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Maintenance Glossary

A guide to maintenance management and CMMS-related terminology.
What is this guide?
This is a glossary of commonly used maintenance management and CMMS terms, meant to help you better understand the differences between key concepts used in the industry. Follow the links on each entry to learn about each concept in depth.

Maintenance Glossary
· A ·
API: an Application Programming Interface is a set of protocols and tools used to build a software app, which determines how software components interact with each other and other software.

Asset Lifetime: how long, on average, a component will last before it suffers a failure. Commonly measured by Mean Time Between Failures

Availability: the percentage of time a given piece of equipment is able to perform its intended function.
· B ·

Bill of Materials (BoM): a list of the parts and components that are required to complete a project or make up an asset.

Breakdown: a type of failure where a piece of equipment is completely inoperable.

Breakdown Maintenance: maintenance performed on equipment that has broken down, in order to restore it to a functioning condition (see Corrective Maintenance).
· C ·

CMMS: a computerised maintenance management system, used to assist with maintenance and facility management activities and store data about assets, maintenance plans and interventions, facilities, team activity and more.

Condition-based Maintenance: a maintenance strategy based on real-time measurements in order to assess when a piece of equipment might need maintenance, then taking action to avoid it at the right moment.

Corrective Maintenance: maintenance interventions that are carried out after a failure has occurred, in order to restore the equipment to a functioning condition.

Criticality: The priority rank of a given failure mode or piece of equipment based on a set of evaluation criteria.
· D ·

Defect: a condition that is typically a potential failure that is not preventing the equipment from operating, but requires a maintenance intervention sooner or later.

Downtime: the amount of time a piece of equipment is out of service, either due to an unplanned equipment failure, or intentionally in order to carry out preventive maintenance or other reasons.
· E ·

EAM Software: Enterprise Asset Management software, used to analyse data for physical assets during the asset lifecycle.

Economic Life: the time a piece of equipment is expected to perform its intended function before a replacement becomes cheaper than repairing it.

Emergency Maintenance: a type of reactive maintenance that is used to prevent an immediate safety or environmental hazard, as well as any threat to the organisation’s viability or profitability.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): ERP systems are used for the integrated management of business processes and data in a single platform.

Estimating Index: a measure of labor productivity, corresponding to the ratio of estimated labor hours to the actual labor hours required to complete the specified work.
· F ·

Failure: any condition of a piece of equipment which prevents it from fulfilling its intended functions, either partially or completely.

Fail-safe equipment: an equipment whose failures necessarily become apparent to the operating team in the normal course of events.

Failure Finding Tasks: inspections carried out on a piece of equipment in order to find defects or hidden failures that may compromise its working condition.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA): a method for identifying potential failures within equipment or other business areas, assessing their causes and their effects.
· G ·

Gantt Chart: a type of bar chart used to illustrate a work schedule by showing the absolute and relative duration and sequencing of the scheduled maintenance activities.
· H ·

HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control points is a management system which applies a preventive approach to dealing food safety in hotels, restaurants and other spaces, and which some CMMS can help manage and track.

Hidden Failure: an equipment failure which isn’t apparent to the operating team in the normal course of events. (see Fail Safe Equipment and Failure Finding Tasks).
· I ·

Industry 4.0: the subset of the fourth industrial revolution that concerns industry and encompasses technology such as IoT, cyber-physical systems and cloud computing.

Inherent Reliability: the upper limit of the reliability of a piece of equipment, assuming it is ideally maintained and inspected.

Infant Mortality: an equipment failure mode showing the higher probability of an asset failing right after it is first started or returned to service.

Inspection: a set of tasks to check the physical and operating condition of equipment and to determine the tools, materials and labour required to repair it. It can be one of the steps in a risk assessment plan (see Risk Assessment).

Internet of Things (IoT): the digital interconnection of physical assets with the internet, and the capability of transmitting data between them.
· J ·
· K ·

Key Performance Indicators (KPI): metrics used to determine the effectiveness of a business or maintenance operations, such as OEE, MTTR or MTBF.
· L ·

Life Cycle Costing (LCC): the estimation of the total costs required to own, operate and maintain a given piece of equipment during its lifetime.

Lockout-Tagout (LOTO): a safety procedure to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started again until completion of maintenance activities.
· M ·

Maintainability: a measure of how easily or quickly a piece of equipment can undergo any maintenance interventions (see MTTR).

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF): one of the main indicators of the operational reliability of an asset.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR): a measurement of the maintainability of equipment and repairable parts.

Model Work Order: a work order template stored in your CMMS with all information required to perform a maintenance intervention (see Work Order).
· N ·

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT): testing of equipment with procedures that do not compromise or cause damage to the equipment, in order to detect potential failures (see Predictive Maintenance).

Non-Routine Maintenance: maintenance tasks that are not performed according to a predefined schedule (see Corrective Maintenance).

· O ·
Operational Efficiency: the ratio between the actual output produced by a machine and its expected output at maximum capacity. (see Overall Equipment Effectiveness).

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): an evaluation of how a piece of equipment is performing overall.

Overall Operations Effectiveness (OOE): an evaluation of overall equipment performance (see OEE), but taking the full shift time (even if the machine is stopped for maintenance interventions) into account.

Overhaul: a comprehensive assessment and restoration of a piece of equipment to an acceptable operating condition.
· P ·

P-F Curve: a graph used to visualise the deterioration of an asset over time and to identify the interval between a potential failure and an actual one.

Planned Maintenance: any maintenance activity whose scope, frequency, labor, materials and tools required to carry out the tasks have been previously documented.

Planned Maintenance Percentage (PMP): an indicator of the proportion of time spent in planned maintenance activities, versus unplanned maintenance tasks.

Potential Failure: a condition of equipment which indicates that a failure is occurring at the time or in the future.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM): a type of planned maintenance that aims to predict equipment failures and prevent them before they take place.

Preventive Maintenance (PM): maintenance actions that are regularly carried out to prevent the occurrence of failures and to monitor the performance of equipment.

Proactive Maintenance: any tasks used to predict equipment failures or taking corrective action towards eliminating potential failures (see Potential Failures).
· Q ·

Quality Rate: a metric used in the calculation of the OEE, corresponding to the proportion of the output from a machine that meets the required quality standards (see Overall Equipment Effectiveness).
· R ·

Reactive Maintenance: corrective maintenance tasks performed in order to restore a piece of equipment to its normal operating condition (see Corrective Maintenance and Proactive Maintenance).

Reliability: the capability of a piece of equipment to keep performing its intended functions. (see Mean Time Between Failures).

Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM): a process to determining the maintenance strategies needed to ensure a piece of equipment keeps fulfilling its intended functions, based on its reliability (see Reliability).

Risk Assessment: a process to identify the risks (negative consequences) associated with equipment deterioration in order to ensure a good operational condition of all equipment and facilities.

Root Cause Analysis: a method of problem solving used to identify the root causes of equipment failures.

Routine Maintenance: maintenance tasks that are performed with regular, predefined frequencies.

Run-to-Failure: a maintenance strategy where no routine maintenance is performed, with equipment only being serviced when failures occur (see Corrective Maintenance).
· S ·

Schedule Compliance: a KPI corresponding to the proportion of maintenance work orders that are completed on schedule within a given time period.

Scheduled Maintenance: any maintenance activity performed within a previously defined timeframe (see Planned Maintenance).

Scheduled Operating Time: the time a piece of equipment is scheduled to be operating.

Secondary Damage: any damage to an asset besides that of the original failure mode, but which happens as a direct consequence of it.

Shutdown Maintenance: maintenance tasks that can only be performed while a piece of equipment is shut down (that is, out of service).
· T ·

Total Effective Equipment Performance (TEEP): a metric of the overall effectiveness of an asset or system. Similar to OEE, but considering all available time instead of the planned production time only (see OEE and OOE).

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): a maintenance strategy to maximise equipment effectiveness with total participation of the whole organisation.
· U ·

Uptime: the time that a piece of equipment is operating (see also Downtime).

Useful Life: an estimate of the total time an asset will be able to perform its intended functions.
· V ·
· W ·

Work Order: the document used to describe in detail the maintenance tasks or repairs to be executed, after approval of the work request (see Work Request).

Work Request: the document used to request and describe maintenance work that needs to be performed.

Workload: the amount of labour hours required to complete a given maintenance task or set of maintenance tasks.
How can you be on top of all these metrics, strategies and processes?
Investing in a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is the way to go. Here’s how a CMMS can help you:

1. Monitoring everything in real time
2. More control over metrics and KPIs
3. Long-term savings
4. Easily accessible information with cloud storage
5. Standardised processes
6. Facilitating communication between the whole team
7. Creating and executing maintenance plans
8. Receiving instant notifications about work orders

Read more on the benefits of investing in a CMMS.
New Infraspeak

Infraspeak allows you to easily build maintenance plans, scheduling all interventions, associating them with registered assets, and assigning them to users, who can then view their schedules on Infraspeak’s mobile app.

Some of our relevant apps
Cost Management
Lower your costs and optimise your budgets by staying on top of your maintenance spending.
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Service Level Agreements
Never miss a deadline again by setting SLAs for failure resolutions and preventive works.
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Preventive Maintenance
Plan and execute all your preventive maintenance tasks in an easy and intuitive way.
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