If Your CMMS Could Do One Thing to Make Your Life Easier at Work, What Would it Be?


The other day I was following a thread in the Plant Reliability & Maintenance Professionals – PRMP group on LinkedIn with the above title. I found it very interesting. Most of the participants said the same things, only in different ways. I found five repeated requests. Following are examples of the five different responses to the question. After each of the responses, I have included the Maven’s take on them:

1. “(Your) CMMS holds a vast amount of valuable data that can tell you how your department is doing. Of course, this assumes you have 100% buy-in and everyone is using the system the way it is meant to be used.”

The Maven says: Data integrity is critical for using your CMMS as a decision making tool. I rhetorically ask MPulse customers during implementation planning “would you rather have incomplete or inaccurate data?” This usually gets quizzical looks from the customer. The answer, of course, is neither. You want complete, accurate data. To achieve this you need to be sure everyone involved knows their role, and importance, in providing the same.

2. “….having well trained users (including managers both in maintenance and production, clerks, planners. and techs)…”

The Maven says: Implementation planning and training go hand in hand. Too often the process of implementing a work order management/CMMS system is :

  • get concept, and funding, approved to implement a CMMS

  • review CMMS software systems

  • purchase a CMMS software system

  • give it to the administrative assistant to use

  • train the assistant on how to use the software, and then

  • problem solved, now move on to the next problem.

With this scenario there is one more step—failure. The implementation planning process is the most critical part of the process. One component of the implementation plan is to determine who to train and what to teach them. Everyone doesn’t need to know the software from A-Z, but they do have to know their part.

Don’t shoot your budgetary wad on the software alone. Be sure to allow enough money for implementation and training. It is not uncommon, nor a bad thing, to have a 1:1 ratio for the cost of the software and implementation services.

3. “The analysis of the data via the key performance indicators (KPI) will give information on maintenance function efficiency, equipment reliability and availability vis-a-vis Plant Technical Integrity.”

The Maven Says: KPIs are the measuring sticks, or benchmarks, for your implementation goals. They indicate to all if you are on the right track to achieve improved efficiency, reliability, and availability of your assets. During your implementation develop a few KPIs you think will help you measure the progress. Don’t be afraid to set numeric goals.  You can always adjust them after they have been in use.  If you want to shoot for a number, write it down and then measure it.  Be sure everyone knows the number and the results.

4. “One thing I would be looking (for) is PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE alerts and warnings on plant assets.”

The Maven Says: Alerts and warnings, which are the tools of predictive and condition based maintenance, are becoming more and more affordable and available. The integration of data centers (production, planning, purchasing, payroll, building automation, machine control data, SCADA systems, etc) is the next frontier in industrial software development. On the CMMS implementation timeline, this is not where you start, but it is where you want your maintenance and repair program to evolve. This area is where EAM and CMMS come together as asset attributes begin to drive maintenance activities.

5. “Bills of Materials that are linked to equipment are a huge advantage with task lists and work instructions by equipment for standardization and safety.”

The Maven Says: Linking MRO inventory control, work instructions or SOPs, and safety instructions to your work orders helps improve efficiency and reduce costs. It helps in planning and increases safety awareness. It is important that your work order management system evolves to include these components.

There is a multitude of information out there on the internet about EAM, CMMS, and many other acronyms. Go ahead and join a few discussion group, or monitor blogs like the Maintenance Maven’s. You’ll find some nuggets if you keep looking. You can go to the thread quoted in this blog by clicking here.  Let me know if you have any other things to suggest to make your life easier with your CMMS.