Predictive maintenance programs yield a great deal of long term value, but companies need to employ measured, consistent deployments to yield sustained success.

For many organizations, predictive maintenance isn't just a slightly different way of doing things - it's a foundational paradigm shift that impacts operational activities in many different departments. While it offers many clear benefits to subscribers, it's important that these businesses don't get ahead of themselves. A preventative maintenance program that's poorly developed or executed is unlikely to improve upon traditional reactive models. A current program that's not particularly efficient is one thing, but a promising new technology that fails in deployment is likely to produce an even more negative sentiment than a program that hadn't been altered at all.

It's therefore essential that organizations take steps to fashion a predictive maintenance model that's optimized for success right out of the gate. A program that's rationally developed and smartly deployed - not too far-reaching or over-aggressive - will fulfill its initial promise and position itself for sustained reliability. Restricting initial predictive maintenance usage allows it to grow organically, and according to Bulk Solids Handling contributor Martin Jackson, can often better showcase the real dollars-and-cents value of such a program to skeptics and neutral parties.

Sustained success is particularly important, because a company should be able to continue to reap the benefits of the program in the long term. The short-sightedness of reactive maintenance strategies is one of the chief reasons why they aren't particularly productive or profitable, and sustained optimal equipment monitoring will be crucial to handling aging machinery. Keeping predictive maintenance programs from falling into reactive traps of thinking is itself an exercise in being proactive, wrote Plant Services contributors Randy Quick and John Crossan, However, taking the initiative as an organization to keep it a priority and being willing to try out creative, alternative ways of implementation can go a long way to keeping active and successful for a long time.

"Typically most time is spent on the technical detail of a PM program and technical accuracy is important, but the human aspects of ownership and value are far more important in sustaining the effort." Quick and Crossan wrote. "If these are not in place, the program will inevitably struggle to get started and just fade away over time."