Tips on building a computerised‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌management‌ ‌system

Louise Smyth

The‌ ‌use‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌(computerised‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌management‌ ‌system)‌ ‌to‌ ‌document‌ ‌and‌ ‌report‌ ‌on‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌performance‌ ‌has‌ ‌become‌ ‌a‌ ‌necessity,‌ ‌particularly‌ ‌in‌ ‌manufacturing‌ ‌facilities‌ ‌with‌ ‌automated‌ ‌production‌ ‌process‌ ‌controls.‌ ‌When‌ ‌heavy‌ ‌machinery‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌is‌ ‌handled‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌CMMS,‌ ‌in‌ ‌conjunction‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌dedicated‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌staff,‌ ‌the‌ ‌results‌ ‌are‌ ‌often‌ ‌reflected‌ ‌almost‌ ‌immediately‌ ‌in‌ ‌reduced‌ ‌downtime‌ ‌and‌ ‌decreased‌ ‌recordable‌ ‌safety‌ ‌incidents‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌faulty‌ ‌equipment.‌ ‌ ‌

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It‌ ‌is‌ ‌important‌ ‌to‌ ‌remember,‌ ‌however,‌ that‌ ‌a‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌is‌ ‌only‌ ‌as‌ ‌strong‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌program‌ ‌that‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌built‌ ‌around.‌ ‌When‌ ‌building‌ ‌a‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌platform‌ ‌for‌ ‌heavy‌ ‌machinery‌ ‌maintenance,‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌critical‌ ‌to‌ ‌properly‌ ‌evaluate‌ ‌your‌ ‌equipment,‌ ‌your‌ ‌current‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌staff‌ ‌workloads,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌production‌ ‌standards‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌facility‌ ‌so‌ ‌the‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌is‌ ‌finely‌ ‌tuned‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌individual‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌needs.‌ ‌ ‌
 
Although‌ ‌automated‌ ‌systems‌ ‌can‌ ‌seem‌ ‌to‌ ‌require‌ ‌mountainous‌ ‌sums‌ ‌of‌ ‌variables‌ ‌and‌ ‌exception‌ ‌allowances,‌ ‌if‌ ‌your‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌is‌ ‌built‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌consideration‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌following‌ ‌5‌ ‌points‌ ‌as‌ ‌your‌ ‌references,‌ ‌your‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌automation‌ ‌should‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌smooth‌ ‌integration.‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Evaluate‌ equipment‌ ‌PM‌ ‌guidelines‌ ‌

As‌ ‌simple‌ ‌as‌ ‌this‌ ‌point‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌make,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌often‌ ‌overlooked‌ ‌information‌ ‌when‌ ‌documenting‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌standards.‌ Every‌ ‌piece‌ ‌of‌ ‌machinery‌ ‌inside‌ ‌your‌ ‌facility‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌manual‌ ‌that‌ ‌will‌ ‌list‌ ‌the‌ ‌manufacturers‌ ‌suggestions‌ ‌for‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance.‌  
 
‌Sticking‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌OEM‌-recommended‌ ‌service‌ ‌schedule‌ ‌should‌ ‌be‌ ‌your‌ ‌guideline‌ ‌to‌ ‌begin‌ ‌your‌ ‌PM‌ ‌scheduling,‌ ‌as‌ ‌your‌ ‌PM‌ ‌program‌ ‌should‌ ‌mirror‌ ‌your‌ ‌OEM‌ ‌schedule‌ ‌dates.‌ ‌

Evaluate‌ ‌your‌ staff‌ ‌and‌ ‌workload‌ ‌ ‌

Take‌ ‌a‌ ‌realistic‌ ‌look‌ ‌at‌ ‌your‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌staff‌ ‌and‌ ‌their‌ ‌workload.‌ ‌A‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌allocate‌ ‌free‌ ‌time‌ ‌to‌ ‌perform‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌tasks.‌ ‌Even‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌finely‌ ‌honed‌ ‌software‌ ‌is‌ ‌useless‌ ‌if‌ ‌the‌ ‌mechanics‌ ‌performing‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌tasks‌ ‌can’t‌ ‌find‌ ‌the‌ ‌time‌ ‌to‌ ‌PM the equipment.

‌If‌ ‌line‌ ‌breakdowns‌ ‌or‌ ‌other‌ ‌service‌ ‌orders‌ ‌requiring‌ ‌their‌ ‌immediate‌ ‌attention‌ ‌prohibit‌ ‌the‌ ‌assigned‌ ‌mechanic‌ ‌from‌ ‌performing‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌order,‌ ‌do‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌secondary‌ ‌point‌ ‌person‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌completed?‌  ‌
 
Prior‌ ‌to‌ ‌going‌ ‌live‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌CMMS,‌ ‌take‌ ‌a‌ ‌moment‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌properly‌ ‌staffed‌ ‌to‌ ‌address‌ ‌both‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌work‌ ‌orders,‌ ‌and‌ ‌service‌ ‌orders‌ ‌that‌ ‌
are‌ ‌built‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌production‌ ‌floor.‌ ‌ 

Create‌ ‌a‌ ‌thorough,‌ ‌in-depth‌ ‌PM‌ plan‌ ‌

Ensure‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌orders‌ ‌will‌ ‌state‌ ‌the‌ ‌full‌ ‌scale‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌work‌ ‌necessary‌ ‌to‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌ ‌task,‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌what‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌if‌ ‌problems‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌are‌ ‌discovered‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌process.‌ ‌Should‌ ‌it‌ ‌be‌ ‌repaired‌ ‌immediately‌ ‌to‌ ‌allow‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌order‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌completed‌ ‌and‌ ‌closed?‌ ‌ ‌
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Without‌ ‌fail,‌ ‌the‌ ‌hours‌ ‌of‌ ‌service‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌documented‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌completion‌ ‌form.‌ ‌When‌ ‌building‌ ‌the‌ ‌form‌ ‌parameters,‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌important‌ ‌to‌ ‌disallow‌ ‌completion‌ ‌until‌ ‌the‌ ‌hours‌ ‌of‌ ‌service‌ ‌field‌ ‌is‌ ‌populated‌ ‌and‌ ‌accepted.‌ ‌Also,‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌uniform‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌information‌ ‌recordkeeping,‌ ‌create‌ ‌a‌ ‌Heavy‌ ‌Equipment‌ ‌Maintenance‌ ‌Checklist‌ ‌for‌ ‌use‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌board‌ ‌to‌ ‌document‌ ‌your‌ ‌machinery‌ ‌maintenance.‌  ‌
 
The‌ ‌Checklist‌ ‌will‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌that‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌necessary‌ ‌work‌ ‌is‌ ‌performed,‌ ‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌information‌ ‌is‌ ‌documented‌ ‌and‌ ‌filed‌ ‌for‌ ‌recordkeeping‌ ‌purposes.‌ ‌Ensure‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌Heavy‌ ‌Equipment‌ ‌Maintenance‌ ‌Checklist‌ ‌covers‌ ‌all‌ ‌mechanical‌ ‌components,‌ ‌and‌ ‌also‌ ‌fluid‌ ‌level‌ ‌reporting‌ ‌fields.‌ ‌ ‌

Ensure‌ ‌your‌ ‌plan‌ ‌is‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌ISO/production‌ standards‌ ‌

Fluid‌ ‌Management‌ ‌Best‌ ‌Practices,‌ ‌ISO‌ ‌9000‌ ‌Standards,‌ ‌OSHA‌ ‌Standards.‌ ‌You‌ ‌may‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌preventative‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌plan‌ ‌ready‌ ‌to‌ ‌roll‌ ‌out,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌fact‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌it‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌line‌ ‌up‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌current‌ ‌production‌ ‌standards‌ ‌in‌ ‌your‌ ‌facility,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌not‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌par.‌ ‌
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If‌ ‌your‌ ‌ISO‌ ‌9000‌ ‌procedures‌ ‌state‌ ‌that‌ ‌your‌ ‌forklifts‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌PM’d‌ ‌every‌ ‌21‌ ‌days,‌ ‌it‌ ‌needs‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌either‌ ‌written‌ ‌into‌ ‌your‌ ‌PM‌ ‌procedures‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌exact‌ ‌same‌ ‌fashion,‌ ‌or‌ ‌your‌ ‌ISO‌ ‌9000‌ ‌procedure‌ ‌needs‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌revised. ‌‌If‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌PM’d‌ ‌that‌ ‌frequently,‌ ‌document‌ ‌that‌ ‌change.‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

How to provide‌ ‌an‌ ‌escalation‌ ‌process‌ ‌for‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌compliance‌ ‌

What‌ ‌is‌ ‌your‌ ‌technician‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌when‌ ‌he or she‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌perform‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌because‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌is‌ ‌still‌ ‌being‌ ‌used‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌production‌ ‌floor?‌ ‌Stop‌ ‌the‌ ‌line‌ ‌to‌ ‌perform‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM?‌ ‌Skip‌ ‌the‌ ‌PM‌ ‌altogether?‌ ‌Who‌ ‌is‌ ‌supposed‌ ‌to‌ ‌schedule‌ ‌downtime‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment?  What‌ ‌happens‌ ‌if‌ ‌a‌ ‌PM‌ ‌shows‌ ‌a‌ ‌major‌ ‌repair‌ ‌is‌ ‌necessary‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌critical‌ ‌part,‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌gearbox?‌  Does‌ ‌your‌ ‌tech‌ ‌lockout‌ ‌the‌ ‌equipment‌ ‌until‌ ‌repair‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌completed?‌ ‌
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These‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌issues‌ ‌that‌ ‌your‌ ‌technician‌ ‌will‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌relay‌ ‌at‌ ‌one‌ ‌time‌ ‌or‌ ‌another.‌  ‌You‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌provide‌ ‌a‌ ‌system‌ ‌for‌ ‌them‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌so,‌ ‌specifically‌ ‌one‌ ‌where‌ ‌their‌ ‌communication‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌be‌ ‌missed‌ ‌because‌ ‌issues‌ ‌that‌ ‌aren’t‌ ‌properly‌ ‌related‌ ‌to‌ ‌management‌ ‌are‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌snowball‌ ‌quickly.‌ ‌Put‌ ‌a‌ ‌communication‌ ‌policy‌ ‌in‌ ‌place‌ ‌alongside‌ ‌your‌ ‌CMMS‌ ‌so‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌who‌ ‌needs‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌aware‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌outcome‌ ‌of‌ ‌Preventative‌ ‌Maintenance‌ ‌orders‌ ‌is‌ ‌informed‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌results‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌timely‌ ‌fashion.‌ ‌ ‌

 

The author is Talmage Wagstaff, Co-Founder and CEO of Redlist.