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Most every organization can benefit from CMMS implementation. The question is, how much? Are they just after a work order tracking system, or do they desire more? Do they want to track total cost of an asset, or do they want to know where recurring failures are happening?
The CMMS is a “core system” meaning it has significance to the company’s bottom line. Processes and roles should be clearly established to ensure accuracy so that meaningful reports can be extracted enabling management by exception.
One of the key design elements of a CMMS is the preventive maintenance (PM) application. This is where you identify regular inspections and servicing of assets. The challenge is to setup the right strategy with the right frequency. There are three considerations:
- If too much PM is performed this adds unnecessary cost to the budget.
- Some PM activity can increase operational downtime which impacts profitability.
- And, some PM activity can actually induce failures (human factor).
Once the PM records are activated, they automatically start generating on a regular frequency (i.e. monthly). I call these PM-WOs (preventive maintenance work orders). They have an expected start and finish date. Management may extract PM compliance reports to verify timely performance. The goal might be 100% compliance. But what if this PM activity is the wrong strategy? What is the best way to be sure these are the right strategies?
There are several ways to validate maintenance strategies. Example methods are listed below:
RCM Analysis: This is an intense process conducted by a trained RCM facilitator to analyze systems looking at P&ID diagrams and asking what can fail? They document expected function, functional failures, failure effects, failure modes, and suggested maintenance strategies. The strategies get converted to CMMS PM records.
PM Optimization: Planned Maintenance Optimization is a process where existing PM inspections and failure history are used to form the basis of a new set of strategies.
OEM Guidelines: The asset manufacturer provides recommendations on regular servicing.
CMMS History: If there is a CMMS legacy system, it may have failure history to help determine best path forward.
Peer Consultation: Talking with seasoned experts in the O&M staff can help arrive at best strategy.
Some organizations perform risk-based, criticality analysis on their assets. This information can then be used to group assets such that the top percentile should receive formal RCM analysis. The combination of these methods can help any organization arrive at a starting point.
When building out the detailed job steps of a given PM record, it is a good time to involve someone from the trades to conduct a review. The wording needs to be clear, precise and meaningful. If tolerances are expected to be met then this should be included. If safety hazards are possible then precautions should be stated. Sometimes 2 workers are required to perform a given task such as confined space entry.
Once the PM-WO is completed, the leadership has a second chance to improve the maintenance strategies through PM-WO feedback. One thing is for sure, which is, if you don’t ask for feedback you certainly won’t get it. There could be a monthly PM-WO assigned to a worker, and he goes to the location where the asset is supposed to be, but the asset is no longer there. Or, it’s the wrong asset. Or, there are similar assets in the area that are missing PM activities. In a perfect world, the technician would be sure to tell someone. This is where a check-list of questions might help.
In general, work order feedback is a best practice. PM activities can be continually refined using this structured feedback. Repair activities can also benefit from feedback. There might be maintainability issues whereby performing diagnostics are too difficult pro-grammatically, or, physically “getting at the asset” might just be too hard due to unnecessary interference. Or, there could be a design flaw. The O&M staff has a lot of knowledge and if we don’t ask them, they might never volunteer this information.
You can implement a CMMS and achieve obvious benefit over a paper-file system. Or, you can implement a well thought-out, asset management system, and extract valuable knowledge on a daily basis that improves the bottom line.