Check Work Management Functions When Selecting a CMMS

EP Editorial Staff | December 1, 1997

Work request, work order management, and work planning and scheduling functions are key checkpoints for selecting and installing a computerized maintenance management system.

The basic reason for purchasing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is to control maintenance costs through effective planning and scheduling and through identifying problem areas for reliability studies. No system will be effective unless a process is developed for planning and scheduling maintenance work. Once established, this process must be followed consistently if significant results are to be expected.

When selecting a CMMS, considerable attention must be devoted to assuring that the software functions can support the desired work planning and scheduling process. The maintenance process and the software must be compatible. The following principles form the foundation of a successful model:

The reliability of process equipment is shared equally by production and maintenance functions.

Production is the owner and operator of the process equipment.

Production is responsible for making equipment available for maintenance, including the availability to complete identified preventive/predictive maintenance work requirements.

Maintenance is the maintainer of the process equipment.

Maintenance is responsible for planning, scheduling and executing requested work by its requested completion date.

The originator has the responsibility to set initial work request priorities

Planning and scheduling
The following definitions of tasks and responsibilities should be understood by all parties.

Maintenance is responsible for planning, scheduling, and executing all viable maintenance work requests within their required completion dates. This work will include all predictive and preventive maintenance tasks and corrective work approved by production, maintenance, and engineering.

Planning is the identification of needed resources and the order in which the resources are required to complete a requested job in the shortest time at the least cost. Once planned, work orders are placed into the ready work order backlog.

If the work orders, as planned, cannot be completed by their due dates, it is the responsibility of planning to notify the originator.

Scheduling is the assignment of numerous planned jobs into a defined period of time to optimize the use of the resources. In scheduling, available man hours of maintenance personnel are allotted first to identified preventive and predictive maintenance work. The remaining hours in each craft are maintenance hours which can be scheduled against the current backlog.

Maintenance is responsible for notifying production on a regular basis of the current backlog and maintenance hours that are required for scheduled work.

Production is responsible for assisting maintenance in scheduling by identifying when the work can be performed and making the equipment available.

Maintenance is responsible for executing the scheduled work by its completion date. If emergency work requests force displacement of scheduled work, it is the responsibility of production to identify which of its scheduled work will be displaced.

Work request and work flow
A written work request should be used for all maintenance work, whether it is emergency or planned, to identify the work to be performed, list safety requirements, provide planning and scheduling information for the work order system, and provide system information and documentation. The documentation should identify the person who performed the work, the duration of the work, worker comments and repair methods, and production’s acceptance of work performed.

The CMMS should contain appropriate functions to handle work requests effectively.

Work order planning
Planning is defined as “developing a plan or scheme.” In the maintenance job planning process, one must ask what, who, and how, as identified by the following steps:

1. What work is to be done to complete the job?

2. How will the work be performed?

3. Who will perform the work?

4. What resources are needed?

5. How long will it take?

The CMMS must support the planning process. The following questions should be asked during the CMMS selection process:

Do you have a job plan worksheet which matches the CMMS for work order planning? An example is illustrated in the section “Job Planning Worksheet.”

Can spare parts be reserved in the inventory system for work order planning?

Can spare parts be looked up from job plan records?

Can purchase requisitions be generated or logged to a job plan?

Does the CMMS have provisions for benchmark job planning? This process stores comparative job plans in a library to be recalled, modified, and attached to specific work orders.

Work order scheduling
Scheduling is defined as “to place on a schedule.” In the scheduling process, one must ask what and when, as expressed in the following questions:

1. What work is to be done to maintain the plant?

2. What is the priority of the work?

3. When is the equipment available?

4. When are the resources available?

What CMMS functions are available to handle the weekly and daily planning and scheduling flow? These will depend somewhat on the size and scope of your organization, number of production areas, distribution of crafts, and number of craft foremen, planners, and staff.

The CMMS should be able to produce the following reports:

Backlog reports by production areas, reporting work order type, days past due, status and/or schedule date

Routines that create preventive maintenance work orders and job plans

Backlog by craft reports

Manpower availability reports.

No matter which CMMS is chosen, it will not be effective unless it complements a well established flow of information among the maintenance staff and between departments. Communications flow issues must be considered, such as notifying production in advance of work to be performed on its equipment, and making sure production has the equipment available for scheduled work.

This communication may require weekly or daily planning and scheduling meetings or it could be informal.

Before implementing a CMMS, you should decide on your communication path and which reports you will use to handle weekly and daily scheduling flow.

A plant commitment to work order planning and scheduling must be enforced. Without a doubt, the single most important ingredient to effective maintenance planning and scheduling is adherence to flow procedures. This includes everyone from plant management to the mechanic performing the work. If these procedures are not established and agreed upon, then you can expect, at best, difficulties, and at worst, failures.

A future article will discuss factors related to building preventive maintenance procedures for a CMMS and implementing the system. MT

Ronald Hemming is president and managing partner and Daniel Davis is a senior maintenance management consultant of Maintenance Technologies International, LLC, a plant maintenance management consulting and engineering firm in Milford, CT, with affiliated offices in Niagara Falls, NY, and Mexico City, Mexico. Hemming may be contacted at (203) 877-3217; Davis at (716) 284-4705.




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