CMMS software aka maintenance management software helps organizations manage maintenance of their equipment, facilities and other enterprise assets. Companies that use a maintenance program typically see a significant reduction in the maintenance costs besides seeing cost savings due to fewer equipment breakdowns. They also see improved equipment and facility performance that results in better quality and higher customer satisfaction. A maintenance management software package not only helps manage breakdown or corrective maintenance but it also helps you schedule & track preventative maintenance. To schedule preventive maintenance the software typically offers a variety of scheduling options that make it easier to do regular needed maintenance on equipment & other assets.
Common Preventive Maintenance Scheduling Options
- Scheduling by dates: This is the most used way of scheduling preventive maintenance. You may specify a work order frequency e.g. every Wednesday, every 45 days, the 6 months and so on. While fairly easy to setup, the downside is that you may schedule maintenance less optimally than required – for example too early if a machine is not used much because of a plant shutdown or too late if a machine is run for longer hours than normal due to a production deadline. Preventive maintenance done too late runs the risk of an equipment breakdown – a major risk especially when you have a production deadline!
- Scheduling by meter readings or equipment usage: Here you keep track of how much the machine is used and based on the usage you schedule preventative maintenance. For example on a vehicle you schedule an oil change after every 3000 miles, on a machine making widgets it could be after every thousand widgets produced and so on. This can produce a more optimal maintenance schedule but can involve more work because you need to enter meter readings either by entering them manually or importing them. Another option is to use an “estimated meter use” that we have in our FastMaint CMMS. Here the system estimates equipment usage and schedules maintenance based on a work calendar. This allows you to enter working times, holidays and other shutdown times into the calendar once and have the maintenance program estimate usage and schedule maintenance dates based on this calendar for different equipment that use this calendar.
- Scheduling based on another work order or task: This means that a maintenance task is scheduled some number of days after another maintenance task work order is completed. This is useful if you need to “chain” work orders together for example when a maintenance job consists of two different tasks done by two different sub-contractors. You can also schedule a task based on its prior completion say the preventive maintenance task is done 30 days after the previous time it is completed.
- Scheduling based on an alarm condition: This allows you to define some external condition say an alarm that when it occurs means that you have to do some preventive maintenance - for example an overheat condition on a machine means that you have to lubricate all bearings. This also covers “alarms” or maintenance requests scheduled using a condition monitoring or predictive maintenance system. These can be external specialized systems separate from the maintenance management software that analyze equipment data to flag potential issues or predict that maintenance is due. Such systems can raise something similar to an alarm condition that can be used by the CMMS software to schedule multiple maintenance tasks on different enterprise assets.
Reduce Maintenance Scheduling Dependencies
As can be seen above these cover a gamut of ways to schedule and manage preventive maintenance on different assets. Of these "scheduling by dates" or "scheduling based on another work order" offers the easiest way to schedule maintenance without having to depend on external systems for input (meter readings, alarms, etc.). This can become an issue if these external systems may be unreliable or if you use a manual process that involves a lot of effort to bring the information in – for example someone has to manually collect meter readings and input them in. Be aware that even if you have an automatic input process if you lose some alerts or readings due to failures in the data import or collection you may not schedule needed maintenance. So make sure that any equipment or facilities that have such maintenance scheduled will not suffer catastrophic failure if some preventive maintenance is missed because input from an external system was not provided in time. While it may be rare – it can happen!
CMMS Software Selection Tips
If you are looking for CMMS software to help with maintenance management at your organization you will find our "CMMS Selection Guide" very helpful. It has a variety of tips and advice on items to look for and how to identify the right CMMS package for your needs.