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A Computer Maintenance Management System That’s Right-Sized for Your Facility’s Needs Is a Powerful Tool Essay

A CMMS That’s Right-Sized for Your Facility’s Needs is a Powerful Tool A well-utilized CMMS facilitates day-to-day operations resulting in efficiencies that are not possible with manual systems. It also provides comprehensive information and analysis to managers that support fact-based decisions enabling enterprise-wide optimizations and accountability. By Kris Bagadia and Ron Kossik Many organizations use their computerized maintenance management system as just a record keeping tool. If that’s all they want, a spreadsheet perhaps can suffice.

A successful CMMS is a tool that goes far beyond just record keeping. By not fully utilizing the CMMS, maintenance operations are missing out on opportunities to save time and money. As the utilization of CMMS increases, overall productivity and profitability also increases. Basic Functionality A typical CMMS has the following modules: asset/equipment, preventive maintenance (PM), work order system, parts inventory and purchasing. • Asset/equipment. Using this module, you enter information on assets into the system (such as asset ID, location, model, serial number etc. . • Preventive maintenance. This defines the PM task lists including material and labor requirements, frequency (calendar or run time), starting date etc. for each asset you want to perform PM on. Setting up the PM schedule is a one-time effort. After that, the system generates PM work orders when they are due on an ongoing basis. • Work orders. This is where all the work orders are generated and completed (PM, repairs and projects etc. ). The actual time spent, material and tools used are recorded here and is included in the maintenance history of each asset. Parts inventory. This module keeps track of items in stock, indicates when stock falls to user defined reorder points and creates requisitions. • Purchasing. This module enables you to create and process requisitions and purchase orders. A properly implemented CMMS will increase overall productivity by improving work process flow, helping you migrate from reactive to proactive mode, incorporating PM optimization and trending analysis etc. For example, a CMMS can help you: • Improve efficiency by organizing, distributing and anaging maintenance related information. Inefficiencies arising from information bottlenecks are eliminated. • Provide all stakeholders with real-time information that is relevant to them. Maintenance technicians can obtain a prioritized list of open work orders. Requesters can check status information without distracting maintenance staff. Managers can view reports of backlog work orders including total estimated backlog hours. Corporate management can produce comprehensive reports profiling resource utilization and compliance requirements. Produce reliable information to enable informed decisions at all levels of the enterprise, including requesters, technicians, managers and corporate management. • Identify non-value-added activities and shorten process cycle-time as part of a continuous improvement program. For example, if the maintenance department spends a great deal of time waiting for parts, approval, instructions and equipment to be available etc. , CMMS can help identify where exactly maintenance is losing most of the time enabling you to analyze the situation and correct it. Analyze maintenance data and make meaningful decisions based on accurate and objective information. For example, you can review work order schedule compliance, ratios of PM and repair work orders compared to total work orders and necessary corrective action. Another example is reviewing a compliance report such as shown below to investigate the failure rates and then taking corrective actions to minimize them. • Identify abnormal readings. Maintenance operations frequently gather readings on a variety of equipment such as boilers, chillers etc.

In a paper based system, forms are filled out and filed away (never to be found again! ). Some companies have started using their CMMS to record and save these readings for say, pressure, temperature and the like. The purpose of this data is to identify abnormal readings and correct problems to prevent failures. A CMMS is just the tool to accomplish that. Once you have defined a certain range and criteria, CMMS will flag a warning immediately upon meeting those criteria. For example, if the temperature reading falls outside of certain range, it will notify you instantly so you can take corrective action.

A Starting Point Do a thorough needs analysis. Besides considering core components such as work order request, work order tracking and inventory control, you should consider the possibility of incorporating planning and scheduling, mobile technology and interfacing to other systems to enhance your productivity. The time and money spent on needs analysis will save you a lot of money and hassles in the future. Plan Implementation Strategies Statistics show 80% of CMMS implementation projects fail. The definition of failure is either the CMMS was never used or use was attempted for a few months and stopped.

The bottom line is unsuccessful implementation. The upper management must recognize the steps and costs involved in implementing a CMMS project. The cost of CMMS acquisition is only a small fraction of overall cost. A successful implementation can easily cost 10 to 20 times the cost of the software. You need implementation experts to manage these kinds of projects in order to achieve proper return on your investment. A CMMS implementation is not just entering the data, work order tracking and generating a bunch of reports. CMMS is a tool that can truly improve your productivity.

You need to plan implementation strategies. You need to consider equipment, location and inventory part numbering schemes, who will generate work orders, who will close work orders (administrative clerk or technicians), is there a need to interface your CMMS to other sstems such as Building Control System etc. Management should provide resources for this purpose. Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is internationally recognized for cutting-edge treatment technologies and exceptional physician specialists.

Its 65 maintenance technicians support a 938-bed hospital and 15-plus buildings on a 2 million-plus square foot campus, in addition to supporting several outlying locations. Nolan Harp, plant operations manager, recognized that the current computerized maintenance software was inefficient, presented ongoing problems and they needed something better. In 2005, St. Luke’s hired my company to help upgrade the CMMS and implement it. The software selected was a web-based CMMS solution. “Implementation was lot more complex than we thought.

Raised lot of new questions, discovered lot of new ways to solve a problem. Now, rather than just a PM system, we have a true maintenance management system. The progress has been steady…,” Harp said. Selection If you are using only a fraction of your CMMS available features and are satisfied, it indicates wrong selection of CMMS. It means you have many bells and whistles in your CMMS that you don’t need. That cost your organization money for software acquisition and training that could have been avoided by selecting the right package based on your needs.

Whether you are upgrading to a newer version of an existing CMMS or acquiring a new CMMS, selecting the right package is crucial to a successful implementation and enabling you to fully utilize your CMMS. Here are some guidelines to follow: • Easy to use and flexible. CMMS should be designed for end users not computer experts. The system has to be flexible enough to accommodate the way you do business not the other way around. At St. Luke’s, HVAC supervisor Cherian Varghese said the new system gives full control over the maintenance operation now. Take dampers for example,” Varghese said. “Now, all the dampers are in the system. We have complete history on them if the Joint Commission was to inspect now. We’ll be saving a substantial amount of money in repairs from now on. ” Added HVAC senior technicial Doug Bertram: “This is our fourth system; and this one is the most flexible and easy to use. The ability to define codes that work for us decreases the amount of typing by maintenance techs by 75%, which increases efficiency while reducing typing errors. ” • Queries and reporting. These are two very important aspects of a CMMS.

Once the implementation is complete, day to day, you retrieve the desired information and generate reports to make meaningful decisions. You should be able to retrieve any information you want, when you want and in the format you want. • Workflow. A CMMS can improve your workflow. Proper flow of work is very important, i. e. initiating and approving a work request, planning, scheduling, dispatching, completing and then following up for continuous improvement. An online work request system enhances the efficiency of the maintenance operation as well as the requester.

Requesters have convenient access to the status of open and completed requests, which reduces lost productivity from identifying and disposing of duplicate requests. “Now that we have implemented the work request system throughout the entire hospital, the majority of our requests come directly into the system,” Harp said. Enabling customers to enter and view their own work requests increases efficiency for both the requester and the maintenance department, by substantially reducing the number of phone calls to perform these functions.

Phone calls are a significant drain on productivity, not only due to the time they consume for both parties, but also because of the unplanned interruption of work by the person who receives the call. • Parts list. A CMMS has provision for specifying parts and tools on PM work orders. “Now technicians go prepared with the parts required resulting in less downtime,” Bertram said. • Mobility. “Taking route readings on a hand-held has helped a lot, because instead of ending up with a lot paper in files, we have information about our equipment that we can actually find and use,” Bertram said.

Adding mobility extends the power of CMMS tremendously. Conclusion Upper management’s commitment to stay involved with the project and to provide resources for training and implementation leads to a successful implementation. A well-utilized CMMS facilitates day-to-day operations resulting in efficiencies that are not possible with manual systems. Also, it provides comprehensive information and analysis to managers that support fact-based decisions enabling enterprise-wide optimizations and accountability.

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