Keys to Improve Maintenance Workflow

Hands drawing a flow chart on a paper laying on a desk

Get a Free WorkTrek Demo

Let's show you how WorkTrek can help you optimize your maintenance operation.

Try for free

This article will cover the maintenance workflow process, a systematic approach designed to execute maintenance tasks safely and effectively. The aim is to mitigate downtime, reduce maintenance costs, enhance the longevity of assets, and achieve cost efficiency for organizations.

We’ll outline the essential steps within this process and discuss how refining your maintenance workflow can benefit your organization. We will also describe how effective maintenance planning involves prioritizing critical assets, conducting regular audits, and setting SMART goals to improve resource allocation and continuous process improvement.

We will also explain how adding CMMS software can optimize maintenance workflows through well-defined steps, reduced downtime, and adherence to regulatory compliance.

Understanding Maintenance Workflow

Maintenance workflow is structured sequentially to ensure maintenance tasks are executed efficiently and safely. This standardized sequence delineates the coordinated management of resources, personnel, and technology necessary for implementing various performance orders.

Critical sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, facilities management, and public works depend significantly on these workflows to sustain operational efficacy and safety standards.

What is at the core?

At the core of any effective maintenance management is the drive to reduce downtime while prolonging the life span of assets. It aims to optimize expenditures while upholding stringent safety measures.

Guided by a competent maintenance manager, this coherent workflow follows four essential phases:

  • Initiation of requests or identification of needs,
  • Approval processes,
  • Execution until task completion.
  • Comprehensive reporting.

Adherence to these stages facilitates less unexpected downtime, cost savings, enhancements in efficiency, and compliance with prevailing regulations, thus promoting superior asset longevity.

Reducing Downtime

Overlooking established procedures within a given framework may lead to escalating periods when equipment is not functioning optimally. Recurrent breakdowns involving critical machinery or infrastructure can increase expenses.

This can also result in shortened lifespans for these costly assets and diminished productivity. Consequently, it imposes severe financial burdens on operations compared to a scenario where good planning aligns closely with strategic agendas. This approach can provide improved production rates and adequate expenditure controls.

Chart showing negative results of neglecting established procedures

Source: WorkTrek

Following Industry Standards

Strictly follows the highest industry standards, enhancing resource allocation and financial forecasting. This method ensures smooth, uninterrupted daily operations and effectively reduces the risk of unforeseen events that could disrupt continuous systems. By adhering to these standards, organizations can create a robust framework that supports current operational demands and anticipates future challenges.

This proactive approach identifies and mitigates potential risks before they become significant issues, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and financial forecasts remain accurate.

Furthermore, maintaining high industry standards fosters a culture of excellence and continuous improvement, encouraging teams to strive for better performance and innovation. This dedication to quality and precision ultimately leads to a more resilient and adaptable organization capable of navigating the complexities of modern industry with confidence and agility.

Chart showing positive results of following established procedures

Source: WorkTrek

Key Steps in a Maintenance Workflow

Three essential steps form maintenance workflow:

  1. Pinpointing tasks necessary for maintenance
  2. Arranging the timetable for these activities
  3. Carrying out the corresponding work orders.These stages guarantee that all maintenance processes run seamlessly and efficiently

Identifying Maintenance Tasks for the Maintenance Process

It is essential to pinpoint and organize maintenance tasks effectively to sustain equipment reliability and performance. By systematically recognizing and arranging these tasks, we enhance procedural efficiency.

Such a strategy guarantees that all required maintenance activities are accounted for and scheduled, minimizing the risk of unforeseen failures in the equipment.

Tasks screen of WorkTrek mobile app

Source: WorkTrek

Scheduling Maintenance Activities

Scheduled maintenance tasks are vital to avoid expensive operational issues and equipment failures. Effective scheduling reduces downtime, saves money, and prevents the constant need for emergency repairs. By prioritizing scheduled maintenance tasks, organizations can ensure that their critical assets are always in optimal working condition.

Two primary options for creating a preventive maintenance schedule are fixed and floating. Fixed schedules are based on specific usage intervals or time triggers. In contrast, floating schedules depend on the timing of previous maintenance tasks and are informed by an asset’s usage or maintenance history.

Both methods help organize and prioritize maintenance tasks to ensure equipment operates efficiently and safely.

Executing Work Orders

The culmination of the maintenance workflow is the execution of work orders, which offer guidance for conducting maintenance jobs and designate specific tasks for technicians. Promptly fulfilling these work orders is essential for upholding equipment performance and reliability.

Leveraging CMMS software, organizations can streamline their processes by automating work order assignments and securing timely and effective task completion.

Work Order screens of WorkTrek mobile app
Source: WorkTrek

Benefits of an Optimized Maintenance Workflow

Enhancing maintenance workflows can lead to a multitude of advantages, such as:

  • Greater operational efficiency
  • Minimized equipment downtime
  • Reduction in expenses
  • Boosted safety measures
  • Adherence to industry regulations

For example, manufacturers operating on reactive maintenance incur losses ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 per hour during outages. This is primarily due to not meeting production deadlines.

Companies that perfect and iterate their maintenance workflows are better positioned for proactive upkeep and developing new processes.

A well-honed maintenance workflow delivers multiple benefits, including:

  • Assisting with adherence to regulatory mandates by establishing explicit steps and assigned duties, which helps prevent violations.
  • Providing clarity regarding procedural sequences so team members can easily comprehend their responsibilities and required actions.
  • Keeping equipment functioning optimally, thus diminishing the possibility of faults that might put workers or consumers at risk.
  • Contributing towards creating a safer workplace by maintaining regular checks and balances on machinery health.

Highlighted information about manufacturing losses.

Source: WorkTrek

Using CMMS for Maintenance Workflow Optimization

Implementing CMMS software offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Improved Accuracy and Efficiency: Automating manual processes reduces the chances of errors and enhances the speed and accuracy of maintenance tasks.
  • Enhanced Communication: Facilitates better communication between maintenance teams, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Centralized Data Management: Provides a single platform for storing all maintenance-related data, making it easy to access and analyze.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Uses data analytics to predict when equipment will likely fail, allowing for proactive maintenance and reducing unexpected downtime.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Helps ensure that all maintenance activities comply with industry regulations and standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.
  • Cost Savings: CMMS can save significantly by optimizing maintenance schedules and reducing downtime.
  • Asset Lifecycle Management: Assists in tracking the lifecycle of assets, helping in making informed decisions about repairs, replacements, and upgrades.
  • Resource Allocation: Optimizes the allocation of resources, ensuring that maintenance tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.
  • Mobile Access: Many CMMS solutions offer mobile access, allowing maintenance teams to update and access information on the go.
  • Customizable Reports: Generates detailed and customizable reports that provide insights into maintenance performance, helping in continuous improvement.

In facilities management, CMMS is heavily relied on to administer maintenance tasks. Fifty-eight percent of these facilities employ maintenance management software to simplify operations while maintaining adherence to regulatory standards.

Automating Work Orders

A CMMS enables the convenience of managing, tracking, and fulfilling work orders through its mobile features. This system automates the inclusion of critical elements such as:

  • Information about maintenance and facilities
  • Checklists to follow
  • Levels of priority based on urgency
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Historical records of asset maintenance
  • Instruction manuals
  • Visual aids like images
  • Recorded observations

This automation streamlines and structures the entire process for better efficiency and organization.

Tracking Maintenance History

A CMMS central database facilitates the tracking of tasks from start to finish, enhancing traceability and accountability. Monitoring asset performance trends over time within a CMMS allows for the identification of required maintenance activities and the basis of decisions on solid data.

Using historical records improves the precision in planning for maintenance and assists in refining the scheduling process.

Best Practices for Effective Maintenance Planning

A maintenance planner is integral to successfully implementing a robust asset management system. They focus on streamlining the maintenance process by prioritizing essential assets, conducting frequent evaluations, and establishing SMART objectives for all maintenance activities.

These industry best practices help organize maintenance tasks effectively, optimize resource utilization, and improve the overall maintenance planning regimen through systematic improvements.

Source: WorkTrek

Prioritizing Critical Assets

A criticality analysis is essential for objectively ranking assets and prioritizing maintenance activities. This analysis removes personal bias and ensures that assets are prioritized based on their criticality.

To calculate equipment criticality, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the failure frequency per year for each asset.
  2. Calculate the cost consequence, which includes the cost of lost production plus repair costs.
  3. Multiply the failure frequency per year with the cost consequence to obtain the equipment criticality.

By following this process, you can effectively prioritize maintenance activities and allocate resources where they are most needed.

High-criticality assets may require techniques like predictive or prescriptive maintenance to prevent severe impacts. In contrast, low-criticality assets with multiple redundancies might only need preventive or reactive maintenance strategies. Utilizing the P-F curve can help prioritize maintenance for critical assets by indicating potential failure points.

P-F graph

Source: WorkTrek

Conducting Regular Audits

Routine inspections are crucial for adhering to maintenance protocols and the overall system. It can be a tool for finding areas that require enhancement. By delineating the sequences of actions in maintenance workflows, inefficiencies can be spotted through a side-by-side analysis of current procedures against their designed counterparts, thereby revealing any extra steps.

Such assessments can monitor the preventive maintenance schedule and checklist and highlight changes essential to maintaining efficacy.

Keys to Improve Maintenance Workflow

In maintenance, typical difficulties encountered within workflows include communication failures, the absence of uniform processes, and insufficient resource allocation. Addressing these challenges requires enhanced communication methods, standardized procedures across operations, and practical resource distribution.

A thorough root cause analysis is instrumental in uncovering areas of maintenance systems that lack efficiency and allows for the appropriate adjustments.

Improve Maintenance Workflows

To enhance maintenance workflows, it’s critical to tackle cultural barriers, involve staff members comprehensively, and establish clear key performance indicators (KPIs). Successfully implementing any modifications requires securing the commitment of all parties, especially those in leadership positions.

Evaluating alterations’ effects on operations and reviewing both outputs and methods regularly can aid in optimizing resource allocation.

Education and active communication with employees are essential to ensure uniform understanding and adherence to updated protocols and objectives.

Chart showing requirements for improving maintenance workflow

Source: WorkTrek

Handling Unattended Work Requests

Implementing a centralized management system for work requests through CMMS can make the process more efficient with rapid and precise assessments. Classifying these work requests allows tasks to be arranged according to their criticality and effect on business activities.

Standardizing forms for work requests aids in achieving consistency while also mitigating the risk of repeating tasks.

Source: WorkTrek

Ensuring Timely Task Completion

Adopting a fixed or floating preventive maintenance regime can enhance the meticulous monitoring of completed tasks. The advantages of putting such scheduled maintenance into practice consist of:

  • Enhanced punctuality in fulfilling tasks
  • Validate that maintenance duties are executed according to plan
  • Superior management of work requests throughout their entire lifecycle

With these structured and planned maintenance activities in place, you can enhance the efficiency and efficacy of your operations.

Training Your Maintenance Team

Proper training of maintenance technicians improves efficiency and productivity by ensuring swift and accurate maintenance tasks. Organizing training sessions for employees responsible for maintaining assets is crucial for enhancing communication and understanding of intricate equipment systems.

Running hands-on workshops for maintenance personnel enhances the experience of complex systems, while on-the-job training allows personnel to gain practical skills directly applicable to their work environment.

Chart showing types of personnel training

Source: WorkTrek

Regular training sessions ensure that maintenance staff can:

  • Safely operate and repair new and technologically advanced equipment
  • Benefit from optimized workflows by pinpointing areas where individuals or teams are underperforming and need improvement
  • Enhance problem-solving skills, helping maintenance staff handle complex issues efficiently.

Training programs are essential for maintaining a high level of performance and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of maintenance operations.

Chart showing benefits of personnel training
Source: WorkTrek

Monitoring and Improving Maintenance Performance

Using key performance indicators (KPIs) helps evaluate the efficiency and timeliness of maintenance tasks. KPIs are essential for maintenance teams to analyze routines, processes, and equipment performance.

Examples of essential KPIs include Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), which measures the average functioning time between failures of repairable equipment and indicates machine reliability, and Mean Time To Repair (MTTR), which indicates the average time to repair an asset, with lower values indicating better performance.

Other critical KPIs include availability, which represents an asset’s capability to perform a function at a given time, and reliability, which is the probability that an investment will perform its intended function under specific conditions for a designated period. Monitoring these KPIs helps maintenance teams identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance maintenance performance.

Chart showing examples of essential KPIs

Source: WorkTrek

The Role of Preventive Maintenance Programs

A preventive maintenance program involves a strategic approach to regularly servicing and maintaining equipment before issues arise. Its fundamental objective is to ensure that assets operate efficiently, minimizing the risk of equipment malfunctioning and unexpected operational interruptions.

By adopting a preventive maintenance plan, facilities can avoid costly emergency repairs and the need to replace machinery prematurely.

The following are types of strategies encompassed by preventive maintenance:

  • Maintenance on a scheduled time basis
  • Maintenance based on how often equipment is used
  • Maintenance guided by the current condition of the equipment
  • Predictive approaches for foreseeing potential failures to prevent breakdowns

Adopting these strategies not only extends the lifespan of machines but also guarantees consistent upkeep and attention.

Through vigilant implementation of such proactive measures, facilities can reduce their overall maintenance expenses by up to 18 percent.


Mastering maintenance workflows is essential for efficient asset management, reducing downtime, and ensuring safety and compliance. Organizations can significantly improve their maintenance processes by understanding the key steps in a maintenance workflow, leveraging CMMS for optimization, and following best practices for maintenance planning.

Implementing preventive maintenance programs, overcoming common challenges, and training maintenance teams are crucial for optimal equipment performance. By continuously monitoring and improving maintenance performance through KPIs, organizations can ensure their assets remain top-notch, leading to greater efficiency, cost savings, reduced replacement costs, and a safer working environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key steps in a maintenance workflow?

It is crucial to develop an efficient maintenance workflow to pinpoint tasks associated with maintenance, organize scheduled activities about upkeep, and carry out work orders. This process guarantees that equipment receives appropriate maintenance, remains operational, and people involved are notified.

How does CMMS help in optimizing maintenance workflows?

A CMMS streamlines maintenance workflows by monitoring work orders, managing inventory, and recording maintenance history. It automates the issuance of work orders and offers a consolidated repository for maintaining records, enhancing accountability, and tracking within maintenance operations.

Why is preventive maintenance necessary?

Preventive maintenance is crucial for maintaining equipment. It ensures that assets remain in the best possible state, diminishes the likelihood of equipment breakdowns, and ultimately contributes to financial savings by avoiding costly unplanned emergency repairs.

What are some common challenges in maintenance workflows?

Difficulties in maintenance workflows include communication failures, the absence of uniform protocols, and insufficient resource allocation.

These elements can markedly impact both the proficiency and the efficacy with which maintenance processes are conducted.

What are key performance indicators (KPIs) in maintenance?

Essential for assessing the effectiveness and promptness of maintenance tasks, key performance indicators (KPIs) such as MTBF, MTTR, availability, reliability, and backlog offer a crucial understanding of how sound maintenance is performed. These KPIs are a significant resource for making informed decisions regarding maintenance tasks.


Increase your efficiency with CMMS software Book a demo

Make your work easier.
Try for free.

Book a demo