Planning and Getting Started
with a CMMS
A CMMS application’s primary task is helping you to keep
your equipment and machinery in tiptop condition. This is done through the use
of good maintenance practices. Our applications will help you develop these
practices, and put them into use. The way you are going to keep your
equipment maintained in prime condition is through the use of both standard work
orders, and through planned, preventative maintenance tasks.
Standard work orders are primarily used to repair issues
with your equipment, and to make modifications or enhancements to such
equipment. The use of work orders also provides a way of tracking and
documenting these tasks. A summary of both standard work orders and planned
maintenance tasks should be saved to the equipment history logs, allowing you to
maintain a complete maintenance history on a piece of machinery.
Planned, or preventative maintenance type work orders are
used for periodic maintenance tasks, where equipment is service at your
convenience to keep it running at it's best. The primary advantage to PM type
tasks is the life expectancy of the equipment will be greatly increased, as
unexpected shutdowns will be decreased. In the long run, a good PM program will
save you and your organization a lot of downtime, and money.
Equipment history logs are known to contain many benefits.
One benefit seen with these logs is that you can see trends develop. For
example, say you have a machine, and with this machine the main drive bearing
failed after 9 months of use. You
replace it, find and record that this same bearing failed again at 7 months,
and again at 8 months. Looking at this data, you can analyze that the average
life of this bearing is 8 months, with a minimum life expectancy of only 7
months. To prevent an unscheduled, or unplanned shutdown of this machine, you
could now setup and schedule a PM for the replacement of this bearing every 6 to
7 months. It is generally considered much better to shutdown a machine at your
convenience than at an unscheduled time.
Besides from the Equipment History logs, a good maintenance
program should also allow you to keep more detailed information on your
equipment. With our applications, this is done through the use of our Documents
feature. This feature makes use of a feature rich Word Processor, and documents
can be saved and categorized by groups. Here, you can maintain not only summary
information, but also the actual, full details on anything you want. There’s
nothing preventing you from documenting pages and pages of information. And
because this information is categorized, retrieving it later should be a snap.
With all the above in mind, the best place to start with
setting up a maintenance program is with your equipment. Here you want to gather
as much information as possible. You’ll want general information such as
description, model, manufacturer, serial numbers, etc. Recording any
warranty information is good, along with recommended spare parts, and above all,
recommended maintenance. Resources for this information should come
directly from the vendor and through owner’s manuals.
Once information is gathered, you should input the
appropriate information into the application. All work orders and PM type tasks
you generate in the future should point to this equipment. The vendors
recommended maintenance should also be kept handy for later input into planned
maintenance type tasks.
When you have completed the task of entering all your equipment
information, you’ll want to do the same with your mechanics or maintenance
personnel. Again, this information will be needed and assigned to work orders and
tasks. General information such as name and title is all that’s needed to get
started. More information can be entered later on.
The next area you may want to setup is Classification
assignments. These too are used in work orders and planned maintenance tasks.
Classifications allow you to group items in such a way that makes since to your
organization. Past uses of Classifications include such names as production
lines, properties or locations, buildings, clients, or whatever works best for
you. Classifications work great for
reporting and grouping purposes.
With all the above completed, you should now have all tools needed
to create standard work orders. These include one standard and three different
safety related types. For planned or PM types tasks however, you need to setup
Task instructions are used with planned maintenance or
recurring type tasks. Our applications allow you to reuse the same set of
instructions over and over. This comes in handy when you have multiple pieces of
equipment of the same type. You just assign each piece of equipment a shared set of instructions, removing the need of having to type the instructions over
and over. Plus with the Maintenance Coordinator programs, you can point to more
than one set of instructions at a time, such as when combining bi-annual, and
annual tasks together.
For your basic needs, you’re ready to go. You should now
have all the main pieces together needed to generate both standard and PM or
recurring tasks. Of course, we have just touched the surface of all the features
and benefits of a good CMMS application.
Very Important Tip
Microsoft Access databases, the databases used by our
applications are very reliable, but all databases can fail over time. We highly
recommend that you backup, or make copies of your databases often. Believe me,
you'll be glad you did if you ever experience an unrecoverable database error.
We hope you found this article helpful, no matter
who's maintenance software you end up with.