To operate at full capacity, manufacturers must take some precautionary measures to prevent any interruption in their operational performance because any unexpected disruption in the production leads to tremendous loss and damages. That is why manufacturers implement procedures for keeping and maintaining their assets and use dedicated software to keep track of their equipment and machineries. This article looks into the concept of maintenance management and the industrial tools that help centralize maintenance information.
The term maintenance management refers to all of the measures and procedures taken to preserve the assets and resources belonging to the manufacturers. The main objective of these activities is reducing the costs of production and adhering to the budget plan. As such, a lot of efforts go into maintenance management to achieve the following objectives:
Minimizing the downtime due to any possible failure in the machinery and equipment
Ensuring the compliance of procedures with regulatory frameworks
Controlling MRO costs (including maintenance, repair and operations)
Ensuring the safety of personnel: personnels working in the production plants are exposed to various hazards because of the existence of different machinery and by implementing a maintenance management policy, manufacturers can ensure that nothing can interrupt the operations.
Extending the asset life: As companies invest heavily in the procurement of their machinery, they should make sure that they are always in good condition and extend their life.
Manufacturers usually take various factors into consideration to choose the strategies for maintenance management; as an example the type of failure in the machinery (whether it is possible or has happened), budget allocation, parts and spare parts availability and the size of labour force are considered and either the reactive or proactive maintenance strategy will be implemented. With the reactive strategy which is also known as the firefighting technique, manufacturers wait for any wreak havoc on the machinery and then take action to repair it; i.e, they react to any failure in the operation of machinery and take a corrective maintenance measure in response to it. The other form of maintenance management strategy is called proactive and is exactly the opposite of the former one. With this strategy, manufacturers inspect their assets and resources on a regular basis to prevent possible failures from happening. As stated above, companies typically choose one of the aforementioned methods to maintain their assets but sometimes it is advised that they use a mixture of both; i.e. take a proactive or preventative maintenance approach towards their critical assets and implement the reactive strategy for their insignificant equipment and just fix them in case of any possible failure.
Maintenance management is made up of various tasks and responsibilities each of which cover different aspects of manufacturing operations. Following is the list of functions within the realm of maintenance management:
Work Order Management
All of the documents and reports about the procedures of maintenance are referred to as work order. These documents that contain detailed information about maintenance processes, task allocation, procedures, documentation, order of tasks, etc. have critical roles in the maintenance management and can be considered as the primary and most important step in the process.
Asset and facility management
After carefully drafting the work order, it is advised that manufacturers develop a detailed plan for procurement of the assets and list the steps for operating the machinery and finally formulate the plot for dismantling them. Using this action plan, manufacturers will be able to extend the life-cycle of their assets. In the next stage all of the components of facilities including the workplace and people must be coordinated in a way that all of them move toward the realization of corporate goals.
MRO inventory management
All of the tools and equipment that are used for maintenance, repair and operations have their own costs and need to be managed efficiently; i.e. manufacturers must have special strategies for sourcing, application and replenishment of safety equipments, chemicals for cleaning and other equipment that are used for maintenance purposes and manage all of them by the lowest possible price.
Sometimes companies assign the maintenance activities to special contractors and do not involve themselves in these activities because of various reasons. As an example they might not have enough work forces to handle the maintenance operation or they might not have access to the required equipment for them . In this case, finding the right contractors and negotiating with them, monitoring their activities for regulatory compliance and covering the costs for their contracts adds another layer to the maintenance management which is a multi-dimensional concept.
Though reducing the operation costs is the main objective of maintenance management, companies must spend a huge amount of money for the maintenance activities and procuring the tools and equipment that are required for its accomplishment. As such, decision makers must always keep track of their expenses in the maintenance department and make sure that it is in line with the corporate budget plan.
Just like other activity areas, various software have been made for simplifying the process of maintenance management. Computerized maintenance management systems which are briefly referred to as CMMSs are computerized platforms that collect all sorts of the data about maintenance activities and analyze the data to find hidden patterns and trends inside them. These systems are capable of managing data related to assets, work orders, MRO, procurement, requests for maintenance, and reports for failure in the machinery. In the next stage, business analysts step into the scene and find hidden trends within them by carefully analyzing the data.
CMMSs are used in a wide range of industries including oil and gas, energy production, construction, manufacturing, transportation, telecommunication, pharmaceutical, etc. and are made up of a central database which is connected to different departments and gets its feed from their activities. The data is obtained from various functions that have been elaborated above and include but not limited to work order management, assets and facilities management and MRO inventory.
EAM and CMMS share a lot of similarities and sometimes are used interchangeably but there are core differences between them. EAM which stands for enterprise asset management system is made up of various sensors, software capabilities and tools that can be used for asset optimization and it aims at increasing the performance of the asset to the highest possible range. Just like CMMSs, these cloud-based services typically are used to monitor different aspects of assets including their lifecycle, work order, planning, failure reports, supply chain and issues about safety. As stated above, there are a few similarities between CMMSs and EAMs and both of them are used:
For Maintenance management
On a subscription basis and are hosted on cloud
For work orders and asset management
Planning and scheduling
Reducing the dowtimes
As for the differences between the two systems, it can be stated that while EAMs are usually accompanied by CMMS capabilities, the situation is not true for CMMSs; i.e. the capabilities of computerized maintenance management systems are focused on maintaining the assets, whereas EAMs have broader functionalities together with maintenance management.
Based on what stated above, the capabilities of CMMSs are much lower than EAMs and the former are more limited than the later.The table below provides a deep view towards the capabilities of CMMSs and EAMs.
Article By: Maryam Mousavi