Creating a Preventive Maintenance Schedule: Your Ultimate Blueprint

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Schedule: Your Ultimate Blueprint

Managing assets, such as equipment and machinery, is a tough job. This is especially true if there are dozens or even hundreds of them spread out at different locations and with different monetary values. For a maintenance manager, a sign of success is when the machines under their care and control operate optimally (almost) at all times.

But successful maintenance managers know that the secret behind this is to have the right preventive maintenance schedule in place. What they also know is that there are fundamental differences between maintenance schedules and planning and they also know that both can benefit the organisation in important ways.

In this article, we offer insights into the different types of preventative maintenance schedules and provide steps for developing and managing these schedules within a manufacturing environment. Let’s begin.

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Schedule: Your Ultimate Blueprint

What Is a Preventive Maintenance Schedule?

A preventive maintenance schedule, or a PM schedule, is a type of timetable that looks to organise organisational resources in such a way and at such a time that ensure maintenance tasks are carried out according to either time or usage triggers. The main purpose behind this is to make sure that assets are in optimal working condition to prevent breakdowns and unplanned downtime. 

What must be kept in mind is that preventive maintenance differs from reactive maintenance in several ways. In addition, many in the industry agree that the ratio between the two should be around 80:20 between planned and reactive maintenance. However, the key difference between these two is that preventive maintenance takes a proactive approach to maintenance and repair activities for a given piece of equipment.

This means carrying out inspections, fixes and services on machinery before a breakdown occurs to prevent wider failures, usually based on a predetermined checklist. On the other hand, reactive maintenance happens after the fact of a breakdown. It deals with emergency situations after a machine has broken down, which often results in costly downtime.

Another key difference that needs to be noted is between preventive maintenance scheduling and preventive maintenance planning. Whereas the former deals with who carries out repairs and maintenance tasks and when, the latter deals with what needs to be done and the hows behind it. In other words, the resources and methods for achieving a given goal.

Types of Preventive Maintenance (PM) Schedules

Teams that are planning to schedule preventive maintenance need to be aware of the fact that there are two primary types of preventive maintenance scheduling: time-based and metre-based scheduling. Whichever option you choose, you will need a different preventive maintenance schedule template. Below, we explore each of these in more detail.

Time-based PM schedules

Whether you are planning a weekly, monthly or annual preventive maintenance schedule, time-based scheduling occurs at different intervals of time. These can be further divided into fixed and floating preventive maintenance schedules, where a brief explanation of each one follows.

  • Fixed preventive maintenance scheduling: In short, fixed preventive maintenance scheduling looks at fixed points in time and maintenance is carried out accordingly. A fixed preventive maintenance schedule example can entail lubrication or minor servicing required on a given asset every Wednesday at 10:00. It does not matter whether the previous Wednesday’s task was completed. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the task is completed on time and as scheduled.
  • Floating preventive maintenance scheduling: When it comes to floating preventive maintenance scheduling, it’s about a more flexible schedule. For example, it looks at the last time the asset was maintained and then schedules maintenance for a fixed period after that. For instance, say a technician needs to complete a task on the 4th of August but completes it on the 5th instead. The next task will need to be completed on the 5th of September as the schedule continues to “float” or shift depending on when work is completed.

Metre-based PM schedules

Metre-based PM schedules take into account certain events that need to occur or be triggered before an asset is maintained or serviced. For example, a vehicle in your yellow fleet may, by the manufacturer’s instructions, require servicing every 2,000 miles. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for these miles to be reached. The important part is that servicing takes place not at a fixed and regular interval but rather when a certain event is reached.

How to Create a Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Having covered the basics, it’s time to look at how to create a preventive maintenance schedule. In the section that follows, we will tell you more about how to schedule preventive maintenance.

Step 1: Assess inventory assets

Before you create your equipment preventive maintenance schedule, it’s highly advisable that you carry out an inventory of all your assets, big and small, expensive and less costly. This way, you will have a clear picture of which machines will require more work than others and which ones will be more costly to repair but are necessary for the overall functioning of the organisation’s production lines. 

Step 2: Prioritise assets by maintenance needs

These can be identified not only by their high value or high repair costs but also by their crucial nature to the overall contribution to the functioning of your organisation. In short, they are your critical assets. In addition, they will most likely have failure modes that indicate when maintenance should be carried out. This is generally referred to as a criticality analysis.

Once you have identified these assets, you need to record the data so that you can prioritise these machines on a more frequent basis, as and when necessary. The factors for prioritisation will depend on the organisation in question as each one deals with different assets at different life stages of the asset.

Step 3: Identify preventive maintenance intervals

Once you have prioritised your assets, you will be in a better position to determine the different methods for scheduling maintenance tasks. For example, will they be time- or metre-based? For this purpose, you will need to look at the equipment manufacturer’s warranty and maintenance manuals as well as carry out a historical analysis of the timing when maintenance will be necessary.

You will also need to bear in mind that you shouldn’t over-maintain as this can be costly for the organisation, too. Ultimately, you want to achieve a balanced middle ground between under- and over-maintaining machinery so that you hit the sweet spot on an ongoing basis within an organisation defined by well-functioning machinery.

Step 4: Set recurring PM tasks

Unfortunately, many manufacturing facilities still use spreadsheets and paper-based methods to schedule PM tasks. However, in a fast-paced business environment, this is no longer feasible and that’s where automation comes in. To automate your maintenance schedule, the most modern, sophisticated and powerful solution involves using preventive maintenance scheduling software or computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) platforms.

Through this software, you can schedule work orders and maintenance tasks on time and even automate those related to repetitive tasks. What is more, depending on the type of CMMS software you choose, you can also notify your technicians via smart devices such as smartwatches, tablets or smartphones. This enables faster turnaround times, especially when you are managing multiple machines situated across different locations.

Step 5: Continually improve maintenance schedules

Over time, machines, operations and production all change. That’s why relying on a fixed PM schedule is not always the most reliable way to carry out your maintenance tasks. For this purpose, you need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your schedule and make small but lean adjustments for optimal performance. To help you determine whether you are on the right track, you may wish to monitor important metrics such as:

  • Mean time between failure (MTBF)
  • Planned maintenance percentage (PMP)
  • Scheduled maintenance critical percent (SMCP)
  • Preventive maintenance compliance (PMC)
  • Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • And others

With the reporting capabilities of the right CMMS platform at your fingertips, historical data can be quickly and easily made available to you through customisable dashboards. This not only makes reporting easier. It’s also a solid foundation for your preventive maintenance scheduling efforts.

Fabrico CMMS: The Ideal Solution for Preventive Maintenance Scheduling

If you are looking to streamline your preventive maintenance scheduling, you need the right CMMS to help you achieve your goals. This is where Fabrico’s CMMS shines as an industry leader in virtually every respect.

This powerful solution offers you dashboards, reports and analytics, scheduling functionalities, inventory and asset management and so much more. It’s a comprehensive solution that is lightning fast to set up and can help you, your team and your organisation thrive in a fast-paced business environment. 

Don’t hesitate and explore more about Fabrico’s preventive maintenance software now.


Regular review and improvement of your maintenance scheduling activities are highly important for the overall success of your production and manufacturing operations. The benefits are critical because they can reduce downtime and ensure your machines operate optimally for longer periods of time.

In order to achieve streamlining, we encourage you to use preventive maintenance assessment tools that truly understand your business and the intricacies of your maintenance operations. Fabrico’s CMMS stands out for these reasons and more.

Consider it a serious contender in the industry and never look back on your scheduling needs again as you optimise your productivity and ensure your maintenance team carries out routine maintenance in the most effective way possible. This minimises equipment failure as you implement a preventive maintenance checklist to help everyone succeed as they carry out maintenance activities.

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