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Tired of reading CMMS articles that always seem to say the same thing but leave you wondering what good is it? Then perhaps it is time to take in a new perspective. By working backward from a determined set of asset maintenance needs you will be able to tell if a CMMS software solution is right for your business. As strange as it sounds the answer is in the questions.

15 Maintenance Management Questions

A good operations consultant can get a feel for an operation in just a few moments. The type of things they look for are not always obvious to the people (especially management) working in the company. Although each operation is different, the same principles to understanding work flow will apply. The following set of questions are intended to help you understand your operational needs.

  1. When was the last time your procedures for handling work requests, writing work orders and performing maintenance were updated, changed or created?
  2. How many manual procedures are there? Manual is defined as the filling out of paperwork or performing a function without the aid of technology that could expedite the process.
  3. Is there a work flow map/brownpaper/set of manuals that detail how maintenance work is processed from beginning to end? Or is the work flow a collection of band-aid procedures and solutions to problems as they arose?
  4. What percentage of the maintenance team time is spent fire fighting the daily problems versus performing planned or scheduled maintenance? Is the ratio anywhere near an ideal 80% planned and 20% reactive (80/20) that well run maintenance organizations achieve ?
  5. How often do you inspect assets or equipment to make sure all is in optimal working condition?
  6. What performance measurements are in place? Do you know if your team is working efficiently? How long does it take to process a work request or what is the average time to repair a broken valve etc.?
  7. How do you determine if an asset or piece of equipment should be replaced? Do you track the maintenance and repair costs versus the cost of replacement?
  8. Does your maintenance department make use of technology or automated (computerized) processes that can reduce the time from submission of work request to work order completion?
  9. How many maintenance strategies do you employ? Do you rely on predictive technologies, condition based principals, six sigma, preventive maintenance, when do you use each one and why?
  10. How much of equipment maintenance is dependent on the knowledge of one or two people? Is a key player getting ready to retire?
  11. How much downtime do you have? Why?
  12. Do you know what your energy costs are per asset? Do you understand the relationship between preventive maintenance and energy efficiency?
  13. How much overtime do you have? Why?
  14. Do you encourage feedback from maintenance staff for process improvements such as the use of mobile handheld devices to eliminate paperwork and meeting times?
  15. The most important question of all is do you know where all your assets and equipment are, what condition they are in, their maintenance history etc.?

Asset Maintenance Needs

Every organization will respond to the preceding questions differently. Suffice to say that if the answers include more than one, I don’t knowNoNot very oftenWe don’t need technology then your maintenance management can use an upgrade. Upgrading the tools you use will bring greater efficiencies, lower MRO costs, professionalize operations and by making changes will keep your company competitive by stabilizing or enhancing operational margins.

Is a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for you? The answer depends on how much better you want your maintenance team to become. The core functionality of a CMMS solution is that it makes the work order lifecycle (work request to work order completion) take less time, keep better records and ultimately positively impact costs. The other advantages of a CMMS program is that it will address all of the questions above by helping you understand and manage your work flow and just as importantly, it does not require an advanced degree to learn how to use.

A final note. When shopping for a CMMS software program be careful not to choose off the shelf boxed programs. Choose a CMMS solution that allows for customization to meet your needs and requirements. Vendor stability and support are two additional parameters for your selection as you will want a company with a proven track record and the depth to provide quality technical support. Lastly, functionality and design should meet the maintenance team needs to ensure a successful CMMSprogram adoption.

Tell us what tools you make use of to ensure an efficient well run operation. If you like this post you may also enjoy reading: