Maintenance Management

Proactive Maintenance: Strategies, Benefits, and Implementation

Proactive maintenance is a strategic approach focusing on preventing equipment issues before they arise. It contains regular inspections, predictive analytics, and scheduled interventions, ensuring optimal asset performance.

As a facility manager, if you’re unsure about the volume of work on the deferred maintenance backlog or facilities spending, you’re likely relying on a reactive facilities management approach.

Reactive facilities management requires equipment to malfunction before getting your attention. But here’s the problem: as problems go unaddressed, the cost of repairing them multiplies.

For example, what seems like a relatively insignificant simple $30 repair can quickly become a $600 problem when deferred, increasing the total cost and reducing efficiency.

A 2023 survey by McKinsey found that 99% of organization owners have changed their maintenance strategies in the last five years. Interestingly, 84% of them are implementing predictive maintenance for critical assets.

This maintenance strategy helps you to anticipate and monitor potential equipment or asset failures and address them before they escalate. This will lead to an increase in productivity and a decrease in breakdowns.

In this article, we’ll explore proactive maintenance strategies, the benefits of proactive maintenance, and the positive impact such a maintenance approach has on operational efficiency.

What is proactive maintenance?

Proactive maintenance refers to a set of maintenance strategies designed to prevent equipment failures and extend the life of assets by actively addressing issues that could result in future disruptions.

This approach is more strategic and forward-thinking compared to reactive maintenance, which deals with issues after they arise.

Types of proactive maintenance strategies:

  • Preventive maintenance (PM): This is a systematic, scheduled maintenance activity aimed at preventing equipment failures. It ensures reliable operation of machinery, equipment, and systems. In addition, PM enhances the durability of assets, boosts operational efficiency, and reduces downtime and maintenance expenses by proactively handling issues before they escalate into major concerns.
  • Predictive maintenance (PdM): It uses advanced monitoring tools and machine learning (ML) techniques to foresee potential breakdowns in assets and machinery using past performance data and maintenance records.

As a facility manager, this allows you to identify issues and prepare the necessary resources to address them right before the equipment fails.

  • Condition-based maintenance (CBM): It uses real-time data from sensors to track the condition of assets. This helps you to schedule maintenance or repair before an asset fails and disrupts normal operations.
  • Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM): RCM identifies critical assets and analyzes failure modes, consequences, and maintenance requirements. This strategy focuses maintenance efforts on the most critical components, enhancing reliability and minimizing the impact of failures.
  • Total productive maintenance (TPM): TPM involves all stakeholders in the maintenance process, fostering a proactive culture. Operators play an active role by conducting routine maintenance tasks and inspections and contributing to continuous improvement efforts, leading to increased equipment effectiveness.

7 ways relying solely on reactive maintenance can hurt your business

A recent poll shows that 66% of facilities managers report that more than half of their maintenance activities are reactive. This reactive approach has negatively impacted their businesses.

Here are reasons why reactive maintenance can destroy your business.

  1. It can lead to unexpected equipment failures. These breakdowns can stop production and cause extended periods of downtime.
  2. The cost of emergency repairs can be significantly higher than planned maintenance.
  3. Unplanned equipment failures can pose risks to personnel, leading to accidents or hazardous situations.
  4. Frequent equipment failures can frustrate employees, resulting in decreased morale and productivity.
  5. If you don’t maintain your assets, it can result in non-compliance. This may result in fines, legal penalties, and damage to your business’s reputation.
  6. Lack of regular maintenance can cause wear and tear to accumulate. It will lead to premature equipment failure.
  7. Unexpected system failures can result in service disruptions, which can cause customer dissatisfaction.

Case study

Investa, a top-tier commercial real estate firm in Australia, initially adopted a reactive maintenance model with the Legacy CMMS.

This approach proved challenging as they managed concierge and maintenance for over 850 clients across 20 buildings, totaling 550,000 square meters, with 600 vendors subcontracted for these tasks.


The company had to transition to proactive maintenance using Facilio Connected CMMS.

  • This system enabled the automation of maintenance routines through customizable workflows, such as scheduling maintenance tasks, automating work order assignments to contractors, and digitizing vendor onboarding and compliance processes. This innovation eliminated redundant manual work for the FM team.
  • With Facilio's scalable solution, Investa seamlessly manages property additions or removals and scales operations efficiently.


Facilio's centralized data collection empowers Investa’s FM teams with comprehensive insights into their assets, buildings, vendors, and operational metrics, resulting in:

  • Enhanced workforce productivity
  • Agile operations, enhancing tenant satisfaction
  • Informed decision-making and improved portfolio management
  • Rigorous vendor compliance
  • Cost savings and reduced manual labor
Discover how Facilio simplifies proactive maintenance
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Suggested read: Reactive maintenance: How it is done today vs. how it should be

Benefits of switching to proactive maintenance

Imagine an office building named Greenway, a bustling hub of productivity. For years, they've relied on reactive maintenance, responding to equipment failures and suffering the consequences of unplanned downtime.

After making the inevitable switch to proactive maintenance, some benefits they reap are:

  • Preventing downtime: Greenway's elevators used to break down frequently, causing frustration and delays. After implementing proactive maintenance, they conduct regular inspections, lubricate components, and replace worn-out parts in advance. As a result, elevator downtime has significantly decreased, keeping tenants happy and productivity soaring.
  • Cost savings galore: Emergency repairs were eating up Greenway's maintenance budget. With proactive maintenance, they identified potential issues early, scheduled repairs during convenient times, and negotiated better pricing for parts. The result? Substantial cost savings and improved financial stability.
  • Equipment longevity: Air conditioning units at Greenway were notorious for failing during scorching summer months. They now proactively clean filters, check refrigerant levels, and perform necessary tune-ups regularly. So, their units now operate at peak efficiency, prolonging their lifespan and reducing the need for premature replacements.
  • Enhanced safety: Safety hazards were a persistent concern for Greenway. With proactive maintenance, they conduct regular safety inspections, promptly address potential risks, and provide comprehensive training to staff, creating a safer work environment and fewer accidents and fostering a culture of well-being and trust.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Proactive maintenance allowed  Greenway to optimize its outdated systems, identify energy-saving opportunities, and implement efficiency measures, resulting in a significant decrease in their energy consumption and a reduction in its soaring energy bills.
  • Data-backed decisions: With data-driven decision-making, Greenway utilizes a computerized maintenance management system(CMMS) to track equipment performance, analyze historical data, and predict maintenance needs. Armed with actionable insights, they optimize maintenance schedules, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions that drive operational excellence.
  • Seamless operations: Gone are the days of unexpected disruptions. Greenway's proactive maintenance approach enables them to plan, and schedule maintenance activities during off-peak hours and ensure minimal impact on daily operations, resulting in smooth workflows, satisfied tenants, and enhanced productivity.
  • Continuous improvement: Greenway embraces a culture of continuous improvement. They continually refine their processes and fine-tune maintenance strategies by leveraging data and fostering collaboration to achieve better results; thus elevating their reputation as a reliable office building.

In summary, proactive maintenance empowers you to plan your maintenance activities strategically, allocating resources effectively and optimizing labor and material costs.

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How to implement a proactive maintenance program

Ready to make the leap from reactive to proactive maintenance?

Follow these steps to transform your maintenance practices:

a) Assess your current situation

Examine your existing maintenance processes. Identify areas where you're primarily reacting to failures and downtime. Analyze historical data to understand recurring issues and their impact on operations.

Then, create an asset list to ensure that records are current and that all assets are accounted for during maintenance planning. Additionally, identifying critical assets helps prioritize proactive maintenance efforts because the failure of these assets can lead to significant consequences.

The more critical an asset, the greater the effort to protect it.

b) Build a maintenance strategy

Develop a proactive maintenance strategy tailored to your specific needs. Consider factors like equipment criticality, failure consequences, and maintenance costs. Define preventive tasks, inspection schedules, and maintenance intervals for critical equipment based on reliability-centered maintenance principles.

c) Implement a CMMS

Invest in a reliable CMMS and leverage it to streamline your maintenance operations. It will help you track assets, schedule tasks, and monitor maintenance activities efficiently.

d) Collect and analyze data

Leverage the power of data to drive proactive decision-making. Monitor equipment performance, track failure patterns, and analyze historical data to identify potential issues before they escalate.

To detect early warning signs of equipment degradation, utilize advanced analytics techniques, such as predictive maintenance algorithms and machine learning.

e) Prioritize preventive maintenance

Shift your focus from reactive repairs to preventive maintenance. Create a maintenance calendar, perform routine inspections, and promptly address minor issues to prevent larger problems.

Utilize condition monitoring techniques, such as vibration analysis, thermography, and oil analysis, to proactively assess equipment health.

f) Embrace predictive maintenance

Implement predictive maintenance strategies to optimize equipment reliability and performance. Utilize sensors, IoT devices, and real-time monitoring systems to collect data on equipment conditions. Apply predictive analytics algorithms to forecast equipment failures and schedule maintenance activities accordingly.

g) Train and empower your team

Engage your entire maintenance team and provide comprehensive training on proactive maintenance practices.

Key stakeholders may include front-line maintenance technicians, production operators, operations management, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and safety managers.

Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members to harness their collective expertise.

h) Establish KPIs

Define maintenance KPIs to measure the success of your proactive maintenance program. Track metrics such as equipment uptime, maintenance costs, mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to repair (MTTR), and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Use these metrics to identify areas for improvement and drive continuous optimization.

i) Continuous improvement

Foster a culture of continuous improvement. Encourage feedback from your team, analyze data-driven insights, and make necessary adjustments to optimize your proactive maintenance approach.

Embrace emerging technologies and industry best practices to stay ahead of the curve.

j) Monitor and adjust your maintenance strategies

Regularly monitor the effectiveness of your proactive maintenance efforts. Analyze performance metrics, listen to feedback, and make refinements to enhance your maintenance strategies further.

Continuously evaluate the ROI of your proactive maintenance investments and make data-driven decisions to maximize benefits.

How to switch to a proactive maintenance program with a connected CMMS

Some O&M managers believe that a reactive maintenance strategy is cheap because you only need it when equipment or systems have failed and need repair.

Also, they use legacy CMMS which involves a manual process that can cause numerous operational disruptions. These disruptions include unclear technician schedules, unplanned downtime, and a lack of visibility into inventory, which results in unexpected expenses from emergency repairs.

The problem with most legacy CMMS software is their inability to connect with other tools, systems, and software to provide a truly unified platform for operations and maintenance processes.

If you’re still using a reactive maintenance strategy with legacy CMMS, it's time to move to a connected CMMS. This CMMS will help you implement proactive maintenance strategies seamlessly.  

With a connected CMMS:

  1. You can optimize asset management
  2. Schedule preventive maintenance
  3. Monitor equipment conditions
  4. Analyze data for valuable insights
  5. Streamline work order management
  6. Facilitate documentation and knowledge management
  7. Generate performance metrics
  8. Engage stakeholders with relevant, up-to-date information–all in one place

These proactive measures not only enhance equipment reliability and minimize downtime but also lead to significant cost savings in the long run.

Facilio's connected CMMS solution goes beyond traditional CMMS tools by extending operational software capabilities beyond mere work orders and maintenance. It automates processes, fosters stakeholder engagement, and enhances connected efficiency, all within a unified platform.

It's made specifically for O&M leaders, managers, occupants, and vendors, simplifying complex workflows with automation.

Some of the benefits of Facilio’s connected CMMS for proactive maintenance:

  1. Instead of forcing operations stakeholders to rely on multiple point solutions to manage jobs beyond maintenance, email for communication, spreadsheets for reporting, it consolidates all operational workflows–from property maintenance and client engagement to vendor and workplace management to asset performance, and IoT data–in a single comprehensive platform.
  2. Its interoperable CMMS integrates seamlessly with the rest of your tech stack, including other applications and building automation and HVAC systems.
  3. It’s a centralized cloud command center, putting you in complete control of your building performance. There’s no need to ask multiple teams/people to get key data-driven insights and KPIs anymore. You can easily track actuals against budgets, performance against usage, across equipment, across systems, and across sites.

Get in touch with our product experts and learn more about how Facilio can transform maintenance management for your business.


Proactive maintenance vs reactive maintenance

Reactive Maintenance

Proactive Maintenance


This takes place after a failure has occurred to repair the damage.

Occurs before a failure happens so it can prevent it.


It may seem cheaper initially, but it often results in higher overall costs due to emergency repairs and downtime.

It can be more cost-effective in the long term by preventing major repairs.

Asset performance

This can lead to decreased asset performance over time, as the equipment is only fixed after it breaks down.

Enhances asset performance and extends equipment life through regular upkeep.


This may increase safety risks, as equipment could fail unexpectedly and potentially cause accidents.

Reduces safety risks by addressing potential issues before they become hazardous.

Strategy & resources

Often requires decision-making under pressure and can lead to suboptimal use of resources due to the urgency of repairs.

Involves strategic planning and resource allocation to ensure maintenance is performed efficiently.


Data collection happens after failures occur to improve future response strategies but RM often lacks proactive data-driven planning.

Relies on data analytics, sensors, and predictive maintenance technologies to foresee and prevent potential failures.

Impact on production

It has a positive impact on production by preventing disruptions and ensuring continuous operation.

It can negatively affect production due to sudden stoppages and the time required to fix issues.

1. How can we ensure buy-in from staff and stakeholders for proactive maintenance initiatives?

You’ll have to engage staff and stakeholders early, highligting benefits like reduced downtime and cost savings. Moreover, encourage open communication channels for feedback and address concerns promptly.

Another aspect is to provide training to build competence and confidence in new processes. Demonstrate success through pilot projects or case studies to illustrate tangible benefits, encouraging broader adoption and commitment.

2. What are the upfront costs associated with implementing proactive maintenance, such as training, technology, and spare parts?

If you implement proactive maintenance  you'll incur initial costs like staff training, investing in advanced technology for monitoring, diagnostics, and automation, and stocking spare parts.

These upfront investments ensure efficient operations, decrease downtime, and extend equipment lifespan, yielding long-term cost savings and reliability improvements.

3. How should we prioritize maintenance tasks based on criticality and risk?

Prioritizing maintenance tasks hinges on assessing criticality and risk. Identify assets critical to operations and safety, evaluating their failure impact. Calculate risks considering probability and consequences.

Give priority to tasks addressing high-risk, high-impact scenarios first, followed by critical but lower-risk items.

You can harness data analytics to pinpoint trends by scrutinizing historical maintenance data. This helps you to predict potential issues and schedule maintenance efficiently.

When you analyze patterns, you can optimize your proactive maintenance strategies. This allows machinery uptime and reduces unexpected breakdowns.