When thinking about the assets in a facility and asset induction, calibration and facilities managers are concerned about their reliability, availability, maintainability and criticality to the processes the assets serve. Questions they ask themselves are:
- Are we doing the right preventive maintenance (PM) and calibrations to maximize the assets’ reliability and availability to the production line?
- Do we have the right parts, talent and tools on hand to maintain the asset?
- How are we using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to assist us in answering these questions?
Let us start by thinking how companies use a CMMS throughout an asset’s life cycle (obtaining, deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading and disposing) and how it relates to the asset’s reliability, availability, maintainability and criticality to the facility. Managers should go to the CMMS when the life cycle of an asset begins (the obtaining process/ asset induction).
If the asset being considered is one a company already has, management should take a look at its history in the CMMS to determine what the mean time between failures (MTBF), amount of labor and parts for PMs and repairs, and length of time the asset has been unavailable for production are. If a company has been using the CMMS to its fullest extent (scheduled activities, unscheduled activities, and labor and parts tracking), there is a wealth of information to be gleamed from the data in the system. For example, let’s say you want to know what the reliability (producing good product) and the availability of the asset for production use has been. Based on history in the CMMS, managers know the frequency and length of time it takes to perform schedule calibrations and maintenance. Time to perform these activities will decrease the time that the asset is available for production use. This information is helpful when considering whether there is a need for improvements or upgrades to the current asset to increase the interval (frequency) of scheduled activities; thus making the asset more available for use in the production process. History in the CMMS will provide the time it takes to perform these scheduled activities and determine if changes need to be made to procedures to maintain an asset’s reliability while decreasing its downtime.
On the other hand, if the asset being considered is new to the facility (thus not having any history in the CMMS), managers must consider the following in the asset induction process:
- Is there anything in place with the purchasing department that requires the completion of a pre-purchase process before an order can be placed?
- Is the vendor supplying information on PM and calibrations activities, MTBF, and availability of parts, special tools/instruments and training needed to perform maintenance or calibrations? For example, an asset may be used for 80% of a plant’s production. A tank that is part of this asset, may be a special alloy that has a 16 week lead time and costs $56,000. Buying a spare tank and keeping it as a spare part could reduce a lengthy production interruption.
- Can the vendor supply PM and calibrations procedures with estimate how long it takes to perform the tasks? For example, a spray system may be used to apply adhesives. When asked, the vendor said the PM was to be performed quarterly, but no one thought to ask how long it takes. It may turn out that the PM takes 4 hours to perform. If this is known in advance, the PM can be scheduled for be performed on overtime so the piece of equipment is not down during production hours.
- Is there a need to write new PM and calibration procedures? If so, where are the resources coming from to write and validate them?
- Do we have the right utilities for the asset (power, data, deionized water, cooling, correct environment, necessary class of cleanroom)? For example, the engineering department may be specifying a piece of equipment with a voltage requirement, but the area where the equipment was going to be installed does not have sufficient utilities. It would be very expensive to run the power to this location. Upon further investigation, the vendor could supply the equipment with the voltage requirements that were already in the room.
- What are the safety requirements of the device? For example, the use of a chemical introduction process allows the EH&S officer to review the chemical prior to be considered. A chemical being proposed may require the use of a respirator, which will be uncomfortable to wear for an eight hour day. Instead, a hood can be installed to use the chemical without requiring the use of a respirator and its associate training, maintenance and respiratory safety program.
In addition to providing historical information on existing assets, a CMMS can help in the asset induction process in several other ways. Work flows with an associated checklist and appropriate approvers can be set up in a CMMS for pre-purchase activities. Work plans can be created and attached to work orders to act as a check list to ensure all pre-purchase activities are performed prior to ordering the equipment. Once the asset is received, a documented receiving process can ensure the asset is what was expected and is not damaged. This can be a separate work flow for a work plan. Additionally, once the asset is received and appropriate information is gathered, the asset number is assigned and data can be entered into the CMMS. If the equipment requires validation, a process can ensure that the validation is performed prior to the asset going live on the production floor and all scheduled calibration and maintenance activities have been entered into the CMMS.
In conclusion, a CMMS can assist with the asset induction process by supplying data on an asset’s history that can result in better decisions on which asset to purchase and assist with tracking the activities that are necessary to ensure the asset has been received and is ready for production use.