Corrective Maintenance: An Analysis of This Maintenance Strategy

What you will find in this text:

  1. How does corrective maintenance work?
  2. Types of corrective maintenance
  3. Corrective maintenance in practical terms
  4. Benefits of corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance, as a strategy, is often confused with breakdown maintenance. When people think of corrective maintenance, they often presume that this simply means fixing anything that is broken and leaving anything working alone until it breaks or develops a failure.

While of course, corrective maintenance will include fixing anything that breaks, it goes further than this, and may well include improving a system, or equipment parts, that are not broken, but are simply not functioning optimally.  

How does corrective maintenance work? 

Corrective maintenance may be planned or unplanned and we’ll talk more about that later. Corrective maintenance focuses on detecting problems and fixing them when they occur, and this can happen in several ways.

There may be a monitoring system in place, in which case the system flags up a fault, and the fault can then be prioritised for fixing. Perhaps a routine process is underway, an inspection of the equipment perhaps, and a failed part or worn part is noticed. Or it could be that a problem has come to light due to equipment failure or a stall in a process.  

Types of corrective maintenance 

Corrective maintenance can take several forms, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of corrective maintenance…  

Planned corrective maintenance 

Corrective maintenance isn’t just a haphazard system of waiting for things to break and then fixing them, it’s a legitimate maintenance system that has some clear benefits. Planned corrective maintenance refers to the process whereby the correct under some particular pre-set circumstances. For example, a business may decide against a time scale for replacing particular parts, and simply wait for each part to fail individually and then replace them as and when needed.

This can reduce waste, for example, there would be no need to replace all lightbulbs in a building every six months, when you can simply wait until they fail and replace them, however, should those bulbs be connected to a critical alert system, then a regular replacement would then be necessary. Panning and assessing the level of importance is vital for health and safety purposes.  

Unplanned corrective maintenance 

Unplanned corrective maintenance may occur when a fault develops outside of a set schedule for inspection or replacement, or when something develops a problem that was never previously anticipated. Of course, in these cases, unplanned corrective maintenance can offer potential for adapting and improving planned corrective maintenance procedures.  

Prescriptive maintenance  

Prescriptive maintenance takes some of the guesswork out of corrective maintenance. Using advanced analytic techniques, prescriptive maintenance can give you a look in the crystal ball to predict potential failures and estimate their time frame. This can be a very useful tool for putting plans in place for corrective maintenance, or indeed other maintenance strategies.   

Corrective maintenance in practical terms 

In practical terms, corrective maintenance encompasses a wide range of procedures, some planned, some not. It can often be the case that a corrective maintenance issue is detected during an unrelated process. For example, an inspector of machinery may notice a problem with loose floor tiles. Preventative maintenance measures can also often bring corrective maintenance issues to light. Perhaps a regular oiling of machinery parts alerts a maintenance operative to a worn part needing replacement.   

Benefits of corrective maintenance 

Corrective maintenance, when used wisely can certainly bring about several benefits. Here are some of the potentially most beneficial aspects of this strategy… 

Emergency orders 

Once initiated, if there’s a clear and swift process for correcting the issues, this type of maintenance system can reduce the number of emergency orders initiated. Fixing anything in an emergency inevitably comes at a higher price and a higher risk than if the problem had not been elevated to emergency status.  


Issues flagged up for corrective maintenance can have far-reaching consequences. The safety of employees is paramount, and so prioritising, and fixing the most potentially hazardous problems as soon as they occur, will minimise the risk to staff. Once an issue has been made apparent, even if the fix cannot be conducted right away, everyone affected can be alerted to the problem, and procedures put in place to ensure optimum safety such as turning off the impacted machinery or cordoning off an area of the workplace.  

Asset Lifetime 

With good corrective maintenance, the lifetime of business assets can be maximised. By fixing and maintaining assets, while not replacing them prematurely, you’re ensuring that the business is getting the very best value for money out of all parts and equipment, without jeopardising safety.  


When all corrective maintenance alerts are sent to a central system, the requests can be prioritised, and a resource-optimised process can be put in place. For example, if there are several low-priority jobs to be done in a particular location, these can be scheduled to be completed by one employee at one time, rather than responding to each request individually at the immediate time of the request.  


Corrective maintenance conducted due to a potential future failure being spotted can certainly reduce the risks of downtime from unexpected failures down the line. The entire ethos of reporting potential failures and issues, particularly when predictive corrective maintenance methods are employed, can keep businesses up and running to the maximum, ensuring productivity levels are maintained, which of course makes good financial sense and keeps clients and customers happy.   

Whether or not you actively employ corrective maintenance strategies, to some extent, all businesses will have to deal with corrective maintenance issues at some point. From both a financial and a safety perspective, it’s wise to ensure you are prepared for all eventualities.

Timing can be of great importance when it comes to efficient solving of corrective maintenance requests, so keeping a keen eye on stock levels of parts and making sure you have fast access to the right people to implement the fixes is very important.

While used alone, corrective maintenance can be a rather risky and potentially costly strategy, but it does work well when combined with other maintenance strategies, and when it is well managed and prepared for. 

Do you want to know more about Fracttal One and our SMP? Learn what our Smart Maintenance Platform can do for you.