The Definition, Types, and Advantages of Maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most important things all technical fields that utilize machinery must learn. This article will look at the definitions, types, and advantages of maintenance.


Effective maintenance requires the right program or strategy. Maintain assets too infrequently and you risk breakdowns. Maintain them too frequently and you spend too much money.


A lot of people use the term “maintenance” to mean any kind of repair or replacement activity performed on assets and equipment. However, the true definition of maintenance is much more than that. It is the work done to prevent failures and keep equipment in good working condition.

As such, the term maintenance should really include all activities that prevent a machine from failing or going out of service. This can include lubrication, cleaning, inspections, record keeping, root cause analysis, and the management of technical data supporting these processes.

The most effective maintenance practices involve a balance of preventive and reactive activities. However, many organizations struggle to find the time and bandwidth necessary for proactive maintenance. This is why so many maintenance teams turn to predictive maintenance tools and solutions that automate the collection of relevant data and make it easy for technicians to view and execute digital work instructions.

Predictive maintenance utilizes advanced sensing and processing technologies to monitor the state of machinery, including key parameters like vibration, temperature, pressure, voltage, and ampere readings. With this information, it can predict when a failure might occur and schedule the necessary interventions to avoid equipment downtime and production disruption.

It is often considered more efficient than reactive maintenance due to its ability to reduce the amount of money spent on repairs and downtime. The use of a predictive maintenance strategy can also increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and improve product quality.

When equipment is operating to its maximum capacity and efficiency, it is referred to as being in good working condition. This is also known as the Maintenance Window, the defined time during which maintenance can be performed on a piece of equipment without disrupting production. The longer the equipment can stay operational during this window, the lower the MTBF and the higher the OEE.


Maintenance techniques depend on the equipment and system you manage and on the goals you want to achieve. A well-established maintenance strategy is the key to reducing the impact of unexpected breakdowns and to optimizing your resources.

Planned maintenance is the set of tasks technicians apply to reduce the chances that equipment will fail and cause production interruptions. It includes a wide variety of activities such as standard inspections, parts and materials inventory control, process descriptions, work prioritization, etc. This type of maintenance allows you to avoid unscheduled repairs, which are costly and inefficient.

Unscheduled maintenance is the deferment of the upkeep of an asset until it breaks down. It is a suitable maintenance strategy for assets that have a lower financial value or short lifespans.

This technique, based on the Japanese 5S concept (seiri – elimination of unnecessary things, seiton – order, seiso – cleanliness, seiketsu – control) is a good alternative to preventive maintenance because it allows you to identify damage signals as early as possible. It is a kind of maintenance in which the technician teams perform daily tasks such as cleaning, lubricating, temperature monitoring and checking the state of machinery/equipment/parts and carrying out simple repairs.

Predictive maintenance relies on programs elaborated by manufacturers based on failure risks they observed in the past. If you use this type of maintenance, it is advisable to get an IT solution such as a CMMS that will allow your maintenance team to collect data, exchange it with other teams and store all interventions in an efficient way.

It’s also a good idea to include safety details on your planned maintenance checklist, like PPE instructions for the team, lockout tagout procedures and visual aids to help the technicians carry out the tasks correctly. Finally, if you want to optimize your maintenance strategies and increase the reliability of your equipment, you should consider implementing total productive maintenance (TPM).


A well-organized maintenance strategy can save a plant a lot of money. In fact, many industries can confirm that maintenance costs represent a large share of production expenses (excluding unplanned downtimes).

It’s a matter of being proactive instead of reactive. Being able to anticipate problems before they appear is a quality that modern businesses value highly. For this reason, they often look to invest in tools and software that allow them to cut down on the amount of time spent troubleshooting issues once they’re already underway.

In addition, maintenance teams that follow manufacturer recommendations or schedule routine inspections of their equipment are able to prevent unexpected failures that can be very expensive and even dangerous for employees. Reacting to a problem that’s already occurring isn’t only stressful for workers, but it can also negatively impact the productivity of the entire plant, not to mention damage a company’s reputation.

By taking a proactive approach and using a powerful CMMS, your maintenance team will be able to set up, track, and manage a robust preventive maintenance program. Moreover, with the built-in reporting module, your team can see how their implementation is progressing and what needs to be improved.

To learn how a CMMS can help you reduce repair costs, improve the longevity of your equipment, and more, contact us for a free demo. Our friendly and knowledgeable experts will be happy to answer all your questions and provide you with a detailed overview of the system’s features. We’ll be in touch shortly after your request! We look forward to connecting with you.