In 2024, when the average global cost of maintenance is north of $222 billion, the stakes for efficient maintenance are incredibly high. A well-structured preventive maintenance program can help reduce these costs while improving the reliability and efficiency of manufacturing operations. 

For companies in the manufacturing industry, every opportunity to increase productivity should be considered. Investing in the right preventive maintenance program is a way for organizations to gain an edge in today’s competitive market. Here is how to develop the best strategy possible.

What Is a Preventive Maintenance Program?

A preventive maintenance program is a systematic approach in manufacturing that focuses on regularly scheduled maintenance of equipment before failures occur. It is a form of maintenance management with the primary goal focused on production processes and improving the overall efficiency, reliability, and longevity of equipment. 

By implementing such programs, manufacturers will minimize breakdowns and the associated costs around repairs and downtime. The proactive strategy helps manufacturing facilities operate at their peak performance with minimal interruptions.

Further, with this strategy, it is much more likely for manufacturers to keep consistent quality while meeting production targets without unforeseen delays.

How To Develop a Preventive Maintenance Program in 7 Steps

The right preventive maintenance program can be transformative for a manufacturer. But where to start? Here is a step-by-step guide to designing the best preventive maintenance program.

Step 1: Assessing Equipment Needs

Begin by conducting a detailed inventory of all machinery and equipment. This assessment should include each item’s current condition, maintenance history, and frequency of use. Knowing these details helps determine the specific requirements and priorities for each piece of equipment.

Step 2: Establishing Maintenance Objectives

Define clear and measurable goals. These should align with broader business objectives, such as reducing downtime, boosting safety standards, and improving overall operational efficiency. Clarity here will guide the development and help measure the program’s success. Do not assume the team knows what to do, or what the expectations are. Clear guidance leads to expected results.

Step 3: Creating a Maintenance Schedule

Develop a comprehensive maintenance schedule that details when and how often each equipment needs servicing. Follow this carefully. This schedule should include the tasks to be performed and identify who is responsible for each. Avoid any overlaps or redundancies to make sure all equipment is maintained without disrupting production processes. Be completist.

Step 4: Implementing Inspection Procedures

Standardize inspection procedures to identify potential issues before they lead to equipment failure. This could be through routine visual checks, performance tests, or the use of diagnostic tools to monitor equipment conditions. Regular inspections lead to the early detection of problems, which can help prevent costly repairs further down the line. It is about creating something simple and standardized that can be replicated in the future.

Step 5: Training Maintenance Staff

Take time to train the staff. The latest maintenance procedures and best practices should cover the specific requirements of each piece of equipment. Discuss safe handling practices and troubleshooting techniques. Well-trained personnel are foundational to a preventive maintenance program. Do not assume team members will understand on the first go and spend the resources ensuring they are trained right. Without them, the program is useless.

Step 6: Procuring Necessary Resources

Provide all necessary tools, parts, and materials and — most importantly — make sure they are readily available to carry out maintenance tasks. This means managing inventory effectively to avoid any potential shortages that could cause delays in repairs. Having the right resources on hand reduces downtime and avoids unnecessary resource expenses.  

Step 7: Monitoring and Adjusting the Program

Consistency is key. Regularly monitor the effectiveness of the maintenance program and adjust, as necessary. This includes analyzing records, tracking performance, and gathering feedback from the maintenance team. Use these insights to refine the program and continuously improve the program over time. Always be thinking and challenging the team about where there are opportunities to get more efficient.

Graphic illustrating seven steps to develop a preventive maintenance program.

4 Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

After a program is implemented, what type of benefits can manufacturers expect? The right preventive maintenance program offers several key advantages.

On average, predictive maintenance increases productivity by 25%, reduces breakdowns by 70%, and lowers maintenance costs by 25%.”
Deloitte Research

  1. Extended Equipment Lifespan

Get the full value out of equipment. Regular preventive maintenance extends the operational life of machinery through proper care and maintenance. This routine upkeep, which includes lubrication, adjustments, and replacements of worn parts, prevents the long-term degradation of machinery. Simply put, regular maintenance means equipment operates for a longer period without the need for expensive replacements.

  2. Decreased Downtime

Avoid the expense and frustration of unexpected downtime. Scheduling preventive maintenance reduces outages and helps address potential issues before they result in equipment failures. Breakdowns can seriously halt production and disrupt manufacturing processes. Stop them before they have the chance to happen.

  3. Improved Safety

Protect the team and foster a culture of safety. Routine checks and maintenance tasks help identify and rectify any potential safety hazards before they become serious. They reduce the risk of accidents while promoting a safer workplace environment. This protects employees while helping manufacturers comply with health and safety regulations.

  4. Cost Savings

Do not waste resources due to a lack of strategy. Use preventive maintenance programs to maintain equipment and address issues promptly. Manufacturers avoid costly emergency repairs and minimize the inefficient use of equipment. Additionally, keeping equipment in good working order reduces the need for frequent replacements, which further drives down costs.

 

Process engineer gives a 5-star review, praising Maintenance Connection as a robust CMMS platform.

Preventive Maintenance Program Example

To understand what preventive maintenance looks like in action, consider a situation in which a manufacturing plant is equipped with complex machinery. This example illustrates how a structured and proactive maintenance strategy through maintenance management software is planned and executed.

Step 1: Scheduled Inspections

The program initiates with regularly scheduled inspections of equipment. This detailing aims to detect early signs of wear and tear. The goal is to catch these potential issues before they turn into significant problems that could lead to equipment failure.  

Step 2: Maintenance Tasks

Following the inspections, specific maintenance tasks are assigned and carried out at predetermined intervals. This step includes tasks such as lubrication, changing filters, or replacing worn parts. Much of this is based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and historical maintenance data.

Step 3: Documentation and Records

Maintain a comprehensive overview of the maintenance history, the manufacturing plant employees document all inspections, tasks, and any repairs performed. These records both track the health and maintenance of each piece of equipment while predicting future needs.

Step 4: Continuous Improvement

Finally, the preventive maintenance program regularly reviews data gathered now to improve itself over time. Careful analysis identifies trends and inefficiencies. These learnings encourage adjustments to schedules and practices as needed to improve the program’s effectiveness.

Best Practices for a Preventive Maintenance Program

A preventive maintenance program is only as effective as its execution. Follow these best practices to improve the longevity and performance of equipment while truly boosting overall operational efficiency.

Regularly Update Maintenance Schedules

Plan to adapt and do not wait to react. Continuously update maintenance schedules based on equipment usage and performance data. This approach avoids excessive maintenance that wastes resources or, even worse, insufficient maintenance that leads to equipment failures. Regular adjustments and awareness align decisions with actual equipment needs.

Use Quality Parts and Materials

Treat equipment with respect and use high-quality replacement parts and materials. Investing in superior parts means that repairs are durable and effective — and can even improve the efficiency of the equipment. It is a straightforward way to extend the machinery’s lifespan while reducing the frequency of breakdowns.  

Train and Empower Your Maintenance Team

A preventive maintenance program is built on knowledgeable employees. Provide ongoing training to empower staff to perform their duties more effectively. Well-trained teams are better equipped to identify potential issues early and suggest improvements to strategies or protocols.

Leverage CMMS for Maintenance Management

Utilize advanced technology. For instance, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) will significantly improve preventive management operations. A CMMS can automate the scheduling, documentation, and tracking of maintenance activities. It provides a centralized platform for managing all tasks and ensures nothing is overlooked.

Implement a Preventive Maintenance Program with Maintenance Connection’s CMMS

Accruent’s Maintenance Connection is a CMMS designed for the organization and execution of maintenance activities across industries. It is a centralized hub where businesses can manage all aspects of equipment maintenance — from scheduling and tracking to reporting and compliance. Through effective execution, the software helps businesses optimize their resource allocation.

Here are some key features: 

  • Asset Lifecycle Management: Tracks and manages the entire lifecycle of physical assets.
  • Work Order Management: The work order software tracks the creation, assignment, and tracking of maintenance work orders.
  • Inventory Management: Provides powerful tools for managing parts that are available when needed.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Access and update data in real-time from anywhere to respond quickly to emerging needs.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Delivers detailed data that aids in making informed decisions about activities and strategies.

Infographic of Maintenance Connection use cases including preventive and predictive maintenance, asset and labor management.

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​​​​​​​Accruent’s CMMS software is particularly beneficial in manufacturing. For plant managers, production supervisors, and facility managers, the software simplifies complex processes. It frees professionals up and encourages them to think bigger and about more innovative ideas rather than getting caught up in manual tasks or maintenance tracking. 

And when equipment downtime directly translates to lost productivity, facilities risk losing double the amount of productivity. Workers are forced to deal with messes created due to manual tasks. In other words, the CMMS supports daily operations and larger, strategic business planning and execution.

Preventive Maintenance Programs Made Easy with Accruent’s Maintenance Connection

Act now to avoid failure later. Stay ahead of disasters before they have the chance to start. A preventive maintenance program can help an organization maintain operational reliability by minimizing disruptions. The right preventive maintenance software can be a game-changer. 

Want to know more? Learn how Maintenance Connection’s CMMS elevates every level of an organization, one task at a time.

Preventive Maintenance Program FAQs

What is the major goal of a preventive maintenance program?

A preventive maintenance program's main goal is to prevent equipment failure before it occurs. This proactive approach aims to reduce unplanned downtime, extend the lifespan of equipment, and optimize the reliability and efficiency of operations. The right preventive maintenance program saves organizations valuable time and resources.

What makes a good preventative maintenance program?

A good preventive maintenance program is comprehensive, regularly updated, and tailored to the specific needs of the equipment. It should include routine inspections, scheduled servicing, and timely repairs. These operational services should be supported by detailed documentation and analysis to continuously improve the process. The best preventive maintenance programs are constantly improving themselves.

What is typically included in a scheduled preventive maintenance program?

A scheduled preventive maintenance program typically includes systematic inspections, adjustments, cleaning, and replacements of parts at scheduled intervals. Tasks are prioritized based on the importance of equipment to operations, historical data on equipment performance, and manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. It is a comprehensive approach to solving issues before they escalate.