Routine maintenance is a common theme in the world of facilities management, but unfortunately, the practice itself involves a ton of terms and phrases that are not immediately obvious to everyone. That’s why in this comprehensive guide, we are going to describe what is routine maintenance and the difference between routine maintenance and preventive maintenance.

What is Routine Maintenance?

Routine maintenance is any planned, ongoing maintenance that is undertaken to identify and address problems before they can lead to equipment failure. As such, regular maintenance is usually straightforward and does not require specific training, skills, or equipment. It’s usually just inspections or simple servicing, and because of this, regular maintenance can be carried out by people outside of the organization’s formal maintenance department, such as equipment operators.

Routine Maintenance Workflow

Now you know what is routine maintenance, let’s see the graphic below for an example of how a team might use regular maintenance.

  1. Identify assets that are a good fit
  2. Set time-based maintenance intervals
  3. Create a checklist
  4. Perform the work order, when the time interval is reached
  5. Assign checklist to maintenance technician
  6. Perform routine maintenance

Routine Maintenance Examples

  • Machine lubrication or cleaning
  • Equipment and safety inspections
  • Part, signage, or utility replacements
  • General maintenance, such as garbage disposal, landscaping, and window washing
  • Minor machinery adjustments

Generally, regular maintenance can encompass anything as long as it fits the criteria of maintenance that is performed on a regular schedule and aims to keep things running smoothly.

Types of Routine Maintenance

There are several different types that your organization might implement. These are listed as follows:

  1. Time-based maintenance (TbM)
  2. Failure-finding maintenance (FfM)
  3. Risk-based maintenance (RbM)
  4. Condition-based maintenance (CbM)

Advantages of Routine Maintenance

  1. The ability to catch issues early: By having a regular maintenance schedule established, you can keep an eye on your assets and catch any potential issues before they cause unplanned downtime or compromise safety.
  2. Longer asset lifespans: The life cycles of assets that undergo regualr maintenance are virtually longer than those of assets that are repaired through reactive maintenance.
  3. Reduced downtime: When you practice regular maintenance, unplanned outages are less likely, which maximizes the amount of time that assets and equipment can be used.
  4. Improved productivity: Routine maintenance ensures more efficient equipment, which translates to improved productivity.
  5. Reduced backlog: Making sure you’re engaging in regular maintenance means your team is more on top of regular tasks than they would be if they were engaging exclusively in reactive maintenance.

Routine Maintenance vs Non-Routine Maintenance

If you’re not incorporating routine maintenance into your day-to-day, chances are you’ve fallen into the habit of relying solely on non-routine, or reactive, maintenance. Though reactive maintenance might have its place in some instances – for example, if the thing you’re replacing is something as inconsequential as a single burned-out lightbulb – Non-routine maintenance activities are potentially hazardous tasks that are performed infrequently and may necessitate greater skill than normal tasks. It’s usually a smarter idea to incorporate regular maintenance into your asset management plan, especially if those assets are larger or more costly.

So what makes routine maintenance better than non-routine maintenance?

  • Less costly: When you put time and energy into caring for assets before they suffer a breakdown, you spend less than you would trying to tackle a catastrophic issue. For example, spending money on oil changes every three months is much more cost-effective than driving your car until it’s spent – by engaging in regular maintenance, you’re ensuring the car is running smoothly and that its lifespan is as long as it can be.
  • Helps you keep an eye on your assets: If you rely solely on non-reactive maintenance, you won’t know whether your asset is operating smoothly or not until it suddenly stops running. And if it gets to that point, you’ll have to spend time diagnosing the problem instead of tackling it ahead of time with regular maintenance.
  • Helps you avoid unexpected downtime: Engaging in regular asset upkeep lessens your chances of that asset breaking down without notice. This means you won’t have to scramble to find the time and resources to deal with an outage that costs you money with each second it continues.

Routine Maintenance vs Preventive Maintenance

Routine maintenance and preventive maintenance are both very similar asset management practices, but each is distinct from the other in a couple of ways.

First, according to its definition, preventive maintenance is the systematic inspection and maintenance of high-value assets. Regular maintenance, on the other hand, refers to regular maintenance that is performed on less valuable assets. Both forms of maintenance are valuable for your organization, but the distinction is that preventive maintenance can require much more in terms of resources than regular maintenance.

Since regular maintenance involves fewer technical tasks, all that is needed to complete regular maintenance is a technician who is trained to execute those tasks. In contrast, preventive maintenance is much more involved: it entails high upfront costs and predictive analytics that forecast equipment failure and schedule maintenance ahead of time based on historical data. Essentially, regular maintenance is based on a time-based schedule, while preventive maintenance can be done based on either a time or meter-based schedule.

How Does a CMMS Support Routine Maintenance?

You can do several things with a CMMS to aid you with your regular maintenance processes, including:

  • Store your checklists: A CMMS can store a to-do list that maintenance workers can work off when executing regular maintenance. This way, both they and their organization can keep track of what has been completed and when.
  • Compile historical data: Know the who, what, where, and when of regular maintenance; keep tabs on asset health and be aware of whether an asset needs special attention. Better yet, if your CMMS is cloud-based, you’ll be able to access records from anywhere – not just a dusty old records room.
  • Assign work: You can use a CMMS to assign regualr maintenance tasks to a specific person or group to make the work of scheduling labor easier.

Get NEXGEN CMMS For Your Maintenance Work.

We’ve talked about routine maintenance: how it increases asset efficiency, reduces the need for asset replacements, and increases ROI. It’s a straightforward strategy that’s easy to incorporate regardless of where your organization is at.

Thinking about implementing maintenance? Consider NEXGEN.