How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Plan in 5 Simple Steps

12 minutes

Preventive maintenance is an important aspect of keeping any machinery running at peak performance. With the right maintenance schedules and preventive maintenance plan, you can reduce equipment downtime, increase productivity, and even boost customer satisfaction ratings for the long term.

But how do you create a preventive maintenance plan? Although there's a lot that goes into creating a preventive maintenance program, from defining the most important preventive maintenance tasks to creating a long term PM schedule, it’s not as daunting as it may sound!

With a few easy steps and the right preventive maintenance software, you can create your own preventive maintenance plan in no time.

Read on and find out how! 

What is a preventive maintenance plan?

A preventive maintenance plan is an organized approach to maintaining the condition of a building, machine, or another piece of equipment. A preventive maintenance strategy requires regular inspection and upkeep in order to address potential issues before they become more serious repair or replacement needs.

Preventive maintenance is the opposite of reactive maintenance, which deals with equipment failures as they occur. Sometimes referred to as proactive maintenance, it requires a detailed maintenance strategy to prevent failures and identify critical equipment for which spare parts and other materials need to be kept on hand to address problems as they arise.

Preventive maintenance is critical to help preserve the longevity of assets and increase their efficiency while reducing costs associated with emergency repairs. Preventive maintenance plans can include anything from scheduled visits by a maintenance technician or expert to deep cleaning floors, walls, or ducts.

How CMMS Elevates Predictive Maintenance

Benefits of preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is critical for reducing future costs and minimizing unplanned downtime. Adopting the principles of preventive maintenance also guarantees a high level of asset performance, reduces repair backlogs, and improves safety.

To ensure that these benefits are realized to their fullest potential, an effective computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can be utilized. A CMMS helps define preventive maintenance tasks, simplifies the creation of work orders, and tracks both maintenance costs and labor time connected with PM initiatives. Ultimately, implementing a CMMS will allow an organization to increase equipment reliability and reduce operational disruptions due to unforeseen malfunctions.

Increase productivity

Preventive maintenance (PM) not only ensures that your machines are running at optimal performance levels, but also helps increase productivity. Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance reduces the need for reactive or emergency repair, allowing maintenance staff to focus on daily activities instead of unplanned downtime.

Brightly's research has demonstrated that a well-executed PM program can provide up to a 50-65% reduction rate in emergency work. That being said, maintenance teams need to have the tools and resources available to execute successful PM plans; this is most effectively done through accurate machine data, proper planning, and the use of reliable parts from reputable vendors.

With the right resources in place, preventive maintenance can help organizations reach their desired level of productivity.

Minimize asset downtime

Prevention maintenance is a valuable asset for businesses as it helps minimize the downtime associated with repair work. When done regularly, it helps to reduce the risk of equipment inefficiencies and breakdowns that can cause costly disruption to operations or production. This allows companies to maximize their critical assets and save time from unnecessary reactive and costly repairs.

In addition, preventative maintenance lengthens the life cycle of an asset by ensuring that it remains in peak condition. This not only improves performance output but also limits lost operational hours due to troubleshooting and repair work which would incur additional costs.

Cut costs

If you choose to implement preventive maintenance programs, you'll find that it can bring about hefty savings for organizations in terms of reducing various costs. These costs include labor and repair expenses, utility bills and costs related to the lack of spare parts available when repairs turn out to be necessary.

Instead of waiting and dealing with an unscheduled breakdown, preventive maintenance requires a proactive approach that keeps machines running in optimal condition while greatly reducing unplanned downtime. In effect, a well-structured preventive maintenance program helps organizations reduce operational costs by as much as 12-18%, making it an effective way to save money.

Promotes safety

Preventive maintenance is a boon for facility safety. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) helps to ensure that all assets are monitored and given the maintenance they need in order to function optimally, minimizing the risk of an accident or injury due to malfunctioning equipment.

Not only can they alert your maintenance technicians to potential problems before they occur, but a good CMMS has additional built-in features like recording essential maintenance metrics and staff certifications that can be beneficial when completing audit paperwork and ensuring regulatory compliance. A CMMS can help to simplify safety audits as well.

By dramatically cutting down on potentially unsafe operating conditions, implementing proactive PM can make a workplace much safer for both workers and customers.

Boost customer satisfaction

Preventive maintenance is an effective strategy for any business because it keeps equipment running optimally, which in turn helps boost customer satisfaction. Regular servicing and inspections of machinery both help to identify any issues before they arise, reducing the likelihood of breakdowns and ensuring a smooth production line.

By mitigating long delays, disruption to customers is minimized – an invaluable advantage when it comes to maintaining the reputation of a company and keeping customers happy. Combined with trustworthiness and quality output, preventive maintenance can be a great asset for organizations in the long run.

Create a preventive maintenance plan in five simple steps

Creating a great preventive maintenance plan can be daunting, yet it doesn't have to be. With five simple steps, you can build an effective plan that will help your organization save both time and money in the long run. From identifying your goals and priorities to creating an in-depth implementation schedule, these tips will help you get started smoothly so it can deliver positive results.

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1. Identify goals & priorities

Creating a successful preventive maintenance plan begins with identifying and prioritizing your organization’s goals. Every facility has unique objectives and goals, ranging from reducing downtime to cutting costs, so it is important to identify the ones that are most critical first and focus limited resources on those.

Also, it is essential to create and measure KPIs attached to these goals as this allows organizations to better gauge the success rate of the PM plan and determine areas where efficiency could be further improved consistently.

2. Leverage preventive maintenance software

Implementing the right preventive maintenance software is one of the most important steps to creating a successful PM plan. Asset Essentials™ provides a powerful approach, with features that help streamline and optimize the program.

Automated work orders allow for frequent inspection & activities to be scheduled without extra effort from employees, while centralized asset inventory makes it easier to track & monitor performance.

Advanced reporting capabilities provide invaluable insight into the efficacy of specific processes, so that adjustments can be made if needed. By leveraging these features to create a customized PM plan, you're sure to get long-term value out of your maintenance software.

3. Create a preventive maintenance schedule

The next step in this process is creating a preventive maintenance schedule, which determines when and what types of preventive maintenance activities are performed on each asset. There are a variety of different types of PM schedules; the most common being time-based and usage-based schedules.

Time-based preventive maintenance schedules indicate fixed time intervals for PM checks, such as one year or 30 days, while usage-based scheduling establishes specific usage triggers that dictate when an asset is due for preventive maintenance services, based on total usage hours or other performance criteria. Both have advantages and disadvantages to consider before making your decision.

For example, time-based scheduling is advantageous because it ensures no asset is overlooked during the precise periods specified in the schedule. However, it can require more resources while running the risk of over-inspecting parts.

Usage-based preventive maintenance provides a cost savings, since it reduces resources needed, but it may fail to identify when specific maintenance or failures need to be identified earlier than forecasted in the trigger selection settings. Establishing accurate triggers can be critical for establishing an efficient and effective PM program, so select them with care.

If you opt for usage based scheduling, an important part of establishing a successful preventive maintenance schedule is defining what "triggers" will set off when an asset needs to be serviced. A great number of factors ought to be considered when specifying these triggers — for example, how often a machine has broken down in the past, per manufacturer guidelines, and how important the machine is to production.

Once all the relevant data has been factored in, you can determine your starting point, then gradually modify and refine those triggers as operations become more efficient. With a robust and effective CMMS system in place, it's possible to automate work orders as laid out by the PM schedule, making it easier than ever for an organization to stay ahead of any potential maintenance issues.

4. Train and implement

Preventive maintenance plans require proper training and must be implemented thoughtfully in order to maximize the benefits of using them. A well-organized training strategy should be put in place to ensure that each team member knows their roles and responsibilities concerning the plan, as well as how any new technologies should be utilized. Once everyone is on board, it's time to put the plan into action and perform preventive maintenance.

Consider starting with one site or facility first so that any kinks can be worked out before it is rolled out company-wide. This staged approach gives the team a chance to fine-tune the PM program before investing more resources into it.

5. Track and adjust as needed

Creating a preventive maintenance program isn't a one-time event. In the final step of establishing your plan, you'll need to track progress through KPIs and ongoing analysis.

Through this constant monitoring, you'll be able to quickly make adjustments as needed in order to meet the goals set in the original PM plan. Fortunately, this is something that the right PM software can help you do. It's important to involve maintenance staff during this final step - who are more likely to identify potential issues and uncover areas for improvement for a program that runs more smoothly over time.

Ultimately, preventive maintenance is an iterative process, requiring regular review and revision of the original plan in order to maximize its effectiveness.

Elements of a successful preventive maintenance program

In order for your PM plan to be effective, it's important to take into account the needs and goals of all stakeholders involved. This will ensure that your PM plan is comprehensive and meets all of your organization's needs. Let’s dive into what it takes to develop an effective preventive maintenance program.

Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement is a critical element of successful preventive maintenance plans. By getting the entire team involved in creating the holistic plan, all perspectives can be taken into account and the team can more effectively work towards a common goal that meets the needs of all stakeholders. This allows everyone to collaborate and share ideas, allowing for thorough problem solving when creating the PM program.

Gathering feedback from all members of the team maximizes the potential of a PM plan, as all necessary resources and goals will be taken into account before implementation.

Team communication

A successful preventive maintenance program requires effective team communication. This is because quick and precise communication helps to avoid any delays in maintenance, incorrect task prioritization, and potentially long-term downtimes.

The best way to facilitate the flow of information between teams is with a cloud-based CMMS system. This gives instant access to asset information from anywhere, streamlines the process of sharing knowledge and data, and ensures that everyone has access to the same accurate information at all times. Ultimately, investing in a cloud-based CMMS will ensure smoother operations and bring better organization overall.

Detailed asset inventory

A successful preventive maintenance program requires more than a great maintenance team – it also needs the right resources to be able to plan and carry out the necessary tasks. This starts with having comprehensive knowledge of your asset inventory so that you can ensure the right parts are on hand, when they’re needed.

This can be critical for keeping production costs down, while minimizing costly downtime due to lack of parts or late delivery of parts from suppliers. However, manual tracking processes can quickly become obscure and prone to error over time. Instead, an effective system should include automated capabilities for inventory management to keep things organized and prevent a backlog of routine maintenance tasks from ever developing.


A successful preventive maintenance (PM) program requires consistency if it is to reach lead indicators that indicate optimum performance. Consistent measurement of key performance indicators (KPI’s), regular gathering of feedback and modifications where necessary are essential for a PM program so that it can not just maintain but also continuously improve its efficiency.

Although the structure and details of a PM plan may differ from organization to organization, staying consistent with the metrics used to evaluate it will help ensure its overall effectiveness.

The right CMMS to make it happen

A well-designed preventive maintenance program can save businesses a lot of money and eliminate unpredictable downtime. The most successful PM programs have one thing in common: a well-managed CMMS.

The right CMMS helps in an endless assortment of ways. This type of modern CMMS can play an important role in helping to ensure efficient scheduling and tracking, improved operator and technician involvement, proactive problem prevention, reduced downtime, clear reporting/insights, and more.

It also provides real-time access to maintenance tasks from anywhere and anytime, helps streamline accurate forecasting, and offers powerful insights through integrated analytics. Thanks to its centralized structure, user-friendly design, and complete data access for all users—plus so much more—a CMMS is key for the success of any sizable PM program.

An effective modern CMMS like Asset Essentials is key to ensuring PM processes are streamlined from beginning to end. A user-friendly centralized system allows all assets to be managed and monitored from one place, making it simpler for teams to track updates and communicate with each other for any changes or concerns that may arise at any given time.

Implement a preventive maintenance plan with Brightly’s CMMS solutions

With Brightly's CMMS solutions, organizations are able to take the stress out of setting up and managing preventive maintenance plans.

Not only can they save time and money, but have access to a wide range of features designed to provide insight into their process and quickly adapt their plan as needed. With Brightly customizable solutions, organizations can easily ensure that its maintenance processes remain effective, efficient, and productive at all times.

Get started today to see how Brightly is able to elevate your preventive maintenance plan for long-term success!