A CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management Software) is a tool that allows the Engineering/Maintenance Manager see what is happening throughout their department and facility. When setup correctly a CMMS is a powerful tool that will assist in scheduling and monitoring jobs, budgeting, and preparing life cycle analysis for plant and equipment.
It’s a Tool not an Anchor
- It is not meant to be an anchor to your desk, where you must continually update the system all day.
- A system structured correctly will not require a lot of attention by the manager.
- Having a small amount of good information is better than not having any.
Assists in Scheduling
- Having the jobs created in a system will allow for ease of scheduling.
- Easy to move jobs around or to assign to workers.
- Simple report showing what’s due when.
- Record the work that is being done.
- Record journals during the life of a job. If a job is extended over a period of days/weeks recorded.
- Who did it, when it was done and how
- long it took?
- What inventory did they use?
- How much did the labour component cost?
- How much and how many inventory items?
Total cost for the asset by a number of differentmethods:
By cost centre
By date range
Budget versus actual
- What parts do you stock?
- Current stock on hand and value
- Reorder points
Why do we need one?
Ensuring assets, plant and equipment are kept in the best possible condition for the role that they play. It means being able to retrieve data without having to flick through folders and files.
- Responsibility (Duty of Care)
- Quick reference
- Record keeping
- Automatic generation of preventative maintenance procedures
- Budget assistance
Records must be kept and easily accessible when required. Keeping them electronically is a quick way of presenting data quickly and efficiently. Because if jobs that need to be done are not documented and logged they only have lip service in the eyes of the law. You must have documented proof that work was carried out on time and by a qualified person.
Understanding the responsibilities of the Engineering / Maintenance Manager:
If something was to happen, an equipment failure, or an accident, who is the first person to get looked at? Why and how could have it been prevented, what steps are in place to prevent this? Having the ability to keep the asset in safe working condition at all the same time as ensuring the correct qualified person is doing the job is the answer.
We need, as maintenance managers, to have more of a say in the system that is purchased for the company. The finance department governs the purchase in many cases and mostly on price if the argument is not put forward in a well presented submission.
Think about some of the cases that have happened around Australia and the world for that matter. Whenever an accident happens where there is an injury or death, Work Place Health and Safety will investigate, the victim will sue and it all comes back to how good your records are. An example I can give happened just recently where someone was injured whilst at work. He had fallen off defective equipment and was awarded a large amount of money. The company thought they did everything they could, except the judge said, as the “Instructions were not visible on the Job” he was awarded the payout. This came after evidence was produced that the person who last tested the item was qualified in carrying out the inspection, and the equipment was tested within the required time frame.
You should have the ability to quickly get to any information about the asset. You should be able to have access to the jobs that have been completed and still outstanding, as well as all the details that go with those jobs.
Reporting is a very important part of using a CMMS. We want to get the information out as quickly and accurately as possible. This is achieved by ensuring the data going in is correct and by having reports that tell you what you need to see. The capability of filtering these reports is also important so not to have too much information.
Auto Generation of Preventative Maintenance
Once you have the PM Instructions created you want a system that will create jobs from them when they are due. The system should also have the ability to suppress the lower frequency jobs for the same asset if two procedures are due around the same time.
|3 Monthly||3 Monthly||3 Monthly||3 Monthly||3 Monthly||3 Monthly|
|6 Monthly||6 Monthly|
The Blue is showing what job will be created when the due date arrives.
We use the CMMS to assist in the preparation of the next budget. Tracking the jobs, the costs etc. by asset and the workers who carried out the work, we have at our finger tips the ability to put together a structure for the budget. This helps in asset purchase requirements and resource requirements (both in-house and contract labour), and the amount of inventory to stock. Keeping stock levels to a minimum and ordering just in time will see a savings in the cost of materials on hand.
Choosing a CMMS
Selecting a CMMS is just as important as using any other tool that is required to do a job. If all you are going to do is record history on assets then you do not need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying the system that links into the mainframe finance system, or any other of the features that these systems can have. It is important to select a system that will do what is required, but also will allow for growth as your requirements grow. Having too many people involved in the process can over complicate things, just stick to the key players, the maintenance manager working with IT to ensure an adequate system is selected, and sits well on the companies system.
By this I mean we sometimes get tied up trying to find a system that will do everything we need and also what finance needs and then we want to add other modules on to it and so on. These are all legitimate areas of concern but all lead to spending too much time looking when that could be used for data collecting and data entry. Remember, if in the future your company goes to an enterprise system, then it is a simple process to transfer your information into the enterprise system. But in the meantime sending reports and exporting figures from within the CMMS is just as efficient because the system is normally easier to use and that means it will be used.
Getting the package together for submission to management is another area that can be a stumbling block. The biggest problem I find when talking to different companies is the lack of staff, not enough hours in the day or not allowed to spend money. What I also see is not enough investigation and preparation being done when going into bat for this extra money to ensure the system is fully installed as soon as possible after purchasing a system.
How to Get the System Approved
Management/owners want facts and figures, like how many jobs need to be done to ensure your site complies with state and federal legislation? This can be done by preparing all the PM’s and Inspections and assigning approximate durations to each. Then go through and prioritise them. Then you go through them all again and confirm that these are absolutely required for OHS and safe working of the equipment
- List out all jobs that need to be done.
- Put durations and skill levels required to each job.
- Then priorities each job. (What must be done, what can run to failure without affecting operations).
It is important to use accurate figures here, if you fudge them here and you get caught out then the whole exercise will be for nothing. Live in Utopia when doing this, everything will be perfect each time a job is to be done. This will mean you assign 30 minutes if that is how long it takes. We all know that when it comes time to do the work things go wrong or people get called away. This is an ongoing problem and we should not budget for this but have an understanding that it does happen from time to time. This will allow you to report to management that more staff are required or different trade groups etc.
When you have this list and you’re ready to start work you, like many others, will probably say I don’t have the time, money or people for this. Is this really your decision alone to make?
Should you not manage up as well, and have the responsibility of not conforming to the maintenance practices for plant and equipment put to the senior management/owners. It is your responsibility to ensure they all know what is expected and what is achievable with the tools you have. A CMMS will ensure that the scheduling and resourcing of these jobs is done quickly and efficiently. Have management tell you not to do certain items and have that in writing from them. You have stressed the importance of them now it is managements call to do it or not, doing this yourself it is a much bigger decision than just saying “not this week I’ll try and get it done next week”.
My way of looking at this is have anyone ask finance for $100 and see the amount hoops you need to jump through to get it. Assigning work to trades should be no different. It is your authorisation to work on plant or equipment. It needs to have the procedures for them to follow marked clearly on the order prior to them picking up any tools as well as any safety concerns risk assessment on each job.
The Architecture of the System
The IT department need to be happy with the way it is going to run on the network.
Using a Microsoft Access database for small to medium size systems is Ok, if the number of concurrent users is low (less than 5). Database choices range from Microsoft Access through to Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, all of which add additional dollars onto the cost of the system. Microsoft SQL Express is a good option for larger system requirements without the need for Microsoft SQL Server licensing.
Working with the IT department is important. They know your network better than anyone. Even if you plan to only run it on a stand-alone PC ensuring back up procedures are in place is important.
What do I get for my money.
When these systems are implemented correctly with procedures for staff to follow they have an excellent ROI. It is not about just buying the software where the cost is. The budget needs to include the data collecting, data entry, maintenance procedure development and then triggering so the system will automatically activate jobs when due.
This can be accomplished by your in-house staff or the use of consultants that specialise in this area. Normally the issue is finding the time to have your staff collect the data. Then you have a management system that will not only assist in everyday scheduling but save money in the control of the work force and the management of inventory.
Following Up on the Implementation
Getting the system purchased and installed is part of the process, implementing and using it another. Revisiting it again to see if the procedures are working to expectations, or the information being collected is correct is just as important. It cannot be a “I’ll throw some money at it now and she’ll be right” approach. It is an evolving process where we continue to improve the procedures to ensure we get the maximum return on the investment. I again stress that this does not mean you have to spend many hours in front of the system to achieve this, just make sure the required data is flowing and make the necessary adjustments as you go. Listen to the workers comments and work with them, but ensure the original goal is kept in mind before making changes to methods and procedures.