CMMS data entry: Operations vs. Maintenance

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Question: Should operations and not maintenance be responsible for entering work requests in a CMMS system?

Answers or Suggestions:

  • Probably both. Operations because they are the most familiar with the plants operational characteristics and should be the first to know when there is a malfunction affecting production performance. Maintenance because they will be aware before operations of plant conditions that are deteriorating but not necessarily affecting performance ... thus far! The faults that are usually unseen. Example: shaft bearings and pump shaft sleeve wear.

  • There should be any hard and fast rule that only operations and not maintenance personnel can initiate work orders.

    Early information is key to proper maintenance. Focus the eyes and ears of all facility personnel on equipment condition and you will get the information you seek. Equipment operators are one source (often under-utilized) of this information. Operations personnel should be trained to detect equipment problems early on. An operator in a planning organization does not wait for the equipment to fail before contacting maintenance. Signs of beginning equipment problems, such as leaks, temperature anomalies, and odd sounds, are noted by an observant operator. No problem is too small to report. Even a false alarm can be turned into a training opportunity, which will help fine tune the operator's observation skills to discover beginning problems.

    Obviously, maintenance personnel should not be exempt to this type of observation. In deed, skilled maintenance personnel can have a unique observation skills based on their training and experience with equipment in general (mechanical, electrical, etc.). Maintenance personnel should definitely be allow to initiate a work order (entry into the CMMS) when they find a problem.

    Preventive and predictive maintenance efforts provide a more structured approach to work identification. A robust preventive maintenance (PM) program would include cleaning, lubricating, adjusting, testing, calibrating, rebuilds, preemptive replacements, and inspections. The best programs include well written procedures with data entry forms and management spot checks. The success of a PM program is often measured by how many hours are logged or how many inspections are performed. A more definitive measure would be a count of corrective actions derived from PM activities. As rule of thumb, three corrective actions should be derived from every ten PM inspections.

    A predictive-maintenance effort is also a major source of plannable work. A predictive approach can be applied to any equipment problem if, first, a physical parameter like vibration, temperature, pressure, voltage, current, or resistance can be measured. An engineering limit for the measured physical parameter must be, established so a problem can be detected during routine monitoring. The physical parameters are measured periodically (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.). If the measurement exceeds the established engineering limit, it must be analyzed further. Analysis will reveal common the problem. Once the source of the problem is determined, the best repair activity can be chosen, and a work order should be written.

    • "Signs of beginning equipment problems" -- this is core to a proactive work management process and everyone should be involved.

      The suggested rule-of-thumb "three corrective actions should be derived from every ten PM inspections" associates failure rate with inspection
      interval and when looking for potential failure conditionn (PM Inspections) the two are not related. The on condition inspection task (PM Inspection) is dependent on how fast the failure progresses from a point at which a failure in known to be occurring (P-F Interval). It is not related to how often a failure happens.

      In the world of reliability, operations would be pleased as punch if mtce only notified them every 100 inspections that the equipment had to be planned and scheduled for repairs. And pleased even more that the problem was caught prior to the consequences (Within the P-F interval)
      of that failure being felt.

  • The most important thing to remember is that all maintenance requests should be captured. Therefore, it's probably best that anyone can submit work requests. However, only authorized person(s) should be responsible for deciding whether work requests get approved and changed to work orders. The same authority can also prioritize work orders based on its importance or safety issues. But:
    • Keep in mind that part of the overall Work Management Process (Identify, Plan, schedule, execute, handle breakdowns and Improve) includes the identification of future plannable work. Maintenance does this by doing PM inspections, Operations (Production) does this by reporting abnormal symptoms, observtions made from informal walk arounds or through the performance of a pre-use inspection. Regardless of how this information gets to maintenance, it's the equivalent of a "request". So from either route, operations or maintenance, the information goes to the planner and a work order is created to repair or diagnose. In short, both maintenance and operations have their roles in the "request" arena and both need to be performed if we are going to manage assets proactively.

  • Maintenance is a process not a department, and the process of maintenance starts and finishes with operations.

    On a plant-maintenance forum, it was recently noted that when coporations extensively use CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software Systems) to compile statistics on their maintenance programs, they are amazed at the amount of Preventive and Predictive reporting by operators (operations). In terms of, % of by manhours scheduled based on operations-based work orders, processing plants (75%) and manufacturing (60%).

  • The dilemma lies in the definition of predictive and preventive maintenance.

    One could argue that a cleaning task is preventive or predictive maintenance (depending if it's clean regardless or inspect and clean on condition). Checking a pressure gauge is predictive (normally). Checking the alignment of a conveyor is predictive and so is checking for hydraulic or air leaks.

    Now if you formalize these tasks and do them when required for example every shift, then the 15 to 30 minutes spent on the production line or machinery adds up to maybe one or two hours per day.

    A certain mining company did some analysis recently on an excavator; they found that in the past six months there were two significant failures that amounted to $1M of lost production (the mine was excavator critical) and both of these failures could have been identified days before they failed had these inspections been on the operators check list. So you can see that this form of inspection is fundamental to reducing maintenance related downtime and adds up to a lot of time AND the most important PM on the site in a many cases.

    Tradespersons (maintenance technicians) may use more sophisticated tools to determine plant condition, but the principle of what the trades are doing is not different to what the operators are doing. When operators check the oil level or listen and look for a leak they are doing condition monitoring.

    So what is important is that maintenance be defined correctly and that operators are made aware that what they do for most of their day on the plant is actually maintenance... and as such it should be controlled in a manner that's practical and in harmony with the rest of the maintenance

  • Perhaps the only way to make things work out is by management placing everybody in front of their responsibilities: maintenance AND operations are responsible for the PERFORMANCE of THEIR assets. Maintenance has an impact of 75% on availability and 25% on quality and performance, so to maximize the impact on the overall equipment effectiveness, Maintenance needs the cooperation of Operations.

    Lots of problems come from the lack of objective measurements and communication. If people have reliable facts to discuss about, then they can not discuss about how an availability factor for example has been computed but how to fix the problems.

    To summarize: clear targets, evaluation means and taking responsibility. If it does not work out --> happens frequently if the confrontation comes from personal feelings, then the management must take decisions and replace who needs to be replaced. He/she must then take advantage of the "shock" to force a mentality change.