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The Difference Between Proactive & Predictive Maintenance & Why It Matters


June 11, 2021     3 minute read

Facility managers and business owners alike are well aware of the complexities of operating multiple facilities. From managing various vendors to overseeing security and scheduling maintenance and repairs, the process can feel disorganized, frustrating, and even overwhelming. 

While it’s an unavoidable part of doing business, you want to limit the time you spend reacting to problems. A data-driven program designed by a third-party integrated facilities management (IFM) partner improves efficiency and eliminates unnecessary costs. Not only that, but an analytical approach reduces equipment downtime or failures, improves overall performance and creates safer working conditions, among many other benefits. 

Of course, there isn’t one set of solutions that works for everyone. When choosing a partner, it’s imperative you understand important industry terms—including those often used interchangeably, such as proactive and predictive maintenance. 

Here’s how these methods differ, and why this matters for your organization. 

Proactive Versus Predictive Maintenance 

It’s important to understand that there are various strategies IFM partners can implement to ensure seamless integration between your facilities and an IFM provider, including proactive and predictive maintenance. To be sure, both are substantially more effective than a reactive approach, which requires conducting repairs after equipment breaks down—an unenviable position that causes downtime and drives up indirect spending, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Proactive Maintenance

Proactive maintenance leverages data, often utilizing computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software, to determine the underlying cause of faulty equipment. This approach seeks to reduce your overall machine and repair costs and extend the life of your equipment by addressing potential problems before they arise. If done correctly, repairs can be limited, because you’re aggressively tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) at all times. 

This methodology ensures you’re performing routine maintenance only when it’s necessary. That’s because the collected data can reveal trends and provide performance metrics on an ongoing basis through a web-based system accessible to your entire team. 

Ultimately, the goal of proactive maintenance is to reduce downtime, ensure you’re getting the most out of your equipment for as long as possible, and hopefully, eliminate the need for costly and time-consuming repairs. 

Predictive Maintenance 

Predictive maintenance uses condition monitoring to analyze the state of your equipment and perform online maintenance before machines break down. Sure, predicting the future may be a fool’s errand, but in the realm of facilities management, predictive maintenance is easier—and more effective—than ever.   

The goal is to reduce costs and eliminate downtime caused by unexpected machine maintenance. So instead of reacting to unforeseen events, you’ll be able to maintain a proper schedule, eliminating surprises and exorbitant downtime costs. You’re also putting more information in the hands of your maintenance staff, who will already have a diagnosis and can begin addressing problems more expeditiously. 

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary aspects of predictive maintenance is its ability to effectively pre-empt and prevent potential issues—enabling essential work to be performed on machines while still online, rather than when rendered inoperable. 

While both proactive and predictive maintenance appear to do the same thing, the truth is they’re very much different. While proactive maintenance endeavors to get to the root cause of a potential problem, predictive maintenance collects relevant data to appropriately schedule routine fixes to ensure equipment is operating effectively. 

Regardless, both are superior alternatives to the historical—and costly—approach of reacting only when something goes terribly wrong. Equipment that degrades over time not only costs you financially, but presents serious safety hazards. 

These strategies take on even greater importance when you consider that maintenance and equipment breakdowns are among the leading causes of unplanned downtime, along with outages and cybersecurity threats. 

With advances in technology, IFM partners can help you enhance efficiencies, save money, and improve safety—enabling your facility to operate smoothly. 

NEST IFM specializes in improving efficiencies and preventing costly breakdowns and downtime through next-generation smart technology and advanced data analytics. Contact us today to learn more about how we can improve your facilities management processes and save your team time, money, and invaluable resources. 

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