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What does a good CMMS look like?

Your CMMS is your maintenance management database, and like any database, if the input is bad the output will also be bad. A well utilised and managed CMMS is an invaluable tool that should be in close alignment with Work Management system. What does a good CMMS look like?

 A Fictional example.

In a great step forward from management an experienced Reliability Engineer was hired to help improve plant reliability. The first task for this Engineer was to determine the equipment that causing the biggest losses for the business. Having had a CMMS in use for a number of years this was the obvious place to start.  The first place to look was the breakdown data and this was easy to locate as all breakdown work requests had been tagged in the CMMS. The breakdown crew had been trained well in the use of the CMMS and each breakdown had been coded appropriately, which made it easy work to pareto chronic losses. The next place to look was high cost areas, so a work order cost report was run which spilt the costs against the equipment hierarchy. Because the equipment hierarchy had been structure well and all relevant hours and materials had been booked against the correct area most of the time, a picture of high cost items was developed quickly. Matching the chronic losses and costly repairs over the last 12 months it was easy to find where the effort needed to be applied, so task briefs were raised so maintenance planners could begin planning some critical repairs and Engineering could prepare some capital submissions.

The planners developed a plan in the CMMS for the repairs by estimating hours and purchasing materials, which were easy to find as they had all be catalogued and put in bills of materials. In a few instances the planning had already been done as the work had been done before, and the job had been saved as a task list in the CMMS.  When all materials were avaliable for the task the scheduler reviewed his list of work orders from within the CMMS, checked his labor availability through the automated connection to the HR module, and then matched the labor to the task that would be completed in the following week. In the following week, all task were completed as they had been planned so well, the planner closed off all the tasks in the CMMS and this data was now captured for reporting. At the end of the week a PM compliance measure of 100% was reported, and planning accuracy was spot on. The capital work was still in the approval stage, but at least all the maintenance work was completed on time and to budget.

Is this how it works at your workplace?

Are all maintenance tasks captured in the CMMS?

If you want to drive improvement you must have measures to compare your performance. You also need data to help diagnose significant issues. Drawing from experience it has been found that many plants have limitations on what data is entered into their CMMS and this presents itself as a lost opportunity. For example, a reactive plant only puts significant breakdowns into SAP and doesn’t bother with the quick fixes. The clear loss here is that chronic short time losses will not be assessed. Does the problem that occurs every shift cost you more than a catastrophic breakdown that happens once every 10 years? Clearly this call can’t be made, as these chronic issues are not being measured. Question 46 from the eight critical elements of asset management survey  was aimed at understanding the extent of the use of the CMMS for capturing all maintenance tasks.

The results to the question were very pleasing with over 66% of respondents scoring a 4 or a 5. This indicates a high level of acceptance that all work should be captured and managed within the CMMS. Equally pleasing was that only 19% of respondents scored a 1 or 2. It was expected that this number might have been higher, as it is common to here complaints about the usability of the CMMS.


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Copyright, Mark Brunner, 2009

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