By: Gary Brown – President – Express Maintenance

Having worked in and been around maintenance, facilities, and asset management for almost 30 years, I’ve discovered that the need for a CMMS still appears to be in question. In 90 percent of the instances where a CMMS is in use, plant manufacturing leadership appears to want to have it, but only so far as it assists with meeting compliance requirements. All other benefits seem to be an added annoyance to this thing they do not understand and really do not want because maintenance and the CMMS – and related staffing and expense – are “indirect costs,” which are two of the most evil words in the manufacturing world today.

So, is CMMS the devil or an angel?

It is the devil for short-term operations when it tells you something you don’t want to know in the current week, month, or quarter. For example, your CMMS might inform you that you lost manufacturing time (downtime and/or uptime on equipment); your maintenance labor efficiency (time card hours to maintenance hours reported on work orders) isn’t what it should be; the reasons why you cannot repair your equipment (ineffective supply chain management, lack of labor, lack of knowledge); your equipment is breaking because of poor operator training, no PM program, lack of operator PMs, or Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

It is the devil when it consumes your resources and does not give leadership the results they are looking for, and it is most certainly the devil when it asks for more resources to improve or replace people or equipment. And when leadership does not listen to the answers, and goes ahead for the sake of short-term production needs and a catastrophic event occurs, it is surely the devil when it says, “I told you so but you did not listen.” All these examples point to what is wrong. In the short-term, this reflects on the cadre of broken business systems in the overall operating processes and the need to fix them on the fly.