CMMS Maintenance Preventive Maintenance Reliability Reliability & Maintenance Center

Cut Costs With PM Optimization

EP Editorial Staff | June 10, 2020

Implement a PM-optimization program to ferret out hidden waste in your maintenance system.

By Abel Galindo, Life Cycle Engineering

One answer to reducing maintenance costs is built into your existing PM (preventive maintenance) program. Those “hidden” costs result from performing unneeded/redundant maintenance and can be discovered by implementing a PM-optimization program.

In some cases, PM programs include tasks for equipment that no longer exists. When you consider maintenance labor hours and parts, the cost of performing unneeded work adds up very quickly. Another resource sponge is equipment that has been changed and now requires different maintenance. There are also instances in which assets have become obsolete and continue to be maintained. Couple these factors with poor management-of-change (MOC) practices that fail to register the changes and assets get “lost” in the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Performing unrequired maintenance should never happen. A PM-optimization program can prevent this. Some companies do a good job of bringing a new system online, with the proper maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. Problems occur when the system has been in place for a couple of years and modifications are made. A company that is on top of its MOC program will ensure that adequate PMs are implemented, modified, or deleted.

This is not what usually happens, however. One common example is something as simple as greasing AC motors. Most companies are now realizing the benefits of using sealed bearings. What typically happens is that a motor is modified to use sealed bearings, but the information is never passed on or is not reflected in the CMMS program. As a result, the existing AC motor greasing route (PM) remains in the system, resulting in wasted time.

PM optimization can also reveal redundancies. Again, consider an AC motor that requires greasing every three months with a certain amount of grease. It’s not uncommon to have that same function entered in the CMMS as an annual task and/or to not have the amount of grease specified. Performing that annual task and/or adding too much grease at any one time is a waste of labor hours and materials. Even worse, adding excess grease could lead to early motor failure.

PM optimization is a “living program” that never ends. It should be part of every manufacturer’s continuous-improvement journey. EP

Abel Galindo is a Reliability Technician with Life Cycle Engineering (LCE), Charleston, SC ( He has more than 25 years of experience in hands-on engineering repair and supervision of engineering technicians. Preventive-maintenance optimization is one of the asset-management strategies he develops for complex systems. Abel can be reached at


Sign up for insights, trends, & developments in
  • Machinery Solutions
  • Maintenance & Reliability Solutions
  • Energy Efficiency
Return to top