You Cannot Maximize Production or Reduce Costs Without the use of an Effective Planned Maintenance System

You Cannot Maximize Production or Reduce Costs Without the use of an Effective Planned Maintenance System

John W. Rushton, Rushton International 

IDCON’s Planning and Scheduling Book

Planned maintenance is a maintenance concept developed over a span of time, and is made up of numerous functions, all designed to compliment each other. Planned maintenance, then, is a maintenance program designed to improve the effectiveness of maintenance through the use of systematic methods and plans. The primary objective of the maintenance effort is to keep equipment functioning in a safe and efficient manner. This allows production to meet production targets with minimum operating cost. All portions of a planned maintenance program interrelate and are necessary for total system effectiveness. Planned maintenance is not just a planning and scheduling function stuck on the side of a general “firefighting” type maintenance organization.  It must be complete to be effective, and leaving one feature out will seriously hamper the program. Leaving two or three features out will leave you without an effective planned maintenance program. Companies that buy a computer software program and keep repair history files do not have a system. The most critical components of a planned maintenance system are the following:

These tools can be done manually or partially on a computer. The system is more important than what tool you use to control it or monitor progress. The best software in the world is not a system. Software will not necessarily reduce costs. Complex and labor intensive software will frequently increase costs. You can install a good system with any software, but good software can be a valuable tool and can be used as part of a system.


Production involvement is extremely important.  Without this, any maintenance program will be jeopardized.  Commitment to the success of a maintenance program must extend from top production management through the front-line supervisors. If production management is not committed to a maintenance program, then unrealistically high or low requirements may be made of the maintenance forces.  Either situation can cause poor performance and low morale. The system will go in easily at facilities where the production and maintenance managers work as a team in an effort to achieve common goals.  In these cases, the production manager will want to see what he will receive in service from the maintenance department if such a program is started.  A basic outline of the systems must be developed prior to selling the concept to upper management.  An overall maintenance philosophy will be developed by the production and maintenance team leaders.  A system to fit this philosophy will then be developed by the maintenance group.


Basic to the philosophy of planned maintenance is the concept that maintenance will continually attempt to increase on-line-time and decrease internal costs.

  1. Maintenance will be actively involved in optimizing production on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
  2. Maintenance will actively upgrade supervision by training and, if necessary, replacement.
  3. Maintenance will actively upgrade hourly employees by training and, if necessary, discipline and replacement.
  4. Lowest manning levels will be sought.
  5. Maintenance will use a daily work schedule.
  6. Major shutdowns or overhauls will be totally planned.


Basic to the philosophy of planned maintenance is the concept that production is an equal partner with maintenance in the achievement of established goals. Production has certain obligations to maintenance:

  1. Production must accept maintenance as an equal partner.
  2. Production must continually attempt to optimize production.
  3. Production equipment must not be abused. Higher than designed output is not  necessarily abuse.
  4. Lines of communication between production and maintenance must remain open.

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