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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I spent a long time evaluating systems I'm so glad I chose Limble
"Limble is super easy to use. For technicians receiving work orders, it requires almost no training. The app makes it quick and easy to create work orders (with pictures) from your phone. PM's are also very easy to set up. Limble is also the least expensive."
— Matt Olson FMP
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
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
"Great experience. Solved our obvious PM tracking issues but also addressing our SHE&S requirements (safety audit task tracking), Environmental checks are being logged, Corporate Audit items tracked"
— Michael Babcock
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
Limble has completed changed the way we do maintenance
"Limble is amazing. It has revolutionized the way we handle repairs and the upkeep of our assets and facilities. We not only can keep track of work that has been done on each asset, but we are also able to track costs associated with the asset itself."