Trying to get away from the chaotic scene that comes with frequent reactive maintenance?
That is a smart approach.
Having the maintenance team continually having to respond to breakdowns can have a severe impact on the organization’s productivity and bottom line.
Planned maintenance is vital to avoid the high costs of reactive maintenance, decrease the risk of accidents, and keep production at an optimal rate.
What is Planned Maintenance?
Planned maintenance is a proactive approach to maintenance management in which services are scheduled to take place on a regular basis.
The scheduled maintenance activities vary depending on the type of asset being maintained and the environment in which it is being operated. Some assets require frequent maintenance while others could be operated for years without any failure.
This means that if you have a process in place where you anticipate, schedule, and document maintenance activities, you have some sort of a planned maintenance system in place — even if that is a simple filter cleaning activity.
As a general rule, the more planned maintenance you perform, the longer your assets will remain operating at peak without failures.
In order to build a proactive maintenance plan, organizations must detail the frequency of service activities, spare parts that might need to be used to replace old parts, tools that will be needed, and who will need to perform the maintenance activity.
The process starts with identifying a challenge that must be addressed, such as avoiding downtime or increasing machinery life span. The planning process involves inspections, part ordering, process descriptions, and work prioritization.
The ultimate goal of having a planned maintenance schedule is to maximize operations ROI by decreasing the number of outages, increasing workplace safety, and boosting productivity.
Benefits of Planning Maintenance in Advance
If you manage a significant amount of assets, you know that unexpected equipment failure can be your worst enemy.
Reduction in production due to downtime can have significant impacts on the organization’s profitability. Depending on the industry, a few hours of shutting down the machine for reactive maintenance can represent millionaire loss.
Besides the production uptime, avoiding machine failure can also represent direct cost-savings in maintenance operations.
In some cases, a simple oil change or lubrication can avoid wearing off of an expensive and complex piece, such as a motor. With maintenance planning, teams are able to avoid these expensive replacements by identifying which machines need this type of attention.
In addition to decreasing machine downtime, planned maintenance also reduces employee downtime. Having a set schedule of preventative maintenance tasks relieves the stress of unexpected equipment failures and keep employees active, collaborating, and overall more satisfied.
Cost-savings and effectiveness are not the only reasons to invest in a proactive maintenance approach.
Risk management is another important aspect of keeping physical assets operating at normal conditions. Some machines can cause accidents if they fail during operations. In order for machine operators and other staff members to work safely, these types of machines should go through regular maintenance.
With that, organizations that structure a proactive maintenance plan enjoy benefits such as:
Decreased workplace accidents, incidents, and chaotic situations
Increased productivity, team effectiveness, and efficiency in the operations workflow
Reduced machine downtime and asset failure
Extension of assets life span
Better return on maintenance investments
Approaches to Maintenance to Include in the Plan
Asset maintenance management involves different methods with distinct goals. While each method is best for certain kinds of machines, the best maintenance strategies tend to leverage a combination of various techniques.
When we think about planned maintenance, the approaches that come to mind are both preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance. And that is correct in the sense that these two approaches should be the centerpiece of the strategy, in most cases. However, reactive maintenance, corrective maintenance, and RTF maintenance can’t be ignored. And the best way to handle these circumstances is by preparing for them beforehand. Let’s dive into the approaches to maintenance management that you should consider when building your asset maintenance plan:
Preventive maintenance (PM) is the most common type of planned maintenance. If you currently have a system where service work is scheduled from time to time, PM is the type of maintenance you do. Of course, the more organized the system is, the better are the results.
Preventive maintenance, also known as predictive maintenance, is a time-based approach that focuses on keeping assets at optimal operating conditions through frequent preventive services on the most important assets. This means that after prioritizing the assets, maintenance managers schedule and assign PM work from time to time. Depending on the asset, work is performed every day, week, month, quarter, or year.
In this maintenance approach, work is planned even if the machine does not show any sign of wear-off. In fact, the work is performed to avoid any signs of wear-off.
This approach is relatively cheap to be implemented. Maintenance managers usually create a checklist to be followed by maintenance technicians, who submit a maintenance report after the service. Most companies use a CMMS to streamline scheduling, assignment, and data tracking.
The only issue with this proactive maintenance approach is that maintenance can easily be overscheduled, which represents higher maintenance costs than necessary. However, even with extra maintenance services, the overall cost tends to be lower than if there was no PM work at all and the asset failed and had to be replaced.
To optimize the PM maintenance schedule, maintenance managers should study assets’ history data and involve technicians in the process.
Different from preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance (PdM) is not planned based on time. Instead, it considers the asset’s performance.
Because this approach relies on precise data about the assets maintenance needs, it makes it possible to schedule the exact amount of maintenance tasks that a piece of equipment requires to keep operating at peak performance — not too much like preventive maintenance or too little as no proactive maintenance at all.
The focus of this approach is to leverage condition monitoring technology to detect minor anomalies on the assets. If an anomaly is detected, the system notifies the maintenance team, who then, takes the necessary corrective actions before the machine breaks or needs more complex maintenance.
Since this approach to planned maintenance relies on real-time, precise data, it has larger implementation costs when compared with preventative maintenance. PdM requires the implementation of sensors into the assets, which is what collects the data and sends it over to a CMMS database. CMMS software uses the Internet of Things (IoT) along with historical data to form predictive models. With that, maintenance managers are able to create an optimal condition-based maintenance schedule.
This system automates a large part of maintenance managers’ jobs and empowers them to make more educated decisions about when it’s time to replace an asset or any given part.
These built-in sensors can capture many different aspects of an assets’ functionality. Maintenance teams can leverage vibration analysis sensors, infrared analysis sensors, ultrasound analysis sensors, motor circuit analysis sensors, microphones, and others. Vibration analysis sensors, for example, are most often used on rotating machinery. They indicate when it is time for lubrication. Infrared analysis sensors, on the other hand, are used within pieces of equipment where the temperature is a good indicator of potential failure.
Most organizations leverage predictive maintenance in their most critical pieces of equipment. PdM is also particularly helpful to maintain assets that can’t be easily opened to be checked on. With the built-in sensors, these pieces of equipment will only need to be shut down and opened if there is an actual need to do so.
Run-to-Failure (RTF) Maintenance
As the name suggests, run-to-failure (RTF) maintenance is a strategy in which assets are used until they break down, requiring repair or replacement. Contrary to what common sense would suggest, some operational managers deliberately choose this maintenance plan for specific assets. Although this maintenance strategy is reactive in nature, it can be planned.
Run-to-failure requires careful planning, initially to choose which assets can be treated with this approach. RTF maintenance is the best choice for non-critical assets that are both cheap and easy-to-replace. If the cost of having technicians performing preventive maintenance would be higher than the direct costs of replacing the asset and the indirect costs of operating without the asset, then you likely should allow the equipment to run to failure.
Run-to-failure maintenance also requires planning when it comes to guaranteeing that there will be sufficient resources available to substitute or repair the machine post-failure.
How to Plan a Maintenance Program
Regardless of the type of maintenance approach your organization will leverage, there is a process to structure and implement the maintenance program.
Let’s go through the key steps you should follow when planning out a maintenance program:
Step #1: Prioritize Assets
Before selecting the maintenance methods and techniques fit your organization’s needs better, you must select what assets will go first on your maintenance schedule.
You won’t necessarily be leaving any assets out of the maintenance plan. Even if your budget allows you to cover all organization’s machines, prioritization is still important for you to decide which approach to take with each piece of equipment.
When going through your assets, use the following criteria to prioritize them:
What assets are the most critical to the organization’s success?
Are the repair and replacement costs high?
How difficult or risky is it to conduct maintenance in the asset without shutting it down?
By analyzing the assets based on these three points, you will be able to get a clear idea of what is the best maintenance approach for each one of them.
Step #2: Gather All The Necessary Info
Once you’ve analyzed the machines in terms of their lifecycle particularities, it’s time to gather information about their functionality particularities as well as historical data.
There are different sources you can use to collect this data. First of all, you should data from your maintenance history catalog.
Even if you are not using a CMMS (computer maintenance management system) at this time, you likely have some sort of maintenance log available. Look at what kind of failures your assets experienced in the past, and how often that happened.
Based on that info, you can conclude what kind of work you should plan to prevent some of those failure modes in the future.
You should also look at the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations to understand what type of work you should schedule. OEM is a plethora of statistical data from in-house testing and field tests done by customers. The manuals they provide often contain schedules for necessary maintenance, the usage of critical spare parts, and basic maintenance work instructions.
Another excellent source of information is your own team. Talk to your maintenance technicians and machine operators. Some insights you can only get by talking to the people that are turning the wrench and that are in the contact with the machines daily. More often than not, they will have some information you can’t find in maintenance logs and reports.
Step #3: Select the Maintenance Approach you Want to Use
This is the time where you get to look at the data to understand which maintenance techniques work best for each asset.
Some of your assets, the most critical, expensive, and complex, will require more attention. For these, you will likely be better off by investing in predictive maintenance. PdM will also be the best bet for machines that can’t be easily shut down to go through preventive maintenance.
For those assets that are vital to operations but can easily go through maintenance while it is not operating, preventive maintenance should be the optimal solution. Keep in mind that some assets will require a mix of preventive and predictive maintenance for maximized return on maintenance investment.
For assets that are approaching the end of their lifecycle, RTF maintenance tends to be the best approach. Run-to-failure maintenance is also great for equipment that is cheap, disposable, or unserviceable.
Step #4: Schedule the Maintenance Activities
Once you have the maintenance approaches aligned, it’s time to schedule the services.
Use your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to create maintenance checklists and the calendar to assign tasks. Make sure you leverage the platform’s data to determine the frequency of the maintenance activities.
As you add the tasks to the calendar, the maintenance software instantly sends push notifications to the maintenance technicians with details about the upcoming service.
The best CMMS in the market relies on IoT and machine learning to automate big part of the maintenance managers’ work.
CMMS for Planned Maintenance
CMMS is a crucial tool for teams looking to organize and plan maintenance. A modern computerized maintenance management system, such as Limble, helps you schedule all maintenance tasks with a few clicks, organizes service into a calendar, stores all historical data about your equipment and assets, and more.
Limble CMMS provides organizations with a variety of modules, that fit different types of organizations — from small businesses to enterprises. Modules include work orders, enterprise asset management, preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, and others. The software also comes equipped with robust analytics and has a mobile interface.
Book a demo with one of our team members to understand more about Limble CMMS and how your organization can benefit from top-notch features.
"Terrific customer service, easy to use, and at a great value. Our old Maintenance software was very difficult to use and was very expensive."
— Brian Williams
Limble CMMS is a great product and is very intuitive
"This CMMS checks many boxes for what we were looking for. Flexible. Mobile App for in the field use. Cost-Effective. Reporting. Great Dashboard. Great Support. Cloud Based. Cost-Effective."
— Roger Beck
A must for any maintenance department
"The thing that I loved the most right from the start was the ease of use of the Limble software. The customization options available when setting up PM's are great. I love the flexibility it gives to tailor the PM to exactly what your needs are."
— Richard Dunaway
Great time saver
"On average, [Limble] saves me an hour to two hours a day, depending on the workload. The biggest thing for me is being able to do things on my phone, on the fly."
— Rob Siler
Very easy to use, functionality is great
"I can track my inventory and it sends me emails when I'm running low on an item. Also that I can track how much time I'm spending on certain jobs over an extended period of time."
— Cody Jensen
I'm amazed with the functionality & customer service
"Executive summary software produces to give me a snapshot of where each contact center is at in preventative maintenance on critical building assets."
— Kris Anderson
A great tool for Facility Managers.
"Limble is very easy to get involved in and no contracts, with simple monthly billing. I have auditioned other CMMS companies and they make it too difficult, to try out. Limble strategy is very simple - here is our software, you can customize it in most categories and let us know if you have any questions. As a multiple building County Facilities Director, I highly recommend trying it!"
— Michael Boursier
Great Product, Even better support!
"I started using Limble after trying out many other off the shelf CMMS software and I quickly fell in love with the ease of use, intuitiveness yet the power this tool provided me and my team. The ability to see automatically generated and customized reports meant that I could choose whether I wanted to see things at a micro level or a macro one, or both of them together."
— Mohammad Hassaan Akram
Very easy to use, access
"I like the price, the fact I can see it on my phone or the computer. I like that it is internet-based."
— Curt Waisath
Valley Salt LLC
Great for smaller or larger facilities
"We haven't fully integrated Limble yet but we are already seeing improvements in our efficiency. As we fully integrate Limble we expect to see more benefits and increase our response and completion times. The customer support has been outstanding. The Limble team is very quick to respond to any questions and they are very open to suggestions."
— Mike Hill
Children's Home of Lubbock
Best value for money CMMS
"Limble has all the features essential to maintenance management. It is very easy to use. Limble can connect with wireless sensors for Condition Based Maintenance. We are in Thailand, and Limble also supports the Thai language. Importantly, their customer support is fantastic almost 24/7. They reply within 10 minutes anytime. I am sure that Limble will really help your operations."
— Natee Singhaputtangkul
Limble is the best thing to happen to this company
"Limble does such a good job at keeping track of what's been done and letting me know when and what I need to do next."