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CMMS Considerations

September 29, 2009

An article titled “Lawyers and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems” by Dave Bertolini in the September, 2009 publication discussed a number of important factors related to CMMS systems. The article pertained primarily to minimizing the risk of lawsuits related to maintenance activities using the  information contained in CMMS systems. There are corrective actions that can be implemented by companies that will protect the integrity of information in CMMS systems which were addressed in the article. Two significant areas that create potential issues but with proactive initiative can be minimized are  (1) correct, consistent and accurate equipment description and (2) standardized and accurate equipment numbering to ensure  maintenance activities can be substantiated. It has been our experience that fixed asset inventories coupled with barcoding of assets has a material impact of the reliability and integrity of CMMS systems coupled with the ability to reconcile the maintenance system to the fixed asset system of the company. Too frequently, when a new CMMS is implemented, information from the old system or even is some cases, information from a manual system is imported into the new system with insufficient attention to the accuracy of the information. If the information is not accurate the problem compounds over the years bringing the reliability of the entire system into question and leaving the company at risk as it is  unable to provide the information required to verify maintenance activities occured. A detailed, physical inventory of all assets, barcoding of these assets, reconcilling all asset systems and implementing a process to maintain the system will significantly reduce risk. In addition, other tangible benefits can be derived from the process described such as reducing costs such as property tax.

One Comment leave one →
  1. TaxManB permalink
    October 6, 2009 12:36 pm

    This is the first that I have heard of CMMS being used in a legal setting, but the article does go a long way in pointing out the benefits, and necessity of having a process to accurately record the detail of the daily operations, inputs and outputs of your business.
    While having this informational system in place obviously acts as a line of defense in this example, the article also identifies many more day-to-day practical benefits that can allow your company to run more efficiently. The keys to realizing any form of benefits through a CMMS are depth of detail and accuracy of information. While that may be stated simply, achieving this precision requires effort and expertise as well as communication throughout departments and chain of command.
    First and foremost, you need to have an accurate count of your assets. It is not uncommon for companies to have anywhere from 10-20% of the assets on their ledger and in their maintenance system, be non-existent. On the financial side, that means that the company is paying a significant amount of their personal property tax bill unnecessarily and it means that there is excess equipment in the CMMS that may be affecting the efficiencies of parts ordering, production and work performed.
    Steps need to be taken to set the foundation for your clients to be able to take full advantage of any and all benefits that a CMMS can present. Begin by customizing the approach for each individual client, and physically creating the most applicable barcode technology for their needs, including size and use of equipment. By implementing a barcode process you can provide the client with a 100% unique identifying asset number, while at the same time standardizing their equipment descriptions so that they are well grouped, but also specific. Once the assets have been assigned this unique number, the client is then able to have all pertinent detail information regarding their assets, literally at the touch of a scanner. Everything from maintenance and upgrades, to parts inventory and lifecycle, will all be contained in the CMMS under the asset’s distinctive identifier.
    This approach to capturing all relevant information in such an individualized manner, allows your clients to use their CMMS to its full benefit in creating efficiencies and increased cash flow for the business.

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