Is the PM dying? Should we try to save it?

Jeff Shiver

I recently returned from a conference in the southeastern United States. As this conference is mainly dedicated to predictive (PdM) technologies, many companies that send people have more advanced maintenance programs in place. Based on industry type, PdM activities should be occurring on upward of 95 percent of all rotating equipment in the facility, not just critical equipment. It is recommended that only 20 to 25 percent of equipment be covered by traditional time-based, invasive preventive maintenance (PM) tasks. I emphasize the word “invasive” and challenge it.

In the maintenance world, we get hung up on a PM being invasive. I offer that the majority of PMs should be inspections, not a rebuild or corrective action.

Beyond my own experiences, I have talked with many maintenance managers and technicians that beg for either maintenance or operations personnel to simply inspect their equipment. A scheduled and properly executed PM (to a specification), either by maintenance or operations, forces someone to listen, feel and/or smell that equipment at a given time-based interval. Are the bolts loose or at the proper torque? Are the belts tensioned to the manufacturer’s specification? Are the sheaves worn? Are the bearings squealing from lack of lubrication? From the inspection notes, corrective actions are properly planned and executed, with the right parts kitted, the right resources available, and the equipment available for repair activities.

Sure, PdM is very effective and efficient, but until you have true equipment ownership, the inspection PM is a valuable tool for building equipment reliability.

If you would like more information on how to develop a true inspection PM, respond to this blog post or e-mail me at

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About the Author

As a managing principal for People and Processes, Jeff Shiver helps organizations implement best practices for maintenance and operations. Prior ...