How To Get Started With Predictive Maintenance: 3 Essential Steps

Maintenance technology has advanced rapidly.

As companies focus on the data points that keep their businesses running smoothly, maintenance departments all over are receiving technological boosts.

Getting Started With Predictive Maintenance

Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) is among the maintenance technologies being enhanced. Predictive maintenance isn’t unique to CMMS, but it has become an integral feature for many comprehensive solutions.

Going into 2016, the hardware and software for predictive enhancements are becoming even cheaper and more user friendly. Facilities are shifting to focus on employees’ efficiency and the tools they use to get the job done faster.

If you’re considering incorporating predictive maintenance into your department’s process, look no further. The following is a three-step guide to getting started before making any investments.

1. Take a proactive approach

Maintenance departments that are newer and have less experienced personnel will often be faced with unexpected maintenance.

The strategy behind predictive maintenance is to always know when an asset will need attention so technicians are ready to service it. If the department constantly deals with equipment failure, the first step is to switch from a reactive to a more reliable proactive approach.

Here’s a reactive scenario:

As your technicians clock in, they’re immediately assigned work orders for fixing equipment breakdowns. They may have no time to get ahead of their work for the next day, and may even stay longer hours due to unexpected problems. You may be spending more than necessary on replacing equipment, stocking spare parts and paying overtime hours.

Here’s an improved proactive scenario:

As your technicians clock in, they can easily access the calendar routine for preventive maintenance. Likely, the whole month has been laid out for them so the majority of their day is spent on scheduled minor fixes and other just-in-case measures. They complete their days without any overtime and track the exact amount of spare parts needed. In addition, the equipment tends to last longer.

The proactive scenario includes preventive maintenance, which is when maintenance is completed before an asset has shown signs of failure.

For an operation to include predictive maintenance, it must have properly scheduled preventive maintenance. This way, the ins and outs of the operation are well documented.

2. Routinely document asset and labor information

As the department focuses on preventive maintenance, technicians will begin diligently keeping track of more detailed information.

For this step, it’s important to offer your employees a solution they find easy to use. CMMS solutions come in many varieties and track a number of details that could overwhelm technicians.

For example: If your operation relies on a fleet, the CMMS solution should have fields for tracking driver information, gas consumption, idle time, mileage, vehicle warranties, and more depending on the type of vehicle. This could be a set of trucks, ships, or even helicopters.

But if your operation doesn’t rely on a fleet, those features are unnecessary and may seem cumbersome to technicians.

Your employees must feel comfortable tracking asset data that affects their daily work. This way, managers and administrators are able to also track the department’s productivity and put practices in place that will make the predictive system more accurate.

3. Train staff for a career, not just a job

The maintenance world is quickly changing — especially its workforce.

In fact, the entire global workforce is shifting to value leadership skills above all else. While applicants with STEM degrees are harder to come by and may be thought of as ideal candidates, the degree isn’t necessary for most of the maintenance profession.

One factory maintenance facility has discussed how its recruiting efforts have focused on leadership and on-the-job training. The skills needed to be a maintenance specialist include computer numerical control (CNC) and programmable logic control (PLC), both of which concern data entry and can be mastered with experience.

The technical competencies needed to use CMMS are more common thanks to consumer technology. CMMS is often accessible through a mobile device. As a younger generation takes over the workforce, these tools are easier to incorporate into the job.

When your business invests in a predictive system, it must invest in its workforce as well. As Margeaux Girardin with Hippo CMMS said in an interview with Better Buys:

A system is only as good as the people who use it and pouring more money into it increases the risk and could decrease your ROI.

When employees are invested in the future of the business, they’re more likely to be engaged as top performers. Showing them a successful career path helps empower them to reach their full potential and adopt the solution.

The end goal is for technicians to incorporate maintenance tech into their daily routine. This way, as the solutions update and become more advanced, your team can quickly adapt and stay a step ahead of the competition.


For more on predictive and preventive maintenance, check out our guide on Reliability Centered Maintenance

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