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For the proper and efficient running of any sort of business operation, maintenance is key.  Depending on the kind of business one is running, different types of maintenance strategies are applied.  Without proper maintenance, then one’s business is operating in great danger and at risk of incurring huge losses rather than gaining profit. 

Some businessmen or women tend to ignore maintenance since it can be expensive and instead decide to conduct their business operations in the cheaper way which in the long run becomes the most expensive way. The cheaper way I am talking about is the unplanned way of maintenance and in today’s article, it is what we are going to be looking at. 

Accounting for both planned and unplanned maintenance ensures the smooth running of your business. Unplanned maintenance is the type of maintenance task that occurs abruptly or spontaneously, or we can call it unexpected maintenance. This type of maintenance is usually presumed for unscheduled maintenance, but there is a distinct difference between the two.


Unplanned and Unscheduled are words that are remarkably similar and can be used interchangeably in particular circumstances. But when it comes to maintenance, these two words have different meanings. As we have just stated, unplanned maintenance is the type of maintenance that is typically unexpected and was never planned out or discussed by the maintenance management.  

Whereas, Unscheduled maintenance is the type of maintenance that was planned for but was not allocated a specific time or presented to the maintenance technicians. So basically, with unscheduled maintenance even if it is not planned for at least when it happens it won’t be as time-consuming as unplanned maintenance. 

An example of unscheduled maintenance is whereby, a company has a machine that does not break down easily, it can go like for a few cycles before it completely breaks down. In such scenarios, a company will have the specific repairs at hand but they are uncertain of when the final cycle will be, for the machine to completely break down such as the LDAR program.


  • Reactive maintenance.

This type of maintenance is also referred to as breakdown maintenance. This is the type of maintenance that is immediately done after an asset or equipment abruptly breaks down and its repairs are conducted immediately. The repairs carried out were unplanned.

  • Corrective maintenance.

Just as the name suggests, it is the type of maintenance that is carried out when equipment fails to operate or function properly. With this type of maintenance, one can fix a minor issue that causes the asset not to properly operate or a major issue, such as the complete breakdown of the asset.

Opportunistic maintenance.

We can also call it by chance maintenance. This is the type of maintenance that was unplanned but maybe during a routine check, the maintenance technician stumbles across a problem with a machine and immediately conducts the needed repairs before it broadens up to a big issue.

Having understood what unplanned maintenance means, we shall now look at some of the shortcomings that come with it.

 Disadvantages of unplanned maintenance.

  • It is expensive

As we said this type of maintenance happens abruptly and was not in the budget plan. When these breakdowns happen immediate repairs ought to be conducted and this causes a lot of money to be used, which was not budgeted for.

  • Safety issues.

This type of maintenance is performed hurriedly and under a lot of pressure and can result in great danger or risks either to the technicians repairing or the whole company.

  • Reduce Asset life.

When equipment or asset operates under bad conditions, for sure they will break down sooner than expected. One advantage of proper maintenance is that it increases asset life, and equipment can last for a longer period than expected.

  • Time-consuming

Unplanned maintenance takes up a lot of time for the repairs to be conducted. This is because when the breakdown occurs the needed spare parts required for its fixing are not available, hence it will take a lot of time for the spares to be found and for the fixing to be carried out.


Having stated its numerous disadvantages, one thing is for sure in most cases this is a bad strategy to use. This is because with this type of maintenance all you do is just be hopeful that your machine does not break down because then you know the kind of losses you will incur. But for sure, one can apply unplanned maintenance in some cases. 

When you have equipment that you are sure cannot be repaired, are by-passable, and are non-critical then you can apply unplanned maintenance. This is because with such an asset it means that when it’s broken down, it has completely broken down and no fixation will be required. In such a case then unplanned maintenance is advisable.

How can one manage unplanned maintenance?

One of the best ways to manage unplanned maintenance is by applying maintenance management software to your system.  One may be asking themselves what is a CMMS and how it helps with unplanned maintenance. The Computerized Maintenance Management System is for sure the right software solution to incorporate while installing your maintenance system and this is because:

  • CMMS can help you know the asset that can use an unplanned maintenance system.
  • Secondly, when an asset is breaking down, the CMMS can detect any minor issue, and will the maintenance management system will be immediately notified to carry on the required repairs. 
  • CMMS also eases work for you, since it streamlines work orders for you and helps the maintenance team to act properly when an asset shuts down.

In summary, unplanned maintenance is not a great way to operate your business, since it leads to great disadvantages rather than advantages. It is advisable to use the CMMS software in your maintenance management system which will make your work more reliable and easier despite you using planned or unplanned maintenance practices.


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