What is a preventive maintenance schedule?

A preventive maintenance schedule, or preventative maintenance schedule, is a set of planned maintenance tasks that must be regularly performed according to specific time or usage triggers. The primary goal in creating such a schedule is to eliminate unplanned downtime, save money, and ensure that assets function optimally.  

To create an effective PM schedule, teams must coordinate:  

  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Timeframes
  • Team members  

Maintenance scheduling is slightly different from maintenance planning. While planning focuses on what needs to be done and how, maintenance scheduling details who will perform required maintenance tasks and when.  

Fixed vs floating preventive maintenance schedules

There are two primary PM schedule methods: fixed PMs and floating PMs. These strategies are both used to manage assets and track when they must be:

  • Inspected
  • Repaired
  • Recalibrated
  • Replaced

Using effective schedules ensures that maintenance professionals can effectively maintain assets, track maintenance triggers, and utilize their maintenance resources.

What is fixed preventive maintenance scheduling?

Fixed preventive maintenance scheduling is when routine maintenance is scheduled at a specific time or usage interval, regardless of what PM tasks are completed in the interim.

For example, say you have a maintenance task that is completed every Friday. If last week was skipped, or completed on Monday rather than Friday, the next maintenance will still be scheduled for the following Friday.

Example of fixed PM scheduling

Say, for example, that you complete maintenance for your fleet every 3,000 miles. Chances are that much of your fleet won’t be on site when it hits 3,000 miles. Instead, one vehicle comes in for maintenance and 3,250 miles, another at 3,100 miles, etc. The next PM work order will still be triggered at 6,000 miles regardless of that variation. It will remain fixed every 3,000 miles no matter what.

What is floating preventive maintenance scheduling?

A floating preventive maintenance (PM) schedule is a schedule created based on the timing of previous maintenance tasks. This type of schedule is informed by various factors, including usage and maintenance history, and the date of maintenance will vary accordingly.

A floating PM schedule requires more diligence than a fixed schedule, as you must accurately track task completion to trigger new work orders. If a work order isn’t properly closed, the next maintenance task will not be triggered.

Example of floating PM scheduling

Let’s use the same example as above. Again, your fleet is scheduled for vehicle maintenance every 3,000 miles. However, if one vehicle doesn’t come in for maintenance until it hits 3,250 miles, then the next maintenance will be scheduled at 6,250 miles.

How to make and implement a preventive maintenance schedule

To make a successful preventive maintenance schedule, you must identify the right maintenance interval for each asset and task. Getting this right will help you maximize uptime, lower costs, and reduce unexpected breakdowns. To determine the right intervals, you must:

1. Inventory Assets

First, make sure that you have an accurate asset inventory, particularly of your organization's most critical assets. This is the equipment that must be maintained first. Effectively prioritizing assets based on criticality will help ensure that nothing goes wrong. You can document your most critical assets by recording:

  • Asset make and model
  • Serial number
  • Specifications and capabilities
  • Category
  • Location
  • Primary Users
  • Unit number
  • Parts

This information can be cataloged and kept up in your preventive maintenance software.

2. Prioritize Critical Assets

Not all your assets need scheduled preventive maintenance as part of an effective preventive maintenance program. In fact, performing PM on non-critical, inexpensive assets can be unnecessary and a waste of time (and, in such instances, reactive maintenance is often still most appropriate). It’s important, then, that you do a criticality analysis to rank assets and schedule PM accordingly.

Here is a complete guide to determining asset criticality. However, you can get started by focusing on assets that:

  • Are critical to production
  • Require regular maintenance
  • Have failure modes that can be prevented with routine maintenance
  • Have high repair and replacement costs
  • Are likely to fail as time goes by
  • Are not nearing end-of-life

You can also refine your preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance schedules using:

Historical Data About Each Asset

Historical work order and downtime data will help you set your schedule, as it will help you determine what kind of problems each asset has and how often. This can help you gauge your preventive maintenance needs, and it should be logged in your CMMS.

Projections About Future Maintenance Needs

Finally, use your assets’ Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations to verify things like:

  • Schedules for necessary maintenance
  • The usage of critical spare parts
  • Basic maintenance task instructions

You can also consult with your maintenance team to gather more nuanced equipment maintenance insight.

3. Put Together Your Initial Maintenance Schedule

Using historical data, OEM recommendations, and technician insight, you can finally put together your preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance schedule for each asset and schedule recurring work orders.

Doing this in a multi-site, cloud-based CMMS will help you automate your short and long-term maintenance schedules to create a comprehensive preventive maintenance plan. It will also help you maintain backlogs and track things like inventory, task completion, productivity, and more.

4. Monitor Progress and Adjust

Finally, you have to periodically monitor your schedules and identify any potential areas of improvement. This can be easily determined by tracking important metrics like:

These metrics will help you maintain sight of your goals and benchmarks (and adjust quickly if you aren’t meeting them).

Ready to create a preventive maintenance schedule?

An accurate and effective preventive maintenance schedule will help you automate critical maintenance tasks and ultimately improve the lifespan of your assets, minimize downtime, and increase your team’s productivity. Request a demo to see how Maintenance Connection CMMS can help you automate this process and streamline your scheduled maintenance efforts.