What is maintenance management?

Maintenance management is planning, scheduling, and managing regular maintenance for company assets and resources. 
Many companies have assets and resources that are vital to company operations. When these assets, resources, and equipment stall, break down, or get lost, it’s a waste of company time and resources. Maintenance management exists to ensure that resources are used effectively while controlling time and costs and helping maintain maximum efficiency.

Companies often rely on equipment and assets to do business and achieve important objectives. Losing valuable time and resources to do maintenance after equipment stalls can affect business operations. Unplanned downtime from equipment failures or poorly maintained assets can lead to unexpected costs that add up quickly—for labor, parts, overtime, and other factors. That is why regular scheduled maintenance is important. 

Maintenance management is crucial to the long-term success of a maintenance program. It’s important to use maintenance management to improve quality assurance with maintenance, maintain efficiency, ensure equipment and assets are operating properly, and reduce unexpected maintenance costs. Essentially, maintenance management is about making sure that a company’s assets are taken care of regularly while accounting for budgetary concerns and resources. 

There are several important objectives of a maintenance management program. Managers of such a program will try to balance these objectives to achieve the best maintenance program and schedule to keep company assets operating smoothly. These are some of the objectives of maintenance management:
 Graphic outlining the purposes of maintenance management
  • Minimizing downtime
    Good maintenance management helps minimize the amount of asset downtime, which helps optimize the amount of time spent working. Equipment maintenance is scheduled in ways that keep employees able to work and removes as many delays and interruptions as possible. 

  • Budgeting
    Some costs are a better use of company funds than others. Budgeting is all about ensuring that company funds are put toward the components that are the most important to operations and ensuring asset uptime. Sometimes a manager may have to choose between a more affordable part and a more expensive part that may last longer, and then decide which of these would be a better use of resources at the time. Ultimately, allocating funds is what makes maintenance management so important. Most companies can order new parts or tools, but not every last-minute solution is worth the cost. Budgeting with maintenance management ahead of time helps companies choose the right parts and uses of funds.

  • Scheduling work
    It’s important to have regular maintenance performed on valuable assets and equipment for company operations. Scheduling work is a balancing act. Managers need to ensure that assets are regularly cared for with minimal disruption to the company. In some instances, a manager might want to stagger maintenance plans, while other times work is scheduled at the same time during a planned shutdown. It is also important to manage when certain assets will need to be used for business purposes and to make sure that maintenance is performed well in advance.

  • Regulation compliance
    For some assets and equipment, there are regulations that need to be complied with. Some equipment might require documented inspections or regular replacement of certain parts, so it’s necessary to balance compliance with budgetary needs. Regulations can also determine scheduling, as some tools or equipment need to be maintained or renewed at certain times or after a certain length of time to be compliant. Further, maintenance managers must remediate recalls issued by manufacturers or regulatory government agencies.

  • Improving safety
    Unmaintained, failing, and broken equipment can be dangerous. Regularly maintained equipment is much safer, so one of the objectives of maintenance management program is to avoid potential safety issues and ensure that equipment is in prime operating condition and safe for use by employees and customers.

  • Training
    A maintenance management program also often focuses on making sure that the employees who need to use the equipment or tools are properly trained in how to do so. Some management teams will schedule regular employee training and equipment maintenance.

There are many benefits to creating a maintenance management program to protect company resources. These are some of the most powerful benefits of maintenance management.

Improved operational efficiency

One of the objectives of maintenance management is to ensure operational efficiency. By prioritizing efficiency, maintenance management is able to help organizations optimize their operations. They no longer have to wait during downtime, and there aren’t unexpected delays and challenges from broken equipment or non-operational assets.

Extend asset useable life

In addition, normal wear and tear operations will take a toll on equipment. If allowed to continue, the components or entire asset would stop working sooner than expected. Regular and scheduled maintenance helps improve operational efficiency by expanding the lifespan of equipment.


Malfunctioning equipment and emergency repairs cost organizations time and money. Maintenance management is a way that companies can save time by ensuring that equipment and assets are taken care of regularly to prevent ad hoc work. Maintenance plans can also include tools and spare parts needed to perform maintenance tasks. Save technicians’ time by ensuring they show up to the job site with the necessary items to complete the work on the first visit.

Staff and equipment safety

A maintenance management manager or enterprise asset management system prioritizes safe operations. That focus on safety can help keep employees safe as they use equipment. Unmaintained equipment is more likely to malfunction, leading to preventable workplace injuries. Regular maintenance protects the equipment itself and prevents it from getting damaged or wearing down. In addition, regularly maintained equipment poses less risk for customers and the company who depend on properly working assets.

Deeper understanding of trends for decision making

One additional benefit of maintenance management is the insights and analysis available for empowering decision makers. Regularly tracking and managing maintenance is a way to notice trends that occur with equipment and asset needs. For example, if a certain part continually breaks down, that information can be used to decide what asset model to invest in moving forward. Managers might choose a product with an alternate part in the future, so they no longer have to worry about the part that breaks down.

Maintenance management is about improving the processes and workflows in real time and using the data to make better assets, procurement, and capital investment decisions. 

Not all maintenance management is the same. There are four distinct types of maintenance management that are worth reviewing.

Reactive maintenance

Waiting until equipment breaks down is a type of maintenance management. Reactive maintenance is waiting until something is absolutely necessary to repair. Organizations that employ this type of management are reacting to the condition of their equipment. Reactive maintenance is the least mature maintenance management program, and it can lead to lost time and funds.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is when an organization uses regularly scheduled maintenance based on time or some other set metric. For example, many people use preventive maintenance to change the oil in their cars. This type of maintenance is a better approach than reactive maintenance management because it does help companies stay on top of maintenance and reduce downtime and malfunctions.

Condition-based maintenance

Sometimes the way an asset looks can reveal a maintenance need. Condition-based maintenance relies on the management team surveying and observing the equipment and tools and scheduling maintenance based on which ones show a need for maintenance. While preventive maintenance won’t always catch problems because equipment isn’t regularly assessed, condition-based maintenance can help any equipment that needs attention get maintenance when it needs it. Conversely, preventative maintenance may lead to over-spending by performing work on assets at set time intervals whether they actually need it or not.

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is the most mature form of maintenance management. Predictive maintenance involves monitoring the condition and needs of equipment in real time. The data is analyzed to anticipate future performance and determine the most accurate maintenance schedule and needs. It’s an effective way to balance maintenance needs while keeping costs low and downtime to a minimum.  It is the most mature maintenance management approach, which requires investments in connecting and monitoring assets.

What options are available for organizations to manage maintenance? One solution some companies use is a computerized maintenance management system or CMMS. A CMMS is a computerized system that helps simplify the maintenance management process by keeping a database of company operations and maintenance information, producing status reports, and providing detailed summaries of activity.

While a digital tool may help simplify maintenance management, a CMMS has certain limitations. It is only useful for maintenance management, which means organizations cannot use this tool to accomplish more than one objective or to manage company assets on a larger scale. An Enterprise asset management (EAM) system encompasses maintenance management along with other activities in the asset lifecycle.

ServiceNow Enterprise Asset Management is a broader solution that can accomplish maintenance management and help your organization oversee your assets on a larger scale. With ServiceNow Enterprise Asset Management, you can streamline enterprise asset processes and automate away paper, spreadsheets, and all in between steps. You can plan assets, move to acquiring and deploying those assets, then track assets during operations and maintenance, and ultimately retire them. Instead of choosing a CMMS that only allows you to monitor maintenance, you can use an EAM to follow assets through the entire management lifecycle.

ServiceNow can help you create and manage maintenance plans for enterprise assets. Doing so can help you extend the life of enterprise assets by planning regular maintenance of physical equipment across all locations. This tool allows you to create maintenance schedules associated with models or assets based on user-defined rules triggered by time, use, or condition. ServiceNow Enterprise Asset Management also provides all documentation for audits, inspections, or compliance needs.

Take control of your maintenance management with ServiceNow. Demo ServiceNow Enterprise Asset Management, and learn more about the tools we can provide to help you manage your equipment and assets.

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