The terms corrective and adaptive maintenance originate from software maintenance. In computer science, corrective maintenance is accomplished by removing bugs from software, hardware and the network, while adaptive maintenance describes the adaptive modification of existing code to address new tasks or business opportunities. Corrective maintenance is generally categorized into emergency situations - such as a network outage or virus attack - and preventive ones - such as repairs and maintenance to prevent the repetition of these events. Adaptive maintenance is used as a proactive and reactive response to changing business trends and needs. In short, corrective maintenance is a fixing what's wrong, while adaptive maintenance is used to upgrade the system to better confront the challenges that lie ahead. While knowledge of these methods is certainly important for the technological infrastructure of your business, these ideas can also be applied to your workforce and management style.

Corrective Maintenance

As a manager of a business, the smooth operations of your workforce network are key to your company's survival. Good corrective maintenance originates from regular, efficient meetings on a timed agenda, good communication streams with regular reports from lower and middle managers, and a thorough familiarity with the functions of your entire workforce. Efficiency experts, who observe your employees' routines, is a common method of corrective maintenance. Trimming redundant tasks and piling them into singular ones, and eliminating redundant positions can help save your company valuable time and money. Promoting promising employees to management positions and firing underperforming ones can strengthen your company's backbone in time of crisis.

In times of crisis, emergency maintenance procedures are necessary. If your company is failing to meet sales targets promised to investors, or a product recall has tarnished your company's image, you need efficient management at every level. If you did regular corrective maintenance on your employees, this should go a lot more smoothly. If you're fighting a fire which threatens to raze years of progress, you need capable, experienced fire team captains to get the extinguishers aimed at the right places.

Adaptive Maintenance

In times of peace, corrective maintenance should be enough to keep your company profitable. In times of war, however, adaptive maintenance is necessary to insure your company's survival. This is the reason that some companies use a rotating CEO system of "peacetime" (corrective) CEOs and "wartime" (adaptive) ones. A war occurs when your company's main product lines come under heavy attack from competitors, which seek to either imitate your product or undercut your prices to claim market share. In times like these, you need to hold meetings to map out the projected future of your company. Companies usually map out their product cycles for the next few years. Add the new variables - your competitors - to your projected timeline, and study how your market share will be adversely affected. Estimate your competitions' own product cycles and future plans, and find ways to launch preemptive strikes with earlier product launches to maintain a competitive edge.

Use the adaptive correction strategy to shift your business departments around, increasing emphasis on more profitable segments while divesting from less profitable ones. Upgrade existing business segments or introduce new ones to address the changing tides of business. Pay attention to macroeconomic impacts - such as commodity costs, discretionary spending and government regulations - to make sure that you stay ahead of the curve. Most failures in the tech industry, in particular, stem from favoring a corrective strategy over an adaptive one, in which executives put off costly upgrades in favor or quarter-to-quarter earnings. This strategy can cost your company dearly when a competitor comes out of left field with a new technology which suddenly renders yours obsolete.

Use a Balanced Combination

Your company should not be biased towards corrective or adaptive maintenance. Successful companies use a fair balance of both to stay well-maintained as well as forward-looking.