A Common Facility Management Theme

Facilities come in all shapes and sizes from a local school to a giant energy complex. What virtually all of them have in common is the stopping and starting (power cycling) of equipment over the course of normal operations.

When assets are subject to continual power cycling their components are subject to changes in pressure, temperature, and are more likely to see increased corrosion. The challenge facilities managers face is to minimize operational damage and to maximize asset uptime as well as lengthen an asset’s useful life expectancy.

It all sounds logical, but why do some facilities find this so difficult to do?

Facilities Maintenance Planning

Although the need for maintenance is known, it is not being planned from the initial planning stage of the capital purchase through its eventual replacement. Not surprisingly, when facilities maintenance management is not planned over the entire lifecycle of an asset, reactive maintenance increases.

The increase in reactive maintenance decreases the available time that can be used to perform inspections, component testing and preventive maintenance. In fact, reducing proactive maintenance is the leading cause of:

  • Higher energy costs that result from equipment drawing more power to accomplish a desired output level.
  • Accelerated corrosion caused by temperature and pressure changes.
  • Pipe, fittings and valve replacements either from leaks caused by changes in flow or corrosion.
  • Loss of motors due to electrical burn out as a result of unbalanced loads, insulation deterioration or poor shaft alignments.
  • Pressure losses and leaks in fuel systems, boilers, chillers etc.
  • Machine downtime as no one notices the odd vibrations, sounds or extra heat being generated because vibration analysis, ultrasound tests and infrared scans are not completed timely.

In addition, unscheduled maintenance such as emergency repairs, are generally not as organized from an informational gathering perspective leading to incomplete work history documentation.

More importantly, unplanned maintenance defeats the purpose of well intentioned preventive, predictive, condition-based or reliability-centered maintenance.

“Complete, accurate, and current documentation is essential to an effective maintenance program. Whether performing preventive, predictive, condition-based, or reliability-centered maintenance, keeping track of equipment condition and maintenance—performed and planned—is critical.”

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

Fortunately, the impact of all of these can be heavily influenced by facility maintenance software programs.

Facilities Asset and Maintenance Management Software

One of the better maintenance planning tools available is an EAM system. EAM software builds upon a core computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) solution utilizing a set of tools that is able to proactively manage assets from the planning stage through retirement.

“Proactive maintenance is a concept for ‘learning from experience’ of maintenance work, preventive maintenance and condition based maintenance.”

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency

EAM Features

An EAM system accomplishes this by integrating technology for:

  • Organizing assets and tracking them throughout their lifecycle.
  • Document and contract management.
  • Automation and scheduling tools for work management including the scheduling of (predictive, reliability-centered, condition based and advanced technologies) by eliminating spreadsheets and streamlining the work order lifecycle.
  • Increased mobility using rugged mobile handheld devices increasing response times and accountability.
  • Administrative controls for enhanced security, SOX compliance and mobile device management.

By using EAM tools, facility managers are able to maximize the flexibility of maintenance staff through far more efficient and effective time management. The increased maintenance scheduling flexibility also has the effect of lowering labor, repair and energy costs.

Tangible EAM CMMS Benefits

In addition, the work history tracking tools of EAM CMMS software programs supplies the detail and accountability needed to make condition-based and reliability-centered maintenance more effective. It also gives senior managers and maintenance planners the ability to always know where their assets are as well as the condition they are in.

It has been said that Knowledge is Power and when it comes to asset and maintenance management it can also be said that you can find more Power with Knowledge. Organization and automation are the key to better asset management.

Another source of knowledge for facility management professionals is to network and discuss issues and opportunities with peers. The download below is a listing of selected LinkedIn groups that can be joined for free.