Computerized Maintenance Management System

Computerized Maintenance Management System

The term maintenance has several definitions. One comprehensive definition is that it is ‘the management, control, execution and quality of those activities which will ensure that optimum levels of availability and overall performance of plant are achieved, in order to meet business objectives’. It is worth noting that the definition implies that maintenance is a managerial and strategic activity. Today, the term ‘asset management’ is frequently used instead. It is also worth noting that the word ‘optimum’ has been used rather than ‘maximum’ which implies that maintenance is an optimization case, where both over-maintenance and under-maintenance are to be avoided.

Effective maintenance management plays a crucial role in today’s fast-paced industrial environment. Production lines are to run continuously, facilities are to be kept safe and up to code, and consumable and spare parts are to be kept in stock. However, the growing complexity of production and economic pressure has forced organizations to rethink their approach to the equipment and facility maintenance. Nowadays, maintenance personnel are not only expected to fix the equipment when it breaks down, but they are also needed to develop strategies which preserve the organizational assets and allow them to be deployed faster, operate longer, and perform at maximum efficiency. Maintenance personnel are also expected to carefully track maintenance activities and the related costs, which is extremely difficult without the proper tools in place. That is where maintenance management software comes into picture.

In the present-day environment, maintenance costs are rising faster than production costs. Some surveys have shown that, at several plants, typical management objectives for maintenance (such as 95 % or better equipment availability and reliability, 99 % product quality, reduced maintenance time, reduced contract workers, and improved record keeping on repairs) are not being met. Maintenance has tended to be viewed as a ‘black hole’ where too much funds are getting invested with little measurable returns. But, as majority of the organizations find themselves looking for ways to reduce cost and increase productivity, organizational management is beginning to realize that maintenance offers real opportunities in both the areas.

Maintenance of equipment is a significant part of the total operating costs in the majority of the industry sectors but its real impact is frequently under-estimated. The ‘Iceberg model’ highlights the hidden cost impact of maintenance upon the organization which is much higher than just the ‘direct costs associated with traditional maintenance. For several organizations, reducing these hidden costs needs a shift from the traditional reactive approach (fix it, when it breaks) to a pro-active reliability-based approach. For such a shift to be sustainable, a number of key elements are to be put in place which include (i) a clear strategy, (ii) policies to support the strategy, (iii) procedures and processes for enabling implementation of the policy and strategy, (iv) tools to support the implementation, and a well-established maintenance management process with checks and balances. These key elements form the basis of ‘maintenance management’. Fig 1 shows total cost of maintenance – The Iceberg model.

Fig 1 Total cost of maintenance – The Iceberg model

Maintenance management is a complex process needing an effective combination of technical and economic expertise. One part of maintenance management is to interpret the data available and turn it into useful information in order to manage the equipment in the best possible way. For doing so, the data is to be gathered and analyzed in a structured manner otherwise it cannot be effectively utilized.

Pro-active world-class maintenance management is nearly impossible without computer-based support. Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provides such support. CMMS is also called computer managed maintenance system, or computerized asset management systems (CAMS). CMMS is computer software programmes designed to assist in the planning, management, and administrative control needed for effective maintenance. The output of these programmes can involve writing, planning, and recording work accomplished, collecting a history of work accomplished, recording shipping and receiving transactions, and generating reports. CMMS is increasingly being used to manage and control plant and equipment maintenance in modern manufacturing and service industries.

Managing this process effectively without computer-based support is almost impossible and that is where a well implemented CMMS is considered to be one of the key tools which is necessary to under-pin pro-active maintenance management. The purpose of operating CMMS is normally to improve performance of equipment or plant capability, as well as save maintenance time and costs. It is difficult to specify why excellent maintenance is a necessity for producing a product or service of higher quality at lower cost than the competitive organizations. But it is widely accepted that lack of excellent maintenance can constrain this objective. In fact, popular concepts such as total quality management (TQM) and total productive maintenance (TPM) emphasize that maintenance is to be performed optimally for ensuring competitiveness. There are benefits from minimum maintenance with or without a CMMS.

Several CMMS implementations fail since the maintenance department is not ‘ready’ to be supported by a complex computer system. The key issue with an organization wishing to implement a CMMS is at which stage of maintenance evolution is the organization right now. Before adopting a CMMS in the organization, the maintenance strategy has to have moved from a reactive to, as a minimum, a pro-active approach. It is mandatory that a well-organized preventive strategy is in place and is being followed in all parts of the organization. A proper work-flow, which describes all steps of this strategy, is the basis for implementing the CMMS as a tool which gives a good value to all departments and at the end a measurable added value to the organization. Fig 2 shows the evolution of the maintenance strategies and reliability.

Fig 2 Evolution of the maintenance strategies and reliability

CMMS is a computerized data base designed to optimize the management of maintenance activities in an organization. It is an orderly and systematic approach to planning, organizing, monitoring, and evaluating maintenance activities and their costs. It is a management tool for planning and budgeting of equipment maintenance (routine, break down, preventive, and predictive), capital repairs, and equipment replacement activities. CMMS is an integrated set of computer programmes and data files designed to provide its user with a cost-effective means of managing large quantities of maintenance, inventory control, and purchasing data. The CMMSs can also provide a means of effectively managing human and capital resources.

But it is imperative to understand that the CMMS is a tool used to improve maintenance and related activities. All that the CMMS manages is the data which has been input to it or which it has created as a result of data input. It does not itself manage the maintenance operation.

A good CMMS coupled with knowledgeable and capable maintenance work-force can prevent problems related to equipment health, safety, and environment deterioration. CMMS also ensures that the organization maximizes the available maintenance resources it has at a plant, minimizes the operational downtime of its equipment, reduces the overall maintenance costs within the organization, improves the quality of the management decisions, helps in the verification of the regulatory compliance, and extends the life of the equipment at the plant. It also contributes into lowering of capital costs and improvement in quality of life. CMMS automates most of the functions performed by the maintenance personnel in an organization and hence improve their effectiveness. The main component of a CMMS is shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3 Main components of a CMMS

CMMS helps to better manage maintenance by organizing and tracking the myriad of data needed to run maintenance operations effectively. Examples of such data are work schedules and backlogs, preventive maintenance plans and schedules, manpower use, and maintenance cost distribution. A CMMS also tracks materials used, including quantities and cost. It can control the inventories and maintain optimum, cost-effective levels of spare parts. It can also provide historical, present, and future information in both summary and detailed format.

The primary objectives of a CMMS are (i) to optimize the use of available funds, personnel, facilities and equipment through effective maintenance management methods, (ii) to monitor the equipment conditions, (ii) to provide accurate data for decision making regarding maintenance activities, (iv) to identify systematically maintenance needs and equipment deficiencies as well as needs for capital repairs, (v) to determine the maintenance backlog and make provision for this maintenance, (vi) to determine the maintenance priorities and plan accordingly, (vii) to enable preparation of maintenance budget using systematic standardized procedures, (viii) to monitor and document corrective actions, maintenance expenditures, and accomplishment, and (ix) to monitor the inventory status.

However, in essence, a CMMS can be used to (i) control the organization’s list of maintainable assets through an asset register, (ii) control accounting of assets, purchase price, and depreciation rates etc., (iii) schedule planned preventive maintenance routines, (iv) control preventive maintenance procedures and documentation, (v) control the issue and documentation of planned and unplanned maintenance work, (vi) organize the maintenance personnel data-base including shift work schedules, (vii) schedule calibration for gauges and instruments, (viii) control portable appliance testing, (ix) assist in maintenance project management, (x) provide maintenance budgeting and costing statistics, (xi) control maintenance inventory (store management, requisition, and purchasing), (xi) process condition monitoring inputs, and (xii) provide analysis tools for maintenance performance.

CMMSs are vital for the coordination of all activities related to the availability, productivity, and maintainability of complex systems. Modern computational facilities have offered a dramatic scope for improved effectiveness and efficiency in, for example, maintenance. CMMSs have existed, in one form or another, for several decades. The software has evolved from relatively simple main-frame planning of maintenance activity to Windows-based, multi-user systems which cover a multitude of maintenance functions. The capacity of CMMSs to handle large quantities of data purposefully and rapidly has opened new opportunities for maintenance, facilitating a more deliberate and considered approach to managing assets.

CMMS has evolved over the last three decades from elementary asset tracking and preventive maintenance functionality, to enterprise maintenance information systems. When used effectively, a CMMS can improve organizational profitability through efficient use of resources, reduced operating costs, and reduced unplanned down time.

CMMS offers a variety of core maintenance functions. It is not limited to manufacturing but expands to facilities, utilities, vehicle management, arenas and more where every type of equipment or asset is subject to repair and maintenance needs. With the present improved technology and increased competitiveness along with operating cost control, more and more organizations are turning to CMMS over the use of manual methods to track and organize information.

Different CMMS components include but are not limited to (i) equipment data management, (ii) preventive maintenance, (iii) predictive maintenance, (iv) manpower monitoring, (v) work order and complaint system, (vi) maintenance scheduling and planning, (vii) inventory control, (viii) buying assets and inventories, (ix) maintenance budget, and (x) asset tracking and searching.

Effective resource management and reliable equipment are essential for optimum plant performance. Both depend upon accurate, timely management of huge quantities of data and on the effective use of maintenance resources. CMMS is designed to fulfill these needs. It can provide a cost-effective means of managing the huge quantities of data which are generated by maintenance, inventory control, and purchasing. In addition, CMMS can provide the means to manage effectively both the human and capital resources in the plant or facility.

Maintenance management is a diverse set of functions and responsibilities focused on the effective planning and execution of work orders meant for maintaining the operation of the equipments and the facility. In general, maintenance personnel are responsible for overseeing the installation, repair, and upkeep of the equipments and the facility. They plan repairs, coordinate the materials and manpower resources needed to complete the work, and are responsible for tracking performance in several areas.

Generally speaking, it is the job of the maintenance manager to develop a master plan for all the equipment and the facilities while keeping the costs low. Except for emergency repair jobs, nearly every maintenance procedure can be planned, scheduled, and performed as per the plan. Some organizations even use the condition of equipment to anticipate or predict imminent failures. Accurate information on equipment and its components is required to be maintained for the effective planning of the maintenance procedures. Additionally, maintenance managers need to plan around the schedules of qualified personnel, as well as the production schedule of the equipment to be maintained. If applicable, it is also necessary to procure any spare parts in advance of actually performing the job.

Over the years, technology has changed the way maintenance is managed. Before computers, teams relied on memory, phone calls, and hard-copy notes to track repairs. With computers, organizations automated the manual, paper-type systems. This helped several organizations to have a faster and perhaps more detailed solution to the growing difficulty of tracking and scheduling maintenance work and projects, posting equipment history records, and keeping the financial informations. Early CMMS also offered improved scheduling abilities and on-line data access. But they did not improve the capabilities of maintenance personnel to fix or to manage. Early systems were designed primarily to feed information forward with no feed-back functions or only limited ones.

As computing technologies evolved, organizations invested in specialized software to replace manual systems. More recently, the propagation of internet-connected mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets paved the way for maintenance to be managed anytime, anywhere. Today, data can be collected from nearly any sensor or device through wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) communications and the IoT (Internet of Things). Adding to the complexity of their jobs, maintenance personnel are expected to analyze this wealth of equipment information and make smarter, data-driven decisions.

Continuous design advances in CMMS have allowed the users to harvest benefits far beyond those which the initial systems provided. Improved computer function and improved CMMS programmes now provide improved and timely feed-back functions. The real value of modern systems comes from the way advanced software programmes improve the organization and interpretation of data. This capability allows maintenance to respond with more insight and efficiency to situations. CMMS are now used for ensuring the high quality of equipment condition and performance, not just as a way to control the work of maintenance personnel. Improved quality results are primary reasons for having CMMS, and is to be stated among the objectives when a maintenance department implements computerized systems. When the quality objectives are recognized as objectives, they can be measured and used as indicators of system effectiveness.

The ability of CMMS to handle large quantities of data and quickly has opened up new opportunities for maintenance, since it provides a better methodology in dealing with the organizational benefits. CMMS is presently a key segment of a large numbers of the organizations’ maintenance departments, and offers support at different levels in the such organizational hierarchy as (i) it can support the CBM (condition-based monitoring) of equipments and facility, to offer a sense of running damage and fatigue, (ii) it can follow the development of spare parts and request substitution, if necessary, (iii) it permits operation to report error function more rapidly, along these lines permitting maintenance personnel to react to all the issues more rapidly, (iv) it encourages improved correspondence among activities and upkeep the work-force, and is urgent in improving the consistency of the data between the two departments, (v) it furnishes maintenance personnel with verifiable data expected to create preventive maintenance plan, (vi) it gives maintenance managers data through empowering progressively compelling control in the exercises of their specialization, (vii) it offers book-keeping data about equipments to empower capital use choices, and furthermore (viii) it provides the organizational management with important information on the state of health care of equipments and facilities in the organization.

In simplest terms, CMMS is needed to cover the basic operations which includes (i) identifying the maintenance tasks to be done, listing each job and the steps to complete it, (ii) describing the contents of each job or step, (iii) planning jobs such as specifying the skill, number of hours, time needed, spare parts needed, and other pertinent information and providing specific objective information (tighten to 25 kilograms per meter) rather than subjective (tighten), (iv) scheduling jobs and ensuring all supporting tools and implements are available and a fixed time or date is set, and (v) supporting the actual performance by monitoring execution of the work, generating reports, and reacting and expediting to assure completion.

Several of the above operations can be handled on-screen by CMMS. Different modules and data-bases can speedily fetch and process information in response to commands keyed in by the system user. The output is comprehensive work orders and supporting information. When progress has been made or the job completed, further information can be entered into the system, allowing status reporting and updating of databases. CMMS, in effect, handle a lot of planned tasks which formerly have been accomplished, if time permitted, by knowledgeable persons involved with the maintenance activities.

Certain support operations can be carried out by CMMS as enhancements to the basic operations. CMMS can (i) keep a history of what has been done in the past, (ii) manage spare parts and materials in the inventory, (iii) provide access to of repair procedures, bills of materials, drawings, and sketches, and (iv) monitor and report on equipment condition.

The foregoing descriptions do not consider the technological breadth and scope of a particular CMMS. Whether a system is large, sophisticated, multi-functional, on-line, real-time, interactive with the operator, or integrated with business and financial packages is not the issue here. Majority of the CMMSs, if not all, are based on carrying out the basic operations and some systems have useful enhancements.

Some of the basic system features which seem to be common to the majority of the CMMSs include (i) work order management, (ii) project management, (iii) preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance, (iv) equipment listing, (v) equipment history, (vi) spare parts and stores inventory, (viii) management reports generation, (ix) work planning, estimating, and scheduling, and (x) financial and budget controls. Almost all commercially available CMMSs contain these features and a selection of others which improve the desirability of those systems.

CMMS modules – In rare cases, CMMSs are developed around a single large programme. It is more likely that CMMSs in general use comprise several programme modules. It is the number and organization of the modules which determine the attributes, capability, power, flexibility, and utility of the CMMS. By combining functions and operations associated with a particular area of maintenance operations into a single programme module, the user is able to access related operations more easily. These modules permit higher speed, convenience, and user-friendly CMMS operation.

Some of the prominent modules available in the CMMS systems include (i) preventive maintenance, (ii) planning and scheduling, (iii) predictive maintenance, (iv) corrective and improvement actions, (v) project management work orders, (vi) inventory control, (vii) materials management, (viii) vehicle management, (ix) facilities management, (x) personnel management, (xi) financial management, (xii) equipment list and management, (xiii) work estimating, (xiv) expert systems, (xv) equipment monitoring and control, (xvi) energy management, (xvii) training administration, (xviii) service contract management, (xix) cost and budgeting, (xx) buildings and grounds, (xxi) bar-code reading and printing, (xxii) fuel and other consumable, (xxiii) task standards library resources allocation, (xxiv) maintenance procedure library, (xxv) tool management, (xxvi) supplier and contractor data file, (xxvii) financial interface, (xxviii) integrated graphics systems, (xxix) lube routing , (xxx) invoice matching, (xxxi) event tracking, (xxxii) report generation, (xxxiii) CAD (computer aided drawing) / CMM (co-ordinate measuring machine) interface, (xxxiv) catalogue file, (xxxv) defect analysis, (xxxvi) CBM (condition-based monitoring), (xxxvii) archiving, (xxxviii) CPM (critical path method) / PERT (programme evaluation review technique) diagramming, (xxxix) hazardous materials file, (xxxx) forecasting, (xxxxi) purchasing management, and (xxxxi) sub-contract management. Not every module is contained in every CMMS. It is the choice of modules, their content, and the organization, or architecture of the CMMS which makes each CMMS unique and attractive to a user. The same is true for customized systems which are developed in-house.

The functions included in CMMS modules is listed here. This list, by no means complete, indicates functions typically found in widely used modules. These functions are (i) work order status reporting, (ii) work order backlog reporting. (iii) work order schedule development on screen, (iv) work order priority setting, (v) preventive maintenance schedule setting on screen, (vi) preventive maintenance detailed task description, (vii) preventive maintenance multiple scheduling bases, (viii) equipment down-time tracking, (ix) equipment listing, or inventory, (x) equipment maintenance, (xi) manpower history, (xii) equipment maintenance cost history, (xiii) equipment materials usage history, (xiv) equipment repair cause history, (xv) equipment repair procedure history, (xix) equipment specifications, (xx) equipment bill of materials, (xxi) equipment drawings and graphic displays, (xxii) maintenance procedures,  library update, stores inventory management, availability checking on spare parts for work orders, allocation of stores for open work orders, and automatic generation of stores pick list, (xxiii) just-in-time inventory planning, automatic stores inventory update, automatic purchase order creation, and work standards file, (xxiv) work standards update, (xxv) on-screen job planning, (xxvi) skills resources planning, and (xxvii) reports on individual employees by skills, training, and availability.

Not all these functions are found in every module of every CMMS available. But a representative mix of these functions is found in almost every CMMS, depending on how it is organized. An informed maintenance manager is required to study the needs of the local maintenance functions and make sure the CMMS contains functions which support those needs. Fig 4 shows a flow-chart of the functionality of CMMS.

Fig 4 Flow-chart of the functionality of CMMS

CMMS operating details – CMMSs offer a variety of powerful operating details which make them convenient, attractive, interactive, and secure. These vary as per the producer of the CMMS and the unique circumstances in which the user wants to operate it. A list of some of these qualities include (i) file retrieval from history, (ii) on-line query of databases, (iii) browse function in databases, (iv) built-in help screens to the aid of operator, (v) customizing report generator present activity, (vi) security (password protection), (vii) built-in data backup and recovery, (viii) data entry validation procedures, (ix) multitasking, (x) graphics in reports, (xi) link to mainframe computer, (xii) several languages available for convenience, (xiii) programmable user keys outputs to screen, archiving, cloning, and transfer, (xiv) local area network capability equipment, (xv) auto CAD (computer aided design), (xvi) pop-up windows in all databases, (xvii) multiple databases with files ,  (xviii) built-in file packing and module sharing re-indexing, and (xix) bar-code interface. Not every CMMS has all these operating details, but majority of them contain a large number and new technical developments which are happening all the time to make the list grow.

CMMS implementation – Second only to CMMS needs evaluation, implementation of the chosen package is critical for CMMS success. No matter how good and user-friendly a CMMS, if the implementation is not carried out in a proper manner, it is impossible for the CMMS to live up to its expectations. The implementation of CMMS can be broken into three parts namely (i) user training, (ii) evaluation of the facility, and (iii) entry of data into the system. All three parts are equally important for the success of the CMMS.

CMMS are normally operated by maintenance department personnel who enter instructions at the computer keyboard. Typically, these entries are made in response to questions, or prompts appearing on the monitor screen. A whole screen full of prompts is called a menu. The simplest and easiest CMMS use menus. Several systems are designed to serve many users at once, providing all with simultaneous access to the data files they need. The majority of present CMMSs operate in an on-line, real-time mode, and some are even interactive. However, some very able systems are set up in an older technology called batch operating mode which features fewer functions, slower turn-around, and limited computational ability. It is more important that the technology work well for the users than that they have the latest software. Maintenance managers are to be alert for improvements in CMMS capabilities just because constantly changing management responsibilities need timely and appropriate information for making effective decisions.

CMMS produces tangible results in four key areas namely (i) increased employee productivity, (ii) better inventory control, (iii) improved availability of equipment, and (iv) improved product quality. Additional benefits can be increased equipment / asset life, reduced energy costs, improved environmental controls, and improved record-keeping to meet regulatory requirements or ISO 9000 requirements. Several of the benefits and cost savings possible with a CMMS depend upon the features of the CMMS being implemented, how well it is implemented, and how well it is used.

Technology plays a key role in the effectiveness of a facility or an equipment. The selection of appropriate technology and the organization of keeping the facility / equipment in good working order fall under the remit of maintenance management programmes. Maintenance management is frequently the responsibility of the maintenance department, which tests, repairs, and maintains equipment to ensure that it can be used safely and effectively.

CMMSs have evolved to provide support to maintenance personnel for the maintenance of the facility / equipment and for monitoring the associated costs automatically. A CMMS is a software package which  contains a computer database of information about the organization’s maintenance operations. In maintenance management, the CMMS is used to automate the documentation of all activities relating to facility / equipments, including equipment planning, inventory management, corrective and preventive maintenance procedures, spare parts control, service contracts, and equipment replacements and alerts. The collected data can be analyzed and used for maintenance management, quality assurance, work order control, and budgeting of spares and components.

The decision to automate a maintenance management system or replace an existing CMMS depends on the individual situations of the organization, including working procedures, information technology (IT) infrastructure, and available budget. In order to effectively assist in the management and maintenance of the facility / equipment, a CMMS is required to comprehensively meet the needs of the user. Although major suppliers strive to develop a CMMS which universally meets the needs of all the maintenance personnel, no available system presents a complete solution. Majority of the CMMSs, however, can be customized to meet the specific needs of the organization. Alternatively, an IT organization can be contracted to develop a CMMS package tailored to the organizational requirements. A customized CMMS package is normally more expensive but if well designed and maintained produces frequently a more satisfactory solution which meets the organizational requirements.

A CMMS can be used to (i) standardize and harmonize information within a maintenance management programme, (ii) assist in the planning and monitoring of inspection and preventive maintenance, and schedule and track repairs, (iii) monitor equipment performance indicators such as MTBF (mean time between failures), down-time, and maintenance costs for individual or equipment groups of the same model, type or manufacturer, (iv) monitor maintenance personnel performance indicators such as repeated repairs by the same person for the same problem, average down-time associated with individuals, and productive work time for individuals or groups, (v) generate reports which can be used to plan user training programmes based on equipment failure trends in certain departments or organization, (v) host libraries of regulatory requirements and safety information, (vi) generate the appropriate documentation for accreditation by regulatory and standard organizations, and (vii) generate reports to assist in the monitoring and improvement of the productivity, effectiveness and performance of maintenance management.

Examples of the reports generated by CMMS include (i) the percentage of the cost of maintenance compared with the total cost of equipment in the inventory, (ii) compliance with the inspection and preventive maintenance programme, (iii) mean productive working hours, (iv) identification of equipment affected by hazard and replacement alerts.

The CMMS, whether commercial or customized, can be used by maintenance personnel as a tool to complement the present maintenance management programme and help them fulfil the department’s particular objectives. Effectively implementing a good CMMS improves equipment health through the efficient management and maintenance of equipments for ensuring that the facility functions reliably.

The transition to CMMS needs a substantial investment. The return on this investment is dependent on the suitability of the selected software package, the effectiveness of its implementation, and the commitment of all personnel to the new system. Majority of the suppliers of CMMS packages  claim that their CMMS package (i) increases plant availability by reducing down-time, (ii) has lower operating costs because of the reduction in over-time, and in the need of spares, (iii) results in prolonged asset life because of more effective maintenance, (iv) reductions in spare part inventory because of identification of the spare parts through links to equipment, (v) improved control over preventive maintenance schedule and documentation, and (vi) simplified access to maintenance data and statistics through report generation.

Benefits of CMMS

Some of the benefits which can result from the application of a CMMS are (i) resource control because of the tighter control of resources, (ii) better cost management and auditability, (iii) scheduling because of the ability to schedule complex, fast-moving work-loads, (iv) integration with other organizational systems, and (v) reduction of break-downs because of the improved reliability of physical assets through the application of an effective maintenance programme. The most important factor is the reduction of break-downs. This is the aim of the maintenance function and the rest are ‘nice’ objectives (or by-products).

The advantage of computerizing the management of maintenance is that it allows monitoring of more activities, information, and knowledge, without spending more money in the process. Some specific measurable benefits of using CMMS include (i) more effective use of maintenance personnel time, (ii) lesser production loss, (iii) improved equipment life and resale value, (iv) improved product quality, (v) more effective use of spare parts and materials, (vi) lower parts and inventory requirements, and (vi) improved equipment reliability and dependability.

Whatever the claims made by the suppliers, one of the main benefits to be gained from a CMMS is that it helps and encourages the user to focus on good maintenance practice. Procedures become formalized and organized since they are to conform to the needs of the CMMS.

Despite the importance of the CMMS as a key tool in maintenance management, the degree of success achieved in successfully implementing such systems, even in large, well-resourced organizations, is surprisingly poor. As per a study, the number of successful CMMS implementations is only around 25 % to 40 % and the number of users which use a CMMS at its full capability is only 6 % to 15 %.

Six key reasons for poor implementation success are (i) attempting to implement a new maintenance management strategy, the associated processes, and tools such as a CMMS to an organization which is not ‘ready’, (ii) believing that the CMMS is the ‘strategy’ rather than one of the ‘tool’ to facilitate effective implementation of maintenance management process, (iii) inadequate IT  (information technology) infrastructure and the failure in ensuring that IT related issues are resolved (e.g., poor network capacity and speed demotivate people quickly), (iv) the failure to sell the benefits of the CMMS to the organizational management and hence sustain their support over the frequently long duration of the implementation, (v) the failure to understand the need for a well-designed ‘change management’ process, and (vi) inadequate resources to carry out the implementation.

CMMS is a tool to support the organizational maintenance strategy. The highest misunderstanding of the role of a CMMS is the belief that it is the maintenance strategy itself, not just a tool to support the existing maintenance strategy of the organization. This belief that the CMMS changes maintenance in the organization from a reactive to a pro-active approach is quite common and frequently results in poor usage of the available modules of such systems. It is not unusual that the wrong use of these tools together with a lack of data implementation leads to the CMMS only being used as a ‘work order system’ without the power of analysis and reporting. In a worst-case scenario, the effort expended on the CMMS by the experienced maintenance personnel of the organization can result in maintenance performance becoming worse because of the lack of time for those personnel.

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