Usage-Based Maintenance

Usage-based maintenance, or UBM, is a type of meter-based preventive maintenance plan. The trigger for UBM is when usage on a certain system or machine passes a specific usage threshold.

How Usage-Based Maintenance Works

Preventive maintenance strategies are typically carried out using either a calendar-based or a usage-based approach. Calendar-based maintenance, also known as time-based maintenance, can be easily performed by scheduling maintenance activities at regular time intervals. On the other hand, usage-based maintenance relies on an equipment’s measured activity. Generally, usage-based maintenance is carried out through the following steps:

Set Up UBM on a System or Series of Systems

Usage-based maintenance relies on meter readings that reflect equipment utilization. To do this, UBM needs to be set up on your equipment and on your CMMS (what's a CMMS?).

Set Meter Thresholds

Thresholds will be set depending on the type of machine and expected usage. These thresholds are usually in the form of machine cycles, vehicle mileage, or other units of measure. They can also be set based on historical data from similar assets or based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Use and Log Meter Readings on a CMMS

Meter readings for multiple assets will then enter the system. With CMMS functionality, your meter readings are easily shown and recorded.

Meter Hits the Usage-Based Maintenance Threshold

As an asset is being used, the meter continues to run until it reaches the set threshold. Once a threshold is hit for usage, your CMMS will be alerted.

Create a Work Order for Routine Maintenance

An admin then triggers a work order on a CMMS. This would set maintenance activities in motion by notifying the accountable maintenance personnel.

5 Benefits of Usage-Based Maintenance

Usage-based maintenance is an effective strategy for implementing preventive maintenance activities. Having clearly-defined parameters to initiate maintenance work ensures that assets are properly serviced. Some practical benefits of implementing UBM are:

1. No Manual Readings

Put down the pen and paper and stay connected. With UBM and mobile CMMS functionalities, maintenance technicians can easily log meter readings as needed.

2. Less Downtime

Failures due to missed maintenance schedules can lead to significant downtime. This downtime then causes significant financial losses. Additionally, long repair times worsen the impact. One can reduce failure events and downtime by ensuring that assets are properly maintained.

3. Less Breakdown Surprises

Usage-based maintenance requires you to proactively check an equipment’s condition. With maintenance activities that are based on actual utilization, you can catch breakdown events before they happen. Breakdown surprises come far less often with a usage-based approach.

4. Longer System Life Spans

Regularly maintained systems tend to have longer life spans. This lessens the cost of getting new machinery by instead investing in a proactive UBM strategy.

5. Peace of Mind

Lastly, with usage-based maintenance, you’ll know your risk aversion is in tip-top shape. Having a usage-based strategy ensures that assets are working under safe operating conditions.

How to Implement Usage-Based Maintenance With a CMMS

A CMMS is all about integration. You can use a CMMS to set up usage-based maintenance and ensure all maintenance team members can find assets in one place. This gives maintenance teams full visibility of the equipment used within the facility. The following steps show how a CMMS and meter-reading software become essential tools for implementing usage-based maintenance. 

Step 1: Identify the Key Assets

Different assets within a facility require different maintenance strategies. To start implementing UBM, it's important to agree on the assets that will be included in the program.

Step 2: Set Up the Meter on Your CMMS

After identifying the key assets, set up a meter in your CMMS for each one. This will enable the system to take in recorded data. The asset’s name, the unit of measurement used, and meter reading frequency help to set up a meter.

Step 3: Set Work Order Trigger

The next step is setting up the conditions that would trigger a work order. This will include the threshold value that triggers a work order as well as the action required under the work order.

Typical actions should include the inspection of a meter after reaching a set limit. Also note that work orders can be triggered on a recurring or one-time basis. Recurrence will depend on the type of equipment and the maintenance strategy.

Step 4: Update Values as Needed

Next, maintenance team members receive a notification. When team members perform any activities on an asset, they should record and update the CMMS.

Step 5: Review Readings and Results

Implementing usage-based maintenance is a continuous process. Reviewing the data gathered and having periodic assessments will be beneficial to identify any room for improvement.


Usage-based maintenance is a preventive maintenance strategy based on an asset’s runtime. A CMMS with meter-reading capabilities can help with usage-based maintenance, significantly reducing manual efforts while increasing accuracy.


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