Become smart in preventive maintenance management through CMMS

What’s preventive maintenance(PM) about?

Preventive maintenance is a sort of maintenance activity that is performed on a regular basis on an equipment or a facility to reduce the likelihood of failure of the same. It is synonymous with the term ‘Preventative maintenance’. Facility may refer to any building, land or factory intended to provide a service. Say for example manufacturing unit is a facility. It is performed proactively while the equipment is still in running or operating condition. In most cases, being reactive to failures, known also as run-to-failure maintenance wouldn’t prove to be a wise approach.

The Evolution of Preventive maintenance

The act of Preventive Maintenance is nothing new to industries, though the term may seem so superficially. In fact, Herbert William Heinrich who first advocated the theory of Accident Triangle or Bird’s triangle as early as 1931 established a relationship between severe accidents, trivial accidents and just misses and proposes that if the count of trivial accidents is minimized then there will be a corresponding decline in the number of severe accidents.

The theory was updated and enlarged upon by other writers. It is notable that Herbert worked as an assistant superintendent for an insurance company and pursued a detailed study of more than 75,000 accident reports from the office files, on hand, as well as records held by individual industry sites before putting forth the theory.

The theory is no rocket science and hence can be easily perceived by our senses but when put to use the theory yields great benefits. Prevention is always better than cure, isn’t it?


Types of preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance can be scheduled, in advance, based on time, usage or a meter reading. Alerts can be made to trigger based on the above criteria. Let’s illustrate through an example for each criteria.

Time-based preventive maintenance

A classic example of this preventive maintenance is a routine inspection on an air conditioning unit. Running a split A.C atleast once in a month and performing routine service atleast once a year is vital(even when the unit is used very infrequently)to ensure smooth running of various components inside.

Usage-based preventive maintenance

It depends on the production cycles and manuals or instruction guide of the equipment manufacturer. It may be specified as hours, distance indicated by odometers. A well-known example of this trigger is a company car which whose engine air filter is recommended to be replaced for every 20,000 kms of run.

Preventive maintenance is best recommended in the following cases:

  •  The health of the asset has a substantial impact on productivity.
  •  Assets whose probability of failure is closely related to the hours of operation.
  •  Assets whose probability of failure exponentially increases with the passage of time though it is not frequently used in production cycles.

When preventative maintenance will not be an advisable option?

PM will not be an advisable option to go for where random failures of assets do not have a measurable impact on overall production. When the use of a similar asset can replace the usage of the failed asset or when employees can go ahead with their work even in the absence of an asset for few days. Let’s cite the example of a USB mouse intended to be used along with a laptop. A system or hardware administrator can attend to these failures conveniently after few days. A pre-planned strategy, on hand, to replace or repair an asset as swift as possible upon failure in such a case is quite unnecessary. The same can be applied to cases where the procurement of asset is within reach and doesn’t involve formalities.

Where does a CMMS enter the scene?

Conventional methods of planning and implementing preventive maintenance make for a set of daunting and complicated tasks. Several formalities may be associated with which are difficult to be exercised by a common employee in the organization. Business leaders working in the capacities of C.E.O, Maintenance or Infrastructure Managers are always very well aware of the pain points and delays involved in the traditional processes. Paper work or storing the list of preventive maintenance tasks in an excel sheet of a computer manually is an old fashion now. If you’re dealing with many pieces of critical equipment it is strongly recommended to switch over to the usage of CMMS.

A condition based monitoring can be scheduled via CMMS with reminders & escalations at varied time intervals for the purpose of alerting service technicians and get business managers to know the violations in Service Level Agreement. The SLAs can be defined on the basis of location of customers, tasks etc. Such CMMS provide valuable insights on the Key Performance Indicators of service technician and failure pattern of assets. Appropriate actions(incentives, warnings, training) can be initiated based on these valuable data.

It is possible to quantify the improvement in productivity using a feature rich CMMS. Unplanned maintenance is known to cost three to nine times more than planned preventive maintenance(PPM). Equipments can be subjected to maintenance to align with production downtime. CMMS also promotes safety at work site as a factory maintenance software by ensuring the normal behaviour of the asset. It also offers the facility owners the immunity from law suites.

A CMMS well positioned in the market should be modernized with cutting edge technologies such as GEO location tracking, QR & Bar code scanning to align with Industrial revolution 4.0 standard which emphasizes that all information on assets, facilities be digitized on a holistic basis. Depending on the user who scans the QR code(Admin/Service Engineer/Customer) the functionality would vary. A business leader will get the entire history of an asset by just a mobile scan and need not rely on others. By making it mandatory for service engineers to scan the code on the asset, the engineer attends to, Admin has a solid evidence on the physical visit of the technician to the premises.

To conclude, Cutting across industry verticals, a proactive and predictive approach is preferred by preventive maintenance managers these days owing to the following benefits it offers:

  •  Eliminates higher costs associated with reactive maintenance.
  • Extends life expectancy & performance of assets
  • Minimizes production errors
  •  Greatly reduces physical injuries at work site.
  •  Reduces equipment downtime
  •  Saves from running into overtime Labor Costs

Innomaint, a cloud CMMS well positioned in the maintenance management software market, provides a calendar whereby Admin can readily access and have a glance at the preventive maintenance schedules planned for current month and in the months to come.


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