To record or not to record: That is the question

Conventional wisdom tells us any activity that falls under the asset maintenance umbrella should be captured in CMMS.


A longstanding debate has resurfaced lately about the merits of preventative maintenance (PM) for non-asset tasks. Conventional wisdom tells us any activity that falls under the asset maintenance umbrella should be captured in CMMS. Maintenance activities aimed at eliminating equipment failures should be PM'd and documented in CMMS.

CMMS distinguishes between PM and unplanned, non-preventative maintenance. For example, one of our lubricant product manufacturing customers keeps a separate PM calendar for scheduling non-asset tasks, including meter readings, and occupational and environmental safety checks for water contamination analysis and prevention, and other municipal safety inspections.

A decent CMMS should provide work orders that have ample classification codes, priorities and other information that helps users get to the heart of the asset's history. They use that data for predictive maintenance analysis, asset replacement and capital budgets. This supports the creation of separate PM calendars for non-asset tasks.

Any volume of data in your CMMS should not present challenges. The CMMS system should allow you to track any quantity of PMs, non-PM WOs, etc. without degrading performance. Therefore, deciding to include (or not include) PMs should not be based on CMMS performance.

One of our CMMS resellers advises users to record pretty much everything in CMMS so they can access and analyze information, and build reports from one source.

However, some of our customers argue that while CMMS keeps track of all activities performed on an asset, non-asset tasks should be separated out. They group non-asset tasks outside the scope of information they're capturing in CMMS, including:

  • Tasks with costs not assigned to specific assets
  • Vendor-owned and operated equipment, such as vending machines and pest control repairs.

Other customers agree that while equipment maintenance tasks need to be scheduled and documented in CMMS, certain inspections don't warrant CMMS management, such as QA inspections, operator rounds, pest control, and other very basic/generic scheduled tasks.

Another customer told us they have certain equipment that requires zero maintenance. At first he assigned each an asset number, and associated department and "owners" in the CMMS, but didn't create any PMs so the assets weren't tracked or inspected. After a while he saw the value of creating PMs to make sure the assets were still working and that they hadn't "walked off" the facility because of carelessness or dishonesty at the shipping and receiving docks.

Rarely do users hit a plateau where they think, "Do I really need this basic information in my CMMS?" As long as your CMMS has the functionality, you should be using it as a single, central repository for every task that falls under maintenance, whether it's related to an asset or not, or requires a PM or not. There is a basic truism in data management: any data entered in two or more places will eventually be different. Keeping your data consistent, available, and organized in one CMMS will not only benefit you now, but in the long term, particularly when that task or inspection becomes critical to optimizing your maintenance department.

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...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

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.