Welcome to our series of blog posts about maintenance metrics. This post outlines everything you need to know about preventive maintenance compliance: What is PM compliance, the PM compliance formula, why it’s important, and how to improve it.
Table of contents
What is PM compliance?
Running a marathon is gruelling work. You don’t just wake up one morning and run 26 miles. It takes months to train. Each scheduled training session helps a person’s body get closer to the finish line. But this plan won’t be successful if the trainee doesn’t stick to it. The more training sessions they miss, the greater the chance of failure.
An organization’s preventive maintenance schedule is similar. Each PM task is meant to weed out any potential problems with assets so they can stay healthy and operating at their best. The more PMs that are missed, the more likely that piece of equipment will fail.
But how do you know if your team is effectively executing its preventive maintenance program? One method is tracking preventive maintenance compliance (PM compliance). PM compliance measures how successful your facility has been in completing preventive maintenance tasks and, in doing so, opens the door to building better processes, optimizing your maintenance schedule, reducing downtime, and using resources more efficiently.
How late is too late? Using the 10% rule
Late PMs can be just as bad as missed PMs. One of the main goals of preventive maintenance is to catch issues as soon as possible. Every hour, day, or week that a PM is delayed raises the chances of a problem going unnoticed, growing worse, and resulting in a breakdown.
If there’s one potential blindspot in the PM compliance calculation, it’s late PMs. On first glance, the formula doesn’t account for late PMs or calculating how late they were. This can be a problem as it allows delayed tasks to fly under the radar and gives you a false sense of security about the success of your operation.
Each PM task is meant to weed out any potential problems with assets so they can stay healthy and operating at their best. The more PMs that are missed, the more likely that piece of equipment will fail.
For example, let’s say you’re measuring PM compliance for a three-month period. In that time frame, there’s a PM that must be done every 60 days. However, the team didn’t get around to completing that PM until 15 days after its initial deadline. That’s a big risk to take with a potentially important task, but the PM compliance formula wouldn’t register the magnitude of this mistake. The task would be marked as complete and raise your PM compliance score.
The question is, how do you avoid falling into this trap and stop late PMs from masquerading as a job well done? Enter the 10% rule.
The 10% rule says that completed PMs are only considered compliant if they are finished within a 10% time frame of their scheduled maintenance interval. In the example above, the 60-day PM task, it would only be considered compliant if it’s completed within six days of its due date. If the task falls outside the 10% period, it is not eligible to be included as a completed PM in your PM compliance calculation. The 10% rule isn’t an iron-clad law of maintenance — some small issues will most likely fall through the cracks. However, it’s one of the best methods for establishing a baseline to weed out dangerously late PMs and makes PM compliance a more accurate view of your team’s success.
PM compliance formula
To calculate PM compliance, divide the total number of completed PMs in a given period by the total number of scheduled PMs within that period. Multiply the result by 100 to find the PM compliance percentage.
For example, let’s say you want to figure out your PM compliance for last quarter. There were 200 PMs scheduled during the last three months and your team completed 165 of those PMs within an acceptable time frame (remember to apply the 10% rule). Here’s what your PM compliance calculation would look like:
PM compliance = 165 completed PMs ÷ 200 scheduled PMs x 100
PM compliance = 165 ÷ 200 x 100
PM compliance = 0.825 x 100
PM compliance = 82.5%
It’s important that you don’t include every maintenance task into your calculations. Only regularly scheduled, preventive maintenance tasks should factor into your measurement. PM compliance doesn’t account for reactive maintenance tasks that are scheduled as these are often one-time jobs.
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How to improve PM compliance
Poor PM compliance can be a symptom of bigger issues plaguing your maintenance team. Getting to the bottom of these issues can go a long way to improving PM compliance, getting your preventive maintenance program back on track, and, ultimately, improving asset reliability across the board.
Audit for unnecessary PMs
“This is how we’ve always done it,” can be the seven most damaging words uttered by a maintenance manager. If you’re allocating resources to a task that isn’t relevant anymore, these resources will go to waste and your metrics will be skewed. That’s why you should regularly audit your PMs to ensure they are done at the optimal frequency. Shifting production demands, new equipment, better parts, improved processes, and advanced technology may render a PM obsolete. When a task isn’t making an impact, technicians notice and tend to bypass it. You can’t blame someone for skipping a pointless job to work on one that’s higher-priority. Discovering which tasks are being missed and eliminating these unnecessary PMs saves a lot of time, money, and effort while boosting PM compliance and making technicians feel valued. facility morale.
Make PMs easier to complete
The biggest reason for missed PMs is pretty straightforward—there’s just not enough time or resources to go around. There’s only so much time in a day, and an emergency can eat up a lot of that time, pushing routine tasks into the background. You can’t always avoid these situations, but you can make PMs easier so they are done faster and PM compliance can rise. Establishing mobile maintenance is one way technicians can access resources easier and finish jobs quicker. Better training and improved troubleshooting procedures are also worthwhile investments to reduce the time it takes to perform PMs. These changes make it easier for technicians to do their jobs faster, which means fewer PMs are left on the sidelines.
“This is how we’ve always done it,” can be the seven most damaging words uttered by a maintenance manager…Eliminating unnecessary PMs can save a lot of time, money, and effort while boosting PM compliance and facility morale.
Use data to tackle backlog
Thanks to the 10% rule, late PMs can fall outside the compliant category, even if they are eventually completed. Backlog is inevitable, but there are ways to manage it so its impact on PM compliance and your facility as a whole is mitigated. One way to do this is to use another maintenance metrics: Scheduled maintenance critical percent (SMCP). SMCP allows you to see which late PMs should be done first by measuring their impact on the business. Knowing how to use SMCP effectively can help your maintenance team target important PMs. These tasks won’t fall off the radar and cause not only will your PM compliance improve, but so too will reliability, availability, and production.
Take your business to the next level with PM compliance
You dedicate a lot of resources to your preventive maintenance program. Tracking PM compliance can ensure those resources are being used effectively. Your PM compliance score is a thermometer that measures the health of your maintenance processes, from your inventory purchasing methods to the way you train and provide resources technicians. Improving your PM compliance can have a huge ripple effect that touches not only maintenance, but the well-being of the business at its highest level.