Scalability: 4 tips for a successful multi-site enterprise CMMS

Maintaining equipment and facilities across multiple sites can be demanding, but with the right software strategy maintenance professionals can do so by planning ahead, tracking, and keeping simplifying processes.

06/26/2014


Just as parents have a tougher time managing quintuplets in comparison to only one child, so too do maintenance professionals face greater challenges when they are responsible for more than one location.  And that means they need a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) with enough muscle to handle multiple sites and far-flung equipment.

Although a best-of-breed CMMS should retain its value no matter the size of an enterprise, it’s also true that maintaining equipment and facilities across multiple sites demands capabilities that are somewhat different from those needed in programs used for a single location.

While the term "scalability" can be over used in the software world, it is nevertheless critical to evaluate an enterprise CMMS in terms of its ability to scale and grow with the needs of the company. But what does "scalability" really mean in practical terms? And what other factors determine success when using a CMMS across multiple sites?

Here are four observations and answers to those questions:

1. Keep on tracking: The ability to track the history of preventive maintenance (PM) and other repairs on equipment is a key advantage of a CMMS because it enables maintenance teams to identify trouble spots, root out the cause of problems, replace frequent fliers, and stock essential parts. Therefore, this tracking capability must be easily transferable to multiple sites when using a CMMS throughout a business organization or enterprise.

2. Drag and drop it: Inputting specifications and detailed information on equipment and facilities is an important step in the process of implementing a CMMS solution. An enterprise CMMS should enable users to “clone” information from assets and “drag and drop” it from one site to another while transferring maintenance history and without having to go through the process of re-entering data for each new location.

3. Plan ahead: Taking time to sit down and look ahead to implementing a CMMS in several sites can be invaluable. Effective maintenance managers think through tasks—such as creating names for assets and labels for other data—so information remains uniform throughout all sites, making it much easier to access.

4. Stay simple: If an enterprise CMMS requires too many steps to input a work order or call up repair information, it may not be the best choice. Having a system that is easy to set up and use becomes even more important when a variety of staffers will need to access the CMMS in more than one location. Remember no system will help the maintenance team perform better or produce a return on investment if it’s too difficult for the end user.

While a CMMS may have all the features needed by maintenance professionals, managers can still face roadblocks when it comes to integrating their system with the requirements of programs used by the organization at large. The best way to overcome that barrier is to establish basic criteria for implementing a CMMS. Define what the maintenance team needs to meet their challenges. Then use that information to identify and invest in the CMMS that will best fit the company’s needs, regardless of how large or small it may be.

Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group, which produces Bigfoot CMMS.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.