Put simply, in the hands of leading workplace and FM providers, predictive maintenance keeps buildings and estates running smoothly, extends equipment life, reduces the risk of shutdowns and helps you drive profits. What’s not to like?! 

Predictive Maintenance Empowers Facilities Managers with Actionable Data

In contrast to predictive maintenance, reactive maintenance means you allow your facility or premises to operate, with no interference, and you simply react and fix any issues as and when they occur. Planned maintenance is any variety of scheduled maintenance to equipment or facility, it typically occurs based on an established calendar, often recommended by the manufacturer or suggested by the FM. 

Predictive maintenance in facilities management is based on using actionable data to understand, building condition and the performance of facility assets. Essentially, gathering information about a facility’s assets and tracking their performance can help Facilities Managers recognise when an asset is likely to fail. This shift in the way FMs manage assets is due to the explosion in the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and related technologies. Today’s businesses are rethinking the way they operate their facilities, using IoT and analytics to transform operations from reactive (or planned preventative) to predictive-based. Forward-thinking FMs are able to optimise comfort, energy spend, and maintenance via intelligent analytics gleaned from connected building systems. 

One context where predictive maintenance can really shine is in rural communities, remote parts of the world or difficult to reach installations. Employed efficiently in situations such as these it can be both a vital cog in lifesaving operations and an effective way to control budgets: 

  • UNICEF use predictive maintenance in many rural regions of Africa to ensure village water pumps suffer fewer outages and downtime – ensuring a clean water supply to families that may otherwise need to wait weeks for the charity to repair the issue 
  • Remote hospitals across rural areas, such as the Highlands of Scotland, can benefit from predictive maintenance to keep technician call out costs to a minimum and limit downtown of vital healthcare services 
  • In the oil and gas industry algorithmic sensors are used to alert producers to opportune moments for shut down thus avoiding expensive unplanned repairs  
  • The military use predictive maintenance on key equipment and installations to ensure smooth deployment of forces around the globe  

The use of predictive maintenance in facilities management can dramatically lower facilities spend, especially when applied to antiquated assets. Its value continues when assets are upgraded or replaced, extending their life expectancy, and lowering total cost of ownership. It is not necessarily limited to high-cost assets and in the real world is not used in isolation. Our experience of common maintenance practices among Facilities Managers reveals that nearly all operations still rely on the combined use of reactive, preventative and predictive maintenance strategies. Facilities Managers therefore need to understand how the use of predictive maintenance can empower their teams, enable informed decision-making and take the burden off the workload (and budget) away from other more traditional maintenance strategies. 

Reactive Maintenance Increases Stress, Spend and leads to poor Space Utilisation

All assets will eventually require repairs. Facilities Managers cannot predict every possible issue. So, while the majority of facilities management programs rely on a combination of reactive and proactive maintenance, most reactive maintenance is associated with major problems and costs. Unfortunately, reactive maintenance is the result of ongoing asset failures and end-of-life cycles. Add this to the disruptions and damages caused by uncontrollable factors (including Mother Nature!), and all business will still have to resort to reactive maintenance from time to time. However, it is undeniable that reactive maintenance increases the stress on employees and facilities spend, as well as resulting in poor space utilisation. The key to reducing the impact of reactive maintenance lies in recognising when maintenance may be necessary and avoiding the costs of an unexpected failure or need. In short – implementing a predictive maintenance strategy at the core of your FM strategy. 

Most assets do not simply quit working, they will give a signal – such as they may begin to use more energy than expected – before breaking down altogether. This is a common indicator of the potential malfunction in an HVAC unit for example and recognising this problem with a predictive maintenance plan can help prevent the system from complete failure. Facilities Managers that want to take advantage of a predictive maintenance program should begin by developing a solid plan, including stakeholders in investment decisions, use technology, and leverage analytics to increase the profitability of a predictive maintenance program. 

In short, predictive maintenance is among the best ways to increase visibility and control over facility spend. Its use is associated with a decreased total cost of ownership and reduced downtime in facilities. 

Important considerations in implementing predictive maintenance in FM

Creating a predictive maintenance program is about more than deciding to review facility assets once a month. Facilities Managers need a plan of action to monitor asset performance, maintenance activities and use to determine when maintenance may be necessary. The program should be based on the following key considerations: 

  • Data is essential 
  • Data integrity and quality matter 
  • Additional expert insights beyond data enable true savings 
  • Education for the facilities management maximises impact of the program  
  • Use of sustainable practices should underpin the strategy 

There has never been a better time to take advantage of predictive maintenance 

Where traditional maintenance relies upon visual inspections and pre-set schedules, predictive maintenance uses sophisticated analytical techniques to monitor real estate and equipment performance. A truly up-to-date predictive and preventative maintenance process documents maintenance activities and outcomes; runs predictive analyses; and monitors system-wide performance to stay ahead of operating trends. It alerts the team when the need for repairs is evident and recommends design and equipment modification to prevent any issues for before they occur.

Until fairly recently, the cost of installing sensors and other monitoring technology to enable all of this to happen was cost-prohibitive for many organisations. Now, more affordable technology, including wireless monitors, is available that allows predictive maintenance to be implemented for almost every system, and the advent of smart building systems, artificial intelligence, and IoT has only advanced monitoring capabilities and the adoption of predictive maintenance.

Spend Less, but Spend Wisely
The bottom line is, why make a repair or replace equipment sooner than you have to — or later than you should have, increasing costs and the risk of disrupted production? Smart industry leaders are making full use of predictive, preventative maintenance strategies to improve their workplace, improve wellbeing and productivity and reduce or eliminate downtime. 

To find out more about how Keystone can help implement your predictive maintenance strategy, get in touch today.