Using, Planning and Getting Started 

with a CMMS Package

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.

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.




Copyright © 2000 Simplicity Software Technologies Inc.
Last modified: 6/30/14