budget for new equipment.

This enables you to have better insights into how all your equipment is performing, and it also makes it much easier to report out on this data.

The Connected Workplace and Preventive Maintenance

The Nuvolo Connected Workplace makes it much easier to streamline and optimize your preventive maintenance program. It enables you to track data about all assets, facilities, processes, and more directly from one place. You can automatically schedule maintenance and use analytics to inform your preventive maintenance strategy.

The Nuvolo Maintenance solution offers additional features such as:

  • Vendor Oversight and Accountability — Track vendor activity and performance service levels, and automate invoices. Compare vendor contracts against performance metrics.
  • Warehouse Inventory Management — Perform parts inventory audits for maintenance trucks, stockrooms, and warehouses, down to the aisles, shelves, and bins.
  • Reporting – Connecting all maintenance management data means your teams can track and report on all work and equipment.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team today, or watch a demo.

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