CMMS Reliability Reliability & Maintenance Center

Effectively Use SAP’s PM Functions

EP Editorial Staff | April 23, 2019

By Kristina Gordon, Illumiti

In SAP, maintenance-task lists describe a series of individual maintenance activities. They are used to standardize recurring activities, plan them more effectively, and save time when creating maintenance orders and plans.

Task lists can be created for:

• equipment
• functional location
• general maintenance.

Activities for a technical object include:

• inspections
• maintenance
• repairs.

These lists contain detailed work instructions in the form of operations. Each operation contains:

• short description
• long description (including detailed work steps)
• work center (trade) performing the function
• timing information (duration, number of capacities, and total work)
• activity type, for costing purposes
• internal and external (contractor) labor
• components required
• tools
• documents.

Task lists help reduce the maintenance effort when standardized work sequences change, for example, because of new legal regulations. You must carry out the changes at exactly one place in the corresponding maintenance-task list. All maintenance orders and maintenance items that refer to the maintenance-task list automatically receive the actual status of the work sequences.

Such lists are assigned to maintenance items and serve as work instructions for preventive-maintenance work orders.

Maintenance item

The maintenance item indicates where maintenance activities will occur for preventive/predictive planning. A single maintenance plan can contain several maintenance items. Each maintenance item contains the following information:

• technical object (functional location and/or equipment)
• order type to be created by the plan (defined as PM02)
• main work center
• planner group
• maintenance-activity type
• settlement rule.

All of this information is defaulted into any orders created with the maintenance plan. A general task list is assigned to the maintenance item. The task-list operations then become the operations for any work orders created by the plan.

Object lists

Object lists will be utilized when several assets are to be inspected as part of a single work order.

Maintenance plan

Composed of a maintenance item and scheduling details, the maintenance plan is used to automatically generate maintenance call objects. A maintenance plan can have one or more maintenance items. For example, a pump-maintenance plan might include a maintenance item for the pump transmission with corresponding task list and one for the pump motor with its own corresponding task list.

In SAP PM, the scheduling data for maintenance plans contains:

• a cycle or maintenance interval
• scheduling parameters to fine-tune scheduling
• a list of planned and call dates.

Scheduling maintenance plans

The maintenance planner schedules the maintenance plan. When doing this for the first time, he or she must enter the start date and specify the maintenance cycle. Scheduling allows you to define start dates for maintenance orders and keep them updated. Without regular scheduling, call objects such as maintenance orders and notifications cannot be created.

Scheduling is the function that calls up the next maintenance order after the previous one has been completed. Scheduling is normally performed automatically at regular intervals, such as daily or weekly, in a background job known as Deadline Monitoring. A maintenance task can also be scheduled for a date using the manual call functionality. The planner can also perform other manual changes, including early releasing of calls, fixing a call for a specific date, and skipping a call if the work is not required for a cycle.

In single-cycle plans, the cycle needs to accommodate each task planned date or due date. Orders are generated based on the planned date. The call date, or the date the order was created, is usually before the planned date to accommodate any pre-processing activities such as material procurement. The cycle start defines the date from which calculation of the planned dates should begin.

How soon an individual work order is called automatically is controlled by the Call Horizon setting within the maintenance plan. If the Call Horizon is set to 100% of the cycle length, the order is called on the same day the work is scheduled to begin. If the Call Horizon is set to 50%, the order is called halfway through the cycle length, e.g., three months early on a six-month cycle. If the Call Horizon is set to 0%, the order is called immediately.

The planner can also control whether the next order should be created before the previous one is technically completed. By setting the scheduling period, the planner can set how far the system considers the future to be for scheduled calls. For example, to have a one-year view of all pending calls, the scheduling period would be set to 365 days.

Shift factors for late or early confirmations control when the next order should be created if the previous order is completed either after or before the scheduled date. For example, on a six-month cycle, if the previous order was completed one month late, should the next order be created six months from that date (shift factor = 100%), five months from now (shift factor = 0%), or somewhere in between (1% to 99%)? These options can be set for each individual maintenance plan, and changed at any time.

Every maintenance plan can also have a Sort Field assigned to it. These fields can be validated entries, chosen from a custom list. Entries can be used to select plans in Deadline Monitoring.

Preventive/Predictive Order Types

Order type PM02 is used (in standard SAP) for preventive and predictive maintenance. This order type is released automatically. When the order is created, a corresponding notification (M3–Activity Report) will also be created.

The SAP PM system should satisfy the following needs:

• increased organization of preventive-maintenance work
• ability to reserve components against work orders
• better analytical capability on order and cost information
• better forward planning/scheduling
• ability to have all related work-group cost and material captured under one work order
• more consistency in the way work is performed
• more system flexibility
• integration with Material Management for material reservation and FI-CO for finance and cost control.

To fulfill these needs the user must understand the functionality of the preventive and predictive maintenance area. Triggers that initiate the process include:

• creation of new equipment
• equipment failures
• analyzing planned and corrective work
• regulatory requirements
• reliability maintenance audit. EP

Kristina Gordon is SAP Principal Consultant at Illumiti, Thornhill, Ontario ( 



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