Planned maintenance, also known as planned preventative maintenance or scheduled maintenance, is an activity where a company will schedule work done in order to avoid outages. The simplest example of this for the average person is an oil change on their car. The oil is changed on a regular basis to prevent the engine from having problems at an unexpected moment in the future.
Facilities need to have a detailed planned maintenance program to ensure all their machines and other equipment are working properly as much as possible. When a good planned maintenance program is in place, facilities are also better able to have a predictable set of expenses. The costs of most types of maintenance are known, whereas repairing costs for something after it is broken is often unpredictable.
Who Does Planned Maintenance?
One of the benefits of planning maintenance activities ahead of time is you can schedule experts to perform the work. If a machine breaks down unexpectedly, the person who is best able to fix it might not be working that day. This can make it much more difficult to complete the repair, and it may take far longer.
By planning maintenance weeks, months, or even years in advance, it is possible to ensure the right people are there to do the job. It also allows them to make sure they have the right tools, parts, and equipment to get it done right.
Types of Planned Maintenance
There are many types of planned maintenance that the average workplace performs. Something as simple as general cleaning can be considered a type of maintenance, since removing dirt and debris from an area can help avoid problems with many types of machinery. Some other types of planned maintenance include:
- Lubrication – Most machines require lubricants to keep things running smoothly. Replacing the oil or other lubricant on a regular basis helps avoid many mechanical problems.
- Parts Replacement – Some parts are designed with a set lifespan. A saw blade, for example, will wear out after a set amount of time. If the blade is not replaced on a schedule, it will begin to cut less efficiently. This can also result in cuts that aren’t ‘clean.’
- Upgrades – Part of many planned maintenance plans is upgrading equipment. Keeping things up to date with the latest options can help improve the safety and efficiently of machines. Planning upgrades on a schedule like this also allows for predictable expenses.
Disadvantages of Planned Maintenance
While planned maintenance offers many benefits to facilities, there are also some drawbacks that need to be addressed. One potential issue is that companies will be replacing parts according to a set schedule rather than when it is strictly needed. Many parts have set ‘life expectancies’ assigned to them, but may actually last significantly longer. Some companies inspect parts before replacing them and plan future maintenance accordingly.
Another issue is that while planned maintenance is less expensive than waiting for a major issue to occur, it can be more expensive than using fault reporting strategies. Having systems alert when there are signs of an issue and then performing the maintenance, can sometimes save money in the long run. It must be done precisely to avoid potential problems.