Maintenance: Definitions, Benefits, and Application

Learn about the different types of maintenance, its pros and cons, and how each industry benefits from good maintenance practices

worker doing maintenance work on an equipment

What is Maintenance?

Maintenance, otherwise known as technical maintenance, refers to a set of processes and practices that aim to ensure the continuous and efficient operation of machinery, equipment, and other types of assets typically used in business. Diligence in implementing an effective maintenance program is essential to the successful performance and longevity of machinery, assets, facilities, and entire businesses.

Most Common Types of Maintenance

There are different types of maintenance work, each designed for specific scenarios. Knowing the differences between maintenance types helps people determine which ones are the most suitable for their purposes.

Types of Maintenance

Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance, also referred to as preventive maintenance, is implemented on a fixed schedule and typically includes activities such as inspecting, cleaning, washing, replacing, and checking. It is typically performed in the downtime between shifts or on weekends to avoid affecting productivity goals.

Planned Maintenance

Where routine maintenance may happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, planned maintenance may be scheduled once per year or as needed. This is because planned maintenance is more time-consuming, expensive, and thorough—often requiring the services of a specialist.

Corrective Maintenance

If during your routine maintenance inspection of a car, you discover signs of severe wear and tear, you need to perform corrective maintenance. When computer or gauge readings for a machine show unusual, possibly hazardous anomalies, you need to perform corrective maintenance. Corrective maintenance pertains to the repairs and replacements necessary to get an asset back up and running at full power and in optimal condition.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance focuses on techniques used to determine the appropriate schedule for planned and corrective maintenance. Its primary goal is to predict, through a variety of testing methods, when a machine will start experiencing severe wear and tear so corrective maintenance can be scheduled without affecting productivity goals.

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Benefits of Maintenance

In general, businesses benefit from good maintenance practices. However, several factors need to be considered before you can determine if maintenance is helping your organization.

  • Increase longevity of assets – Having the patience and dedication to regularly inspect, clean, and care for an expensive asset helps operations maximize productivity and cut costs by preventing expensive repairs and replacements.
  • Optimize asset performance – A well-maintained asset operates at maximum capacity, positively affecting business ROI through efficiency and consistency.
  • Avoid unscheduled downtimes – Unexpected breakdowns can cause significant problems for any business. Diligent maintenance can help businesses avoid unexpected outages, ensuring operations run smoothly and without any hiccups.
  • Minimize costs – Most industrial machines used for business operations cost a small fortune, so it only makes sense to diligently maintain these assets to get the most out of them. Failure to implement good maintenance practices will lead to machine breakdowns, costing the business more money through avoidable repairs and replacements.

Maintenance vs. Repair

Maintenance and repair work have the same goal, which is to keep your business running efficiently as designed. Simply put, the goal of maintenance is to make repairs unnecessary.

From the time a business acquires an asset, they should already have a maintenance plan ready for implementation. Routine maintenance techniques like cleaning and regular inspections are often done on a weekly, monthly, and sometimes even daily basis. Cleaning, monitoring, and inspecting can be done quickly and often at no cost while still contributing to an asset’s overall health and longevity.

However, even with the best maintenance plan and personnel, the possibility of an unexpected machine breakdown can never be eliminated. When this happens, businesses need to rely on swift repairs to get their assets back up and running ASAP, before losses become insurmountable.

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Maintenance Practices Across Industries

Good maintenance programs benefit virtually all businesses across different industries; the only difference is how they apply maintenance techniques to achieve their business goals. Below is a list of how different industries apply maintenance practices to maximize their operations.


Good maintenance practices are crucial in the aerospace industry since malfunctions can result in high-fatality disasters. Aircraft maintenance is also legally mandated in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates the following maintenance inspection activities: 100-hour inspection, annual inspection, and progressive inspection.

Freight and Logistics

Sometimes referred to as the “transport industry,” the freight and logistics industry is essential to the successful operation of many other industries since freight services are called upon to transport materials and tools needed for service and production. Some common maintenance practices in the freight and logistics industry are fleet maintenance and scheduled ship maintenance.

Computers and IT

With our increasing reliance on computers for both work and our personal lives, it is naturally in everyone’s best interest to maintain them and ensure that they are operating at optimal levels. Common computer maintenance processes include server maintenance and IT risk assessments.


Agricultural activities rely heavily on equipment and industrial-grade chemicals to complete. Proper farm maintenance plays a crucial role in ensuring that workers are safe from work-related injuries and operations proceed without a hitch. Maintenance activities include equipment maintenance and facility maintenance.

Real Estate

Commercial, residential, and industrial buildings require regular maintenance to retain their structural integrity and functionality, avoiding deterioration and eventual collapse. Below are some common maintenance techniques practiced in the real estate industry.

Food and Beverage

The maintenance of food processing machines, utensils, and facilities is the foundation upon which successful food companies and restaurants are built. Maintenance examples in this industry include kitchen maintenance and chiller maintenance.


To achieve and maintain customer satisfaction and keep customers coming back, hotels and lodges need to keep their establishments in pristine condition through diligent and consistent maintenance practices. This can be done through regular hotel maintenance, as well as HVAC maintenance, among other things.


Companies in the manufacturing industry utilize heavy-duty machinery for mass production. To prevent machine breakdowns that disrupt operations, good machine maintenance protocols must be implemented—machine maintenance and factory maintenance are already a great start.


There are multiple factors to be considered when coming up with a winning formula for a successful retail company. Selling high-quality products and having great customer service are some of the more obvious elements. Consistent implementation of good store maintenance practices, however, is just as important in making sure your business operates at full capacity.

Maintenance Training: Your Key to Building a Culture of Safety

Break free from the limits of traditional face-to-face training. Thanks to the advancement of mobile training apps, it’s now easier to create your maintenance training and make it available for your team anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Here, we’ve made a list of some maintenance training that is perfect for busy teams who need to stay on top of their safety game.

FAQs about Maintenance

“Under maintenance” is a term used to indicate that something is currently undergoing repair, update, or improvement. It implies that the item or location is temporarily unavailable during the maintenance process. This term is commonly used in relation to websites, building facilities, or pieces of equipment while workers perform repairs or conduct routine maintenance checks.

In the context of work, maintenance refers to the actions taken to keep equipment, machinery, or a facility in good working condition and ensure its safety for use. Maintenance activities are done proactively to prevent potential issues or breakdowns.

3 examples of maintenance activities are:

  1. Routine inspections – regular scheduled checks of equipment, machinery, or facilities to identify any potential or underlying issues.
  2. Cleaning and upkeep – regular cleaning of equipment, machinery, or facilities, prevents the buildup of dirt, debris, or other substances that can damage or reduce efficiency.
  3. Repairs and replacements – fixing and issues identified during inspections or maintenance checks. This includes replacing parts or components that are worn out, damaged, or no longer functioning properly.

Here are some examples of maintenance services:

  1. HVAC maintenance: Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure they are functioning properly and efficiently.
  2. Plumbing maintenance: Routine checks and repairs of plumbing systems to prevent leaks, blockages, or other issues that could cause damage or disruption to a facility.
  3. Electrical maintenance: Testing, repair, and replacement of electrical systems and components to prevent electrical hazards and ensure reliable power distribution.
  4. Computer and IT maintenance: Regular updates, repairs, and security checks of computer systems and networks to ensure they are functioning properly and protect against cyber threats.
  5. Equipment maintenance: Repairs, cleaning, and upkeep of specialized equipment and machinery to ensure they are functioning efficiently and safely, and prevent potential downtime or loss of productivity.
Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her years of experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.