13 Aug 2013      |      by Carol Owens


Is Your Maintenance Management Program Reactive or Proactive?

Anyone who works in maintenance is probably aware of the frustrating consequences of unexpected equipment breakdown. Many organizations have hundreds or even thousands of pieces of equipment to maintain, and a single breakdown could bring operations to a halt. While there’s no arguing with the fact that fixing something as soon as it breaks is important, what many may not realize is that there are high costs associated with working in reactive mode. An effective preventive maintenance program can preserve equipment and keep it in optimum condition, making unexpected equipment failure mostly a thing of the past.



There are two basic approaches to maintenance management: reactive and proactive. Reactive maintenance, which is precipitated by failure, results from a lack of preventive and predictive maintenance. On the other hand, proactive maintenance keeps equipment serviced and in working order through preventive and predictive maintenance.

A reactive maintenance approach can be detrimental to your organization because it means that preventive software will get put aside due to constant emergency maintenance work. Furthermore, reactive maintenance is more costly than proactive maintenance. This is because reactive maintenance tasks tend to be complex, whereas preventive and predictive maintenance tasks are relatively simple. Sadly, the “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude still permeates some parts of the maintenance management industry.


How to Get Started with Proactive Maintenance


You can never rid yourself 100% of reactive maintenance work, but you can significantly minimize unplanned repairs through proactive maintenance. The first step in shifting from a reactive maintenance program to a proactive one is implementing a CMMS/EAM system that is customized to fit your organization’s specific needs.


The goals of using maintenance software are to reduce equipment downtime and capital expenditures with the proper planning and scheduling of preventive maintenance. Maintenance costs are a necessary expense, but a proactive maintenance program can help you better plan and account for maintenance costs. Proactive maintenance also extends the life of your assets, increases their total lifetime value, and minimizes the occurrence of major repairs.


Predictive vs. Preventive Maintenance


Predictive maintenance predicts equipment failure so you can take corrective action before failure occurs. Predictive maintenance is a non-invasive task that is meant to determine the condition of equipment through direct monitoring and analysis. The data gathered through predictive maintenance can be used to effectively plan and schedule preventive maintenance tasks.


Preventive maintenance tasks are meant to renew an asset and eliminate any deterioration. Once you perform preventive maintenance, an asset should be “as good as new”. Preventive maintenance software automatically schedules work orders and notifies personnel to complete them. As the work is completed, information about the parts used, costs, time spent, etc. is recorded. Maintenance managers can review historical records of assets to schedule inspections and preventive maintenance, identify recurring causes of maintenance issues, evaluate opportunities for CMMS/EAM training, and make better budget projections.


Like reactive maintenance, preventive maintenance typically involves invasive tasks that include disassembling a piece of equipment and replacing one or more components. Invasive activities could potentially introduce new defects and cause the early failure of assets, which is why it’s important to introduce some form of predictive maintenance before preventive maintenance. If a preventive maintenance task is scheduled to occur too soon, it could waste a portion of a component’s usable life. Predictive maintenance allows you to take advantage of the usable life of every component by enabling you to identify deterioration when it occurs and act upon it at the right time.


To ensure that your equipment continues to run smoothly and that business processes aren’t halted due to equipment breakdown, schedule predictive and preventive maintenance tasks seamlessly with DPSI’s maintenance management software. Contact us today for more information about our software or to take it for a test drive!

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