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Planned maintenance can help you avoid the high costs associated with responding to breakdowns while decreasing the risk of accidents, and keeping production at an optimal rate. 

But what is planned maintenance, how is it different from preventive maintenance, and what does a planned maintenance strategy look like?

What is planned maintenance?

Planned maintenance is a proactive approach to maintenance that focuses on minimizing the downtime and costs associated with breakdowns. 

The process starts by identifying a maintenance challenge you want to address, such as reducing downtime or increasing the lifespan of your assets and equipment. You can then anticipate, schedule, and document the various tasks that help you reach your goal. 

Regular inspections, parts and materials inventory control, process descriptions, and work prioritization are all part of the planned maintenance process. The frequency of those tasks depends on the asset you want to maintain and is based on measurable factors, including the number of items produced, equipment running time, and distance traveled. Once you have created a maintenance schedule, you then have to put the parts and materials, tools, and resources in place to make sure the team completes the work correctly and on time.

What are the different types of planned maintenance?

There are two types of planned maintenance that you can implement: 

Planned preventive maintenance

Planned preventive maintenance (PPM) is the process of conducting regular and routine maintenance of your assets and equipment to prevent unexpected equipment failures and reduce costly downtime. Preventive maintenance uses industry standards and data insights to determine when you should perform maintenance tasks to prevent failures. You can trigger inspections and maintenance tasks based on usage, time, or condition-based factors.

Preventive maintenance can be an effective way to maintain assets with:

  • Statutory requirements
  • High replacement costs 
  • Critical roles in your overall operations

 

You also need assets there the failure rates increases with use. Basically, the more you use them, and as they get older, they tend to fail more often.

Planned unscheduled maintenance

This type of planned maintenance involves delaying the upkeep of an asset until a breakdown occurs. It might sound contradictory, but planned unscheduled maintenance, also called run-to-failure maintenance, is a legitimate planned maintenance technique. Although you do not expect a breakdown to happen, you plan the maintenance work beforehand so you can repair the equipment quickly.

Planned unscheduled maintenance is suitable in instances where the cost of reactive maintenance is less than the cost of preventive maintenance and the assets have little or no impact on production. 

Planned unscheduled maintenance is a good fit for:

  • Single-use assets with inexpensive parts
  • Assets without statutory requirements
  • Non-critical assets
  • Assets with a low financial value
  • Assets with short lifespans

You can also add assets that are unlikely to fail or have random failure patterns. 

What is the difference between planned and preventive maintenance?

You can use the terms planned and preventive maintenance somewhat interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. 

Preventive maintenance is the most common type of planned maintenance. Planned maintenance refers to any strategy where you plan and perform maintenance tasks before a fault occurs. Preventive maintenance is more specific. It refers to maintenance tasks that you schedule and perform while an asset is still working to prevent it from failing unexpectedly.  

What is the difference between planned and unplanned maintenance?

With either type of planned maintenance, you put the resources and parts in place to maintain an asset before a failure occurs. In the case of preventive maintenance, you schedule inspections and maintenance to take place at regular intervals to reduce the risk of a failure. But, with planned unscheduled maintenance, you plan the maintenance but do not schedule it or assign it to a technician until a failure occurs. 

Unplanned maintenance, on the other hand, refers to any maintenance tasks that you do not plan in advance. Unplanned maintenance commonly occurs after an asset or piece of equipment breaks down. As the maintenance work has not been planned, you may not have the parts or resources to do the repair, which increases the downtime and the costs.

Unplanned maintenance can occur when there is no formal maintenance strategy in place. However, it can also be a viable part of a balanced maintenance strategy for businesses with assets that are:

  • Non-critical to operations
  • Quick and cheap to repair
  • Unrepairable at all
  • Easily bypassed

There are three main types of unplanned maintenance that you can implement:

Reactive maintenance

This is unplanned maintenance to fix an asset or piece of equipment after an unexpected breakdown. In most cases, maintenance teams want to minimize the amount of reactive maintenance in their facilities, although it can be a suitable maintenance strategy for some non-critical assets.  

Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance takes place when equipment stops working efficiently. It can include everything from minor fixes to large-scale repairs that resolve issues a business has not planned for. Even equipment that undergoes regular preventive maintenance can receive corrective maintenance if you discover a fault before you have performed the scheduled maintenance.

Opportunistic maintenance

Teams that implement this type of maintenance strategy capitalize on unexpected production stoppages to carry out preventive maintenance. This maintenance is not scheduled and relies on resources at the location making the most of a planned or unplanned shutdown of a system to replace or repair equipment and components.  

As the maintenance planner or facilities manager, it is your job to consider the impact of failing equipment and to decide whether these three types of unplanned maintenance should be a part of your maintenance strategy.  

How do you use planned maintenance?

There is a simple process that you can follow to structure and implement a planned maintenance program. 

Step 1: Identify a problem and create a work order

The first step in any planned maintenance program is to identify a problem you want to solve. This information will usually come from the operator or supervisor who detects the issue. It should include the asset in question, details about the problem, and any other issues that relate to it. As the facilities manager or maintenance planner, you can create a work order or a repeating schedule to address it.  

Step 2: Assess the worksite and the asset

Once you have created the work order, the next step is to inspect the asset and the premises where you want to perform the work. You should document the scope of the work, the parts or materials required, and the tools the technician needs. You should also check that the worksite is accessible and there aren’t any complications that could hinder your team.

Step 3: Detail the process to complete the work and order the necessary parts

During the planning phases, it’s important to detail all of the procedures required to complete the work successfully. That includes the maintenance task itself, the safety precautions, and any access requirements. 

Step 4: Assign the work order a priority level

Once you have outlined the work, you can then assign it a priority level. Some maintenance tasks are always more time-sensitive than others. A simple tip is to categorize maintenance tasks into one of four categories: 

  • Emergency tasks are urgent health and safety problems or issues that will disrupt the business’s operations.
  • High-priority tasks will directly affect operations in the short term.
  • Medium-priority tasks typically include preventive maintenance that will maintain optimum production in the medium to long term.
  • Low-priority tasks are not vital to the day-to-day operations of the business and include non-critical repairs, furniture replacement, and cosmetic issues.   

 

You can then order the materials to complete the tasks with the highest priority level. 

Step 5: Schedule and complete the planned maintenance

Now the planning phase is over, the scheduling can begin. This is typically the role of the maintenance planner or a specialist scheduler. The scheduling process is all about the “when” and “who” of the planned work. Scheduling will determine when you perform a maintenance task and who will do the work based on the priority level that you have given it.   

How do you create a planned maintenance checklist?

Creating and implementing a planned maintenance strategy is only half the battle. You should also keep an eye on how it is performing after its launch. You can do that by creating a planned maintenance checklist.

A planned maintenance checklist is an effective way you help track your maintenance KPIs. That will give you a good idea of where the plan is working, how you can improve it, and the impact that it is having on your operational efficiency. Checklists are also a simple and effective way to standardize routine tasks. 

Your planned maintenance checklist should include:

  • Preparation details - A list of the tools and spare parts your technicians will need to perform the work as well as an estimated time for completion.
  • Safety details - The safety instructions your technicians should adhere to, the personal protective equipment (PPE) they must wear, and details of lockout, tagout (LOTO) procedures. 
  • Visual aids - If necessary, you should also include pictures, diagrams, and videos on your planned maintenance checklist to help your technicians perform the work properly. 

 

As well as this supplementary information, your planned maintenance checklist should also outline the actual steps involved in completing the work. The key to doing that well is to make sure all of that information is:

Clear and concise

Including too much information in your checklist can be just as problematic as providing too little. The key is to imagine that you are outlining the steps involved for a new maintenance technician to follow. If a step needs a detailed explanation, then use a diagram or video if possible and always be precise. What might be obvious to you, such as an asset having two rather than one evaporator coils, may not be so obvious to a technician who has not worked on that asset before. 

Explains the steps in order

Your checklist should provide a step-by-step description of the tasks the technician must perform in the order they should complete them. Every step that you include in your checklist must also have a purpose. If it doesn’t, then remove it. Once you have completed the checklist, run it by an experienced maintenance technician to check that you have not missed anything out. 

Updates the information regularly

A planning maintenance checklist is not something that can stay in place unchanged. You should update it regularly in response to suggested adjustments from field technicians, changes in the location of assets, and when assets have been replaced. 

What are the benefits of a planned maintenance program?

Reducing unplanned downtime is the primary goal of most businesses that implement a planned maintenance program. However, there are also several other benefits that it can bring.

Increase workplace safety

Preventing equipment failure helps to reduce the risk to operators and other employees who work close to the equipment.

Get work done more quickly

As you have completed the preparatory work beforehand, such as ordering the parts, explaining what PPE to wear, and detailing the procedure to shut down the assets safely, the technicians can get on with the actual maintenance work more quickly.  

Extend the life of your assets

Servicing equipment regularly and maintaining equipment before it breaks down helps you to keep it in peak condition and extend its operational time so you won’t have to replace it so frequently.  

Reduce your maintenance costs

Implementing a planned maintenance strategy is a simple but effective way to reduce your maintenance costs. It enables you to identify small problems and make easy repairs before they become bigger and more expensive failures. 

Improve your time management 

Some planned maintenance tasks can be scheduled years in advance, like making seasonal changes to equipment and vehicles. Other tasks may have shorter lead times, such as replacing air compressors after 100 hours of use. Regardless of the lead times, a planned maintenance program keeps you looking ahead so you can keep on top of maintenance tasks without spreading your resources too thin.  

How can planned maintenance software help?

Relying entirely on an unplanned and reactive maintenance strategy is a bad idea, whatever industry you’re in. If you rely on heavy machinery or vehicles to keep your business moving, then implementing a planned maintenance program is a great opportunity to cut downtime, improve safety, and reduce your maintenance costs. 

An easy-to-use maintenance management solution like Hippo CMMS® can put you in control of your planned maintenance. It enables you to build efficient and reliable workflows to keep your assets up and running. You can generate, assign, and track work orders, control your inventory, and get reliable automated reports that can improve visibility and create accountability.

Hippo also has customizable maintenance checklists so your techs know exactly what to look out for, while planned maintenance scheduling helps to make sure you have the right people with the right skill sets in place and ready to work. That allows you to resolve maintenance issues more quickly and without having to rely on expensive overtime.   

Next steps

Want to find out how planned maintenance software helps you stay one step ahead of the maintenance curve? Then book a live demo with one of our experts or get in touch with your questions today.

Executive summary

Planned maintenance is a proactive maintenance approach that focuses on minimizing the downtime and costs associated with breakdowns and repairs. The process starts by identifying a challenge you want to address, such as reducing downtime or increasing the lifespan of your machinery. You can then anticipate, schedule, and document the various maintenance tasks that will help you overcome it.

There are two types of planned maintenance: preventive and unscheduled. Preventive maintenance refers to tasks that you schedule and perform while an asset still works to prevent it from failing unexpectedly. This is a suitable strategy for assets that have a high financial value and are critical to operations. Planned unscheduled maintenance is the delaying of the upkeep of an asset until a breakdown occurs. Although you do not expect the breakdown, you have planned the maintenance work so the asset can be repaired quickly. This is suitable for non-critical assets with a low financial value and short lifespans. 

There are five simple steps that you can take to structure and implement a planned maintenance program, from identifying maintenance tasks and creating work orders to scheduling the work. A maintenance management software solution like Hippo CMMS can optimize every stage of the process to help you get more from your assets and boost your ROI.     

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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