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How to Make a Preventive Maintenance Plan

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    Let's just get this out of the way: Preventive maintenance is also referred to as preventative maintenance. Both are correct, so stick with whichever term is used most frequently at your facility.

    A preventive maintenance plan is a set of procedures put in place to proactively deter equipment failures. The objective of an effective preventive maintenance plan is to establish consistent maintenance protocols that not only have a positive impact but are also repeatable. Think of your preventive maintenance plan as a favorite recipe that is always well-received, but still open to tweaking.


    The Objectives of a Preventive Maintenance Plan

    There are several end-goal objectives around which to design the preventive maintenance program for your facility:

    1. To improve the consistently reliable performance of your equipment

    2. To ensure that equipment operates safely and will continue to do so for as long as possible 

    3. To extend the life expectancy of your equipment and machines 

    4. To forestall equipment and machine failures 

    5. To reduce machine-related downtime

    6. To increase machine uptime, throughput, and productivity

    7. To reduce the potential for machine-driven quality issues

    8. To decrease the number of necessary major repairs

    9. To save money on costly repairs, equipment replacement, and downtime-related expenses, including loss of income (you can't sell products you can't build)

    Having a preventive maintenance plan in place is a great approach to systematic maintenance for many organizations. They can use their preventive maintenance programs to perform various upkeep activities, including repairs and replacements, before failures occur. Additionally, you can use any number of methods when formulating an effective preventive maintenance plan.


    Elements of a Preventive Maintenance Program

    Let's look at some of the most frequently utilized options that are available to your maintenance team. Your preventive maintenance plan may include: 

    • Calendar-based maintenance: Recurring work is scheduled at specific time intervals. 

    • Usage-based maintenance: You plan and schedule work based on a predetermined number of hours, number of cycles, or other usage rates as recommended by the manufacturer. 

    • Seasonal or seasonally-based maintenance: Some components of machinery and equipment are affected by fluctuating temperatures, extreme temperatures, and humidity. 

    • Predictive maintenance: While preventive maintenance involves regularly scheduled maintenance activities performed on a recurring basis, predictive maintenance is generally scheduled based on equipment and machine conditions. 

    • Prescriptive maintenance: Also referred to as RxM. Prescriptive maintenance includes all the recognizable features of predictive maintenance but goes way beyond. Prescriptive maintenance incorporates machine learning and artificial intelligence in its solutions for optimal outcomes. RxM also offers suggestions on improvements when operating the equipment. 

    Now that we've outlined some options to consider including in your preventive maintenance plan, how do you go about creating a preventive maintenance plan that's suited to your facility?


    Creating a Preventive Maintenance Plan 

    Realistically, there are many factors to take into consideration, and it's easy to become overwhelmed with "analysis paralysis." However, it's very important to act. Don't be afraid to make decisions, even the hard ones. Collecting a great deal of relevant data is imperative when formulating your game plan, but it won't create your preventive maintenance program for you. 

    So, take that precious data and go! Make sure you have the right mix of people on your preventive maintenance plan development and implementation teams. This core group must have a vested interest in making sure your preventive maintenance program and your team are effective and successful in the long run. 

    Use that data to establish ground zero. Know where you're starting out. It will be hard to recognize when you get there if you don't have a solid grasp on where there is compared to where you started. It may sound like a cliche, but that's because you know it's true.

    This may seem obvious, but inventory the assets. Have an accurate accounting of machines and equipment as well as all the tools and supplies that are needed for you and your team to tackle the tasks ahead. Be sure you have all necessary and pertinent documents: owner's manuals, warranties, manufacturer's recommended guidelines, and any required documentation around servicing and deadlines. You don't want your well-intended actions to invalidate any manufacturer-stipulated compliance.

    As soon as you know where you are, start setting goals to get you where you want to be. Make sure your objectives and strategies are realistic to ensure that your organization succeeds in meeting — or even exceeding — your goals. 



    Your Preventive Maintenance Plan must take into account both Short Term and Long Term Preventive Maintenance. Here's another time-honored cliche: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Vocalize your vision of the big picture and share where you want to be when the whistle blows. If everyone knows that performance in their position on the team is essential to success, there will be fewer fumbles. Train your teams. You're the leader, and your preventive maintenance plan is the playbook. 

    Having the right tools will make this process much easier. L2L's next-generation CMMS was designed by maintenance pros with real-world experience. See how it can help you, here.