Preventive Maintenance Service: Definition, Types and Advantages [The Full Guide]

Preventive Maintenance Service: Definition, Types and Advantages [The Full Guide]

A preventive maintenance service usually leads to cost savings. Yet, you need a strong strategy to apply this proactive approach to maintaining machinery and assets and extending the lifespan of your equipment. When implemented correctly, it can reduce downtime and help the business’s bottom line. 

But what is this type of service? Are there different types? And what about its advantages and disadvantages?

This full guide explores the answers to these questions, so keep reading to find out more.

Preventive Maintenance Service: Definition, Types and Advantages [The Full Guide]

What Is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is also known as preventative maintenance or PM. It is a label allocated to a proactive category of machinery maintenance services. It takes place before a fault occurs so that operations can run optimally.

It is natural to carry out maintenance, particularly with regular wear and tear, environmental factors or the machine's reduced lifespan. 

A preventive maintenance program steps in to prevent potential machinery failures and minimise risks for businesses.

In short, scheduling a routine PM in advance is a great way to ensure the optimal functionality of the machinery and seamless operations in the future. This systematic approach helps to extend asset lifespan while reducing downtime significantly. That is because breakdowns are preempted and potential problems are addressed beforehand. This makes future ones less severe.

How Preventive Maintenance Works

fabrico preventive maintenance of machine
When done correctly, preventive maintenance is usually implemented through a scheduling system. It is carried out based on usage criteria or predefined periods. Thus, the two main types of scheduling are usage-based and time/calendar-based.

Although each one will be covered in more detail below, it’s worth noting that each can trigger a maintenance task through various alarms or a series of notifications.

The impact of PM on equipment lifespan, productivity and efficiency is undeniable.

Types of Preventive Maintenance

As mentioned above, there are two main types of PM. These are usage-based and time/calendar-based. Let’s explore each one in more depth.

Usage-based preventive maintenance

Every machine manufacturer has guidelines for maintaining its machinery. Often, such maintenance takes place on a usage basis. In other words, a plant manager will look at the machine’s statistics or usage readings to determine if it is due for preventive maintenance. These statistics or readings may include different benchmarks. Examples include cycle counts, distance covered, operating hours, running time, production cycles, etc. 

Thereby, preventive maintenance depends on the frequency of the machine's use. This process is frequently automated and when a machine hits a certain count, its status will trigger a notification for the team to perform a maintenance check.

One of the benefits of this type of maintenance is that it helps to prevent so-called “over-maintenance”. This is when some machines get more frequent attention (labour hours and spare parts) than needed.

Time-based preventive maintenance

Time- or calendar-based preventive maintenance works at predefined, pre-established scheduled intervals. This is a recurring, calendar-based task and it can occur daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually, etc.

A trigger is usually created right before the maintenance is due to be performed. This trigger notifies the relevant parties, who then get to work. Benchmarks can also be set by manufacturers’ recommendations and are dependent on the type of machine in question. 

The ultimate purpose of such a PM is to ensure the regular inspection and maintenance of the most essential business equipment. Ideally, teams should keep detailed records about previous maintenance efforts. This way, decision-makers can better determine what resources to allocate to PM tasks. 

Potential challenges that may arise include equipment failures if the time between maintenance is not correct or is not followed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Preventive Maintenance

two engineers inspecting machines

We now turn to the advantages and disadvantages of preventive maintenance for organisations.

Here are some of the advantages of preventive maintenance:

  • Extended asset lifespan: Following a manufacturer’s planned maintenance schedule and requirements extends the machine’s lifespan. This minimises damage to the equipment as it runs according to plan. As a result, organisations will need to replace equipment less frequently.
  • Cost savings: Organisations can also enjoy cost savings due to well-scheduled preventive maintenance. When unplanned maintenance takes place, there’s usually a greater demand for spare parts. However, when you have the right spare parts at the right time, your machine will be well-maintained and function optimally. Your inventory management will also improve.
  • Reduced downtime: Downtime is a massive cost for many production plants because operations are halted and production stops until the fault is repaired. This leads to  production and revenue losses. In addition, labour costs increase because repair specialists may need to work overtime. Maintenance can be scheduled for off-peak periods instead, boosting overall efficiency. Because preventive maintenance is planned in advance, the task can be performed faster.
  • Increased uptime and productivity: Considered the opposite of downtime, uptime is the time during which your machinery operates at full capacity, resulting in greater production output. Uptime means the creation of more products, leaving you with more items to sell. Consequently, uptime as a result of the efforts and efficiency of preventive maintenance can have positive effects on your revenue.
  • Lower energy consumption: A machine is most efficient when it operates at optimal capacity. As such, efficiency leads to lower energy consumption, which results in lower utility costs and a lower environmental footprint.
  • Improved workplace safety: Government regulations are often in place regarding the use of some machines, because they pose a heavy safety and accident risk. When you maintain your machines on schedule, you become more compliant. Your safety and accident record will improve, making the work environment better for your team.

A few disadvantages of preventive maintenance may include:

  • Its labour-intensive nature: With preventive maintenance, you’ll first need to get your team on board. That’s because it requires following its automated nature. Also, because of the frequency of the maintenance tasks involved, you’ll need to have a team at hand to ensure the timely performance of maintenance. Some employees may be taken away from their daily duties to focus on PM.
  • The potential for over-maintenance: A further challenge that may arise with preventive maintenance is the potential for over-maintenance. This can lead to unnecessary costs spent on precautionary measures that may not be needed. Hence, fine-tuning your maintenance frequency is key. Also, it requires proper planning and allocation of resources beforehand.
  • Requires time for strategising: Before you adopt any type of preventive maintenance schedule, you will need to strategise. Thus, you ensure you have all the necessary inventory and qualified personnel to handle the tasks. With inventory, you’ll need to secure the spare parts, tools and consumables needed. Meanwhile, with staff, you’ll need to plan a solid rotation of qualified personnel to carry out the maintenance job punctually. All this requires staff, physical and financial resources.

Preventive Maintenance vs. Reactive Maintenance

Whereas preventive maintenance deals with a problem before it occurs and is a proactive approach, there is also a more traditional approach, which is reactive. It’s called corrective maintenance.

With reactive maintenance, the servicing of the affected machine takes place after the machine experiences a breakdown or a failure. In this scenario, an organisation waits until something goes wrong before it is fixed.

Reactive maintenance can be both planned and unplanned. The latter deals with emergencies, which is when you need to solve the problem immediately.

Also called the run-to-failure method, it has serious cost implications.

For example, it can lead to:

  • High unplanned or unexpected downtime
  • Excessive and unplanned repair, storage and spare part costs
  • Costs for labour overtime
  • Lost time waiting for diagnostics and resolutions
  • Reduced productivity
  • Hampered operations
  • Failure to meet production deadlines

Preventive Maintenance vs. Predictive Maintenance

A more progressive form of preventive maintenance is predictive maintenance (PdM). It seeks to reduce the number of planned tasks. Predictive maintenance “predicts” when a machine failure will occur and at the same time, creates work orders to prevent that failure.

As an advanced alternative to preventive maintenance, it makes use of many data sources. Examples include equipment readers, temperature/gas/humidity/security/pressure/vibration sensors, maintenance history, defects, conditions, experts and past experience. PdM is often powered and enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and smart tools. It is therefore considered a complex solution.

Despite its complexity and often high cost, it offers great levels of precision by studying data requirements. Work orders can be automatically generated after monitoring equipment conditions and detecting possible defects.

As a major benefit, predictive maintenance can enable organisations to schedule maintenance tasks to reduce the number of machine crashes. In turn, this can lead to cost savings over the long term.

Despite its long-term benefits, predictive maintenance can be a riskier investment than preventive maintenance because it may cause higher initial errors and such maintenance costs can be higher.

Learn more about the challenges in predictive maintenance in a related blog post

What Is a Preventive Maintenance Service?

This is a solution that maintains the longevity of machines by taking precautionary measures. These measures ensure that these assets are properly maintained before they break down. 

A preventative maintenance service can involve regular and periodic checks and maintenance activities such as part changes, lubrication, cleaning, etc., depending on the machine in question.

When Are Preventive Maintenance Services Needed?

Organisations need preventive maintenance when their needs stipulate this.

To determine organisational needs, it is first necessary to take stock of the machinery inventory in question.

Next, the maintenance requirements for each type of machinery must be followed in accordance with industry standards and guidelines. It is crucial to keep accurate records of manufacturers’ guidelines and to always monitor the condition of the machines.

The transition from reactive to proactive maintenance, as part of regular maintenance processes, is also essential.

How Can Fabrico’s Preventive Maintenance Software Help?

fabrico software

With Fabrico’s computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), preventive maintenance can be a seamless process.

Some of the benefits of this automated platform include:

  • Generate recurring tasks
  • Smart scheduling of task frequency
  • View all periodic tasks
  • Analyse data via dedicated reports
  • Annual preventive maintenance plan

To find out more about how we can help you with your preventive maintenance efforts, take a look here .

Preventive Maintenance Examples and Real-World Success

Let us tell you a story about one of our clients, whose business operates in the confectionery industry. 

The plant’s repair and assembly centre consisted of one manager and 16 technicians. The ISO-approved workflow relied on a manually recorded annual service plan. Technicians reported tasks verbally, resulting in information gaps. A challenge arose when a million-euro production machine failed and its warranty was voided due to irregular maintenance.

That’s where Fabrico implemented digital technology into their client’s processes and tasks, eliminating information gaps.

The results: The plant saw an optimisation of machine operating time. What is more, production capacity saw a remarkable 10% increase over a period of six months.


The significance of preventive maintenance for businesses is undeniable. It’s a key way of minimising downtime, reducing costs and improving worker safety and productivity.

To reap all those benefits, we encourage you to explore and implement preventive maintenance solutions at your plant or factory.


Why is preventive maintenance important?

Preventive maintenance is important because it can help you improve production, reduce downtime, save on costs and boost worker safety.

How often is a PM service required?

It should be performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions for each piece of machinery. Depending on the machine, you may either need to perform usage-based or time-based PM services to protect your assets from unexpected breakdowns.

What is the most common preventive maintenance?

One of the most common PM service tasks involves equipment inspections. This is often followed by cleaning the equipment and lubricating rotating parts. Other common preventive maintenance tasks include checking the machines' power supply. Finally, to optimise machine performance, you should repair and/or add spare parts before it fails.

Is preventive maintenance suitable for all industries and equipment types?

Preventive maintenance is not always suitable for every industry, equipment or machinery. Some older assets, for example, may not need preventive maintenance, unlike newer ones.

Can preventive maintenance be combined with predictive maintenance strategies?

It is possible to combine the functionalities of preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance to ensure organisations leverage the strengths of each maintenance type. This can help minimise any associated risks to the plant, equipment and factory.

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