It’s 9:00 AM – Do You Know Where Your Assets Are?

Dec 4, 2009

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

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Your business is growing and perhaps you now have assets spread over multiple locations or have grown to the point where your company has so much stuff (inventory, computers, equipment) you have lost track of some items. You know that you need to do something but you are not quite sure what to do. Your belief is that you are too small for a Computer Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) or an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

There is great news. CMMS now comes in all shapes and sizes from modularized off-the-shelf software packages to full blown EAM systems. Your company size has become less of an issue compared with the question of how to stay competitive in the marketplace and still enable management to perform the duties that the core competencies require.

How do you know if you may need help? Try answering the following questions:

  1. Does your office equipment/machines/other assets breakdown or wear out (not including management and staff)?
  2. Do you have multiple locations (offices, warehouses, stores, operations)?
  3. Do you find that you can’t find the last invoice for your stuff?
  4. Do you know if all your stuff or what portion of it is under warranty?
  5. Do you have trouble remembering where you bought certain supplies from?
  6. Have you had equipment fixed on several occasions but are not sure how much you have spent and have no real record of visits?
  7. Is your work order system “Paper” based?
  8. Do you find your company purchasing more and more for reactive reasons and less from planned purchases (capital planning)?
  9. Has someone recently brought to your attention that you could be sued if you don’t get something fixed?
  10. Do you wonder how much stuff needs inspection?
  11. Are you tired of paying fees for software upgrades?
  12. Finally, do wish you could go back to doing the core business yourself and need to find a tool even a technology challenged person can do?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions it is time you considered integrating higher technologies into your workplace. See how an EAM will Add Value to your company, save you money, provide an competitive edge and how to choose an EAM that is right for you.

Perhaps you are wondering how a CMMS actually works and what is involved on your part. The first thing to realize that the implementation will take time anywhere from 4 to 18 months depending on the scope of the tasks to be undertaken. Why does it take this long? The answer is because setting up any CMMS properly requires you to organize your business and subsequently identify your assets in great detail. It is recommended you start getting organized before you purchase any software. “Getting Organized” will help you to identify your real pain and know which solution you are seeking. The last thing you want to do is to purchase software that does not meet your needs.

Getting Organized:

  • Assigning Location Names: Start by assigning area names to the broadest grouping by location. Location can be a site, a building, a warehouse, or an office etc. Continue to drill down into each location with subgroups that help identify the work being performed. Keep in mind that you are drawing a picture and collecting information that can be sorted at a later point in time helping you identify what equipment is where and who uses it. Collecting the data on a spreadsheet will facilitate implementation.


  • Name Your Assets: Name every piece of equipment that is to be maintained. It is important that naming conventions be consistent. The size of the equipment or its location is not of concern only that you identify and name all. The key is keeping it simple so that a person viewing the data on say a handheld device knows which piece of equipment is being listed.
    • Develop Your Asset Structure: The next step is define how your assets will be arranged. In the following example a you can see how the electrical components are arranged using subcategories.
      • Collecting the detail: Set up additional columns on your spreadsheet. Plan these columns in order of importance such as information you must track, information that would be good to have and information that is on your wish list to track. These headings and any available data can be imported into the CMMS.

For example:

Collecting Detail

Note: Identifying the detail as soon as possible will assist you in figuring out how much data you will need to collect and also help guide you through the implementation of the CMMS.

      • Examine Your Work Order Process: Review your maintenance history that you have collected. A generally accepted guideline is that 80% of maintenance and repair work should be preventative maintenance and 20% as unplanned or reactionary work. It is unlikely that you are achieving this ratio if you are not using a CMMS. The higher the reactionary work % the greater the need for a CMMS solution.
      • Preventative Maintenance: The concept behind preventative maintenance in the simplest terms is to perform maintenance work on a scheduled basis. Making equipment adjustments and repairs will maximize the useful life of the product while minimizing costs. Using an examples we all familiar with – PC’s need to be regularly cleaned from dust to prevent the power supply from failing, hard drives needs to be cleaned up of temporary files, viruses and other miscellaneous items that slow down performance. Failure to maintain a PC can cause it to crash and lead to expensive repairs and lost productivity. Keep in mind that any item that vibrates or has moving parts needs to be on a preventative maintenance schedule.
      • Putting it all together: Once you have organized your data and understand where your opportunity to save money is you can begin implementation. Quality CMMS and EAM systems will be able to import most data that you have collected. This data can now be used to produce output reports allowing you to better understand your capitalization requirements for asset planning as well as enhance your productivity.

It does not matter if you are a 30 bed hospital, or a property management company of a few complexes. The question is no longer “Am I too small?” But rather,”Which CMMS solution is best for me?”.

Stuart Smith

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