If you have Maximo or another capable CMMS/EAM, chances are you use the Preventive Maintenance (PM) module to some degree – whether to detail PM work to be performed or at the very least, as a method to schedule work.  Adhering to a PM schedule is important, but it is only part of the solution to improving your PM quality and consequently the availability of your assets.  I wanted to share some ways we have improved the effectiveness of our entire PM program.

Our improvement began with a mindset that “not all assets are created equal” – understanding that different assets require different PM activities to achieve optimal performance. Organizations have to determine a maintenance strategy for each asset whether it is a time-based monthly inspection or a usage-based critical part replacement. But do you know how effective your PM activities are?

That question led us to a process of examining our critical assets, analyzing the work that has been done on those assets – both PM’s and corrective – and then determining an appropriate strategy.  “Critical” to us meant identifying the “value stream” or assets that cost us money, time, quality or production if they failed or under performed.  As we dug deeper, we were able to validate some of our general assumptions, but also uncovered some surprises – like “steam traps”.

Our review process centered on a couple of questions: Are we over maintaining our assets? Are our assets still failing despite routine PMs?  We then looked at the information we are capturing in Maximo regarding those assets – work, parts, etc… to assess the quality of our PMs and the strategy to maintain going forward.

Following are the 7 steps we used to determine the quality of our PMs:

  1. Gather all PM activity data from the previous 3-5 years
    • When was work completed?
    • Issues found during work?
    • Follow up work generated
  2. Gather all Emergency or Reactive maintenance work
    • When was work completed?
    • Issues found during work?
    • Follow up work generated
  3. Compare data to identify gaps
    • Is emergency or reactive work occurring between PMs?
    • How many times does emergency or reactive work occur between PMs?
    • Does emergency work occur soon after a PM is completed? (Introduced failure)
  4. Analyze PMs to determine ways to close the gaps
    • What is the PM strategy associated with high failure rate assets?
  5. Change PM strategy where needed
  6. Check changes in 4-6 months for effectiveness
  7. Repeat as needed

This process is really the promise of advanced analytics or Artificial Intelligence.  But for many, that reality is still a ways off.  So, albeit a bit manual, this is a process that you can do today that can really impact your organization.  What would it save you to do only those PMs that were necessary?

One last thought… Regardless of how you get to understand the gaps in your process, there is an immediate need for solid information to make the right business decisions.  That requires capturing relevant, accurate and timely data about the work being completed on those most critical assets. After all, there is not much an analysis or analytics can tell you about a work order that simply says, “job done.”


 Nikolaus Despain, CRL is the Director of Maintenance at a large manufacturer. He has over 25 years of experience in Food Manufacturing. During his career he has help various plant positions in Operations, Engineering and Maintenance – including Maintenance Supervisor, Project Engineer, Maintenance Manager, and Plant Manager. He has led several company-wide project teams in evaluating, selecting and implementing various maintenance reliability programs (CMMS, EAM, PM, PdM, TPM, RCA and CBM). In his current role he is responsible for multiple plant Maintenance and Technical Asset Performance. He works with corporate and plants in driving Continuous Improvement projects and an integrated Asset Management program. He is also responsible for all Maintenance, PSM, and RMP activities.

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