Handwritten maintenance schedules are a thing of the past. They have been for quite some time. In their stead, countless software companies have developed computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). CMMS are commonly defined as “a computerized system designed to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance activities. Typical features include planning, scheduling and monitoring of work orders and maintenance needs.” Regardless of a business’ size or industry, most currently utilize some sort of CMMS – your company likely does, too. In the power generation industry, CMMS can aid power plant maintenance scheduling to improve performance and minimize outages.
While there are hundreds of different CMMS programs available – varying in scope, available features, cost, etc. – there is one thing that is common to them all: they are only as effective as their users. So, in order to ensure that your investment in a CMMS program is being realized to its fullest extent, there are a number of things your company can do to make that happen.
As with the introduction of any new process, operation, or equipment, it is critical that those who are expected to utilize it are properly trained. An upfront investment in comprehensive training on the CMMS software can prevent user errors in data entry and program manipulation, among many others. This, of course, saves time, money, and most important, can prevent injury or equipment damage when it comes time to actually perform the maintenance. Proper training of power plant maintenance personnel is key to maximizing the benefits of CMMS software.
A CMMS user’s effectiveness is also highly dependent on the accuracy of the data they input to the software. Most CMMS have asset and spare parts management functionality. However, that functionality is compromised if, for instance, a spare part cannot be ordered because a part’s manufacturer was entered, but a vendor’s (vice the OEM) part number was entered alongside it.
To that end, it is very important to communicate data expectations to vendors and manufacturers. Before purchase of a new system or equipment, provide the EPC, vendor, or manufacturer with a template for them to use when they provide a bill of materials (BOM) or recommended spare parts list (RSPL). Doing this ahead of time minimizes rework and hunting down bits of data when it comes time to input new equipment into the CMMS.
These are just three ways to ensure effective and efficient use of CMMS programs. Of course, there are many more, but putting these three into place will go a long way to ensuring that a CMMS investment is providing the most bang for the buck, as well as keeping personnel and equipment safe.