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Compared to Asset & Facility Maintenance, Spinning Plates is Easy (Part 1 of 2)

Ruth Hughes, CMRP & CDG Founder & CEO

CMMS / EAM / FMMS Defined

Respectively, CMMS, EAM, FMMS are acronyms defined as computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), enterprise asset management (EAM) software and facility maintenance management software (FMMS). Even though they have different names, they all mean the same thing. Oranges, apples and bananas have different names, but they all are fruit. Hereinafter, CMMS, EAM and FMMS will be referred to as EAM.

Who uses EAM software and why?

Any company that makes, stores, entertains, or takes care of things or people (manufacturing plants, warehouses, NASA, airports, airlines, cruise lines, oil rigs, golf courses, retirement homes, amusement parks, movie theatres, hospitals, schools, cities, governments, etc.) use EAM software to see a clear picture of their maintenance or facilities department. If you’re not familiar with asset or facility maintenance, hereinafter, referred to as maintenance, this may not seem like a daunting task, however, it is.

As Prentice Cawley, Site Engineering Manager of Unilever in Independence, MO, explains, “Maintenance is a game of chess. Everything else is checkers.”

What does this mean? It means that it takes a lot to effectively manage and oversee a maintenance or facilities department and to track its activities because there is a lot to track and to juggle. To me, it’s like spinning plates.

Each spinning plate needs constant attention to prevent it from falling. In the world of maintenance, this is known as predictive or condition-based maintenance. If a plate falls down, it’s unfortunate, but the show goes on. However, if a machine fails, the show stops because either production halts or customers are unhappy, both of which can be devastating to a company’s bottom line. If you think spinning plates is difficult or even impossible, let me share additional variables that make it exponentially more difficult and complex for managers to see a clear picture of their department:

  1. Dependency
  2. A piece of equipment may be dependent on one or more pieces of equipment and vice versa (if equipment A fails, it will make dependent equipment fail). With spinning plates, you only have to worry about plates as individuals, not systems.
  3. Equipment Personalities
  4. I would have never thought this before, however, after years of working in the maintenance and facilities industry, I have come to learn that each piece of equipment has its own personality and can have really good or bad days. Many times, equipment is named for its personality. Spinning plates don’t have personalities.
  5. Feeds
  6. Power
  7. Equipment needs power to run. Because the flow of electricity is not constant, equipment runs differently as the current varies and maintenance has to respond to these variations. Spinning plates don’t require power.
  8. Lubrication
  9. Everything that moves needs lubrication or friction will occur, wearing down bearings, leading to equipment failures and downtime. Many times, equipment is either under- or over-lubricated. Then, for some equipment types, oil changes are needed. Spinning plates don’t require lubrication.
  10. Spare Parts
  11. If equipment is unreliable, it will consume lots of spare parts. Regarding the complexity of having readily available parts on hand that are easy-to-find, I can write a book about this subject. The bottom line is that it takes a lot of setup and ongoing support to keep the inventory beast tame and to prevent it from eating up bottom-line profits. Spinning plates do not require spare parts.
  12. People
  13. Maintenance and facilities managers are responsible for staffing their department to take care of equipment and buildings. Again, this may sound easy, but it is not. Certain equipment requires certain certifications and skills to perform maintenance and sometimes, those requirements are difficult to find. Additionally, when managing people, you have to manage salaries, payroll, sick time, vacations, personalities, etc. With spinning plates, one person runs the show.

Continue Reading: “Compared to Asset & Facility Maintenance, Spinning Plates is Easy! (Part 2 of 2)”...

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