Predictive vs Preventive Maintenance: What’s the Difference?


If you want to lead an effective asset management strategy, you can’t afford to rely solely on reactive maintenance.

The most cost-effective strategies take a proactive approach to assets conservation, which includes both predictive and preventive maintenance work.

These two maintenance methods aim to increase the reliability of assets and reduce the likelihood of machine failure, consequently, reducing the high costs of unplanned maintenance.

But although they have the same goal and are complementary to each other, preventive and predictive maintenance are not the same.

Preventive Vs Predictive Maintenance

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between preventive and predictive maintenance, you’re not alone. That’s a common doubt within individuals looking to streamline maintenance operations.

The main difference between these two maintenance methods is that preventive maintenance is scheduled on a regular basis, from time to time, while predictive maintenance is scheduled as needed, based on the asset’s condition.

While both approaches to maintenance require managers to rely heavily on data to guide the decisions, the sort of data used is different.

When crafting a preventive maintenance schedule (also called preventative maintenance schedule), maintenance managers need to access industry averages, check the recommendations on the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and know the best practices.

On the other hand, maintenance managers putting together a predictive maintenance program tend to use an asset’s actual utilization and current conditions to decide when to perform maintenance.

To better understand the differences, let’s go more in-depth on the concept of each of the two maintenance approaches:

What is Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is a type of maintenance performed cyclically on pre-determined assets with the purpose of optimizing their working conditions. With regular technical checks, the maintenance team has the chance to change parts, and make adjustments before any sign of malfunction appears.

This proactive maintenance strategy helps companies to avoid equipment failure, machine downtime, and of course, to extend assets’ life span.

Think of PM work as physical check-ups. Just like doctors recommend some patients to perform health check-ups to prevent illness and improve the quality of life, maintenance managers set up PM work to prevent asset failure and optimize its working conditions.

Since preventive maintenance is scheduled in a time-based manner, maintenance managers must outline a routine of work to be performed yearly, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly by technicians. And that’s usually organized with the help of a modern CMMS software, to streamline both planning and implementation.

How to Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program

Implementing a customized preventive maintenance program might be one of the best long-term investments you can make in your supply chain department. Besides all the money saved on corrective maintenance, your maintenance team will have to face fewer moments of crisis.

Everything starts with choosing the assets that are going to be included in the program. If it is your first time planning a PM schedule, we recommend that you start with just a few assets.

You should select the assets considering how critical they are to the operation and how expensive a repair or replacement would be in case of a breakdown.

The type of work to be performed and its frequency should be determined considering each asset’s particularities.

The maintenance tasks can be outlined in a spreadsheet, but the easiest and most efficient way to do it is through maintenance software.

Through a complete CMMS software, facility managers can:

  • gather crucial data about asset performance
  • schedule maintenance tasks
  • assign technicians
  • monitor progress in real-time, and more.
Technicians, who will be performing the maintenance, also benefit from the software. They can access real-time data about pieces of equipment that need PM work while out on the field. It is also possible to report work done using their mobile phone.

[FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST]

Quickly implement an effective PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE PLAN by following these 13 simple steps!

You Will Get:

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Limble CMMS

What is Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance uses condition-monitoring techniques to track the performance of machines during normal operation, detect possible defects, and fix them before the assets break down.

A predictive maintenance strategy’s goal is to catch potential asset malfunction as early as possible to avoid the need for bigger maintenance activities.

In the same human health analogy that we used to describe preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance could be compared to exams performed in specific groups of people who are likely to be ill due to an existing condition. For example, lung exams performed on patients who smoked for years; or an investigative battery of exams on a patient who has frequent headaches.

In an effective predictive maintenance plan, maintenance is only performed on machines when it is required. That is, just before failure is prone to happen. This decreases the cost of spare parts and supplies, minimizes the time spent on each piece of equipment, avoids the production hours lost with unplanned downtime, and increases workplace safety.

Predictive maintenance programs have been shown to lead to a ten times increase in ROI and almost 30% reduction in maintenance costs — not to mention the indirect cost savings related to the avoidance of downtime.

How to Implement a Predictive Maintenance Program

Just like preventive maintenance, a predictive maintenance program can save your maintenance team from endless work orders with high costs.

However, implementing a predictive maintenance strategy is slightly more complex than executing preventive maintenance.

Predictive maintenance requires the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors connected to a maintenance software to track the true utilization of an asset. IoT sensors send out signals to the maintenance software so facility managers always have the most up-to-date asset utilization data easily accessible.

You can set up the CMMS software to automatically produce an alert or generate a work order whenever the system detects that an asset is operating outside predefined conditions and parameters.

With these alerts, your maintenance team will know it’s time to take action. The team can also use the CMMS software to verify data about the asset, which helps them to judge what type of work needs to be done.

This is how the creation of one similar task looks like in Limble (this is a task that is automatically generated when the vibration rate exceeds your predefined limit):

The PdM sensor gives the raw data from the machines while CMMS goes further to organize the information and help your team take action.

How do you replace your CMMS

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Ready to Implement a Proactive Maintenance Strategy?

Anticipation is always the best way to go about asset management. Reactive maintenance is expensive, breaks the operations workflow, and increases the risk for your technicians.

While preventive maintenance is easier and cheaper to implement, predictive maintenance reduces the amount of downtime to the minimum possible and requires less manual labor.

Ideally, your asset management strategy would include both techniques because they work better when implemented together.

The control you get with a CMMS will ensure that you squeeze every last drop of value from your carefully structured program. That’s because it integrates the data from all modules to deliver actionable insights.

Besides that, CMMS will do all the heavy lifting of sending notifications, copying PM schedules, tracking work history, and much more.

Therefore, if you want to simplify the process while maximizing your returns, investing in a modern CMMS, such as Limble, is a no brainer.

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Written by

Bryan Christiansen

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