Understanding Failure Codes in CMMS

Failure codes within a CMMS define why an asset has stopped working. They consistently document failure events based on predetermined categories and logical groupings to refine the data mining process to drive improved equipment reliability. All part and parcel to a Reliability-Centered Maintenance program.


1. Failure Codes

The failure code is the symptom of the problem. What looks or feels broken? Failure codes provide a consistent and searchable method to explain why an asset isn’t working.

2. Cause Codes

The cause code outlines what creates the problem. Why did the problem occur?

3. Remedy Codes

The remedy code is the correction to the problem. What maintenance actions will fix the problem?

Failure Codes Hierarchy

A CMMS can show failure codes in asset details.

A failure hierarchy is data set on problems, causes, and remedies for asset and operating location failures. Groups of data called failure codes are linked in parent-child relationships to form a failure hierarchy. Each hierarchy is identified by its failure class (dependent on the system configuration).

Furthermore, failure modes and effects analysis or an Asset Criticality Assessment are great ways to determine the operational impact of failures.

Why Use Failure Codes?

Understanding the rate of failure by code can assist in doing the following:

  • Validate Preventive Maintenance (PM) tasks
  • Optimize PM and intervals
  • Improve Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) for given failures
  • Improve work practices

MTBF, MTTF, and MTTR are powerful metrics to determine the effectiveness of your maintenance practices. Consistent use of the failure codes provides:

  • A convenient method of getting statistics about equipment failures or breakdowns
  • The ability to effectively identify trends and problems
  • A collective approach to compare this data across the enterprise

The correct codes help develop reports and statistics on critical KPIs such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), PM Compliance, or implement a Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) program. In addition, failure codes can help organizations spot trends or labor-induced failures.

Best Practices with Failure Modes

In other words, a failure mode describes any event that causes a failed state, listed at an appropriate level of detail. Because of that, failure mode descriptions should consist of a noun and a verb such as “filter blocked.” In some cases, more detail is added for common cause items, such as “bearing seized due to improper lubrication.”

There are different types of failures. A function can have a total failure or a partial failure. An example of a total function failure would be that the equipment fails to perform its function at all. A total failure would mean that the equipment is not performing its function. Similarly, a partial failure would mean that the equipment is functioning at less than the set rate required to perform.

man in black coat looks at data dashboards for failure codes

Additionally, identical components can have different failure modes if the operating context is different. The level of detail in describing failure codes is important because too little detail is too vague and not specific enough to identify the problem causing the failure. On the other hand, too much detail may not work. Asking the technician to look too deep into the failure and not provide the information that will be useful for fixing the failure isn’t effective.

The Importance of Failure Codes

CMMS failure codes are key to analyzing and understanding an organization’s assets. For instance, failure behavior patterns can emerge to determine factors such as “working” age, PM frequency, EHM parameters and decision models, operational tradeoffs.

CMMS Failure Codes: Customer Success Story

Clement Pappas, also known as Lassonde Pappas, implemented a CMMS and received failure codes.

Clement Pappas (CPC), Canada’s largest food manufacturer, produces millions of cases of organic and conventional juices, ready-to-drink teas, enhanced waters, and cranberry sauces annually. CPC sought a system to help facilitate a reduction in maintenance spending and inventory costs while increasing asset health. A goal was set to increase their current uptime rate by 30% within two years.

In conclusion, the organization spotted trends and continuously implemented improvements with custom reports filtered by failure codes and problem types using eMaint CMMS.

To speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly Customer Success Managers about CMMS, please sign up for a call today!

Similar Posts