Service manager 101: Are you prioritizing preventive maintenance?

Machines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers’ equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity.


Machines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers’ equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity. Courtesy: MSI DataMachines are getting more complex and service organizations are feeling the pressure to monitor and keep their customers' equipment up and running. Establishing a preventive maintenance program is now becoming a necessity.

Customers continue to expect more from their service organizations and equipment purchases, demanding service expertise and a partner that will help maintain their equipment's peak performance. For service organizations, this means expanding beyond a break-fix schedule and creating a recurring Preventive Maintenance program that secures revenue streams and improves customer relationships.

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive Maintenance is defined as regularly performed maintenance on a piece of equipment to lessen the likelihood of it breaking or failing. These visits are scheduled in advance while the equipment is still working with the hopes of preventing any future breaks from happening.

A PM program helps maximize machine longevity and reliability, rather than making repairs when a machine breaks down, by helping to predict problems before they occur.

The benefits

As a service organization, selling preventive maintenance contracts gives you a leg up beyond break/fix and makes your business more secure. Here are some of the specific benefits that illustrate how much your service business could be saving.

1. Increase in cost savings

After you've created your preventive maintenance contracts, the next step is scheduling annual inspections. By placing these visits in the scheduling queue in advance, your service organization will save 5 minutes per scheduled occurrence. Depending on how many visits you make in a year, this quickly adds up.

2. Builds stronger customer relationships

Service organizations are building stronger relationships with customers when they have regular contact through maintenance visits. Largely, this is because they are the most educated about their customer's equipment and because your organization will be able to predict problems before they occur. Your customers will no longer worry about their equipment breaking because they'll trust their new and improved service experience.

3. Increase in overall revenue

The more long-term service contracts you sell, the more secure your revenue streams become. And since service contracts build stronger customer relationships, customers are more likely to upgrade or re-sign a contract.They're also more likely to come to you with equipment concerns that fall outside of their contract.

While there are upfront costs for implementing a preventive maintenance program, it will reduce maintenance costs over the lifecycle of your equipment. Clearly, this guarantees a healthy, continual return on investment (ROI). All together, these benefits add up to an increase in revenue for your organization.

The beginning steps in establishing a PM program

Here are some of the first steps to get you started on the path to a systematic PM business model.

1. Designate technicians as sales people

To establish a consistent PM program, you need to sell contracts. And, who better to sell your services than the service team itself? When they're in the field to install equipment or respond to a break-fix call, equip your technicians with the information they'll need to sell a service contract on site.

2. Schedule yearly service checks

After PM contracts have been signed, the next crucial step is scheduling yearly service checks in advance. An all-in-one field service suite gives your back-office workers the tools they need to schedule maintenance visits in advance and the mobile tools your technicians need to see service history and equipment details, what's covered under warranty or contract, and scheduling alerts.

3. Use data from IoT sensors to automate PMs

Traditionally, PM schedules have been established based on set time intervals. For example, you might change the filter in the industrial heater every 3 months. With IoT sensors and new access to machine data, service businesses can set up parameters that trigger alerts and organize PM visits around when the equipment needs it.

Conclusion—provide better service by adopting a PM strategy today

As customers continue to expect additional benefits and lasting relationships with their dealers, more service businesses are supplementing existing break-fix schedules with ongoing PM programs. Now, customers are building stronger relationships with their service organizations who serve as trusted advisors rather than just someone they call in an emergency.

- Emily Poklar is a content marketing intern at MSI Data. This article originally appeared on MSI Data is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Erin Dunne, production coordinator, CFE Media,

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me