Do you want to adopt preventive maintenance in your organization? Then you’re going to need a preventive maintenance schedule. It can help you avoid downtime, save money, and keep your assets in optimal working order.  

But what is a preventive maintenance schedule, and how can you create and implement one in your organization?  

What is a preventive maintenance schedule? 

Preventive maintenance is the practice of servicing your assets, equipment, and vehicles at regular intervals to reduce the likelihood of unplanned downtime and equipment failure. To do that, you need to create a schedule that determines who will perform your planned maintenance tasks and when. 

An effective preventive maintenance schedule should include all of the maintenance tasks you perform regularly on your critical assets based on specific time or usage triggers. You should consider the availability of skilled technicians, inventory such as spare parts and tools, and the timeframes for completing tasks to determine when the best time is to do the work. 

Creating preventive maintenance schedules is usually the job of maintenance supervisors, maintenance planners, or dedicated maintenance schedulers. Preventive maintenance scheduling is not to be confused with preventive maintenance planning, which focuses on what tasks your techs need to do and how they should do it.  

Why is a preventive maintenance schedule important? 

A preventive maintenance schedule helps you stay up to date with the maintenance tasks on all of the critical assets within your organization. It makes it easier to keep tabs on your assets and equipment, manage your costs, and reduce the risk of workplace accidents.  

The benefits of creating a preventive maintenance schedule include: 

  • Reducing the likelihood of equipment failure 
  • Having fewer major repairs 
  • Keeping equipment running at its optimum levels 
  • Increasing your wrench time 
  • Extending the lifespan of your assets  
  • Reducing your equipment downtime 
  • Making more economical use of your maintenance workers 

On benefit that people don’t often consider is how a strong PM program helps with safety. When you can actively avoid failures, there is less chance of injury to both the maintenance techs and operators. Remember, when equipment fails, it sometimes does more than just stop working. It can catch fire or, worst case, explode. 

How often should you perform preventive maintenance?

You can schedule your preventive maintenance based on time, usage, or condition-based triggers. The trigger you use can differ from asset to asset depending on the most suitable approach for each. Your risk assessment, historical data, advice from the manufacturer, and health and safety regulations will help you determine when you should inspect your equipment and the right trigger to use.  

Time-based preventive maintenance uses a set time interval, such as every 10 days or on the first day of every month, to determine when you inspect your assets. An example might be replacing an air filter every three months or changing the engine oil in a vehicle every six months.  

Usage-based scheduling sets maintenance intervals according to your usage of an asset. You can track usage with equipment monitors and set up maintenance schedules based on operating hours, distance covered, production cycles, and other predetermined parameters. Once the asset reaches that number, a work order is created for your techs to perform the necessary maintenance.  

Condition-based maintenance uses sensors to monitor the condition of your equipment. You can then schedule maintenance when you hit certain parameters. For example, you can schedule a maintenance task when the vibration or temperature of a component reaches a certain threshold. Your techs can then inspect and/or repair the equipment before its performance declines or it fails.  

How do you make and implement a preventive maintenance schedule? 

Creating a preventive maintenance schedule can take time, but it could be one of the best long-term investments you make. The key is to identify the optimum maintenance interval for each asset. That enables you to maximize your resources while reducing the costs and downtime associated with going from one crisis to the next. 

Step 1: Create an inventory of your assets  

Your first job is to create an inventory of your most critical assets. These are the assets that would cause considerable disruption if they were to fail. The assets that benefit most from a preventive maintenance schedule are those that: 

  • Have high repair and replacement costs 
  • Are more likely to fail as time goes by 
  • Are vital to the function and success of your operations 
  • Have failure modes that you can prevent with routine maintenance 

You should record the make and model, serial number, unit number, location, category, primary users, and parts for each asset in a spreadsheet or your enterprise asset management system (EAM). 

If this is your first time doing preventive maintenance, it’s worth scheduling tasks for newer assets and equipment initially. Taking that approach will help you generate a better return than if you choose equipment that’s already reaching the end of its lifecycle and is ready to be replaced. It can also help you prove value more quickly if you’re still in the process of pitching preventive maintenance to your bosses.  

Step 2: Determine your priorities 

Preventive maintenance can help you make big savings on critical assets; however, it can be expensive, unnecessary, and wasteful on non-critical assets that can easily be replaced. So, you need to determine which assets you’re going to perform preventive maintenance on and conducting a criticality analysis is a good way to do it.   

Just assign a score to your assets based on their criticality to production and safety, how much regular maintenance they require, and how high their repair and replacement costs are. Those assets with the highest scores should be prioritized and scheduled for preventive maintenance.   

Step 3: Identify appropriate maintenance intervals 

Over-maintaining your assets can be just as wasteful as under-maintaining them, so always do your research to determine the most appropriate maintenance intervals.  

Every asset differs in terms of its maintenance needs, which is why reviewing your historical maintenance data is such a valuable source of insights. It can reveal past failure patterns and the components you should pay the most attention to.  

As well as historical data, you should consult the equipment manufacturer’s manual, which will contain instructions, schedules, and information about the usage of spare parts. The machine operators and your more experienced technicians will also have some insight into the asset’s failure patterns.   

Step 4: Schedule recurring inspections and tasks 

Now you know how frequently you need to inspect and maintain each asset; you can create recurring work orders for those tasks. Using an EAM solution like ManagerPlus® allows you to generate, assign, track, and store recurring work orders in a centralized and easy-to-use platform. The software also allows you to automate short-term and long-term schedules and capture all the minor maintenance tasks that can fall through the cracks, so you don’t miss a trick.  

Step 5: Check your progress and keep fine-tuning 

Your preventive maintenance schedule is not something you can set and leave. Instead, you should monitor your progress and identify areas where you can make improvements. There are several metrics that you can use to see how well you’re doing, including: 

  • Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) – This measures the average time between asset failures (number of operational hours/number of failures). 
  • Preventive Maintenance Compliance (PMC) – PMC measures how many of your scheduled tasks you complete within a given period (number of completed tasks/number of scheduled tasks x 100). 
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) – OEE combines asset availability, performance, and production quality to determine the overall productivity of your assets. Here’s how you can calculate OEE. 

The metrics that best align with your maintenance goals should be your benchmarks of success. When monitoring your progress, it’s important to remember that your preventive maintenance schedule may not be perfect from the off. Another benefit of using EAM software to create and implement your PM schedule is that you can adjust quickly and with minimal effort.  

How can EAM software help? 

EAM software can be a lifesaver when you’re scheduling preventive maintenance tasks. Just program the usage or time triggers and your EAM will do the rest by scheduling the tasks for your techs to complete.  

ManagerPlus® can help you with every aspect of your preventive maintenance, from scheduling your tasks to managing work orders and controlling your inventory.  

You can stay on top of your maintenance by setting ManagerPlus to automatically trigger tasks based on preset conditions such as time and mileage. It also helps you monitor equipment performance so you can make informed decisions about whether to replace or maintain your assets. You can also produce historical equipment maintenance reports to show you how often you have repaired equipment and at what total cost.  

Next steps 

Ready to create and implement a preventive maintenance schedule? 

Then book a live demo of ManagerPlus with one of our experts or get in touch so we can answer your questions.   

Executive summary 

A preventive maintenance schedule sets out who will perform your planned maintenance tasks and when, and is an important part of a preventive maintenance strategy. Your preventive maintenance schedule should consider the availability of skilled technicians, your inventory of tools and spare parts, and the priority of different maintenance tasks to determine when the best time is to do the work.   

You can determine how often you should perform preventive maintenance tasks based on time, usage, or condition-based triggers. Your risk assessment, historical data, and advice from the manufacturer will help you decide which trigger to use.  

Making and implementing your preventive maintenance schedule is a relatively simple process. A great way to start is by creating a schedule for a few of your most critical assets. Once you have a schedule that works, you can then apply the same principles to any other assets that you want to routinely maintain.  

ManagerPlus® can help with every aspect of the preventive maintenance process, from scheduling your tasks to managing work orders and controlling your inventory. It also helps you monitor your equipment closely so you can make more informed maintenance decisions 

About the author

Nathan Jeans

Nathan is a long-serving freelance copywriter with a specialism in B2B software. When he's not busy writing transformative content, he likes to spend his time trying to get some sleep.
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