Asset Management

Types of Equipment Maintenance and Why They Matter

January 6, 2022 • 5 min read

Most businesses own equipment, machinery, or technology that are long-term assets—investments that your company plans to retain for more than a year. And much of this equipment requires some form of maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. This article will review the five main types of maintenance and zero in on the differences between preventive and predictive maintenance. 


The five types of maintenance 

There are five machine maintenance types: preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance, corrective maintenance, routine maintenance, and emergency maintenance. Each of these types is essential—but ideally, you’ll be able to avoid corrective and emergency maintenance by scheduling predictive, preventative, and routine service for your equipment.

Here’s a bit more about each of these types of maintenance. 

1. Preventative maintenance 

You’ve likely heard lots about preventative maintenance—inspecting and maintaining equipment at regular intervals so that tiny problems can be addressed before they become big headaches. In a perfect world, preventative maintenance would prevent all breakdowns and malfunctions. 

For example, if your business has a fleet of trucks, preventative maintenance would include servicing those trucks and paying for an oil change every 10,000 miles. Sure, your mechanic might find a minor problem during service, but they’ll address it before the truck fails. 

Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Waste

2. Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is really more of an evaluation. During predictive maintenance, a person or a machine determines the condition of equipment, then provides an estimate regarding when maintenance should be scheduled. 

Predictive maintenance helps companies save money and reduce stress by offering informed advice on when (and what kind) of service machinery or equipment needs. 

While skilled trades and technicians conduct some predictive maintenance, many products have built-in, artificially-intelligent systems that offer real-time advice on when and what service to schedule. As machine learning becomes more and more advanced, all kinds of equipment (think tractors, ultrasounds, and even espresso makers) are increasingly monitored by continuous, online systems. 

Preventative maintenance vs. predictive maintenance 

The main difference between predictive and preventative maintenance is that predictive maintenance doesn’t call for maintenance on a set schedule. Instead, predictive maintenance reflects the actual condition of equipment, not best practices. 

3. Routine maintenance

Routine maintenance is regularly-scheduled, ongoing maintenance that identifies problems and prevents equipment failure before it’s too late. The term “routine maintenance” is often used interchangeably with “preventative maintenance” since both are planned, scheduled, and intended to solve tiny problems before they become significant issues. 

Routine maintenance includes tasks like cleaning machinery and replacing parts that are beginning to deteriorate.

4. Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance aims to identify and solve problems with equipment right away. Corrective maintenance is relatively simple—something breaks, and a technician comes out to identify the problem then fix it as soon as possible. 

Corrective maintenance can be a quick process, a lengthy one, or something in between. The steps of corrective maintenance are as follows: equipment failure, diagnosis of the problem, fixing or replacing the faulty component, testing the equipment, and ensuring the equipment is working correctly again.

Corrective maintenance can be expensive and cause work stoppages or slowdowns. That’s why so many businesses are keen on preventative and predictive maintenance measures. 

5. Emergency maintenance

Like corrective maintenance, emergency maintenance seeks to correct an urgent problem quickly. When emergency maintenance is required, the equipment failure causes either health and safety concerns or an unacceptable dip in productivity. 

Emergency maintenance includes gas line leaks, floods, and electrical malfunctions. However, since emergency maintenance is inconvenient and expensive, your business should prioritize preventive and predictive maintenance that can eliminate emergencies in the first place. 

Related: What Are The 4 Types of Inventory?


Best practices for scheduling maintenance 

Since predictive, routine, and preventative maintenance can save your business time, money, and stress, many companies emphasize staying on top of these types of maintenance. Need some tips on scheduling maintenance? These are a few best practices.

Keep a calendar

Whether you use a paper calendar, a digital one, or even a spreadsheet, your business should chart out all preventive and routine maintenance for your equipment, machinery, and technology. Larger companies with multiple locations can create templates for their satellite offices to use. 

Label your equipment

Even though you keep a preventive maintenance calendar, labeling your equipment with information about prior and upcoming services can be ultra-helpful, too. That way, you can conduct a physical audit of your equipment, ensuring nothing got missed or forgotten. 

It’s also handy during corrective maintenance—especially if you believe your technician missed a problem or your equipment is under warranty. 

Set reminders with inventory management software

Using a modern inventory app like Sortly, you can set custom reminders for critical dates, such as upcoming preventative maintenance or warranty ends. You can also record or link to your maintenance schedule in each item’s details. 

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About Sortly

Sortly is a top-rated inventory management app that helps businesses get organized—and stay that way for good. Perfect for companies of all sizes and across every industry, Sortly streamlines inventory management and enables you to keep an eye on all your inventory and assets, even across multiple locations. 

Key features of Sortly include an end-to-end dashboard, high-resolution photos of all your stuff, the ability to track custom details, barcode and QR code scanning, low stock alerts, important date reminders, and customizable reports.

Best of all, Sortly is a cinch to use. Even employees who aren’t so tech-savvy will get the hang of Sortly in minutes. Ready to get your inventory under control? Give Sortly a try, totally free for two weeks.