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Are You Underestimating the Value of Preventive Maintenance?

When you’re enjoying a busy work schedule with jobs lined up for several months, it’s likely you are focused on productivity more than maintenance. But in an uncertain recovery, it’s important to look at all the ways you can keep your business working with as few interruptions as possible. Preventive Maintenance (PM) practices can help your business keep moving forward.

So what does a typical investment in PM look like? Here are two key benchmarks. In a post by Equipment World staff in 2013, they shared these numbers:

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE HOURS (% of total maintenance hours)

Fleet Replacement Value Industry Avg. Best in Class World Class
$1.1 – $25 million 35% 55% 60-70%
Maintenance Cost % of Revenue Industry Avg. Best in Class World Class
$1.1 – $25 million 8% 1.5% < 3.0%


There is a predisposition within the industry to value productivity over maintenance, so it’s not surprising that the industry average of PM hours spent is only 35%. And 8% of revenue seems like a reasonable number for maintenance cost. The real question is do you want to run your company like an “average” one do you want to model your business decisions after companies who are out ahead of the industry?

Here are some tips to help your company get world-class results.

  1. CREATE, POST and STICK TO preventive maintenance schedules. Construction accountants and financial advisors report that preventive maintenance schedules, when adhered to, are a best practice for maintaining the value of equipment and cutting down on repair costs.
  2. Take a look at outsourcing as an efficiency booster. Evaluate the maintenance and repair work that your team is doing—what’s being done, the number of hours and the cost of downtime. Also, look at the time involved to schedule and manage product inventory. It’s possible you could realize cost savings and convenience by outsourcing certain maintenance to a more efficient third party. If you have your shop handling maintenance for equipment and vehicles, you may want to consider outsourcing one fleet.
  3. Use technology to make maintenance as efficient as possible. The machine hour meter records the number of hours the machine is “on,” but it doesn’t differentiate between “on time,” “working time” and “idle time.” Various monitoring systems do make the distinction and this basic technology is integrated into many newer model machines. When you can look at the data and see which of the hours on the machine are actually working hours, you can schedule maintenance NOT off the hour meter, but using the actual time worked. This means you will reduce the number of PMs needed annually.

For example, if you have a recommended service interval of 250 hours for a machine that has 70% working time, it means that approximately 30% or 75 hours of each 250 machine hours are non-working hours. So every fourth PM is due to the non-working hours alone, which is not a true indicator of usage. With the more accurate data provided by technology, you will do PMs when they are needed and avoid unnecessary maintenance and the associated costs.

Technology also helps you keep track of machine health—proactively—with alert codes that let the operator know when the machine is operating outside of normal parameters or needs service. The overall result will be fewer failures, less downtime and reduced cost.

Your Cat dealer can offer a preventive maintenance program customized to your needs. Learn more


Source for PM benchmark: