The Pros and Cons of Different Maintenance Programs: A CMMS Perspective


The Importance of Maintenance Programs

One cannot overstate the importance of maintenance programs to the smooth operations of any industry, from manufacturing to IT, aviation and beyond. Comprehensive maintenance programs, especially those managed through a Computerized Maintenance Management system (CMMS), can significantly enhance productivity and cost efficiency. They not only ensure optimal performance through routine checks on equipment and systems but also help to pre-empt potential issues, hence, reducing system or machine downtime.

But, it’s not just about nipping potential problems in the bud. Maintenance programs, particularly preventive maintenance programs, are an integral part of an equipment’s lifecycle as they increase its lifespan and improve its operational output. They also have a direct impact on safety in the workplace. By identifying and addressing issues before they degenerate to serious problems, maintenance programs can contribute to reducing the incidence of industrial accidents.

The Variety of Maintenance Programs

Over the years, several varieties of maintenance programs have evolved, each aimed at addressing particular needs and suited to different kinds of machinery or systems. They all share the common goal of ensuring efficient performance of systems and machinery while reducing the frequency and cost of repairs. These programs, when integrated with a CMMS, can greatly improve the workflow and efficiency of the maintenance process.

Preventive Maintenance (PM): The most common type, preventive maintenance involves routine checks and servicing of equipment to avoid the incidence of failures. It necessitates the creation of a maintenance schedule based on time, usage, or condition.

Corrective Maintenance: As the name implies, this type resolves an existing issue in the system or machinery. Corrective actions can be minor, like tightening a loose screw, or major, like replacing an entire component.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM): This is a more advanced form where the condition and performance of the equipment are constantly monitored to predict when maintenance should be carried out. It incorporates various methods of data collection, including vibration analysis, acoustic, temperature, and oil analysis.

Risk-based Maintenance (RbM): This involves assessing the risk posed by equipment failure and scheduling maintenance accordingly. It helps prioritize maintenance activities based on their potential to affect the business.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): This method aims to increase equipment availability by involving all levels, from top management to front-line operators, in its upkeep.

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM): RCM utilizes a structured process to determine which assets require maintenance, thereby improving system reliability, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

Preventive Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Preventive Maintenance outscores other options because of its proactive approach. By addressing potential issues before they've had a chance to cause problems, it minimizes the chance of untimely breakdowns. Thus, it helps to extend equipment life, increase work safety, improve production quality, conserve energy, and save costs.

By establishing a maintenance schedule, PM also improves workflow. With a CMMS, scheduling, tracking, and completion of these tasks become less of a chore. You can forecast when each machine will need servicing and plan accordingly, minimizing impact on production.

However, PM is not without its drawbacks. It may lead to wasted resources if maintenance is conducted too frequently or on equipment that does not need it. There's also the challenge of developing an effective maintenance schedule. Too long between PM checks, and the equipment may fail; too short, and you waste precious man-hours and resources.

Also, while PM can help prevent many malfunctions, it isn't foolproof. Equipment may still break down between checks if there's a sudden, unforeseen issue. This makes it important to also have a reactive maintenance program in place to cater to such incidents.

Predictive Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Predictive maintenance is a proactive approach that utilizes data analysis, predictive modelling and machine learning to predict when an equipment failure might occur, thereby allowing for maintenance tasks to be scheduled at a convenient time before a breakdown occurs.

Pros of Predictive Maintenance:

Minimizing downtime is one of the most significant benefits of predictive maintenance. More often than not, equipment failure leads to costly and untimely downtimes. However, with predictive maintenance, potential issues are identified and resolved before they can cause a problem, significantly reducing downtime.

Another advantage of predictive maintenance is the cost-effectiveness. By addressing potential issues early on, companies can avoid the more significant costs associated with full-scale equipment breakdown.

Cons of Predictive Maintenance:

Despite the many advantages, predictive maintenance also has its challenges. One of the main drawbacks is the complexity of implementation. For predictive maintenance to work effectively, it requires a sophisticated system of sensors and advanced analytics, making it more complex than traditional maintenance methods.

Secondly, predictive maintenance might lead to unnecessary maintenance tasks. This is because the system might not be 100% accurate in predicting failures, leading to unnecessary maintenance jobs.

Corrective Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Corrective maintenance, also known as "breakdown maintenance," is a method where maintenance tasks are conducted on equipment only after a defect or breakdown occurs.

Pros of Corrective Maintenance:

One of the main benefits of corrective maintenance is that there are no upfront costs for maintenance tasks. Since the maintenance is only performed when required, the preventive maintenance costs are nullified.

Corrective maintenance also requires less planning than preventive maintenance. This is because tasks are only performed when a defect is observed, potentially freeing up time for other operations.

Cons of Corrective Maintenance:

While corrective maintenance can be less expensive upfront, the associated costs resulting from equipment stopping unexpectedly can be significantly higher. These costs can include lost production, overtime for emergency repairs, and more extensive damage to the equipment itself.

Another potential disadvantage is that it can be quite disruptive. When equipment breaks down unexpectedly, operations often have to be halted, which can have a significant impact on productivity.

Risk-based Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Risk-based maintenance leverages both condition-based monitoring and reliability-centered maintenance to determine maintenance priorities.

Pros of Risk-based Maintenance:

One of the main advantages of risk-based maintenance is that it optimizes maintenance schedules based on the criticality and condition of the equipment. This means that resources are allocated to where they are needed most, promoting efficiency and reducing costs.

Another advantage is the improved risk management. By identifying and prioritizing risks, organizations can manage their maintenance more effectively and reduce the likelihood of equipment failure.

Cons of Risk-based Maintenance:

One of the main challenges with risk-based maintenance is that it requires a comprehensive understanding of the equipment, its failure modes, and the impact of these failures on the operation. This can require time and resources that are not always readily available.

Moreover, this maintenance strategy requires continuous risk assessments and updates to the maintenance strategy, which can add complexity and require additional time and resources.

Condition-based Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Condition-based maintenance, often referred to as predictive maintenance, is a proactive maintenance program strategy that involves assessing the condition of an equipment and performing maintenance based on the data. Sophisticated tools and technologies like vibration analysis, infrared imaging, and ultrasound detection are used in such cases.


  • Minimized Downtime: As maintenance is scheduled based on evidence of need, this significantly reduces unexpected equipment failures and downtime.
  • Cost-Effective: When compared to performing routine maintenance, condition-based maintenance can be more cost-effective since it avoids unnecessary maintenance work.
  • Higher Equipment Lifespan: By addressing potential issues early, condition-based maintenance can extend the lifespan of equipment and machines.


  • High Upfront Costs: Implementing condition-based maintenance requires a significant investment in monitoring equipment and training.
  • Dependent on Expertise: The success of condition-based maintenance depends on the reliability of the data collected and its analysis, which in turn relies on specialized skills.

Reactive Maintenance: Pros and Cons

Reactive maintenance, also known as breakdown maintenance, involves fixing equipment and machinery only after it breaks down.


  • Lower Initial Costs: There's no need for costly maintenance planning and scheduling.
  • Less Staff Required: Unlike preventive maintenance programs like condition-based maintenance, reactive maintenance requires less staff as maintenance only occurs when a problem arises.


  • Increased Downtime: Since maintenance only occurs after a problem arises, this can lead to unexpected equipment failures and potentially long periods of downtime.
  • Higher Long-term Costs: Repairs can be expensive, particularly if they involve a major system breakdown. Over time, the cumulative cost of repairs can surpass the cost of a preventive maintenance program.
  • Shorter Equipment Lifespan: Reactive maintenance may result in a shorter life for equipment as problems that may have been identified early in a preventive maintenance plan might go unnoticed until they cause a failure.

The Influence of a CMMS on Different Maintenance Programs

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software package that maintains a database of an organization's maintenance operations. This program aids maintenance teams in keeping a record of all assets, schedule and track maintenance tasks, and record past repairs.

A CMMS can significantly improve the effectiveness of any maintenance program, be it reactive or condition-based in various ways:

  • Scheduled Maintenance: A CMMS allows scheduling and tracking of routine maintenance activities, making it easier for condition-based maintenance programs to be executed seamlessly.
  • Detailed Records: It helps keep track of past maintenance work, which can provide valuable insights when planning future maintenance tasks.
  • Asset Management: The system can help track the life cycle of equipment, which can dramatically help in decision-making regarding repair vs. replace scenarios.
  • Predicting Failures: With predictive analytics features, a CMMS can help predict failures before they occur, allowing maintenance staff to react proactively.
  • Reducing Downtime: By better managing the maintenance process, a CMMS can significantly decrease downtime – a critical factor in any maintenance program.

Implementing Maintenance Programs with CMMS: Advantages

In a world where operational efficiency often determines business performance, implementing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for maintenance programs presents numerous advantages. First, it significantly optimizes maintenance operations by streamlining workflow and reducing downtime. This system enables a company to schedule preventive maintenance tasks, track work orders, and manage assets and inventory in real-time. As such, it forestalls the occurrence of sudden equipment failure, drastically improving operational uptime.

Secondly, these systems offer vital insights through the data collected. With the power of analytic tools, you can monitor the performance of assets, anticipate potential problems, and forecast maintenance needs. This predictive analytics feature allows for improved budgeting and thoroughly informed decision-making processes.

Furthermore, CMMS enhances communication and collaboration within teams. It eliminates the cumbersome process of paperwork and offers an efficient way of keeping everyone in the loop about vital maintenance activities. With a standardized process and improved communication, work efficiency markedly increases.

Lastly, the use of CMMS increases regulatory compliance by providing accurate records needed during inspections. This assures regulatory bodies that your business is focused on safety and preventative maintenance, reducing the chances of unnecessary fines or penalties.

Implementing Maintenance Programs without CMMS: Disadvantages

On the flip side, diving into maintenance programs without the support of CMMS has its blind spots. The lack of automation and dependence on manual systems may hinder efficiency and efficacy. Delayed or missed preventive maintenance schedules can result in cascading machine failures, increasing downtime.

The absence of reliable, real-time data collection means the intervention usually happens after the problem has occurred. This reactive approach often results in high repair costs and, in some instances, replacement expenses. Automation absence also means a lot of time spent on administrative tasks, which could otherwise be invested in more productive activities.

Paper methology, without the collaboration and standardization provided by CMMS, can lead to ineffective communication. Critical information can get lost, timeliness may not be accomplished, and consistency of task performance becomes difficult to maintain. Additionally, without a digitized record, proving regulatory compliance can be a daunting challenge and may expose your business to unnecessary risks and penalties.

Choosing the Right Maintenance Program: A Matter of Context

The choice of the right maintenance program is significantly influenced by an organization’s unique context: the business objectives, available resources, complexity of machinery, and prevailing regulations.

Choosing a preventive maintenance program, especially with the support of a CMMS, can yield substantial benefits. It allows for proper planning of maintenance tasks, avoiding sudden machinery breakdowns that disrupt operations. However, for businesses with simple machinery or limited resources, it might be more practical to stick to a reactive maintenance approach.

On the other hand, a predictive maintenance program, which monitors real-time conditions of equipment, can be beneficial for complex, high-value machinery. While this requires significant investment, it can save costs long-term by preemptively identifying and solving potential problems.

Yet again, the appropriate maintenance program ultimately depends on a careful consideration of an organization’s unique requirements, financial capabilities, and strategic objectives.

The Interplay between CMMS, Maintenance Programs, and Organizational Success

The connection between CMMS, maintenance programs, and the overall success of an organization is reciprocal. An effective maintenance program, facilitated by CMMS, directly influences the ability of an organization to deliver valuable products or services reliably and competitively.

CMMS promotes efficiency, data-driven decision-making, communication, and compliance - all crucial elements for a successful maintenance program. A superior maintenance program, in turn, ensures machinery and equipment are well-kept, thus promoting operational efficiency and reduced downtime.

This efficiency and dependability translate into the organization’s capacity to reliably produce and deliver high-quality products or services, which ultimately results in a satisfied customer base and improved bottom line.

In a nutshell, the integration of CMMS into your maintenance programs is not merely an operational choice; it directly influences your organization's competitive standing in today’s fast-paced business environment.