What is PPM?
PPM stands for ‘Planned Preventative Maintenance’ (or Planned Preventive Maintenance in some parts of the world). PPM is the name given to the maintenance strategy where visits to maintain or inspect assets or building fabric are scheduled in advance of there being any issues. It is the same as preventative maintenance except that it often has associated with it a schedule which details the various service visits and the scope of work to be undertaken on each.
For a reminder on what constitutes preventative maintenance, check out this article here.
The objective of putting together a planned maintenance schedule is that stakeholders will reduce the costs of maintenance by anticipating issues and ensuring that assets are maintained in a good state of repair. Where there are business costs that will be incurred in the event of asset downtime or to ensure satisfactory compliance with relevant regulations or requirements a planned maintenance strategy is essential.
What are the advantages of a planned maintenance strategy?
There are a number of key advantages to running a planned maintenance strategy. The main ones are as follows:
1. Reduced asset downtime
By checking on assets and equipment at regular intervals - either on the basis of time intervals or usage levels - engineers should be able to see issues developing and address them before they lead to failures.
2. Increased equipment lifespan
Just like with a car, if the equipment is well (and regularly) maintained, it will likely lead to a longer life expectancy.
3. Reduced capital expenditure
As per the above, by ensuring that assets or building fabric are maintained, there should be a corresponding decrease in the need to replace wholesale assets or equipment. Such works will often require a level of expenditure and planning that places additional strain on the business.
4. Improved workflow scheduling
By scheduling maintenance visits, and reducing the risk of equipment failure, businesses can more confidently plan for their operations. Knowing in advance when assets may need to be offline will ensure that business critical tasks can be alternatively handled.
5. Improved workplace safety
At its core, regular maintenance of plant and equipment means that these assets will be fit for purpose. This is of particular importance where they are integral to the safe functioning of the workplace, for example in the case of emergency lighting or fire suppression systems.
Are there any disadvantages to a PPM strategy?
There are always pros and cons to any strategy, otherwise it would be the default solution. If you would like to see reasons why there are different maintenance strategies, you can look over our article - ‘What are the different types of maintenance?’ - but in most circumstances, the benefits of a PPM strategy outweigh any drawbacks. In weighing up whether a PPM strategy is right for you, you might like to consider the following:
1. Upfront costs
In order to initiate a PPM strategy, you will need to commit resources to documenting the assets, determining a service frequency and engaging suppliers to undertake the required visits. Whilst this is often outweighed by the savings from utilising a planned maintenance strategy it is a financial commitment that needs to be made upfront.
2. Excessive maintenance
There are a number of independent bodies that provide recommended maintenance schedules for particular asset and equipment types. However, often the level of maintenance is delegated to the supplier of that particular service line. There are situations where the level of recommended maintenance is above that which is most beneficial to the customer.
3. False sense of security
It would be great if adopting a PPM strategy meant that you could gain complete certainty around maintenance costs and equipment downtime. Unfortunately, the simple fact is that failures still occur. Nothing can be forecast with complete certainty, but again the risk minimisation is likely to compensate for any business costs resulting from asset downtime.
How to implement a PPM strategy
Even when you have committed to a PPM strategy - and as per the ‘disadvantages’ of a PPM approach - there is still work to be done to implement. Below is an indication of what needs to be done to get the PPM maintenance schedule in place.
Commit to PPM
The first step to implement a planned preventive maintenance strategy is unsurprisingly to commit to a PPM strategy. Once this is done, the rest of it can be done in a variety of ways and with different timing but should lead to the same outcome.
When determining how to maintain your assets, you must get a full understanding of your universe of assets. This can often be done by a supplier with whom you are looking to work but otherwise, you can get this done as a standalone service.
Once you have the asset register, the next step is to determine the frequency and intensity of maintenance. As mentioned, previously, this is not necessarily a binary choice - you need to balance the costs of maintenance with the benefits thereof. A number of independent guidelines exist to this effect, for example, SFG-20. Otherwise, you can defer to your suppliers.
Once you have determined the maintenance schedule for each asset or service line, you need to attach suppliers accordingly. For many clients, the easiest way of undertaking supplier assignment is by working with a full service provider who can carry out all aspects of maintenance. Again, there is no right or wrong decision here - just pros and cons to each approach.
Now that the above steps have been completed, it is time to execute the PPM schedule. This means coordinating visits, receiving reports, analyzing recommendations, weighing up costs and benefits of their implementation etc.. Unfortunately, nothing is ‘set and forget’ in the world of facilities management, but that is what makes it so interesting.
As above, even once you have made the decision to implement a PPM strategy you need to periodically review and ensure that your suppliers and indeed the strategy is the right one for you. Metrics and data such as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and how this compares to your initial forecasts are there to inform your assessment.
If you would rather have all this information in a brochure, you can get that here