Four Easy Ways To Setup An Equipment Maintenance Schedule

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Why set up an equipment maintenance schedule?

preventive maintenance planning calendarNearly every equipment or machine needs some kind of regular maintenance. This scheduled maintenance (also called preventive or planned maintenance  aka PM) is an often overlooked aspect of maintenance management. This reduces the chance of unexpected failure or repetitive equipment breakdowns. Equipment downtime results in big costs due to lost production, variable product quality and poor customer satisfaction.

Preventive maintenance can be a simple as doing a weekly check, to replacing a machine once it has done some number of run-hours. Every equipment should have a PM schedule. However, if you have a lot of machinery and equipment it can become very hard to plan for all of them! Trying to use paper charts to plan this maintenance will quickly become rather complicated and you will probably miss some maintenance jobs resulting in many headaches.

This is where a good maintenance management program aka CMMS software is very useful. Most maintenance programs offer one a rich subset of ways to schedule such maintenance work orders and keep track of your maintenance plan.

Ways to create an equipment preventive maintenance schedule

1. Schedule equipment maintenance by date

You schedule maintenance work orders every “X” days, weeks or months. So you can have a maintenance task scheduled every 5 days, on every Friday, the second Monday of every third month, every January on the first Wednesday and so on.

Fig 1. Schedule preventive maintenance every month (from FastMaint CMMS)
schedule preventive maintenance by date

2. Schedule equipment maintenance by meter reading

There are two different meter types.

In one you schedule maintenance every time a meter reading increases or decreases by a certain amount. For example an oil change when a meter reading increases by 3,000 miles.

The second type is a batch meter. You schedule maintenance after a machine processes “N” units. For example replace a bearing every time the equipment produces 500 widgets.

3. Schedule equipment maintenance by equipment alarms

You schedule a maintenance task every time an alarm condition happens. For example an alarm could be excessive vibration on a machine. You can schedule a preventive maintenance check on the machine when this alarm occurs.

4. Schedule equipment maintenance based on completion of other work

This means you start a new maintenance task when another task is completed. For example schedule a calibration after a machine is repaired or schedule a paint job after a dry wall repair and so on. This is very useful for multi-step maintenance that needs to be done by different sub-contractors one after another. Once one sub-contractor is done, you schedule the work for the next sub-contractor.

Fig 2. Schedule maintenance based on another maintenance work order (from FastMaint CMMS)
schedule equipment maintenance by prior work order

How this equipment maintenance schedule helps you

Once you setup your maintenance management program properly you will start to see the amount of reactive maintenance due to equipment breakdowns decrease. Time spent on preventive or planned maintenance will increase. You will see cost savings in the maintenance budget due to less emergency maintenance. Plus there will be benefits in terms of better equipment availability, meeting production goals and customer satisfaction!

See “Calculating CMMS Return On Investment” for more information. It gives you an example to calculate the benefits and return on investment (ROI) of maintenance management software. Bottom line – a good maintenance plan makes all the difference.

Preventive maintenance software that you can use

To make an effective maintenance plan you will need to use CMMS software. This is especially true when you have a lot of equipment!

Don’t have a good maintenance software program? You can get a web demo or download a trial of FastMaint CMMS software. Even with the online demo you should be able to setup a simple equipment maintenance schedule for your maintenance jobs very fast. It will make it much easier to keep on track with  preventive maintenance plans for your equipment and facilities.

Free FastMaint CMMS Trial


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