maintenance management
maintenance management

Maintenance Management

Maintenance management is the structured process put in place to ensure assets and resources are functioning efficiently and effectively. The goal of maintenance management is to keep overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) high and to utilize resources effectively.

There are several moving parts to an optimized maintenance department, and prioritizing maintenance management is one of the keys to success. Because maintenance is the backbone of many organizations, understanding the importance of maintenance management has become a crucial part of operation teams’ strategies.

The scope of maintenance management

There are several components that comprise a well-oiled maintenance management engine. Let’s take a look at them in greater detail.

Work planning and management

The most prominent component of maintenance management is planning and executing preventive maintenance work, managing work requests, and handling maintenance emergencies efficiently and effectively.

Asset management

Asset management is a crucial component of effective maintenance management. Assets move through a five-stage life cycle of planning, acquiring, using, maintaining, and disposal (in that order). It’s important to properly inspect, assess, and manage each asset during each stage.

When you incorporate asset management into your maintenance processes, you’ll see many benefits, including:

  • Extended asset life
  • Decreased downtime
  • Greater efficiency
  • Money savings, and
  • Better decision making

MRO inventory and supplier management

Maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) inventory is all the products and tools a company may buy to keep operations running smoothly.

Unfortunately, due to the negative impacts of over and under-stocking inventory, many companies struggle to balance their MRO inventory properly. A crucial part of maintenance management is maintaining ideal inventory levels to avoid work disruptions caused by part unavailability.

Because inventory plays a crucial role in maintenance management, it’s important to maintain a positive and long-term relationship with suppliers to stay on top of inventory needs.

Contractor management

Contractor management ensures that contracted services enhance facility operations, the company’s processes, and personal safety performance objectives. Negotiating maintenance contracts, communicating any changes or problems with work performed, tracking costs associated with all contractors, and sending out work requests to said contractors help you effectively partake in good contractor management.

Budget management

Maintenance work elevates equipment performance and availability. However, it also adds to operating costs. Ideally, firms have to search for a favorable balance between the two. Maintenance managers can align their activities with the organization’s financial projections by collecting, tracking, and analyzing the total costs.

Some of these activities include:

  • Allocating a budget for any specific maintenance activities
  • Creating and generating reports
  • Tracking total maintenance costs

People management

Achieving operational excellence is ultimately up to the maintenance staff. And the operations of a team will only run as smoothly as the person managing them.

Activities for managing a maintenance workforce include:

  • Hiring and onboarding new employees
  • Creating the required procedures and safety guidelines
  • Training workers as needed
  • Keeping workers accountable and motivated

Objectives of maintenance management

maintenance management cloud software

Maintenance management is crucial to the success of your maintenance department and processes. Highly functioning equipment and assets ensure throughput needs are met, all outputs meet quality standards, customers are satisfied, and work environments are safe and comfortable.

Perfect maintenance management won’t happen overnight, but here are some objectives you can achieve over time with effective maintenance management processes.

Improve asset performance

If there’s anything you should be looking to achieve with maintenance management, it’s enhancing equipment and asset performance across your facilities. Luckily for you, as you focus on initiatives rooted in improved maintenance operations, this will come naturally.

With a proper process in place to track maintenance requests and preventive maintenance schedules or planned maintenance, your assets will receive the maintenance care they need when they need it. Each technician will be informed immediately of an issue and can tend to it right away, and regular inspections will be performed according to the set schedule. Because of these outcomes, over time you will see a decrease in downtime and an increase in lifespan across your assets.

Increase efficiency and productivity

This objective goes hand-in-hand with asset management. As asset performance increases, so does efficiency and productivity.

Just like cutting vegetables with a sharp knife allows you to cut the same number of vegetables in two thirds the amount of time it takes a dull knife, assets that are functioning at their best are going to run smoother, fail less, and ultimately increase efficiency.

Over time, this will lead to increased productivity across the board-your team will spend less time fixing equipment, and more time improving other processes.

Uncover maintenance trends and understand equipment performance

Understanding how your equipment is performing should be at the forefront of your mind, and facilities management is key to understanding trends and taking action as needed.

By tracking all of the maintenance performed on your assets, you’ll be able to create graphs, charts, and trend lines to understand which assets are failing most often and when. These insights will allow you to make strategic designs about repairing equipment, replacing equipment, and who on your team is best-equipped to perform maintenance on each asset.

example cost of work orders by equipment type chart shows costs across chiller, generator, compressor, tank, and lift equipment

Identify work order costs associated with each equipment item in a CMMS system.

replacement cost projection chart

Create replacement cost projections for your organization in a CMMS system.

Ensure high quality throughput

Assets that are functioning properly are able to produce high-quality throughput. And you know what helps assets function properly? A plan to inspect each asset on a regular basis and a system for repairing assets in an efficient manner to ensure they are in their best operating condition.

The benefit to you? Products that are produced on time with few to no errors.

Improve safety and meet compliance standards

The effects of properly maintaining your assets goes much further than continuous improvement and better output. It can help you meet compliance standards and improve safety in your facilities, too.

In 2019 alone, OSHA reported around 3,500 fatal workplace accidents that were attributed to hazard or safety violations. Equipment malfunctions occur all the time and can often lead to employee injuries or even death. Properly caring for your assets reduces risk of malfunction and increases safety for your staff and visitors. Scheduling preventive maintenance for assets in accordance with their equipment manuals will help you meet regulatory compliance standards as well.

Effectively manage inventory

Spare parts inventory management has become an increasingly important aspect of maintenance. When an organization keeps an optimal level of spare parts on hand, it will experience a decrease in out-of-stock and carrying costs.

In addition, your maintenance technicians will have all the supplies and spare parts needed to successfully carry out maintenance tasks.

Reduce maintenance costs

The final objective of maintenance management is to reduce costs. With insights collected from your processes, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions regarding your equipment and facilities that will lead to direct maintenance cost savings.

However, the benefits from reduced downtime, higher-quality throughput, and increased efficiency will lead to incremental savings. With time, you’ll notice the large impact those smaller wins have on your budget as well.

total cost by feature chart comparing HVAC, AHU, roofing, transportation, and other

Understand the total cost of maintenance activity by focus area in maintenance management software.

total cost by requests completed by month chart: $188,767.26 grand total cost

Gain a holistic view of all maintenance costs to identify trends, make necessary adjustments, and plan for the future.

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Types of maintenance management

maintenance management strategies chart: predictive maintenance strategy lowers repair and preventive costs with a lower total cost when compared to excessive reactive maintenance and excessive preventive maintenance

The different ways to manage maintenance are vast, but the best maintenance management plans have a healthy mix of the following strategies.

Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is what first comes to mind when thinking about maintenance management. It’s exactly what it sounds like-performing maintenance after a failure or breakdown.

This type of maintenance is typically managed by submitting, working on, and closing out work orders or work requests. The work order management process is a bit more complex than that, but essentially flows as follows:

1. issue is identified. 2. technician resolves issue. 3. technician follows up as needed.

Having a reactive maintenance plan in place is a must. Breakdowns are bound to happen, and it’s important that everyone knows how to get an asset up and running as quickly as possible.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is performed on assets at intervals of time or meter readings in order to minimize breakdowns.

Time-based preventive maintenance is based on the calendar. This maintenance can be scheduled daily, weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, yearly, etc. based on the need of each asset. A semi-annual HVAC unit check is an example of a time-based preventive maintenance task.

Meter-based preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is based on meter readings. Maintenance tasks are performed after an asset runs for so many hours, drives for so many miles, or produces so many widgets. In contrast to time-based maintenance, the frequency of maintenance on one asset will constantly change.

Fleet maintenance often operates under this maintenance style. For instance, changing a truck’s oil every 5,000 miles is an example of meter-based preventive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance checklists are a great way to determine which assets require upkeep on a recurring basis and the steps your maintenance team needs to follow in order to properly inspect each item.

Condition-based maintenance

Condition-based maintenance is a maintenance management strategy that monitors each asset and its performance to determine when maintenance needs to be performed. It will prompt you to tend to the asset when efficiency and performance are decreasing, or signs of possible failure are occurring.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a type of condition-based maintenance. This maintenance management strategy uses sensors to alert you to perform maintenance when a reading is out of specification. With this type of maintenance, the system is always monitoring your equipment for any variations in performance and estimates a time when failure or a need for maintenance may occur.

One of the most sophisticated forms of maintenance, predictive maintenance ensures you spend time and resources on an asset when it is absolutely necessary.

Reliability-centered maintenance

Reliability-centered maintenance is a strategy in which each asset is evaluated individually to determine which maintenance should be performed and when. The goal of this strategy is to keep your assets running as efficiently as possible to produce at maximum capacity.

While this may seem like a few of the other maintenance strategies, what makes this strategy so unique is the time and attention put into analyzing each asset.

Depending on the frequency and type of breakdowns or issues the assets in your facility are experiencing, you may have predictive maintenance strategies laid out for some assets, preventive maintenance strategies, for others, and reactive maintenance strategies for the rest. Giving each asset the maintenance management strategy it needs to perform its best will optimize your maintenance in the long run.

Consequences of poor maintenance practices

Maintenance is very interconnected with business operations, and any inefficiencies can negatively impact the entire organization. Even though running an effective maintenance program costs money upfront, in the long run, it costs less than postponing maintenance.

There are a lot of implications of disorganized or poor maintenance, which result in direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs are expenses that go directly into producing goods or providing services, whereas indirect costs are the general expenses relating to maintaining and operating a business. An example of a direct cost is hiring additional technicians because so many assets are failing. An example of an indirect cost would be the safety hazards and legal ramifications building up from these failed assets.

Let’s look at some examples of direct and indirect costs associated with poor maintenance.

Direct maintenance costs Indirect maintenance costs
Labor costs Lower product quality
Parts inventory costs Reduced asset lifespan
Machinery and equipment Excessive maintenance & wasted resources
Maintenance management system Lost production hours
Environmental risks
Safety hazards

These direct and indirect maintenance costs can be easily avoided or minimized by establishing an effective maintenance management strategy.

Investing in maintenance management software

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS software) can help your organization tackle the objectives above using the various types of maintenance management mentioned.

One of the main reasons organizations choose to manage maintenance with CMMS software is because it allows them to track all of their maintenance initiatives in one location. Each organization’s maintenance goals are different, and each organization chooses to run their day-to-day operations differently.

Thankfully, CMMS software gives you a variety of ways to manage your assets and maintenance:

  • Pull up your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule on a calendar to see what’s upcoming for you and your maintenance team.
  • Scan a QR code to access information regarding an asset directly from your phone.
  • Assess equipment and team performance on your organization’s personalized reporting dashboards.
  • Schedule preventive maintenance at frequencies or meter readings of your choice.
  • Add sensors to your equipment to receive notifications when an alarm is triggered or a reading is out of specification.

Learn more about maintenance management software.

Key takeaways

Maintenance management is crucial to the success of all organizations, no matter the size. Without it, production stops, safety violations arise, efficiency drops, and your organization can’t operate effectively.

The best maintenance manager is determined to find the best strategy for their team and put systems, processes, and best practices in place to support that vision. Start examining your assets and think about the benefits you’ll achieve by ensuring they are properly cared for. An optimized maintenance schedule has helped countless organizations, and you could be next.

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