Everything You Need to Know About Breakdown maintenance and planning it with CMMS

The maintenance performed on an asset or equipment when it has completely broken down, faulted, and needs immediate repair to resume operations is known as breakdown maintenance. Sometimes, it is also known as run-to-failure maintenance. It is a maintenance strategy to fix something that has malfunctioned. Usually, it’s an unplanned event but planning it is beneficial for smoother operation flow throughout the organization.  

It has two major types –

1. Planned Maintenance 

It is symbolic of the organization’s preparedness to tackle the breakdown as it expects it to happen any time soon. Planned maintenance requires rigorous documentation and control. The stakeholders must have a clear understanding of the equipment that will break down. Also, they should have the capability to find out parts that can be maintained by preventive maintenance itself.

2. Unplanned Maintenance

This type of maintenance occurs in the situation of an unplanned downtime event, that is when a part or equipment breaks down or fails unexpectedly. A facility’s plan must have a provision for keeping resources in place for unplanned maintenance since every machine part is bound to break down at some point in time. 

When To Use the Breakdown Maintenance strategy?

The run-to-failure maintenance strategy can be implemented when it poses no risk to safety due to failure. This technique produces best results when –

  • The equipment has easy-to-replace and inexpensive parts
  • The parts are designed for shorter life spans such as batteries, hand tools, pumps, fuses, etc.
  • The assets aren’t critical to operations
  • The parts are disposable

How Can CMMS Software Help In Planning The Maintenance?

cmms maintenance software collects both historical and real-time data related to the type and frequency of breakdowns of the pieces of equipment and provides future insights by making predictions. Based on the data and information gathered, it performs a detailed analysis of the equipment’s situation and lets you decide the best strategy for equipment maintenance.  
Here are some maintenance planning tips that will help you in handling unplanned equipment breakdowns using CMMS software.  

1. Prioritize the maintenance tasks

Using the CMMS software, you can prepare a maintenance schedule for machinery that includes all the tasks to be performed in the order of priority. It gives you the provision to reschedule or skip less crucial tasks if something unexpected or uncontrollable occurs. Moreover, it will make way for corrective maintenance to set in.  

2. Utilize historical data for maintenance

 A CMMS software can generate equipment breakdown reports by processing the historical data obtained from the equipment. The report insights can be utilized for identifying the frequency and causes of equipment failure. Furthermore, the data could be handy in finding out the most common equipment failures. 

You can use the results to address the internal issues in the operations such as overloading, operator errors, neglecting equipment warnings, etc., and device a preventive maintenance strategy to reduce future breakdowns.  

3. Check for the availability of spare parts

Since breakdowns are usually unpredictable, the unavailability of spares for fixing the equipment could lead to delays and disruption in the supply chain. Moreover, it’s not economical to hold a large supply of spares. You can use the CMMS software for effective vendor management so that you can get the required spares and supplies needed as quickly as possible. 

The Procedure Of Maintenance In Breakdown Situations

The procedural workflow is –

  1. A maintenance supervisor refers to the reports generated by the CMMS software to detect a potential issue with the machinery equipment. 
  2. The superior authority issues guidelines and a work order for equipment inspection.
  3. The technical team analyzes the issue and provides feedback on costs associated, parts, expected downtime, and replacement if required.
  4. The problems are resolved as per the maintenance schedule and plan structured with CMMS software. 
  5. The machine is put to work again and its performance is verified. 
  6. Finally, the matter is closed within a CMMS work order.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of The Breakdown Maintenance Strategy? 


The potential advantages of this technique include –

  1. Reduces preventive maintenance costs – The preventive maintenance technique may involve initial setup costs. In certain situations, replacing a piece of equipment can be more cost-effective than going for preventive maintenance. Thus, it minimizes maintenance costs by trimming out unnecessary preventive maintenance.  
  2. Simple maintenance procedure – The procedure is easy to understand, plan and schedule, especially with CMMS software. Moreover, the maintenance progress is easy to track and allows a smooth transition from downtime to work restoration.
  3. Consolidation of repair downtime. 
  4. Extends the equipment and machine life by reporting potential problems relating to the system performance and material condition.


This maintenance approach is considered to be a high-risk strategy as it could lead to lower production efficiency, customer dissatisfaction, and higher expenditure. The main disadvantages are –

  1. Safety at risk – Faulty parts and equipment pose the risk of hazards and accidents at the workplace to the technicians. Hence, the industrial safety standards may get violated.  
  2. Costly fixes – The costs associated with the repair and maintenance of machinery equipment could become a serious problem if downtime occurs frequently. Moreover, in such a situation, additional financial losses could be observed due to the inability to meet the target outputs. 
  3. Reduced long-term cost-effectiveness – If you use faulty machinery equipment till complete breakdown, it consumes more power while offering lesser efficiency; thus increasing energy costs as well. 
  4. It demands precision planning and implementation.


The Breakdown Maintenance strategy is not for all industries, especially those directly involved with people’s safety. Since an accident is almost impossible to predict, so businesses must have a backup strategy ready for such situations. 

The computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software solution proves handy in increasing the organization’s productivity and efficiency by gathering, organizing, and analyzing the data for equipment management and maintenance in a pre-programmed and structured manner. 

The strategy works best when implemented on replaceable, disposable, and inexpensive parts that can’t be repaired with standard methods. The chances of the equipment breakdown can well be reduced with predictive and preventive maintenance techniques. But no one can predict, at the same time ignore the occurrence of unexpected equipment failure.

Hence, industries must devise strategies that involve each type of maintenance technique for handling a variety of problems related to production and supply chains. 
This way, the organizations could achieve lesser downtime, increased overall production efficiency, higher asset performance, customer satisfaction, smoother workflow, higher profits, and better market capitalization. 

Fabrizio VanMarcino

Fabrizio Van Marciano is a self-taught web designer, front-end web developer, and content creator. He is the founder of FVM.