Leveraging CMMS to increase plant uptime

Monday January 16, 2017
Written by Lindsey Walker, Nexgen Asset Management
Jan. 16, 2017 - When it comes to plant operations, a single error could lead to total devastation in your facility. Whether you are running a water treatment facility or a production line, it is important to track your plant’s operations to avert such problems.

Traditionally, plant operators didn’t have any way of detecting a problem and in most cases, plant maintenance was done after an unplanned failure. In such an asset management structure, the cost of operations is not only higher but you will ultimately suffer loss of customer confidence and loss of revenue.

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) has greatly changed all of this by optimizing equipment productivity through automated maintenance. How does it work? CMMS reduces downtime, which in turn reduces the cost of operations. Any time your equipment fails, your business is losing money and in some instances, the cost of maintenance is higher. With CMMS software, you now have a foolproof solution that increases uptime which will consequently boost your profits.

While your CMMS system has the capability to slice and dice data in many ways, it is important to prioritize in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of your plant. Many plant owners have already integrated CMMS programs but are not fully leveraging the benefits that come with this technology. Here are some ideas on how best to handle the CMMS:

• Pareto analysis
This is used to determine which input factors are likely to determine an outcome. Statistically speaking, 80 per cent of problems in a plant can be pinned down to 20 per cent of causes. This is the reason the Pareto principle is also called the 80/20 rule. The same rule also applies to 20 per cent of your spare-part stock-keeping units (SKUs); SKU is responsible for 80 per cent of the stock’s value. The CMMS should be used to calculate the percentages in order to identify the main problems and get solutions on what is affecting quality, downtime and increased cost.

• Role of good data
To function effectively, the CMMS software requires the foundation of reliable data. Even the best CMMS software cannot provide accurate analysis and reports if it has no relevant data to work with. Hence, you have to provide a system where data is collected in a consistent and timely manner. More importantly, the data should be comprehensive to guarantee viability and better decisions regarding the operations post-analysis. The data collection process should be quick, easy and accurate, and must be carried out by qualified personnel. It is essential to emphasize the importance of good data to those collecting it, by introducing incentives to motivate them.

• Asset hierarchy
Building a well-planned asset hierarchy is one of the most crucial steps in creating a solid asset management system. You might have the best preventive maintenance software, but without a comprehensive asset hierarchy it will not work. It is crucial to differentiate between the parts and assets in your plant for the mobile facility maintenance software to work efficiently. For instance, are rotating assets also considered to be parts? It is also important to establish a location hierarchy which defines the precise location of a particular asset. Once this is done, you can then build a failure tree identifying the hierarchy of problems. To do this, consider if it is possible to collect a particular set of data at a particular granular point. You should also consider the number of likely PCS codes at each level.

• Analyzing data
Mobile asset management software provides analysis tools with different capabilities. You can carry out different forms of analysis such as the top 10 PCA codes that can be generated after every shift. You can also troubleshoot to identify various possible causes for the plant problems. With mobile CMMS, it is now possible to carry out these inspections remotely as well.

Conclusion
There are many reasons to invest in mobile facility maintenance software. Your plant can benefit from increased customization capability. More importantly, Cloud-based CMMS is more flexible. Other advantages include less downtime, longer equipment life, enhanced productivity, easier management of spare parts inventory, increased safety and much more.  

Lindsey Walker is the marketing manager for Nexgen Asset Management. She excels at business development, project management and asset management. Her passion for writing allows her to share her knowledge on asset management, mobile geographic information systems (GIS), mobile CMMS, software implementation, training curriculum development and similar topics.

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