Unforeseen equipment failure can throw a wrench in any operation, stalling progress and creating financial strain. Just like taking care of your health, regular maintenance strategies offer options – the proactive approach of preventive maintenance, akin to routine check-ups, and the reactive approach of corrective maintenance, similar to an emergency response team. Selecting the right strategy determines whether you experience a minor blip or a major breakdown. This blog delves into various maintenance approaches, empowering you to make the optimal choice for your business needs. We’ll get started with why different types of maintenance exist.

Why Are There Different Types of Maintenance Strategies?

It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s always good to stress that not all equipment needs the same kind of care. Different machines have different lifespans, breakdowns, and ways of working. For example, you wouldn’t treat a car the same way you treat a toaster, right? The same goes for things like air conditioners and ice machines, even though they both keep things cool.

Humor aside, the differences between equipment and machinery go beyond just what the equipment does. Even things that seem the same, like two printers, can be different in a few ways:

  1. Age: An older printer might need more check-ups than a brand-new one.
  2. Brand: Different companies might build their printers differently and have different recommended maintenance schedules.
  3. Past Repairs: If a printer has broken down a lot before, it might need extra attention to prevent future issues or might even need to be replaced outright.
  4. Importance: If one printer is used for crucial documents and the other is just for printing occasional photos, the important one might need more frequent maintenance.

These differences mean that even those two seemingly identical printers might need different maintenance plans to keep them running smoothly. In addition, new technology has given us even more ways to care for equipment. Things like meter-based maintenance mean you can monitor the health of your machines in real-time, instead of just having them checked at regular intervals. This can help you catch problems early and avoid unexpected breakdowns.

What Are The Different Types of Maintenance?

There are 7 main ways companies take care of their equipment, and they can be either proactive or reactive. The choice you make can affect your business in terms of cost and effectiveness. Picking the right maintenance strategy is crucial because it impacts your customers and the overall cost compared to the benefits.

  1. Preventive Maintenance

    Preventive maintenance, or PM, refers to the regular upkeep of equipment while it’s still functional. It aims to minimize the risk of future failures by proactively addressing potential issues.

    There are 2 main approaches to PM:

    • Time-based PM: This involves scheduling maintenance tasks at predetermined intervals, regardless of how often the equipment is used. These intervals can be based on factors like calendar time, operating hours, or production cycles.
    • Meter-based PM: This approach triggers maintenance based on the actual usage of the equipment. Tasks are scheduled after reaching specific usage milestones, such as a certain number of operational hours or production cycles completed.
  2. Reactive Maintenance

    Unlike preventive maintenance, reactive maintenance is essentially waiting until something breaks down before fixing it. Because of the unpredictable nature of breakdowns, it’s hard to forecast how much reactive maintenance will cost. While reactive maintenance might be the ideal plan for a small, inconsequential piece of equipment, like a lightbulb, it’s not recommended for more important machinery.

  3. Corrective Maintenance

    Corrective maintenance involves fixing things when a problem presents itself. The main aim is to get things back to normal quickly. Unlike preventive maintenance, there’s no schedule for fixing things in advance – it only happens when there’s something wrong. For example:

    • Fixing an HVAC unit that’s broken down.
    • Fixing a new hole in the wall of a building.
    • Replacing a fleet vehicle’s damaged tire.
  4. Condition-Based Maintenance

    Condition-based maintenance is all about focusing on outcomes by measuring or observing the performance of machines. Machines operate within a normal range of conditions, where their performance is acceptable. However, when they start operating near the limits of this range, maintenance might be necessary.

  5. Predictive Maintenance

    Predictive maintenance is like condition-based maintenance but smarter. Instead of just waiting for something to go wrong, it analyzes historical asset data to accurately predict future problems. For example, in condition-based maintenance, you wait until the engine temperature goes above a certain level before doing maintenance. You only pay attention to the sensor when it’s outside of normal ranges. However, with predictive maintenance, the software is always observing and analyzing collected data using complex algorithms to find clues about potential issues. So, even if the engine temperature seems fine, the software can detect early signs of trouble and trigger maintenance before problems occur.

  6. Routine Maintenance

    Routine maintenance involves regular, planned tasks aimed at identifying and preventing potential issues. It is generally performed as part of ongoing maintenance procedures and does not typically require specialized training or equipment. For instance, the daily safety checklists completed by machine operators are a form of routine maintenance.

  7. Prescriptive Maintenance

    Prescriptive maintenance builds upon predictive maintenance by incorporating advanced tools such as condition monitoring and machine learning algorithms. It not only predicts when maintenance should occur but also provides specific instructions on the type of maintenance required to optimize equipment performance and longevity.

Which Maintenance Strategy is Right for Me?

That’s a trick question. Selecting the best maintenance strategy isn’t about choosing just one option. It’s about matching the right strategy to each asset. Some assets might benefit from a run-to-failure approach, while others require preventive maintenance. It’s more about finding the right balance of strategies for your facility, assets, and equipment. Rather than considering strategies separately, understanding their differences can help determine the most effective combination for your needs.

By implementing maintenance management software like NEXGEN, you can automate tasks, maintain a comprehensive view of your operations, and achieve cost savings, regardless of your chosen strategy.


  1. What Are the 4 Types of Software Maintenance?

    There are 4 main types of software maintenance: perfective software maintenance, corrective software maintenance, adaptive software maintenance, and preventive software maintenance.

  2. Why Is the Right Maintenance Strategy Important?

    Selecting the right maintenance strategy is crucial as it minimizes risks, enhances efficiency, and ensures costs remain manageable. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to prolong the lifespan of equipment. This approach also leads to reduced repair costs, maintaining overall productivity at a higher level.

  3. What is the most expensive type of maintenance?

    The most expensive type of maintenance is typically unplanned corrective maintenance, commonly referred to as emergency maintenance. Conducting repairs in emergencies incurs higher costs.

  4. What is the oldest type of maintenance?

    Reactive maintenance, also known as “run-to-failure” is the oldest approach to maintenance. It involves performing maintenance tasks after an asset has broken down.