How To Create An Effective Preventive Maintenance Plan

Maintenance Plan

Implementing a successful preventive maintenance (PM) program is crucial for businesses to maximize the lifespan of their equipment, avoid costly breakdowns, and improve overall operational efficiency. Below is a step-by-step, comprehensive set of recommendations and best practices for developing an effective preventive maintenance (PM) program.

Get the Right People Involved

When planning your preventive maintenance strategy, it’s important to involve key stakeholders from the start. This includes top management as well as any staff members who have a deep understanding of your company’s maintenance operations. Getting buy-in and input from these individuals will help ensure the plan aligns with your overall business goals.

Identify Your Objectives

Establish clear short-term and long-term objectives for your preventive maintenance program. This could include metrics like reducing equipment downtime by a certain number of hours, decreasing reactive repair costs by a specific percentage, or improving overall equipment effectiveness. Having these measurable goals will help you track the success of your PM plan over time.

Inventory Your Equipment

Create a detailed inventory of all the equipment and assets in your facility. This should include information like serial numbers, specifications, and the current condition of each item. Assign a unique identifier, such as a barcode, to each piece of equipment to make it easy to track. Consider grouping similar equipment into “routes” to streamline your PM scheduling.

Determine Maintenance Frequencies

Decide on the appropriate preventive maintenance schedule for each piece of equipment. This may involve a combination of time-based maintenance (e.g., monthly, quarterly, yearly) and usage-based maintenance (e.g., every 3,000 miles, 1,000 operating hours). Consult manufacturer recommendations when setting these frequencies. Stagger the timing of your PM tasks to avoid having them all due on the same day.

Plan the Labor and Parts

Estimate the time required to complete each preventive maintenance task and assign the appropriate labor resources. This will help your maintenance team better plan their schedules. Additionally, ensure you have the necessary parts and supplies on hand before the PM work is scheduled to start.

Ensure Comprehensive Coverage

Start by addressing your most critical equipment first, then work your way through your entire asset inventory. Aim to have a PM plan that covers all equipment, with tasks ranging from weekly to annual intervals. Keep in mind that it may take 2-3 years to establish a fully comprehensive preventive maintenance program.

Train Your Maintenance Team

Provide thorough training to all personnel responsible for carrying out preventive maintenance tasks. This includes educating them on proper procedures as well as any preventive maintenance software or tools they will be using.

Measure and Adjust

Regularly review the effectiveness of your preventive maintenance plan using data and reports from your CMMS or other tracking systems. Look for opportunities to optimize frequencies, labor allocations, and other aspects of the program based on this analysis. Continuously refine your PM plan to ensure it remains effective.

By following these steps, you can develop a preventive maintenance strategy that helps extend the lifespan of your equipment, reduce costly breakdowns, and improve overall operational efficiency. 

Helpful Tips

Below are some additional tips for creating an effective preventive maintenance plan:

Consult manufacturer recommendations: When determining maintenance frequencies, be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for each piece of equipment. This can help ensure you’re following the recommended best practices. 

Stagger PM schedules: Rather than having all preventive maintenance tasks due on the same day, spread them out over the course of the week or month. This can help manage workload and parts availability more effectively. 

Incorporate checklists: Using digital checklists within your preventive maintenance software can help ensure all required steps are completed and documented for each task. This can also support auditing and compliance requirements. 

Leverage mobile capabilities: If your CMMS supports mobile access, encourage maintenance technicians to utilize it in the field. This can streamline data entry, facilitate real-time updates, and enable the attachment of photos or other pertinent information directly from their mobile devices.

Continuously review and optimize: Regularly analyze your preventive maintenance data to identify opportunities for improvement. Adjust frequencies, labor allocations, and other aspects of the plan as needed based on this ongoing evaluation.


By integrating a specialized Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) like eWorkOrders into your preventive maintenance strategy, organizations can revolutionize their approach to planning, tracking, and optimizing maintenance activities. Tailored for preventive maintenance, a CMMS offers a centralized hub to streamline and manage all facets of the PM process.

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