What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the combination of scheduled inspections and tasks you do to ensure maximum uptime and minimum unscheduled downtime for the least amount of time, trouble, and money. Because it’s always easier, faster, and cheaper to avoid a problem altogether, preventive maintenance is the ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure.

Benefits of preventive maintenance software

Preventive maintenance software helps you implement this important strategy by centralizing your data and streamlining your processes. It helps you: 

  • Schedule inspections and tasks 
  • Generate work orders (preventive and on-demand) 
  • Track assets and equipment 
  • Control parts and materials inventory 
  • Track maintenance costs 

At the heart of your program is the preventive maintenance work order (PM). Your PM software solution is how you manage your PMs. That’s what the software does, but the question is: How does it work?

They might not be the ones you think. 

The ability to leverage reliable maintenance data that lives in the cloud 

This one is less a specific feature and more something that works behind the scenes making all your other features better. Traditionally, maintenance departments ran everything relying on paper, from scheduling labor to trying to track parts.

The problem was that the whole system was susceptible to human error. All it took was one technician filling in the wrong numbers in the wrong spot to make your data inaccurate and unreliable. 

And that was the data you could keep.  When things exist only on paper, it’s all too easy for them to slip through the cracks. Once you lose that slip of paper, it’s gone forever.  

But even if you had all your data (and somehow it was all accurate), there was no easy way to leverage it for your operations. For example, if you wanted to know which asset was costing you most to keep up and running, you would have to track down all your reactive and preventive work orders to add up all the associated costs, including labor and parts. The answers would be out there somewhere, but you would have to spend a lot of time chasing it down. 

And even if you had all your manual data and it was accurate, it would be hard to share insights with the rest of the maintenance department. Trying to run a team of techs with paper work orders and emails is tough. Paper-based processes move slowly. Plus, it’s too easy to end up working from different, out-of-date directions.

The value of the data disappears if you can’t share it. You might know what needs to get done to avoid costly downtime on a critical asset, but if you can’t communicate that to the team effectively, you can’t get your data working for you.   

Getting all your data in one spot makes everything smoother. You want it updated in real time, so everyone is working from the same single source of truth. Now everyone knows what needs to be done and when it’s all scheduled.  Plus, now everyone has transparency on individual roles and responsibilities in the process. 

With a cloud-based preventive maintenance platform, you get accurate data you can trust and that you can easily leverage into insights that are seamlessly shared with the whole team. And it ensures everyone is working from the same data. 

Being cloud-based is different than the other features of a preventive maintenance solution. It’s more a critical characteristic of the software. It’s what makes many of the other features possible and better.  

Generating on-demand maintenance work orders 

Connected features make it easier for you to set up and track work, including reacting quickly when the unexpected happens. 

Reactive, on-demand maintenance work orders 

Even with a smaller facility, it’s impossible for the maintenance team to catch every small issue quickly, which is why a built-in request portal is so important. Once everyone in the building has a fast, simple way to report issues to maintenance, it’s like having an extra set of eyes and ears everywhere. It’s the same logic behind 911.

Police, fire, and ambulance crews need reliable ways for people to report problems. And it’s not always for emergencies. All those departments have non-emergency numbers people can use to report anything from a broken traffic light to a cat stuck in a tree. 

Once someone sends a maintenance request through the online portal, the maintenance lead can review it right away and decide on the next steps, including how to best prioritize open work orders. Is it something you can safely delay while focusing on more important matters? Or does it deserve your immediate attention? Did someone report a burned-out light bulb in a storage closet? Or is there a major water leak in the break room ceiling? 

From inside the preventive maintenance software, you can take the details in the request and build out your reactive maintenance work order, including everything the maintenance techs need to work efficiently and close it out quickly. Next, you can assign the work directly to a technician.  

Get granular with checklists for PM inspections and tasks

For the average PM, there’s a combination of inspections and tasks the tech needs to run through to ensure they’re finding and fixing any small issues before they have a chance to slide down the p-f curve, where everything becomes much more expensive.

With the right software solution, you can create custom checklists tailored specifically to your assets and equipment. So, say one of the industrial washing machines in the basement of your hotel has recurring issues with its motor, you can add specific items to the inspection list.

Or, if the rollers on the conveyor belt in your manufacturing facilities tend to loosen and then bend, you can easily add related tasks to the PMs. 

Mobile friendly technology for techs and maintenance leaders 

Being mobile means your technicians have access to everything from everywhere. With instant access to comprehensive asset maintenance and repair histories, techs arrive onsite with the data they need to work fast. When they’re working on the AC unit that was recently upgraded with a new fan, they know to look there first. Imagine the team is working on a forklift that’s making a strange squeak.

Because they can see a PM from the week before when someone on the team adjusted the brakes as part of an ongoing PM program, they’re already more than halfway to narrowing down the possible problem. 

Even when it’s not in the asset’s histories, the answer is never far away. Techs can access OEM manuals and digital schematics from their mobile devices. And with the ability to upload comments and pictures directly to the open work order, they can even get help from the rest of the department.  


The benefit of preventive maintenance is how you get out ahead of the maintenance curve, and preventive maintenance software helps you set up and run your PM program. The software has many different features, including PM scheduling and inventory control, but some of the most powerful ones are less obvious.

Having all your data in one central location helps keep everything accurate and accessible. Being able to move data seamlessly from requests to work orders to standing PMs deliver better control, while customization ensures your team gets the data it needs fast and from anywhere.   

About the author

Jonathan Davis

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