Choosing the Right Maintenance Approaches for Your Organization

Choosing the Right Maintenance Approaches for Your Organization

Choosing the Right Maintenance Approaches for Your Organization

LinkedIn SurveyDaniel Penn Associates recently asked members of LinkedIn’s Association of Asset Management Professionals Group “What is the maintenance strategy that you use the most with your organization?”

The feedback we received was consistent with our team’s experiences. Sixty-three percent of the 284 survey participants said they most frequently use planned maintenance, 17% said they most frequently use reactive maintenance, and 16% said they most frequently use predictive maintenance.

Each type of maintenance plays a role in helping manufacturers manage, maintain, and restore the health of their facilities’ valuable physical assets. Planned maintenance ensures regular upkeep, while reactive maintenance addresses unexpected failures promptly. Predictive maintenance (PdM) leverages data and analytics to predict and prevent failures.

Maintenance Types

Let’s take a closer look at the uses, considerations, and benefits of each type:

Maintenance TypeBenefitsConsiderationsExample
Planned / Scheduled MaintenanceIncreased equipment reliability, extended equipment lifespan, improved safety, and enhanced efficiency.Requires proper planning, scheduling, and execution to prevent unplanned equipment failure and downtime.Aerospace manufacturing: Scheduled inspection, calibration, cleaning, lubrication, and software updates for CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines used for precision cutting, shaping, and drilling of various components.
Reactive (Breakdown) MaintenanceRapid response to unforeseen issues can minimize downtime, allow flexibility in allocating maintenance resources, and prioritize critical issues. Companies with limited resources or low failure rates may find reactive maintenance or run-to-failure a good, cost-effective practice. The goal is to restore the asset to operating condition as quickly as possible.Relying solely on reactive maintenance can lead to higher long-term costs due to the reallocation of labor to fix the issue, reduced productivity, unexpected downtime, damage to other components, and diversion from planned maintenance activities.Pharmaceutical manufacturing: Immediate diagnosis, response, and repair of malfunctioning mixers, fillers, or packaging machines. Loss of electricity, water supply, or compressed air requires all hands-on deck by maintenance teams and utility providers.
Predictive (Condition-Based) Maintenance (PdM)Enhances decision-making that can increase operational efficiency, equipment availability, and production efficiency; improve asset performance, extend equipment lifespan, optimize costs, and improve, skilled personnel, systems integration, threshold setting and alarms, maintenance planning, CI and change management, and training.Concrete manufacturing:
Install sensors on motors, bearings, and belts. Monitor, collect, and analyze data to potential failure. Set up condition-based alerts to flag deviations from normal operating conditions. Use data analysis to create a predictive maintenance schedule. Perform proactive repairs and component replacement when the system identifies potential failures or deteriorating conditions. detect signs of

A combination of these maintenance strategies can help manufacturing organizations minimize downtime, increase reliability, optimize performance, and gain a competitive edge.

The Downside of Reactive Maintenance

According to research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

  • On average, 45.7 % of machinery maintenance is reactive maintenance.
  • The top 25% of those establishments relying on reactive maintenance were associated with 3.3 times more downtime than those in the bottom 25%.
  • Reactive-maintenance organizations were also associated with 16 times more defects, 2.8 more lost sales due to defects from maintenance, 2.4 times more lost sales due to delays from maintenance, and 4.9 times more inventory increases due to maintenance issues.

As Michael Beauregard points out in his upcoming Productivity Press book Process Downtime Reduction, the old Fram oil filter commercial was correct – “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later,” but later (i.e., reactive) always costs more.

Looking to The Future of Predictive/Condition-Based Maintenance (PdM)

Given that unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually and that equipment failure is the cause of 42% of this unplanned downtime, companies are beginning to use PdM methods that incorporate technology, set condition-based alerts and provide training to help manufacturers discover and fix issues before they become full-blown crises. New artificial intelligence tools (AI) can help maintenance professionals quickly aggregate and analyze maintenance data.

NIST reports that the top 50% in predictive maintenance “experienced 15% less downtime, an 87% lower defect rate, and 66% less inventory increases due to unplanned maintenance.”

Bringing It Together

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) is a systematic approach to maintenance planning and decision-making that optimizes the reliability, performance and safety of physical assets. It involves analyzing the functions, potential failures, and consequences of failures of equipment to determine the most effective maintenance strategies. RCM includes:

  • A focus on emphasizing, identifying and prioritizing critical functions of equipment that are essential for achieving desired outcomes. These are determined based on the equipment’s purpose and the organization’s objectives.
  • Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) to help understand the risks associated with equipment failure and enable proactive maintenance planning.
  • Maintenance strategy selection for different types of failures, considering such factors as the criticality of the function, cost-effectiveness, safety implications, and potential impact on production.
  • A proactive maintenance approach that focuses on preventing failures rather than simply responding to them and implementing preventive or predictive maintenance activities to minimize risk.
  • Evaluation and optimization of maintenance tasks on equipment to determine the optimal frequency of inspections, tests, lubrication, and other activities based on reliability, performance, and cost considerations.
  • Continuous improvement by collecting data and feedback on the effectiveness of maintenance strategies. This information is used to refine maintenance plans, optimize asset performance, and enhance overall reliability.

As one of the plant asset management leaders in our LinkedIn survey noted, “The idea in any reliability-centered maintenance program is to monitor all possible failure modes with key trending health parameters. Depending on the alarms we set up for normal and warning signs, we can decide on which strategy is best suited to eliminate the abnormality.”

An Integrated Path Forward

Bringing these elements together helps manufacturers in their maintenance and asset management programs:

A Comprehensive Approach to Excellence in Maintenance and Asset Management

Equipment Database, Hierarchy, Criticality, HistoryMaintenance SOP’s/Procedures
Maintenance Organization StructurePlanning & Scheduling
CMMS UtilizationWork Order Management & Control
Management CommitmentPersonnel Training & Up Skilling
Performance MetricsStrategic Sourcing & Inventory Control
RCM, FMEA, RCFA Analysis ToolsBacklog/Deferred Maintenance Management
Work Order Prioritization5s, TPM, Lean, Continuous Improvement

How is your organization incorporating technology, tools and training to help it migrate from reactive to preventive and proactive maintenance?


Tony Rodriguez is president of Daniel Penn Associates. The firm has over 45 years’ consulting experience helping companies improve asset management, operational excellence, and lean management.

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