preventive maintenance
Arūnas Eitutis | 1 July 2021

What is Preventive Maintenance and How Can FSM Software Help Setting it up?

A successful maintenance plan is crucial for any field service company. While there are multiple types of maintenance strategies, let’s focus on preventive maintenance and why you should consider trying it out. If you also work on ensuring equipment efficiency and safety, then you understand how important it is to perform checkups regularly.

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is a type of maintenance created for regular equipment or machinery checkups. It is an integral part of a field service management business. Preventive maintenance can prolong equipment lifespan and save costs for the company. 

It comes down to regular equipment checkups based on time and usage.

Time – periodic maintenance, which is based on a system or equipment type. For example, a building management company might provide annual elevator checkups to ensure resident safety. 

Usage – maintenance provided based on usage calculations and equipment lifespan. For instance, a service provider checks heavy machinery engine working hours and adjusts the maintenance schedule to it. 

What industries can benefit the most from preventive maintenance?

Many industries can benefit from preventive maintenance. But not all of them are compliant with the basis of this strategy. So first, let’s figure out what businesses shouldn’t rely only on preventive maintenance.

If your service deals with equipment and installments that are affected by environmental, irregular usage, critical assets, or similar factors, you might find that preventive maintenance can’t ensure reliable care. 

However, if you work with machinery that has a typical usage, is used in a favorable environment, it’s easier to calculate when and how often you should perform maintenance. Industries that can benefit from preventive care are heavy equipment, vending, HVAC, facility management.

Choosing which type of maintenance to perform

There are many maintenance strategies that a business might choose to implement. But three main ones are preventive, reactive, and predictive maintenance.

Reactive maintenance is run in the event of system or equipment failure. Although it can be cheaper and time-saving for the maintenance service provider, in case of damage or breakage, a client company risks experiencing downtime, needing more workforce to control and fix the problem. Even though reactive maintenance is rather unsustainable, many field service companies still rely on this method.

Predictive maintenance might be the most optimal method based on time and costs invested if a service provider has all the necessary tools, such as IoT and artificial intelligence solutions. If done right, it can be up to 12% more cost-effective than preventive maintenance. 

However, preventive maintenance is an effective and affordable solution if your clients’ needs and business capacities match this method. 

Pros and cons of preventive maintenance

Like any other maintenance strategy, preventive has its advantages and disadvantages. And before you implement a new maintenance strategy, it’s essential to know both sides of the coin.

Pros of planned maintenance

Lower costs

It’s estimated that preventive maintenance saves up to 18% more expenses compared to the reactive model. A company can save workforce and energy costs by avoiding accidents and expensive repair or replacement of parts. 

Equipment safety 

By running regular equipment examinations, a company can reduce the number of defects and prevent equipment failure beforehand. While it’s not for every business, preventive maintenance can be crucial for security, building maintenance, or plumbing companies. It limits the risks of system and equipment damage and downtime.

Efficient energy usage

When the equipment doesn’t work optimally, it might increase energy usage. It’s essential to keep the machinery running smoothly and up to date to avoid jumps in energy consumption.

Preventive maintenance lowers the risks of unnoticed failures and can prevent energy consumption increase.

energy usage

Longer equipment lifespan

A routine inspection helps prevent equipment failure, and it can also prolong machinery lifespan. Changing fuel, filters, cleaning pipes, running system updates, security checkups increase the quality of equipment, as well as limit accidents due to insufficient care.

Customer satisfaction

Preventive maintenance helps avoid emergency downtime and unplanned expenses to control damages. As long as you take good care of clients’ equipment and prolong its lifespan, customer satisfaction will increase.

Cons of planned maintenance

Starting budget 

Although, in the long run, you will notice saved resources, the preventive model can be costly at first. You need to prepare technology to schedule and plan checkups across all clients and equipment units. If you decide to do everything manually, there’s a better chance of mistakes and the model not working. 

That’s why we recommend implementing field service management software which is designed for field service companies that work with preventive maintenance. 

Additional resources

Depending on how many clients and equipment units you serve, you might need to increase your team. Specialists that could provide maintenance at the scheduled time should also undergo training and preparation to work on different projects and equipment.

Over maintenance

Unlike the reactive maintenance type, the preventive strategy requires your attention even if the equipment is working perfectly. While you might not find anything to fix, the machinery often needs to be stopped and be put out of service to perform the audit. It causes unnecessary downtime and inconvenience for users.

Although it’s important to gauge your options, a few disadvantages shouldn’t overshine multiple safety and longevity benefits.

How do you start with a preventive maintenance program?

It might take time to switch to or start implementing preventive maintenance, but you can ensure a smooth beginning with these basic steps. 

Preventive maintenance checklist

Find the right planning tools

We strongly believe that digital tools have the advantage over manual methods. You see, paper can only do so much. If you choose to deal with preventive maintenance manually, you might struggle with mistakes, delays, inefficient or lost information.

Digital tools like field service management software can help you get a grip on all maintenance tasks. You only need to configure it according to your maintenance schedule, and the system will do everything by itself. It will notify and automatically create a task when the date of a checkup is close. 

Set preventive maintenance schedule

When you have FSM software, you need to set schedules for each customer and equipment. It will solely depend on the machinery and manufacturer recommendations. After managing the equipment for a while, you might notice that the old schedules don’t work – perhaps you over maintain it, or it’s getting old and needs more attention.

Create preventive maintenance tasks

Frontu offers a recurring task feature that allows you to create a task once and repeat it as often as you need. It works best with preventive maintenance as it requires a strict schedule for many different machinery units.

Frontu FSM for preventive maintenance planning and scheduling

Many field service companies wonder which maintenance method to choose, especially now, when predictive maintenance is gaining momentum. At Frontu, we move towards automated care and seek to embrace new technologies to offer our clients the most up-to-date service. 

But at the same time, we believe that the surge of IoT solutions won’t reduce the prevalence of preventive maintenance, and it will only grow. However, as with any other method, preventive maintenance requires professional tools.

Frontu field service management software is a digital tool that can help your company gain more control of your customers’ equipment. To ensure that the preventive maintenance model works for your business, it’s essential to plan and schedule inspections. 

Frontu gives the opportunity to track and plan recurring inspection visits and make sure your technicians are notified and prepared to handle inquiries. We offer task and time planning based on technician availability, location, skills, and work history (if a technician has worked with the same or similar issue/client). 

You can use Frontu to follow the lifespan of equipment and see its history to understand better how to take care of specific machinery. 

So, in summary, about a preventive maintenance plan, it’s important to remember:

  • A preventive maintenance strategy is based on regular machinery and equipment checkups;
  • It’s based on time and usage of the equipment;
  • While it might be more costly to set the new strategy, preventive maintenance, in the long run, is cheaper and can significantly increase equipment lifespan;
  • The most efficient way to run a preventive maintenance strategy is using field service management software.

And we have exactly the right tools to ensure smooth preventive maintenance.

Arūnas Eitutis
Founder & CEO

Arūnas is spearheading the Frontu efforts as the company’s CEO but still finds the time to share some of his knowledge, expertise and experience in the FSM sector through our blog.

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