This Reference for Business article describes the levels of maintenance required to sustain the highest productivity in a business, whatever the field may be. Just as a production line can be shut down by a malfunctioning part in one machine, a conference can be disrupted by a leaking roof, or a publicity event can be marred by dirty facilities. All levels of maintenance are required in any endeavor. In ascending order from localized to comprehensive, the levels are:
Reactive Maintenance. This is the most basic level, that of responding to the immediate cause of the disruption: cleaning the spill; repairing or replacing the broken part; finding misplaced equipment. While a solely reactive response to maintenance issues is not the best practice, it’s still essential to have employees on hand whose job consists of reacting quickly and intelligently when something goes wrong.
Scheduled Maintenance. A step up from merely reactive maintenance, scheduled maintenance is intended to head off problems with complex systems whose failure can impact the entire facility. Thus, HVAC systems undergo routine maintenance by qualified technicians. Companies with large facilities such as hotels or convention venues may find it more profitable to have these technicians on staff rather than have to call for emergency help, particularly outside normal business hours.
Predictive Maintenance. Going beyond time-based scheduled maintenance, predictive maintenance is condition-based. That is, cleaning, repairs, and replacements take place as conditions warrant. This requires not only more frequent inspections of machinery and facilities, but more comprehensive record-keeping.
Preventive Maintenance. This level encompasses all proactive maintenance, including cleaning. It is a comprehensive view of maintenance as part of the organization’s commitment to excellence, and requires not just supervision of the physical facilities, but an understanding of environmental issues and current governmental regulations.