What Is Predictive Maintenance?

While preventive maintenance relies heavily on industry averages and best practices to guide maintenance decisions, preventive maintenance involves using an asset’s actual utilization to decide when to perform maintenance.

With a predictive maintenance strategy, facilities teams use historical and current performance data to determine when a malfunction is likely to occur and then perform maintenance in advance. The other key difference between preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance is technology.

Predictive maintenance requires technology like Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and facility maintenance software to track the true utilization of an asset. IoT sensors should be integrated with facility maintenance software so FMs always have the most up-to-date asset utilization data at their fingertips. They can use this data to inform their maintenance decisions and prevent unexpected asset failures.

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How Do You Implement Predictive Maintenance? maintenance planning and scheduling

Executing a predictive maintenance strategy is slightly more complex than applying preventive maintenance. These three steps can help simplify the process:

  1. Use IoT sensors to establish baselines for asset performance indicators like temperature, vibration and sound. This information will help you determine the thresholds that indicate an asset could fail soon. You should also take this opportunity to observe how employees interact with these assets to determine if bad habits could be decreasing the lifespan of some equipment.
  2. Use the dashboards and analytics reports in your facility maintenance software to identify trends and potential problems. For example, if one particular asset consistently malfunctions despite repeated repairs, it could indicate a larger problem. The asset may have been installed correctly or it may not be well-suited for the environmental conditions where it’s located. Once you identify this problem, you can replace the asset instead of wasting money on repeated repairs that don’t last.
  3. Look for ways to improve your predictive maintenance strategy. As the cost of IoT sensors drops and facilities management technology continues to improve, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to optimize your asset maintenance.

The size of your organization, your available resources and your asset portfolio will help you determine whether to implement preventive or predictive maintenance. No matter which strategy you choose, facility maintenance software is an integral part of streamlining operations and reducing costs

Preventive Maintenance Vs. Predictive Maintenance: What’s The Difference?

Preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance are two sides of the same coin— but they’re not exactly the same thing.

Both are effective strategies for asset maintenance, but you need to understand the differences between the two and how they work together. Here’s a closer look at preventive maintenance vs. predictive maintenance and what you need to know.

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What Is Preventive Maintenance?

In a preventive maintenance strategy, facilities managers perform systematic inspections of assets and execute routine maintenance to prevent unexpected equipment downtime or failure. Unlike reactive (or corrective) maintenance where service occurs after the asset has malfunctioned, preventive maintenance requires performing maintenance before anything malfunctions.

Different types of preventive maintenance involve the use of different triggers to determine when to service the equipment. Here are a few examples of preventive maintenance:

  • Time-based maintenance involves completing routine maintenance at scheduled intervals, such as weekly, monthly or annually
  • Condition-based maintenance refers to performing maintenance based on the discovery of physical evidence of potential asset failure
  • Usage-based preventive maintenance involves performing maintenance after a certain threshold has passed, such as hours in use or miles driven

Preventive maintenance is appropriate for assets that are mission-critical for day-to-day operations and are more likely to fail as they age. The extent of the maintenance required on any asset depends on utilization and environmental conditions. However, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has general recommendations for what types of inspections and maintenance are needed and how often they should be performed.

Read maintenance planning and scheduling

How Do You Implement Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is different from simply keeping an eye on equipment and following the manufacturer’s recommended repair schedule.

To properly implement preventive maintenance, the facilities team must maintain detailed asset profiles that include information such as asset age, dates of inspection, service records and expected lifespan for every piece of equipment in the company. To ensure the accuracy of these asset profiles, facilities professionals need to use asset management software.

Asset management software gives FMs on-demand access to all these important details in one place. They can see this information at a glance and use it along with facility maintenance software to manage service requests. They can even set up workflows to create automatic service requests when an asset reaches a certain age or utilization threshold.

Facility maintenance software enables facility managers to quickly assign a technician to each ticket and track the status of those tickets throughout the lifecycle. Because the solution stores all of the relevant information, including maintenance manuals, technicians know exactly what to do as soon as they are assigned a ticket.

Starting With Preventive Maintenance Work

Congrats! You now have everything ready and your technicians can start doing maintenance scheduling work according to your defined schedules.
Start with a manageable workload
 While you might want to pull the trigger and roll out all schedules at once, we advise that you put back the safety on (if you decided early on that you want to do this in phases and only created preventive maintenance schedules or a couple of assets, then you won’t have this problem) and reconsider your actions.
Giving someone 50 daily tasks right off the bat, while he is still learning how to use the CMMS, is the biggest mistake you can do in this phase.
Instead, start with a manageable workload as the technicians and anyone else interfacing with the new software will need time to adjust and learn the system in real-time.
Make sure that technicians have clear guidelines and information on each asset’s needs and maintenance schedules. If that is taken care of, all that is left for you to do is to keep close watch that the CMMS performs the way it should. Track that the PMs are being completed, the technicians are recording their findings and closing out the work with accurate cost metrics such as part usage and time spent.
Turn on the rest of the schedules
Once there is solid evidence that the CMMS is functioning properly, equipment is being maintained on schedule and there are no major hiccups, you can gradually turn on the rest of the schedules for your other assets.
Maintenance personnel should feel comfortable operating in the CMMS environment and understand the key functions before adding more assets.
Get feedback and address any concerns immediately to keep operations running smoothly.
Continuously improve your preventive maintenance plan
The preventive maintenance plan may require some tweaks, changes, and updates as you and your company grow into the system. The CMMS will record historical data like frequencies of breakdowns, parts usage, types of malfunctions, etc. That means you will be able to generate and overview a range of useful reports that will assist you in making data-driven decisions.
Asset reports in CMMS
While emergency breakdowns and repairs will still happen from time to time, with the amount of control you will have gained over your planned maintenance system, you’ll soon begin to enjoy a reductionin emergency repairs, visibility into your operational spending and improved life expectancy for your equipment.

How To Start A Preventive Maintenance Plan (Ridiculously Simple Guide)

If you’re currently relying solely on reactive maintenance, then your company is probably wasting tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year due to a lack of a consistent preventive maintenance plan.
The good news is that starting a maintenance scheduling program isn’t complicated when you have a clear idea of the steps you need to take.

Not so coincidentally, that is the focus of this article.

The right plant maintenance strategy is key to better production ...

If you have a few minutes to spare, we’ll show you how to set up your initial preventive maintenance schedule in just a few simple steps.

After that, we will show you an example of a preventive maintenance plan and discuss how to best present your idea to the upper management to get a green light and proceed with the implementation.

If you are actually looking for a complete transition guide, check out our step-by-step guide: How To Switch From Reactive Maintenance To Preventive Maintenance. It teaches you how to plan the whole transition, implement a preventive maintenance strategy, set up best practices, train your team, and how CMMS enables and supports this transition.

But, before we dive in further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the meaning of Corrective and Preventive maintenance.

Corrective Maintenance vs Preventive Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is a maintenance task performed to identify, isolate, and rectify a fault so that the failed equipment, machine, or system can be restored to an operational condition within the tolerances or limits established for in-service operations. Simplified, corrective maintenance focuses on diagnosing and fixing broken assets.

Preventive maintenance (or preventative maintenance) is work that is performed regularly (on a scheduled basis) in order to minimize the chance that a certain piece of equipment will fail and cause costly unscheduled downtime. Preventative maintenance is hence performed while the equipment is still in working condition.

A recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle highlights how a telecommunications company saw a 545% return on investment (ROI) when implementing a preventive maintenance plan.

As good as a 545% return sounds, it can still be tough to get the go-ahead from upper management. To help you accomplish this goal we have put together a simple step-by-step guide on how to convince your manager and make the switch to preventive maintenance.

For now, let’s focus on the thing you came here for – how to create an efficient preventive maintenance plan.

Team Training

Ensuring that everyone is comfortable with the new workflow and knows what to do is key to having unobstructed information flow and an effective maintenance scheduling strategy.
Here is some advice on how to introduce the new workflow and software to your team.

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Present new software and procedures

If you have a bigger maintenance team, the chances are that only a few of them were actively involved in the whole implementation process. Spend some additional time to ensure they know how to use it properly and then use them to train the rest of your maintenance staff.

During the training sessions, the written materials along with truncated step-by-step guides (cheat sheet) and a hands-on demo of your selected CMMS will best communicate the changes to your maintenance approach.

Training sessions may be broken into seven segments to provide a comprehensive illustration of the PM program:

  1. Presentation of the new maintenance strategy
  2. Instruction of newly adopted procedures
  3. Demonstration of new technology
  4. Defining roles and responsibilities within the new strategy
  5. Hands-on CMMS training
  6. Assignment of mobile devices for CMMS users (if applicable)
  7. Q&A

If you are interested, here is some additional read on how to introduce a CMMS to your maintenance team.

Ask for vendor support (if you are using a CMMS)

This is something you should never actually need to ask for since it should be in the vendor’s own interest to make the implementation as smooth as possible.

In any case, your dedicated CMMS vendor should have a lot of expertise and experience so their involvement in this process is crucial.

Besides their advice, video tutorials and training documents are the two things that will make the transition faster and easier.

Beta test your preventive maintenance plan

Allocate a week or two (depending on the activity level of your maintenance environment) to allow the implementation team to follow the procedures in real-time. Providing this training ground will identify areas for clarification, reveal any gaps in instruction, and provide the opportunity to work out kinks in the program.

Setting Up Best Practices

Having your basic maintenance scheduling  and running is great, but to ensure the long-term success of this transition and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, we recommended documenting your company’s procedures that will be regularly used by your maintenance staff.
This is yet another instance in which CMMS proves to be a real asset by becoming a central hub where all asset documentation and procedures are stored.

And the more it’s in use, the more up to date and accurate is the data that is being stored. This can later be used for future staff training and as a way to monitor your program’s success. Any deficiencies or missteps will be easily identified and it will make evaluating and updating procedures easier as new information and situations arise.

Let’s check up on the most common procedures and practices you want to define.

Creating, responding to and closing out work

Effectively managing tasks is an integral part of any maintenance strategy. For tasks to be dispositioned, assigned, and prioritized in an effective manner, your whole maintenance team needs to be on the same page.

That is what you have to define:

  • Who is responsible for creating new unscheduled tasks?
  • Who on your maintenance team is responsible for what type of work?
  • Who will be reviewing open/closed work to make sure things are getting done?
  • Whose responsible for reassigning work as technicians become unavailable/available?
  • What are the criteria for escalation and/or emergency identifiers?

This is an area where having CMMS available on mobile devices is a huge plus.

Limble, for example, will send every technician a notification when they are assigned to a particular work order. If you can equip your team with an appropriate number of handheld devices, through a mobile CMMS, they will also be able to seamlessly communicate and cooperate on bigger maintenance tasks, as well as update the progress of particular work orders at any time.

Switch from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance with mobile CMMS

Reporting problems and work requests

Having a systematic way to report issues or abnormal performance will ensure that anyone performing inspections will be monitoring the proper areas that can cause potential issues. More importantly, it will help to track budding defects in the system’s operation so small anomalies can be caught and quickly resolved.

Problems are usually reported in one of two different manners. Either by your maintenance staff that can report a problem through your CMMS’s mobile app. Or by non-maintenance staff which can report a problem through a Work Request portal.

Showing non-maintenance staff how to submit a work request is a large time-saver but only works if it is implemented and documented.

Recording critical information

Each time an inspection takes place, anyone performing the inspection should record critical data like date, time, temperature and pressure levels, or any other critical information that determines the state of the asset in question.

Depending on the type of asset this information could prove extremely beneficial in the future.

Identifying how your inventory will be kept up to date

An up to date inventory is incredibly important as it will make sure when something breaks, you have the needed materials to fix it.

You can either perform manual audits of your inventory or have your CMMS automatically keep track of you as parts are used.

When work is closed out in a CMMS, attached used parts will automatically be subtracted from your inventory records. This can ease the burden of having to manually check parts and update spreadsheets.

Parts management with CMMS

Another feature you might find useful is the option to have set thresholds for your parts and instruct CMMS to send you an alert whenever the number of spare parts in stock falls below that threshold.

Managing your vendors

Having everything running smoothly means that you can quickly get in touch with all of your outside contractors.

According to the recent Plant Engineering’s Maintenance survey, 74% of facilities outsource at least one part of their maintenance operations. The main reasons being lack of time and manpower and too many specialized skills required.

An approved or qualified vendor list should be readily available complete with each asset-specific identifier (equipment ID, serial/make/model number etc.), account numbers, contractors’ email address, and all phone numbers.

Other helpful information includes hours of operation, separate after hour service call procedures, Account Representative’s name or the name of specific service personnel with direct contact information and any notes that are needed to place a service call with minimal hassle.