Oct 22, 2018

CMMS in context of the maintenance cycle


Defining Maintenance

Maintenance can be defined as:

“The combination of alltechnicaland associated administrativeand system activitiesintended toretainan item in, or restore it to, a state in which it can perform its required function”.


This definition infers the following:

  1. Maintenance has both a technology perspective (i.e. focus on items of plant and equipment) as well as a management perspective (i.e. focus on the organisation and management thereof).

  2. Maintenance focuses on items of plant and equipment in order to ensure that it performs a required function (i.e. the driver of maintenance is the function to be performed, not the plant and equipment itself). This forms the foundation of a preventive and reliability centered maintenance planning approach.

  3. Maintenance deals with both preventing and correcting any condition that could result in downgrading the function to be performed. Finding the appropriate balance between such preventive and corrective work is key to optimising plant and equipment lifecycle cost and profitability.


The challenge to the maintenance function is therefore to understand both the equipment to be managed and as well as how to manage these in a way that will result in maximum value to the company.


What is a CMMS

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), is a software package that maintains a computer database of information about an organization's maintenance operations. This information is intended to help maintenance workers do their jobs more effectively (for example, determining which machines require maintenance and which storerooms contain the spare parts they need) and to help management make informed decisions (for example, calculating the cost of machine breakdown repair versus preventive maintenance for each machine, leading to better allocation of resources). CMMS data may also be used to verify regulatory compliance. To properly control the maintenance of a facility, information is required to analyse what is occurring. Manually this requires a tremendous amount of effort and time. A CMMS also allows for record keeping and tracking completed and assigned tasks in a timely and cost-effective manner. In recognition of this, companies are widely using CMMS systems to better control and organize their maintenance departments and tasks.


A CMMS offers multiple core maintenance functionalities. It is not limited to manufacturing but expands to facilities, utilities, fleet, hospitals, sports arenas and more where any type of equipment/assets are subject to repair and need maintenance. With improved technology and increasing competition, more and more companies are switching to CMMS vs using manual methods to track and organize information. The different functional components of a CMMS include but are not limited to:

  • Equipment/Asset data management through control of the Asset Register

  • Service Request and Work order system

  • Corrective and Preventive Maintenance through the Work Order and Planning functionality

  • Labour and Service Provider Management through the Work Order functionality

  • Scheduling/Planning functionality

  • MRO Parts Inventory Control and Stores Management

  • Purchasing and Vendor Management

  • Budgeting and Cost Tracking

  • Performance Reporting


CMMS packages may be used by any organization that must perform maintenance on equipment, assets and property. Some CMMS products focus on particular industry sectors (e.g. the maintenance of vehicle fleets or health care facilities). Other products aim to be more general.


CMMS packages can produce status reports and documents giving details or summaries of maintenance activities. The more sophisticated the package, the more extensive analysis facilities have available.


Many CMMS packages can be either web-based, meaning they are hosted by the company selling the product on an outside server, or LAN based, meaning that the company buying the software hosts the product on its own server.


Maintenance Cycle

The maintenance cycle below provides a graphical overview of the overall maintenance process, including: planning, scheduling, execution, performance assessment and ongoing improvement:


Key steps in the above cycle include:

  1. Asset Management Policy, Objectives and Strategy: This process happens outside of the CMMS, it considers the maintenance Business and Statutory requirements and comes up with an Asset Management Policy. This Policy is documented in a Standards Manual, this standards manual is the master document that outlines how the CMMS system will be setup and utilised to perform the company maintenance requirements.

  2. Plan Work: Plan Work considers the asset condition and, based on the Asset Management Policy, determines which assets requires Preventive Maintenance, and how often (frequency) such maintenance is required. The Frequency is determined by the asset condition and criticality.

  3. Planned Maintenance Tasks: This includes activities such as Preventive and Condition Based Maintenance Tasks as well as scheduled events such as Maintenance Projects. The standard work plans/ instructions, maintenance frequencies and schedules are carried out in the CMMS. These tasks are typically of a repetitive nature and once loaded into the CMMS they can be scheduled once and will automatically reschedule and assign resources on an ongoing basis.

  4. Corrective Maintenance Task and User Requests: This includes planned as well as unplanned (emergency) corrective maintenance activities events as well as ad hoc service requests. These activities are recorded and managed via the CMMS to ensure effective response time and allocation of work. These tasks are not fixed and are determined by the condition of the asset or equipment.

  5. Schedule Work: This process is carried out in the CMMS and refers to the allocation of resources such as Personnel, Materials, Tools or Equipment to a Job card. Such allocation of work is typically performed by a Maintenance Planner. Modern mobile-enabled CMMS systems can push the work directly to field technicians in real time without the need to generate and issue paper based Work Orders.

  6. Execute Work: This process is carried outside of the CMMS and refers to the actual physical work/ maintenance that is carried out.

  7. Feedback: There are 2 steps in the feedback process. The first step happens outside the CMMS and refers to the Technician completing the job card with feedback of the parts used, work done etc. The second step happens inside the CMMS and refers to the Planner capturing the feedback from the job card into the CMMS. Modern mobile-enabled CMMS systems now allows the Maintenance technicians to directly capture their feedback in the CMMS system, thereby reducing unnecessary administrative work.

  8. Reporting: This is the power behind a CMMS system and refers to the reporting capabilities of the CMMS. All data that is captured from Job cards and the information that lies on the asset can be crossed references to build reports.

  9. Analyse: This is the process of analysing the reports generated by the CMMS and benchmarking this data to performance standards and best practices. This gives a platform for improvements to be made.

  10. Improve: Refers to the improvements made to the Plan Work that has been identified in the Analyse phase.

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