Maintenance goes digital

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How computerised maintenance management systems benefit the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas industry is vital for numerous consumers and sectors. The market provides energy for a large part of the world's population. It also provides a vital resource required for transportation, electricity generation and other daily needs. The oil and gas industry is of great significance and wields a lot of influence. 

With oil and gas being in such high demand, suppliers are under a lot of pressure to produce the resources needed. The need is increased by the fact that oil and gas are indispensable on a global scale. 

Daily energy manufacturers have to meet targets and while these resources are being imported and exported across the globe. With so much at stake, oil and gas companies need to be operating at optimal capacity, with the aid of relevant and accurate information. 

This is why a CMMS is required. These systems provide a platform to manage equipment maintenance, maintain compliance and increase productivity, among other benefits. 

What is a CMMS?

A CMMS is a computerised maintenance management system. CMMS provides a cloud-based platform for oil and gas refineries to perform maintenance tasks. A CMMS can schedule maintenance activities, assign work orders and resources, capture maintenance data, and develop reports. Information stored on a CMMS is made easily accessible through a secure cloud-based and mobile application. The application can be made accessible to all employees. The system can be made to operate on multiple locations, which are extremely important for oil and gas companies that have operations that take up a large footprint. There are various benefits of adopting a CMMS, as detailed below.

Work order management

In an oil and gas refinery, an unforeseen breakdown can quickly grow into a severe problem. This is due to the asset-intensive nature of these operations. CMMS provides a channel to assign work orders, removing the unnecessary steps that can take up time. Upon being notified of a potential problem, employers can assign a work order to an employee. The employee will then receive the work order through their mobile phone and then attend to the work order. 

Work order management does mean more than just efficient work order assignment. With a CMMS, in addition to assigning work orders, the platform also provides a module for work order and maintenance data. Review maintenance history, generating checklists, and schedule maintenance all through a CMMS. Features that are vital to oil and gas refineries rely on this information for reports. 

Asset management

Oil and gas refineries invest in highly specialised equipment. Therefore the company must keep track of the information about these assets. A CMMS securely stores this information, from the maintenance history to vendor warranties and operating procedures. Companies can ensure that information relating to the assets used is securely stored and easily accessed when needed. 

Preventative maintenance

It is common knowledge that planned preventative maintenance increases the longevity of equipment. Maintenance conducted regularly can reduce the occurrence of breakdowns and equipment failure. This provides two benefits for oil and gas companies. Regular maintenance leads to a higher return on investments made for the machinery. In the long run, this will increase the business's profits. Preventative maintenance also means that unforeseen breakdowns that could adversely affect production schedules will be reduced. A reduction in breakdowns increases the reliability of a company's output and ensures a positive reputation among consumers. This is achievable with the help of a CMMS. 

Safety and compliance 

It is not a secret that oil and gas refineries pose several potential safety hazards for employees. And with employee health and safety governing bodies also handing out penalties for safety violations, oil and gas refineries require a lot of assistance. A CMMS helps companies ensure that through maintenance, their equipment is safe for employees to handle.  CMMS also assists oil and gas companies to meet health and safety standards and maintain compliance. 

In addition, CMMS documents the maintenance process, which is often a requirement for health and safety compliance. An example of this is seen in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. OSHA requires that all forklifts be inspected before use. A CMMS can ensure that these inspections take place. The system will also record the results if an OSHA inspector arrives for a site inspection.

Labour management

Labour is a vital factor in a refinery. The efficient use of labour resources makes a dramatic difference in a company. Having the ability to manage labour for maintenance is extremely important. A CMMS allows employers to assign work orders to specific employees; this is an advantage in an oil and gas company when so many employees are specialists and would be the most appropriate person to attend to specific maintenance tasks. 

Inventory management

Maintaining accurate stock and inventory records is vital. CMMS gives the company the ability to store the correct inventory records and upload data when necessary, benefitting the business in several ways. Oil and gas refineries are large worksites; having to walk around these sites to review inventory or go through old notebooks that are often error-prone is not constructive. Having the ability to immediately access inventory data through an employee's mobile CMMS app on their phone saves time and money. Meaning that repeat purchases will not be made as employees will be sure of what inventory they have on hand. 

Control costs 

The cost of maintenance can quickly get out of control. CMMS simplifies the management of maintenance costs. This is achieved by tracking the aspects that go into maintenance processes. Such as the hours required, parts used, and extent of the repairs. 

Mobile capabilities

As previously mentioned, many of the CMMS available now have mobile capabilities, which can prove very advantageous to an oil and gas refinery. The advanced CMMS does not compromise on the functions that are accessible through the mobile CMMS app. Therefore employees can conduct maintenance activities wherever they may be on the site. Information is made more accessible, and employees feel empowered and become more efficient. 

With the benefits that a CMMS can provide to oil and gas companies, there should be no reason why a company should not invest in one. It is a smart business decision to make. 


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