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Why is my preventive maintenance system not working and I don't know it?

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

No! No! No, your preventive maintenance system is not working because your planning and scheduling are not in place. There are things to consider before ... But don't dare to think for a single second that it's easy, you'll have to roll up your sleeves! I will try to be as simple as possible and I guarantee you that it is worth it!

1. Production planned shut

Let me start with a bet! I bet your plant's/machine's production planned shuts cycle has never changed. You don't even know who programmed these shutdowns in the past. Every Monday Line XX is down for 2 hours, why? Nobody knows, it's just a legacy!

So, from my point of view, the first element that guarantees the success of your preventive maintenance is to be sure that the planned shutdowns of your machines are perfectly aligned with your strategy and preventive workload.

But you can't just jump on your plant manager to request more time, you have to prove it. And for this you need to develop the "perfect preventive maintenance checklists".

2. Preventive Maintenance checklists

Don't even look at the existing as a start, take the most critical equipments.

Step 1: OEM manuals

Re-aligns the preventive maintenance of these machines to the original OEM standard. Do not hesitate to ask your OEMs for the latest update as per balow:

  • Confirmation of machines (make, model and serial number)

  • Provide the latest digital technical documentation (.Pdf) or 3D drawings - Electrical, Mechanical, Operator, Lubrication and Hydraulic...

  • Detailed listing of spare parts (part number, reference, current list price, lead time for delivery to sites and more...)

  • Listing of parts purchased for the last XX years

  • Listing of recommanded critical spare parts and minimum shelf quantity

  • Listing of obsolete parts and replacement part details+ details on recommended upgrades. This is for parts already obsolete and to be obsoleted within the next 4 years (please indicate year of expected obsolescence)

  • Listing of parts with a finite shelf life and the life expectancy for each

Step 2: Create the checklists

At a minimum, each individual task must contain the answers to the following questions:

  • What?

  • Why?

  • How?

  • Is it safe?

  • How many?

  • How long?

  • Where?

  • With what?

  • What if...

Most of you completely underestimate how much time you should spend creating your checklists. This is clearly the biggest and smartest investment you can make when it comes to preventive maintenance.

Don't hesitate to film your instructions with msapp, educate with video contents forever and benefit from:

  • constant self-training and easy onboarding

  • all employees mastering best practices

  • everybody working safer and smarter

  • operating hassle-free machines

Step 3: Test your checklists

Involve your team in testing your instructions, fine tune the estimated duration and all the details to make it robust!

Step 4: 25 cents tips

It is also interesting to note that some preventive maintenance can be done safely while the machine or the line is running. Make sure that none of the running checks are included into your shutdowns.

The machine/line start-up is also a very usefull time where the maintenance and the production team can work together to get some specific checks while the machine is not running full speed.

Throughout my career, I noted similarities on the sites visited ... Here are few examples:

  • The most successful maintenance checklists are those that have the least impact on machines... Garbage!

  • The entire maintenance team is familiar with the defects and errors in the checklists, and do not ask for improvements ... Drive it hard !

3. Get operators busy !

Develop autonomous maintenance is also ideal. It places responsability for cleaning, basic inspections and lubrication in the hands of empowered operators.

This will help to:

  • Increases operators’ knowledge of their equipment

  • Gives operators greater “ownership” of their equipment

  • Ensures equipment is always well-cleaned and lubricated

  • Identifies emergent issues before they become failures

  • Frees maintenance personnel for higher-level tasks

Therefore, create your checklists the same way.

4. Calculate and propose

That's it, you are now almost able to ask your plant manager to redesign planned machine shutdown.

First of all you must do small calculations in order to take into account the following elements:

  • How many people can work together on this shut to be safe

  • How many people are available on the maintenance team

  • How many people are available on the operation team

  • How many contractors I am allow to get on site

  • When is the best time to stop the line (Shift change, compliance cleaning, etc...)

  • How many hours of preventive maintenance per weeks, months, year...

With all these figures, you will now be able to discuss and argue with your manager in order to refine the planned shutdown of the machine.

From there, never stop improving. Schedule at least one annual meeting to make sure this is motivated. It is important to note that if this project is not driven by your managers, it will fail.


Don't hesitate to question and work hard on your preventive maintenance system continually. Surround yourself with your teams and challenge them monthly to improve it.

I hope this article sheds some light on the subject. Do not hesitate to leave your comments and raise questions. Thank you for your time. This article is based on suggestions and personal studies aimed at generalizing information. Please be respectful in your comments.

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