What are the best ways to document preventive maintenance?

The way I’d advise documenting preventive maintenance is with a CMMS or other form of work order management software, but the exact shape that takes may depend on your size, industry, and so forth. The ultimate goal is the same, though—keep a record of work that has been done, when it was completed, who did it, and what its results were.

Documentation Media

Of course, not everyone uses the same documentation methods. Some methods you might see include:

  • Paper notes
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Computer databases
  • Maintenance management software
  • Carrying the data around in their heads

That last one is only possible if you run a very small operation, but it’s really not recommended. It’s too easy for data to get lost, and it’s not very accessible to others.

CMMS and PM Documentation

A CMMS, on the other hand, takes some time and effort to implement, but it streamlines the process considerably. It makes it very easy to assign tickets to your technicians, receive PM reports on work completed for each asset, and store that data in one place. Modern systems make it easy to compile reports and view trends on each asset, helping you fine-tune your maintenance processes.

It has also been shown to increase your workflow efficiency by up to 15%, making your PM more efficient on top of easier to track.

The Core of PM Documenting

Regardless of the system you use, the core of PM documentation is your work orders and PM reporting. The process goes something like this:

  • A PM task is scheduled, and a work order is created to perform inspections, tune-ups, lubrication, etc.
  • The work order is assigned to a technician.
  • They go do the work prescribed in the work order.
  • They file a report declaring the task complete.
  • That report is put on file (hopefully).
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Essentially, the documentation process tracks the reports of complete and incomplete work orders, and a lot of that burden falls on your technicians. While your maintenance supervisor or other higher-up may be the one to organize PM reports, your technicians are the ones who will create them in the first place.