Developing a Comprehensive Preventative and Predictive Maintenance Program

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Well-written preventative maintenance and predictive maintenance (PM/PdM) routines are key to improving maintenance job safety, increasing maintenance productivity, and extending the useful life of your assets. PM/PdM routines, or job plans as they are also called, exist to make planned maintenance work go as smoothly as possible.

The first step to implementing a good PM/PdM routine—and sometimes the most difficult—is writing it. Below are some key areas you don’t want to overlook when developing a PM/PdM routine.

  • Labor estimate ‐ A well-written PM/PdM routine will identify the labor required to execute the work order. This should be expressed in terms of total time and resources (i.e., number of technicians). This estimate is important for operations, who may have to give up the equipment for a period of time; for weekly and daily maintenance scheduling; and for measuring how well the PM/PdM routine was planned. Knowing the actual and estimated labor requirements for planned maintenance jobs is key to measuring the Maintenance Planner’s performance.
  • Task instructions ‐ These are the PM/PdM instructions that the technician is going to execute. Task instructions should be based on more than look and feel. They should address measurable equipment performance variables such as heat and pressure, and they should require specific measurements rather than asking for general impressions. Instead of telling the technician “Touch to see if it is hot,” replace that instruction with “Using an IR gun, ensure that the motor case’s temperature is below 130° F.”
  • Graphics ‐ A picture of the asset undergoing the required PM/PdM work is helpful, especially for new technicians. Pictures can be processed much faster than prose. Because of this, the more visuals the better.
  • Safety – This is the most important section of any PM/PdM routine. A good PM/PdM routine will identify all safety issues that the technician should be aware of before working on the equipment and executing the PM/PdM work order. Safety first!
  • Parts ‐ A well-written PM/PdM routine will identify any and all parts that are needed to execute the job. For example, if the job involves changing out a filter, the PM/PdM routine should list the filter as a required part and provide the item number and description. All required parts should be available and staged for the technician at the start of the job. There’s nothing worse than a highly skilled, well-paid technician doing the “crib crawl” to find a part for a planned PM/PdM work order. It’s a productivity killer.
  • Tools ‐ A good PM/PdM routine will identify the tools the technician needs to effectively execute the work order. Just like parts, the right tools must be available and ready to use when needed.

In the end, a PM/PdM inspection must get the right result while minimizing wasted time and effort. This begins with writing a good PM/PdM routine. Ensuring that your PM/PdM routines include all of the information listed above will go a long way to making your planned work more efficient.

See what it should look like!

Download our PM/PdM Sample Work Plan

PM Sample

The PM/PdM routine is a living document. It should continue to evolve as the plant introduces new practices, such as RCM, and new technologies, such as sensors and IIoT devices. It should also be evaluated and tweaked on an ongoing basis as you analyze corrective maintenance. Keep in mind that, with a good inspection program, 20–30% of PM/PdM inspections will find an issue that needs to be addressed and lead to a follow-up job. If you are not seeing those numbers, take a closer look at your PM/PdM routines. The better the PM/PdM routine, the more issues you will catch in advance—and the better the equipment will perform.

If you need help writing good PM/PdM routines, SwainSmith’s professional planners and engineers are ready to assist. We have the libraries and expertise to help you build a world-class PM/PdM program.

For expert help with your PM/PdM routines, contact SwainSmith at 828-215-9471 or