Using CMMS Software to Schedule Preventive Maintenance Work Orders
Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) (also referred to as Preventive Maintenance Software) is an essential tool for facilities looking to ensure effective maintenance of their equipment as well as extend their asset life. This is because of their ability to streamline maintenance operations through efficient tracking of work orders, assets, tools, preventive maintenance schedules, procedures, staff, parts, as well as purchasing and much more.
Common Preventive Maintenance Scheduling Options
- Scheduling by Dates
This is the most common approach of preventive maintenance scheduling. Scheduling by dates offers the flexibility of specifying work order frequency. Although setting up is easy, the challenge with this is that your maintenance schedule may be less optimal than needed. For instance, it may be too early in certain cases where the machine is not used frequently due to a shutdown or late where the machine runs for longer hours than normal, increasing the risk of equipment breaking down.
- Scheduling by Meter Readings or Equipment Usage
This involves keeping track of the machine runtimes that will then form a basis for your preventive scheduled maintenance. Take an example of a vehicle that can be scheduled for an oil change after 3000 miles or a widget-making machine that can be scheduled for maintenance after a thousand widgets. Although this approach may produce a maintenance schedule that is more optimal, it involves more work as meter readings must be taken manually. Even then, you may also work with estimated readings.
- Scheduling on a Basis of Another Task or Work Order
Here, the maintenance tasks are scheduled days after the completion of the last maintenance task work order. This is especially useful when there is a need to chain work orders (e.g. a maintenance task involving two separate tasks that need to be undertaken by different sub-contractors). Tasks can also be scheduled on the basis of prior completion (e.g. scheduling a preventive maintenance task to be done in 30 days following the completion of the previous maintenance).
- Scheduling Based on an Alarm Condition
This scheduling option lets you define an external condition such as an alarm which means preventive maintenance needs to be done. A good example would be a machine that has an overheating condition and requires constant lubrication of its bearings. This also covers maintenance requests as well as alarms that are scheduled with the use of a condition monitoring or even predictive maintenance systems. These may be external specialized systems that are different from maintenance management software which are responsible for analyzing equipment data before flagging potential issues or predicting when a maintenance issue is due. These systems raise a notification that is similar to an alarm that the CMMS software may use in scheduling multiple maintenance tasks albeit on separate enterprise assets.
Reduce Maintenance Scheduling Dependencies
There are a number of ways of scheduling and managing preventive maintenance for different sets of assets. Even then, scheduling on the basis of another work order or scheduling according to dates offer the most convenient options to schedule maintenance without being dependent on the input of external systems like alarms and meter readings, amongst others. This becomes an issue where the external systems are unreliable or if a manual process is used that involves extra effort in bringing in information. For instance, when someone has to collect meter readings manually and enter them in the system.
Take note that even when you have an automatic process of input and some readings or alerts are lost owing to failures in data collection or importation, you are unlikely to schedule as required. Therefore, ensure that facilities or equipment for which such maintenance is scheduled will not experience catastrophic failure when some preventive maintenance is missed if the input from an external system was not factored for in time. Although this is rare, it may happen.
CMMS Software Selection Tips
If you are interested in purchasing CMMS software, you will do well to consider the following tips:
- Consider where the system will be used as well as who will use it
- Find out how the system will be used
- Check that you will be protected from the future
- Does the software allow you to define a maintenance task library?
- How can maintenance be scheduled?
- Does the software support a good reminder and alerts system?
- Will the software help in keeping track of maintenance, inventory and usage?