Routine maintenance is a must for any organization that has assets such as machinery, fleet vehicles, instruments, or others.
Investing in the upkeep of these physical assets increases their life span, improves operations workflow, and has a significant impact on your bottom line.
Keeping machines in the best operating condition possible and reducing the chances of unexpected failure is the main purpose of routine maintenance.
Having the maintenance team to do constant check-ups on the assets is one way to deal with equipment deterioration before it leads to serious issues.
Let’s get into the details of this approach to maintenance.
What is Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance is used to describe maintenance activities that are performed on a regular basis to spot and address problems before they lead to asset breakdown.
This approach to maintenance is often scheduled from time-to-time — every week, month, quarter, or year, for example. However, depending on the asset’s nature, routine maintenance is performed on a usage-based schedule. This can be based on regular usage cycles, such as miles driven or hours of operation.
Most scheduled routine maintenance tasks are simple and don’t require a lot of training. This means that they can usually be performed by machine operators as opposed to maintenance technicians. If machine operators observe more complex issues during the regular inspection, then a task would be set in the technicians’ maintenance schedule.
Examples of Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance tasks vary depending on the type of facility that you are managing.
Routine maintenance work performed in apartment complexes or other residential buildings includes inspecting components in the HVAC system, cleaning common areas, and inspecting units when residents move out, for example.
In an industrial setting, routine maintenance involves more activities as all the operating machines must be inspected. The preventive work includes oil changes, filter changes, lubrication, replacing equipment parts on a schedule, inspecting certain components, or performing conditioned monitoring activities.
Office settings, hospitals, educational institutions, and other buildings with a large number of people circulating also require routine maintenance. In these environments, tasks such as landscaping, lighting checks, trash removal, sanitizing surfaces, and testing safety equipment are important parts of routine maintenance.
Maintenance technicians who work for a municipality perform routine maintenance throughout a city. This includes trash removal, landscaping, window cleaning, and building walkthroughs to check for busted ballasts and burnt bulbs.
Types of Routine Maintenance
Since every maintenance strategy has different components, the approaches to the routine maintenance tasks also vary from program to program.
As mentioned, time-based maintenance is the most common type of routine service. But for some pieces of equipment, maintenance will have a better return if other aspects are considered, instead of time. Let’s explore each one of these approaches:
Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM): This type of routine maintenance involves tracking assets to detect any sign of malfunction. When an anomaly of any kind is verified, work orders are assigned to ensure technicians address the issue on time.
Failure-Finding Maintenance (FFM): This approach to routine maintenance is used specifically in assets that perform protective functions, like safety valves. The goal of FFM is to detect hidden failures in a piece of equipment. Failure-finding routine maintenance is performed at certain periods of time to avoid safety equipment shutdowns, safety hazards, and emergency situations.
Risk-Based Maintenance (RBM): This type of maintenance prioritizes performing routine service on high-risk assets. The criteria to determine which assets will go first tend to be (1) the likelihood of equipment failure and (2) the severity of its associated consequences.
Time-Based Maintenance (TBM): This approach to maintenance is what most people think about when we talk about routine maintenance — service scheduled every week, month, or year, for example. Maintenance is set to happen on fixed intervals, times, or usage markers regardless of the asset’s condition. This type of regular maintenance tends to be used for assets with clear service lines where failure is age-related.
Benefits of Routine Maintenance
Since routine maintenance is an integral part of all preventive maintenance efforts, you will notice that their benefits are associated.
If you are involved in maintenance operations, you know the value of preventative maintenance. Reactive maintenance is expensive, affects production lines, generates tension within the team, and in some cases, causes accidents.
Routine maintenance is one of the ways to proactively handle these moments of crisis, avoiding them to happen.
If you need further analysis on how routine maintenance contributes to the overall cost-effectiveness of your strategy, here goes a few insights:
- Avoid Asset Breakdown: Taking a proactive approach to asset servicing decreases the chances of having to deal with expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient machine failures.
- Increase Workplace Safety: In many cases, overdue maintenance means dangerous operations. Failures can cause accidents that can be hazardous to machine operators.
- Decrease Downtimes: Well-maintained assets perform consistently better than those that are ignored. Reduced downtimes are often associated with higher productivity and increased revenue.
- Better Asset ROI: By improving asset lifespan and their overall operating conditions, maintenance teams see an increased return on the investment made on each piece of equipment.
- Maximize Team Productivity: Routine maintenance tends to be simple and often doesn’t require the maintenance skills of specialized technicians. This means machine operators can contribute in the maintenance as well.
Drawbacks of Routine Maintenance
As much as routine maintenance is crucial to any asset management strategy, there are objections to be considered.
If not well-planned, routine maintenance can easily be overscheduled. This means having more preventive maintenance activities in the calendar than what is needed.
Scheduling the optimal amount of routine maintenance can be tricky even for the most experienced maintenance managers if they don’t have reliable, quality data in their hands.
Too much preventive maintenance becomes expensive and takes too much time of the team’s work hours while too little maintenance can lead to a costly and dangerous failure.
Some of the sources that help maintenance managers make this type of decision include assets’ OEM manual, the conditions in which the machine works, replacement parts you use, and how hard you push the machine.
To streamline this data, organizations use a CMMS system like Limble. CMMS software keeps a detailed database and tracks important metrics like MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). This data is key to decide the frequency of routine maintenance as well as which pieces of equipment are a priority.
How to Streamline Routine Maintenance with CMMS
Scheduling and tracking routine maintenance with a CMMS solution completely changes the game.
The key to a successful maintenance program is developing a cost-effective schedule and tracking maintenance performance using accurate, real-time data.
Modern CMMS solution supports all these needs, from planning the schedule to storing the data.
To schedule routine maintenance, you can rely on the platform algorithms and machine learning to determine what is the most optimal frequency of maintenance for every given asset. The system also sends push notifications to technicians’ smartphones to quickly communicate task reassignments. Managers also have instant access to all active and finished maintenance tasks.
CMMS software also makes it possible for managers to have full control over spare parts inventory. With Limble CMMS you can set up custom thresholds for stock items and when they reach that limit, email notifications will be sent to you. From the work order logs and reports, you can also verify which and how many spare parts were used in the maintenance. Machine learning also forecast parts usage and budget for the next term.
Using a CMMS also means being able to leverage data to make decisions. In practice, you need both historical data and real-time data to understand the root cause of issues. Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting can help management identify ongoing problems and act upon this information. Having access to this data is important because addressing the issue is usually the easier part.
As companies transition from a reactive maintenance approach to a proactive maintenance plan, CMMS can play an integral role in making this transition smoother and successful. If you want to learn more about how to leverage a CMMS, reach out to us.