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How Much Time & Money is Your Plant Losing Because Bills of Material (BOMs) for Equipment Maintenance (& Repair) Aren’t Easily Accessible?

Ruth Hughes, CMRP, CDG Founder & CEO

Why Bills of Material are Important

Emergency! A piece of equipment is down, and a replacement part is needed! However, no one knows what part to use. No worries. Just find the person who does. Ut oh. That person’s on vacation. That’s ok. Just find the equipment manual. Ut oh. The equipment manual can’t be found. It’s either missing, someone has it, or it was put back in the wrong place. Meanwhile, the downtime clock is ticking, tick, tock, tick, tock, and valuable uptime is being lost.

“The majority of work performed by the maintenance force requires specific spare parts and general maintenance materials. Downtime is exponentially extended when jobs are delayed because parts must be source, procured, and received before required work can commence.” (p. 187). Nyman and Mountjoy (2022)

BOM Best Practices

To let your team know what parts a piece of equipment requires, reference the equipment’s bill of material (BOM), also known as a spare parts list (SPL). BOMs/SPLs specify the components of a piece of equipment, including its assemblies and subassemblies. Knowing this information is not only critical to getting the equipment back up and running but it’s also critical to asset reliability. Hence, this information must be shared with everyone within the maintenance organization, and it must be easy to access.

Use Work Order Software to Share Maintenance Data

The best and most efficient way to share and give easy access to bills of material is via work order management system software, also known as computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software. Because all work order management system/CMMS software is not created equally, this article assumes the following about work order management system/CMMS software:

  1. It’s powerful, yet easy to use.
  2. It’s been properly implemented, processes have been properly defined, users have been properly trained (on the processes inside and outside of the system), and it is properly supported.
  3. Reports are easy to generate, email, customize, and automate.
  4. Bills of Material/Spare Parts Lists can be imported or updated manually/automatically.
  5. A piece of equipment can have multiple BOMs/SPLs.

Populating Bills of Material/Spare Parts Lists

If a BOM/SPL exists electronically, simply import it. If not, update it manually or choose the setting within the software that automatically updates a BOM/SPL every time a part is:

  • Checked out (from the storeroom) to a piece of equipment or to the equipment’s work order.
  • Received (from a PO) to a piece of equipment or to the equipment’s work order.

Adding Parts to Work Orders

BOMs/SPLs can also be used to quickly add parts to a work order. To add a BOM/SPL part to a work order, select the Spare Part action. When the list of BOM/SPL parts displays, simply point and click to add the parts to the work order. The benefit of using the Spare Part action is that it negates having to search the entire parts list which saves time.

Rebuilds & Reorders

Multiple bills of material can be added to a piece of equipment which is helpful for rebuilds. Before rebuilding a piece of equipment, review the BOM to see if the quantities on hand meet the quantities required. If so, the rebuild is good to go. If not, select the Order action and all parts listed on the bill of material will be added to a new purchase request, enabling sufficient quantities to be on hand prior to the rebuild.

Without work order management system/CMMS software, maintenance organizations are left to search equipment manuals, the internet, and/or spreadsheets to find equipment BOMs/SPLs. This is not an efficient use of time, especially if the downtime clock is ticking.

Let CDG Help With MVP CMMS

If you seek work order management system software or if your current system lacks the features listed in this article, contact us today to learn about MVP CMMS. Or, Contact Us today to start (or accelerate) your Maintenance, Operations, & Reliability Excellence! (MORE!) journey with the help of our reliability engineering team led by Bill Mountjoy himself!

Nyman, Don and Bill Mountjoy. Maintenance & Operational Reliability, (South Norwalk: Industrial Press, 2022).

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