What is maintenance management?
Maintenance management is a system used to plan and organize maintenance resources and ensure important assets remain operational. By monitoring and controlling the cost, time, and processes associated with maintenance activities, your organization can maximize equipment uptime and reduce overall maintenance costs.
Yes, you can manually define maintenance needs, schedule maintenance at logical intervals, and manage parts inventory. However, maintenance management software raises the bar and frees up valuable resources by automating and centralizing these maintenance planning, tracking, and analysis tasks.
Benefits of maintenance management
The financial benefits of maintenance management that result from improved operational efficiency, equipment uptime, reduced repairs, and centralized operation are obvious, but these are just some of the myriad benefits of an effective maintenance program. The same systems and features that improve the bottom line produce additional positive changes in unexpected ways.
Improved operational efficiency
Organized, well-planned maintenance introduces greater efficiency with less wasted time, effort, and parts. A proactive maintenance management approach uses data and trends to ensure resources are applied to the most value-added tasks. Computerized maintenance management makes it easier to track maintenance costs, shining a spotlight on less efficient, reactive maintenance practices.
Less equipment downtime
Inadequate or overdue maintenance can result in equipment downtime that impacts production and the bottom line. Maintenance management reduces downtime by ensuring the correct parts and personnel are available and maintenance backlogs are minimized. Strategic maintenance management also prevents unplanned downtime by continually targeting the true root causes of equipment failures.
Less repair costs
Repairs translate to higher unplanned maintenance labor and part costs. Well-maintained assets are less likely to break down, meaning repairs are less frequent. Preventive maintenance management, including predictive and condition-based data collection, reduces excessive wear and overuse of equipment. Time-consuming troubleshooting and repairs can be replaced by predictable operation and extended asset life.
Maintenance management provides a centralized repository for work orders, historical asset data, inventory levels, and performance KPIs. This makes it easier to view the big picture and align resources with organizational needs. Instant access to this wealth of maintenance data across the organization also helps to standardize best practices.
Automated processes & reporting
The elimination of paperwork and manual processes is an additional benefit of computerized maintenance management. Planning and reporting tasks that once took hours or days can now be completed in minutes. This empowers maintenance personnel to focus on more valuable projects. At the same time, automated reporting functions reduce paper records by using tablets or smart phones to seamlessly collect and transfer data.
Workplace safety is an important benefit of equipment maintenance management that is sometimes underappreciated. By incorporating safety standards into maintenance practices and preventing equipment breakdowns and malfunctions, employee frustration and unsafe working conditions can be minimized. High morale and productivity are the byproducts of improved safety and predictable working conditions.
Improved customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction can ultimately become another unexpected benefit of maintenance management. By keeping important assets running optimally, reducing downtime, and improving employee safety and morale, organizations can deliver higher quality products with reduced lead times and fewer unexpected delays.
How to develop a maintenance management plan
A strategic maintenance management plan is the first step on the path to an optimized maintenance organization. Even the best CMMS provides little value if maintenance requirements, goals, and resources have not been agreed upon and a long-term maintenance strategy has not been developed.
The planning process should begin by taking stock of everything from equipment and spare part inventories to tools, consumables, infrastructure, and personnel. The equipment maintenance management plan should be tailored to the size and type of organization and be consistent with the resources available. This deep dive should also include a full assessment of technician skill sets and training, maintenance history, and existing procedures.
Define your maintenance strategy
Once the current state has been baselined and the strategic maintenance management team has been identified, the next phase of planning should focus on defining the overall maintenance strategy. Factors like equipment value and usage, historical failure trends, safety issues, and production schedules must be weighed carefully. Depending on the circumstances, some combination of reactive maintenance strategies like “run to failure”, along with condition-based or scheduled preventive maintenance for more important assets, may be adopted.
Gather data & refine processes
Maintenance management planning is an ongoing process that should not end when the maintenance system and software are deployed. Feedback from maintenance work orders, inventory usage patterns, and unplanned failures can guide future planning efforts and drive continuous improvement. Maintenance management software can be used to analyze and integrate this feedback, ensuring the cost savings and best practices continue to evolve.
How maintenance management software can help
The benefits and objectives of maintenance management are greatly enhanced through the implementation of CMMS software. Core functions like work order tracking, scheduling, and inventory control can be streamlined and automated.
Maintenance management software provides a centralized portal where data, history, and reports can be accessed and maintained in real time. This convenience also supports related activities like audit planning and response, employee training, and KPI reporting.
Today’s mobile environment has created new opportunities to utilize CMMS software in innovative ways. As the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 move into the mainstream, maintenance management software is being used to monitor data from advanced sensors that supportcondition-based maintenance. Service requests and results can also be communicated wirelessly, saving valuable transportation and reporting time.
The analytical power of maintenance management software makes it easy to convert this wealth of data into improved efficiency and identify new improvement opportunities. Rather than “set and forget” preventive maintenance intervals that may not be appropriate, the best maintenance management software can automatically optimize maintenance cycles or generate work orders based on time, usage, condition, and other factors.
How to choose the best maintenance management software
Any organization, large or small, can benefit from maintenance management. The power and convenience of CMMS software can enhance this transition. Choosing the best CMMS software for your organization is a pivotal decision. Here are some factors to consider:
Assess your situation
Creating a detailed baseline of maintenance requirements and resources is a great way to kickstart the CMMS selection process. Also consider your software budget, how often equipment needs to be maintained, how extensive and complex inventories are, and how many technicians and other personnel will use the system.
Define goals & expectations
The next step in selecting the best maintenance management for your organization is to define the goals and expectations for the software deployment, and separate needs from wants.
Make a list of required features
More advanced features could come with a higher price tag or require more IT support. On the other hand, a basic software package might be outgrown too quickly as the organization evolves and considers predictive maintenance, barcoding, wireless work order tracking, and other time-saving practices.
Consider integration with your current systems
Once your maintenance management team has agreed on a feature set, the next step is to define how you expect the maintenance system to perform. This includes the types of preventive maintenance you want to include, the reporting functions you need, and how the MRO functions will be integrated with other ERP and accounting systems.
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Why maintenance management is important
Industrial equipment, facilities, and automation continue to become more complex, making maintenance management a necessity rather than a luxury.
It helps you achieve your organizational goals.
Without the centralization, organization, and continuous improvement enabled through proactive maintenance management, resources can easily become misaligned with organizational needs, while equipment breakdowns, troubleshooting, and excessive overtime can lead to a competitive disadvantage.
It impacts your bottom line.
Strategic maintenance management directly impacts an organization’s bottom line by increasing equipment lifespan and minimizing planned and unplanned downtime. This creates cost savings through reduced labor and materials.The bottom line: vastly improved production efficiency resulting from more reliable and consistent maintenance operations.
It enables you to extract insights from your data.
The internal and external reporting capabilities of an effective maintenance management system are also extremely important. Federal, state, and local regulations make data organization and retrieval essential for complaint response and regulatory compliance. Reporting functions allow internal goals, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to be tracked and communicated easily. Maintenance software can help an organization generate meaningful reports quickly to support both external compliance and internal maintenance objectives.
Different types of maintenance management
Maintenance management is a broad term that encompasses multiple functions involved in the planning, execution, and improvement of maintenance operations. A centralized maintenance management strategy introduces greater efficiency and transparency between these areas.
1. Work Order Management.
Work order management is used to assign and track maintenance tasks, along with the tools, parts, and labor used to complete them. CMMS software compliments work order management by setting due dates and automating tracking and alerts.
2. Facility Management.
Facility management is often considered an independent function, but many facility-related services including HVAC, electrical, waste management, and environmental health and safety (EHS) are closely interrelated with equipment maintenance management. The same logic used to create preventive and predictive maintenance plans for production machinery can also be applied to building, service, and utility maintenance.
3. Parts and Inventory Management.
Parts and inventory management often overlaps with other procurement functions with a unique slant towards the spare parts, consumables, PPE, and other items that keep maintenance operations running smoothly. Maintenance management can be used to plan purchase orders based on maintenance schedules, organize and track inventory locations, and set alerts when quantities on hand drop below predetermined levels.
The objectives of maintenance management
In any industry, maintenance management systems share similar objectives that can be used to measure the value and effectiveness of the program.
Improve scheduling and prioritization of work orders
By analyzing the importance of assets along with maintenance data and trends, you can apply resources to the most value-added tasks. This is best accomplished by taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to maintenance.
Extend useful life of equipment and infrastructure
Preventive maintenance, which also includes predictive and condition-based approaches, combines real time asset inspection and sensor data with historical performance information to optimize maintenance processes and intervals. Excessive wear or overuse of equipment and parts is avoided along with breakdowns and line stoppages.
Computerized maintenance management not only leads to reduced expenses through efficiency gains, prolonged asset life, and predictable quality, it also provides an ideal cost control platform for comparing maintenance expenditures to budgets. Maintenance management makes it easier to track and analyze how maintenance funds are allocated, shining a spotlight on the less efficient, reactive maintenance practices that lead to higher material and labor costs.