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Q&A on how to achieve CMMS success

Gregory Perry, Fluke Reliability Senior Consultant, explored in a recent webinar 10 key steps to achieve successful CMMS implementation. Many attendees submitted questions, and Perry answers those questions below.

1. What is the best approach to increase data quality in the CMMS and capturing process?

Perry: The best approach is having your data standardization written and applied. Follow this with documented workflow processes that govern the way you go about your business. Then audit, audit, and audit. Catch the bad habits early on so that they don’t become ingrained. Look for opportunities to improve by capturing the mistakes. Without these two, you can’t hold anyone accountable but yourself.

2. In the functionality of a CMMS, where would continuous predictive maintenance data be inputted into the CMMS for maintenance data analysis?

Perry: Usually, ongoing “condition” monitoring data feeds into a historian (not the CMMS). The historian exists as a data lake whereby all aggregated data from many data-producing sources are collected. It is the historian’s role to apply algorithms looking for “prescribed” sentinel events. These sentinel events go to the CMMS in the form of actionable work orders or alerts. CMMS systems are the historians of work execution and less that of aggregated data.

3. Can you give a specific example of going from an SOP to a PCD?

Perry: Organizations are either people led or process led. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or P&P will state the rules of business written for all to be governed by (process led). Some parts and of the SOP mention the CMMS as a tool of choice to be used. But they stop short of telling you the exact method to use the tool.

That is where Process Control Documentation (PCD) comes into play. The PCD explains in exact detail how the CMMS will be used to carry out the SOPs step-by-step and lists those responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI). PCD bridges the gap between being people led and process led.

Often, an SOP would be one written for procurement covering all the details around sourcing, buying, receiving, accounts payable, etc. The CMMS PCD would include how to do any of these functions using the CMMS and the scenarios to follow in a step–step detail.

4. Where does a facility condition assessment fit into the plan?

Perry: In the world of facilities maintenance, the activity performing scheduled audits of the facilities fall under any Building Management Plan (BMP). These assessments (or audits) are usually drivers for identified work (opportunities or gaps) in which the CMMS is then used to document and govern their execution and follow-up.

5. Can I use the CMMS on more than one computer and simultaneously make everything visible to everyone in my time and as a manager?

Perry: With the software as a service (SaaS) CMMS model, the modern CMMS is accessible on any device with a browser. As for making everything visible to everyone, it depends on the intent. If it is to use a license seat to drive an electronic dashboard display, it is possible. If the idea is to use a license seat at the manager’s desk and use that same license seat in the shop area to drive an electronic dashboard display on a separate device, that is also possible but not advised.

6. What security measures should be kept in mind?

Perry: The No. 1 security measure is avoiding sharing passwords or accounts. Follow your organization’s password and account sharing policies. Today’s modern CMMS software forces logins to be used within the organization’s domain to ensure “inside the brick” policies of access are followed and governed. Also, make sure all browser access utilizes the HTTPS protocol to ensure proper encryption.

7. Which tool is applied for data validation and analytics?

Perry: Data validation can be brought about with many different means. One involves the computer system validation methodology—you ensure the computer-based systems will produce information or data that meet a set of defined requirements. Another method could be to assure the data is sensible and reasonable. Both ways do not check data accuracy. The ideal tool lets you build “validation” into every step of your documented workflow without requiring an in-depth understanding of the underlying format.

8. When should planning for user training happen? Which step should this happen? Could it be a related project on its own?

Perry: Planning for user training occurs in Step 5, “Implementation.” No, I do not see it as a project on its own within the purview of your initial CMMS implementation. I agree that user training should always be an ongoing initiative that is an integral part of all things that are sustainable, replicable, and innovative. Remember, the only truly constant thing is “change.” Routine ongoing training is so important to maintain consistency, stability, and control.

9. How do you verify that any maintenance activity is performed successfully concerning uploaded CMMS tasks?

Perry: I am assuming the question is more centered around job execution completion and how to track those in the CMMS (substituting the word “task” for “work order”). If so, the best practice methodology to deploy would be to include the actual owner of the work order in on the verification process. The owner of any work order is always the person who requested the work in the first place. After completing a work order, communication should go out to the originator for their approval promptly before the work order is closed in the CMMS.

10. Many managers give the username and password to their subordinates. What shout we do in this scenario?

Perry: There are two trains of thought to this–both involve integrity and intent. The software vendor sells licenses, and the clients buy licenses. The selling/buying licenses deal with the integrity piece. If no ethical violations or broken policies occur, there isn’t an issue there. The intent piece will be up to the client’s purpose for sharing logins. It is not a best practice. But many practice this. For clear lines of accountability versus responsibility to be drawn, blurring the lines with more than one hand in the cookie jar doesn’t help.

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