Climbing window washers cleaning the outside of an office building as part of facility-centric corrective maintenance

Even if you don’t call it by this name, you may already be familiar with the concept of corrective maintenance in your daily life. If the dryer breaks, you fix or replace it. If windows are dirty, you clean them. If the color of your siding is fading, you paint it.

When this concept is applied to the industrial workplace, there’s a little more to it. Machine breakdowns require investigation to identify the issue and make a decision as to whether a part should be repaired or replaced. Components are cleaned so that assets can perform at their highest capacity. General upkeep is done to keep environments safe and secure.

You know that preventive maintenance is used to prevent breakdowns before they happen, so where does corrective maintenance fit into the big picture?

Read Blog Post: What is Preventive Maintenance?

Corrective Maintenance Definition

Corrective maintenance (CM) is a maintenance task performed to restore a non- or under-performing asset to an optimum or operational condition. This corrective maintenance definition may mean different things, depending on your organization or industry.

For example, corrective maintenance in equipment-centric businesses may be the repair or replacement of a part that has worn down. Companies that deal primarily with non-equipment assets, such as facilities or property, might consider mowing the lawn to be CM.

The need for corrective action may be discovered in many ways. A maintenance technician may notice a degrading part while performing a preventive maintenance job like an inspection. A machine operator may alert the maintenance team that equipment is not functioning as expected. Seasonal weather may dictate the need for corrective maintenance, such as when a parking lot must be plowed after a snow storm.

Types of Corrective Maintenance

CM can be broken down into smaller categories: scheduled and unscheduled.

  • Scheduled corrective maintenance: Maintenance that is needed, but not required to be performed immediately.
  • Unscheduled corrective maintenance: Maintenance that is required due to a critical failure that must be corrected without delay.

Corrective Maintenance Examples

The following examples are based on the types of corrective maintenance listed above:

  • A spray nozzle becomes clogged causing lubricant to stop flowing through the nozzle. A work order is created to clear the blockage or replace the nozzle head at the time of the next inspection (scheduled corrective maintenance).
  • Mineral build-up from hard water collects in a pipe, increasing the pressure and causing it to burst. The pipe must be replaced as soon as possible (unscheduled corrective maintenance).

Advantages of Corrective Maintenance

When used as part of a larger maintenance strategy, corrective maintenance can provide multiple benefits.

  • Less Planning Required: Although some corrective maintenance activities must still be planned, compared to preventive maintenance schedules, there is less planning involved.
  • Simplified Process: CM is need-based, allowing the maintenance team to focus on other tasks, such as preventive maintenance, until a breakdown or adverse condition occurs.
  • More Appropriate in Some Cases: Corrective maintenance can save money because you don’t need to repair or replace an asset until maintenance is truly needed. For example, it is more cost-effective to replace a light bulb when it burns out than to spend time, money, and effort creating a preventive maintenance plan.

Disadvantages of Corrective Maintenance

Relying solely on CM without the benefit of a preventive maintenance strategy can have significant shortcomings.

  • Increased Downtime: When serious problems arise, maintenance can be a slow and expensive process. Periods of equipment downtime affect production, costing the organization money.
  • Higher Maintenance Costs: Without preventive maintenance, the condition of assets can deteriorate more significantly before problems are discovered, requiring the repair or replacement of more parts while also increasing labor costs.
  • Safety Issues: When performed in response to a breakdown where money is being lost every second, maintenance may be rushed, leading to a higher risk of unsafe or improper work.
  • Unpredictability: When emergencies happen, all other maintenance work is put on hold until the problem is resolved, leading to a backlog of work orders. Maintenance managers must also quickly identify the technicians and parts needed to address the repair.

When to Use Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is unavoidable. Every maintenance team performs some form of maintenance in response to equipment breakdowns and failures. But as we’ve stated, relying too heavily on CM can negatively impact operations. So when should you use corrective maintenance over other types of maintenance, such as preventive maintenance?

The decision can depend on many things, such as the cost of downtime, your assets’ reliability, and whether assets can be easily swapped if problems occur. Your company may also conduct a cost-benefits analysis on your assets to help support the case for scheduled corrective maintenance. Experts recommend that your balance of corrective vs. preventive maintenance should be 80/20. That is, 80% of maintenance should be preventive, while the remaining 20% should be corrective maintenance.

How CMMS Software Helps

The goal of every maintenance team is to reduce asset downtime. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) like FTMaintenance stores information about corrective maintenance activities and automatically builds a maintenance history. During critical corrective maintenance tasks, it also allows technicians to quickly check an asset’s service history, speeding up troubleshooting and repairs. Corrective maintenance data can be analyzed to identify trends, spawning future preventive maintenance that will help avert future failure. Learn more about all the CMMS features FTMaintenance has to offer.

See FTMaintenance In Action

Schedule your live demonstration of FTMaintenance CMMS today

Schedule Demo