Category Archives: Facilities Management – Advice

Green CMMS – the engine of sustainability

These days, when someone says the word “green”, they probably aren’t just talking about the color of your sweater. “Green” and “Going Green” have become the buzzwords du jour for organizations looking to maximize sustainability within their operation. The move to be green is more than just a fad or buzzword, but rather a key component of an effective maintenance operation. A crucial stop on the path to sustainability and becoming “green” is in the implementation of an Enterprise Asset Management / Computerized Maintenance Management System (EAM/CMMS). When used and implemented to high standards, maintenance software can be the most powerful tool in your belt on the path to sustainability.

The proof is in the numbers: U.S. companies spend over $100 billion annually on capital equipment and related services. In terms of energy spending, that number quadruples to $400 billion annually, and that number continues to rise. In a typical manufacturing operation, the highest cost next to personnel is energy. Clearly, it is critical to effectively track and manage energy consumption to remain competitive, and this is where EAM/CMMS comes in.

Energy Utilization

EAM/CMMS provide several quality tools that, when used effectively, allow for more granular tracking of energy consumption. With countless levels of criteria available, and the ability to correlate those criteria to how much energy is being consumed, energy utilization monitoring is simple and detailed. For example, the ability to determine how much energy is being consumed for an individual asset, manufacturer, or Preventive Maintenance (PM) history is available through a CMMS.

The level of detail produced allows for better decision making, such as determining whether it is cost effective to replace an older asset that is consuming a lot of energy with one that is newer and more energy efficient. Imagine being able to determine that an asset from Manufacturer A is consuming more energy than the same type of asset from Manufacturer B. Replacing those energy-hogging assets from Manufacturer A can result in less energy consumption and greater cost savings.

Energy consumption can be logged and detailed using Building Monitoring Systems, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications and other specialized monitoring equipment that interfaces with the CMMS to create a tightly wound monitoring and corrective action system.

Condition-based monitoring is another important piece to utilizing a CMMS to reaching high levels of sustainability in asset management. Triggering corrective work orders, notifications, and even preventive maintenance schedules based on the level of energy being consumed is something that can greatly reduce energy utilization of given assets. These conditions are user-definable, meaning the level of flexibility is high. Minimum and maximum values are set, and based on those conditions, corrective actions are triggered. Condition-based monitoring is particularly notable in preventive maintenance. Triggering a preventive maintenance action based on a level of usage, like run-time hours, can greatly increase the overall efficiency of a PM program.

Going Green = Going Paperless

Becoming a more green and sustainable maintenance operation is not solely dependent on monitoring energy consumption. Moving away from paper and into an electronic platform greatly enhances efficiency and decreases costs. The cost of paper, storage of paper, creating an efficient filing method, and time spent filing are all greatly reduced with an electronic platform for the creation, distribution and completion of maintenance work assignments.

To be truly paperless, implementing a mobile platform is essential. With a mobile application of the CMMS attached to the tool belt of technicians and supervisors alike, the CMMS becomes easy to access and even easier to use. Work flow becomes timelier, as all parties involved have faster access to more timely data, which in turn decreases average response time to repair requests. Critical documents can be attached to work requests and accessed from anywhere, which saves the time and hassle of finding a document stored in endless file cabinets and binders of information.

Distribution of forms turns into the click of a button, and can appear instantly on the designated recipient’s handheld device. The recipient can perform a number of tasks, including further distribution, adjustments, associating inventory, and even completing and closing the assignment with time spent, parts used, and a detailed labor report, all without ever touching a sheet of paper or picking up a pen. The completed work is stored as history instantly, and any data entered can be queried using the CMMS reporting mechanism. Time is of the essence to ensure assignments are being completed and any enhancement to productivity, while also decreasing on the number of trees required to do so, are all benefits of a paperless work flow through a CMMS mobile tool. This allows for machines to stay running and sustainability to increase.

Reporting is another area of a maintenance operation that can greatly benefit from going green and paperless. There are an array of features and functions in any quality CMMS that help satisfy the needs of regulatory bodies from every industry. As regulatory bodies increase the need for compliance via more frequent audits and required reports, the importance of having a centralized, organized, and paperless storage system for work history becomes increasingly important. JCAHO in healthcare, ISO in manufacturing, and Sarbanes Oxley for accounting in many industries all allow for the submission of electronic reports detailing the necessary compliance to standards set by the respective regulatory body.

Having the ability to query electronically stored data into an electronic report becomes a few key strokes, rather than a painful and exhaustive process of collecting and filtering data on endless paper into a comprehensive history report. This increases productivity and, because it is paperless, saves on printing costs while implementing sustainable practices. With flexibility a CMMS reporting tool provides, users can create reports from a myriad of data sets easily and efficiently, all while maintaining a level of detail suitable to relevant regulatory requirements.

For more information about implementing this type of solution using CMMS, visit  Or contact Scott Lasher at Maintenance Connection via or (888) 567-3434 x1.

Maintenance KPI’s – An easy way to define yours

I’ve worked in the plant maintenance industry for years.  How did KPI’s look in those days? Here is an example KPI in 1988: “Keep the machines running”.

Fresh out of engineering school and thrown into the corporate engine, my life was all about keeping the conveyor belts running.  That was the priority (and still is, but said differently) at United Parcel Service so that little Jimmy would get his red wagon in time for Christmas.   Although we had no clue that they had a name (KPIs), here was our mission during the UPS days:

  • Keep the belts running
  • Get your PM’s done
  • Anything stopped for 15 minutes was a breakdown
  • Make sure mechanics knew how to make a repair the UPS way
  • That is..because every action that a mechanic took was measured using a DOS program built by UPS (called PEMMS)

Now UPS was way ahead of their time with work measurement, starting, of course, among the fleet delivery drivers.  They moved that successful approach to every aspect of the business, including maintenance.

Now the world is catching up to such great role models like UPS.  However, the aspect of defining KPI’s has still been somewhat behind the curve.  KPIs can be a mystery unless you happen to be a maintenance professional with enough hours available in the day for reading all the great maintenance measurement books available.  Show me one of those people and I will immediately tell you that that person is a consultant.  (No offense to the great consultants.  I am guilty as charged)

Once again the Internet is bailing us out by saving a ton of time and making KPI definitions easier to grasp and define (without having to read a novel then construct a maintenance business plan, etc).

Here is example KPI where you can see the industry baseline then work your own numbers by taking a survey: Preventative maintenance hours as a percentage of total maintenance hours

CMMS = Could Mean My Salary

I recently spent some time helping a well-known yogurt manufacturer improve their visibility into their daily maintenance process.  Their CMMS product is 10 years old, not updated with the correct patches, and the reporting software is equally as ancient.

The manager in charge of maintenance performance seemed less stressed this time as compared to last.  During my first visit he was newly appointed as the person who would take their CMMS and revamp the plant maintenance performance within a few months.  I’ve seen that type of pressure placed on people before.  So many times, in fact, that I have a name for it….CMMS (could mean my salary).  Because if this guy fails, he is probably out of a job.

So of course their is a wonderful transference of that same pressure onto the consultant who the plant was so kind as to bring in and help the guy with a CMMS on his forehead.  “Could Mean My Salary”, in case you forgot.

Well this yogurt man had actually taken that old CMMS and incorporated the changes we had identified during the first visit.  So needless to say he was much more relaxed, knowing that his upper management team believed in him (and me…through transference).

To make a long story short, and then sum up my point, this latest visit proved to be successful as we took old reporting software and used it to improve maintenance processes weaved throughout an equally rickety CMMS product.  More specifically, we eliminated 8 labor hours per week that were previously “empty” labor hours spent transferring data from the CMMS to Excel then comparing to a production schedule, etc.

We took a single report and with prompts made it variable enough to manage all scenarios.  So the 8 hours transferring data was replaced with a single report that could be launched at any time to pull the required information LIVE.

The Point?  CMMS either “could” mean your salary, or it can also “justify” your salary and make it grow.  And having the latest, greatest CMMS system is not a guarantee or precursor to success.  It’s more about the basic concepts of “minimal touch” information gathering and maintenance process efficiency.  If you want to learn more, email me directly:

CMMS Decisions in 2010 – Due Diligence by Proxy

There has been a shift in behaviors shown by both consumer and B2B shoppers with respect to their due diligence process, decision-making, and purchasing actions.  During the past several years, these standard marketing and sales cycle steps have taken on more of a self-service approach.

During the upcoming year 2010, more than ever before, people will be using Google Search, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn, and other sources to decide what products and services best meet their needs.  Almost completely gone are the days of picking up the phone and talking to a salesperson during the “information gathering phase”.

So, it’s more important than ever for vendors to show up with as many relevant web links and informational content as possible.  However, saturating the web with product information is no longer defined as simply throwing a blanket out with mass mailings.  The efficient approach to marketing is now defined as 1 to 1 – getting your message to the people who are interested in hearing it.

The most important element of reaching the right audience is to get your links into relevant industry directories, track the behavior of people who click your links, and know what your audience is doing on the internet, who they are, and which emails of yours they read.  For example, this site shows different companies and which CMMS / EAM system they chose: CMMS Success Stories.  This is an example of a relevant directory of information for CMMS vendors and shoppers.

Human nature shows that we listen to each other.  We believe in what others find valuable.  We know that the wheel should only be invented once.

As we seek similar and services, we read about what others think and do.   For example, my fantasy football lineup shows me a percentage across all teams of who is being started each week.  Based on that information I can assume a good portion of people are making educated decisions by starting a particular player, and you are naturally swayed toward doing the same.  Sometimes I have enough time to do more of my own research, but when I don’t, then I tend to go with the masses as a means of playing the percentages.  I assume those percentages are my best bet for success.  I play it safe.

For the CMMS world, I have a question:  Did your company choose MP2 (or another product) years ago because everybody else was doing the same?  Maybe.  The only difference is those folks started their evaluation by picking up the phone and asking for a demo to learn about the product.  They chose a list of products to demo after a corporate search team researched and created a long-list based on what other companies were purchasing in your industry.

Today, each individual location can do that same old corporate research right from their workstation on the Internet.  You can see what CMMS others are using, saying about their CMMS and so forth.  No more picking up the phone and calling a sales person… that is, until you are ready to purchase.



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CMMS Advice is a blog dedicated to centralizing information for folks interested in learning more about CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software), or on a larger scale EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) Software. The format of this blog will be a free-form mixture of opinions, articles and whitepapers with CMMS or EAM as the central common thread. This blog is being powered and funded by Software Net ( ) and specifically the CMMS category, also represented on the web by the CMMS Resource Center ( ), the original CMMS internet directory ( and the latest CMMS informational portal for “All Things EAM / CMMS” ( ).  Please send suggestions for future expansion areas. We are cooking up some ideas of our own !