Author: Ethan Wilke

FTMaintenance Select v.2.12.3.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.12.3.0, which incorporates the following:

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Corrected an issue that incorrectly disassociated Assets and Meter Reading Definitions.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.12.1.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.12.1.0, which incorporates the following:

Solutions

  • Notifications
    • Improved email notifications for low inventory notification events.
  • Work Order Management
    • Improved support for Work Order Attachments.
  • Work Order Scheduling
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order Scheduling functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.12.0.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.12.0.0, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Work Order Management
    • Expanded the ability to configure Work Order field visibility.
    • Expanded the ability to configure required fields for Work Order closure.

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
  • Dashboard
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Dashboard functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Corrected an issue that prevented Parts from being de-allocated from Work Orders.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.11.0.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.11.0.0, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Asset Management
    • Ability to track cumulative meter readings.
  • Inventory Management
    • Improved the usability of Transactions.
    • Ability to filter Inventory Items by Asset Type when performing transactions.
  • Work Order Management
    • Ability to automatically filter the Work Order Asset list based on the Work Order’s Location.
    • Ability to print Work Orders from the Work Order list.
    • Ability to sort and filter Work Orders by Customer.
    • Improved the ability to track Work Order Part costs.
    • Ability to automatically save changes to the Work Order when the Work Order Status is changed.
    • Ability to automatically filter the Work Order Parts list based on the Work Order’s Asset(s).

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Improved responsiveness of Building functionality.
    • Improved retention of Asset Category field changes.
    • Improved retention of custom Building fields.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Location functionality.
  • Inventory Management
    • Improved page load times.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Inventory functionality.
  • Purchasing
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Purchasing functionality.
  • Reporting
    • Improved the Work Order Form report.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Reporting functionality.
  • User Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to User Management functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Work Orders now display the correct Issue Date.
    • Improved Work Order Part allocation operations.
    • Improved activation of daily Master Work Order schedules.
    • Improved performance of required Work Order fields.
    • Improved visibility of Notes within Work Order History.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.
  • Work Order Scheduling
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order Scheduling functionality.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

9 building blocks with a magnifying glass being assembled into a tower

To minimize costly downtime, maintenance teams first treat the symptoms of failure in order to return assets to service quickly. While corrective actions may provide relief, they do not address the failure’s true underlying cause. Root cause analysis (RCA) allows organizations to uncover the origin of equipment failures.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

First, let’s address what is meant by a “root cause”.  According to the American Society of Quality (ASQ), a root cause is “the core issue […] that sets in motion the entire cause-and-effect reaction that ultimately leads to the problem(s).”  It is the main contributor to an asset failure.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a systematic process for investigating why a specific incident occurred. Using various approaches, tools, and problem-solving techniques, RCA provides a structured way for organizations to fully understand the circumstances surrounding a failure, identify its root cause(s), and determine an approach for responding to and resolving it.

Compared to troubleshooting, which is a process of trial and error, root cause analysis is a formal, in-depth examination of physical, human, or organizational factors that may contribute to equipment failure.

Importance of Root Cause Analysis

Without determining a failure’s root cause(s), you cannot make the changes necessary to prevent it from recurring. You may simply perform corrective maintenance (CM) and consider the problem solved, only for it to happen again. Addressing the “symptoms” of a problem does not solve the root cause, even though a repair may provide temporary relief.

RCA provides guidance for determining why an incident occurred by exploring what happened and how. Based on your investigation, you can implement controls that prevent the incident, or similar incidents, from recurring. As a result, you organization can avoid unnecessary costs due to downtime, audits and regulations, and subpar asset reliability.

When to Perform Root Cause Analysis

What failure events prompt the need for a root cause analysis is ultimately your choice. However, you don’t need to perform RCA for every single failure, nor should you. Many problems are relatively minor, happen infrequently, or you already know their cause (e.g., a part that fails because it has reached the end of its useful life). The best candidates for root cause analysis are:

  • Chronic failures that occur regularly and are not solved by fixing symptoms
  • Failures in mission-critical assets for which there is no backup or way to mitigate the effects of failure
  • Critical failures that have a significant negative impact on the organization or endanger the health and safety of employees

Also consider that proper root cause analysis requires a significant amount of time, manpower, money, and knowledge to complete. Important information is often missing because it is generally not possible (or practical) to monitor everything needed for RCA. When data is available, it can be onerous to construct a timeline of events and identify a root cause, of which there may be more than one. Further, it is simply not practical or cost effective to thoroughly investigate every failure, no matter how small.

Root Cause Analysis Tools and Techniques

Root cause analysis uses various approaches, tools, and techniques to determine the causes of asset failure. The International Organization for Standards (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) list multiple analysis tools and techniques in their risk management standard, ISO.IEC 31010:2019. For your convenience, the most common RCA tools are described below.

Keep in mind that no RCA tool or technique is foolproof – each has its own pros and cons. Also, some methods may be more applicable to certain industries or types of problems. Your organization should develop its own approach to root cause analysis.

The Five Whys Method

Darts in the bulls eye of a dart board with “why” written out in each ring

“The Five Whys” (5 Whys) is a popular problem-solving technique that originates from Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries, in the 1930s.It is considered one of the easiest RCA tools. The main idea behind the Five Whys method is “by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.” However, five whys is simply a guideline – some problems can be solved using more or less why questions.

Below is an example of the 5 Whys method:

Problem: A blower motor is vibrating excessively

  1. Why? The motor bearing failed.
  2. Why? The motor bearing overheated.
  3. Why? The bearing was improperly lubricated.
  4. Why? The amount of lube being injected was less than the recommend amount.
  5. Why? The grease inlet was clogged.

Possible Solution: Schedule a preventive maintenance task to clean the grease inlet.

Five Whys can also be applied to your maintenance process:

Problem: A preventive maintenance (PM) work order is overdue

  1. Why? The activity took longer than expected.
  2. Why? The required parts were not in stock.
  3. Why? Parts were not purchased on time.
  4. Why? Demand for the parts was unknown.
  5. Why? Parts usage was not properly documented in the CMMS.

Possible Solution: Configure the CMMS to require users to enter quantities of used parts.

Fishbone Diagram Analysis (Ishikawa diagram)

Fishbone diagram, commonly used in root cause analysis, showing possible causes for the stated effect

An Ishikawa diagram, better known as the fishbone diagram due to its resemblance of a fish skeleton, helps organizations identify many possible causes of a problem. The problem or adverse effect is displayed at the “head” while causes categories are shown as “bones” feeding into the spine. Commonly used categories include:

  • Man (People)
  • Machine / Equipment
  • Method
  • Measurement
  • Material
  • Environment

Each possible cause makes up smaller “bones” that branch off of their applicable category. After all possible causes are identified, analyze each cause (possibly by using the Five Whys Method) and brainstorm solutions.

Fault Tree Analysis

Fault tree analysis (FTA) is a top-down approach to problem solving that uses a graphical tree diagram to map the relationships between a fault and its related events using Boolean logic. The undesirable event is shown at the top of the diagram, and lower level events are connected through “logic gates” representing AND or OR operators.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)

Graphic displaying 10 steps of FMEA using in root cause analysis

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is one of the most complex methods of root cause analysis. At the start of the process, a cross-functional team identifies all the ways in which an asset might fail, known as “failure modes”. Typical types of failure modes include:

  • Premature operation
  • Failure to operate at the prescribed time
  • Failure to cease operations at the prescribed time
  • Failure during operation
  • Degraded or excessive operational capability

Next, the team conducts an “effect analysis” to systematically assess the risk each failure modes poses. Risk is quantified by generating a risk priority number (RPN), which represents a failure mode’s severity, probability of occurrence, and likelihood to be detected. Based on the RPN, the organization identifies failure modes that pose the highest risk to the organization and create a plan to prevent them or mitigate their risk. The ASQ provides an example of an FMEA procedure on their website.

Pareto Analysis

A Pareto chart on a desk with a pen and magnifying glass

Pareto analysis is a decision-making tool that helps organizations identify which failure causes are the most significant. It is based on the Pareto principle, better known as the “80/20 rule”, which states that 80% of failures come from 20% of causes.

Using Pareto analysis, a Pareto chart is created to plot the frequency of causes and their cumulative effects. The Pareto chart is a combination of a bar chart and line chart. The bars represent the frequency of causes, with the most frequent on the left and least frequent on the right. The line chart shows the cumulative sum of each cause’s percentage.

Root Cause Analysis Process

The specific steps taken when performing root cause analysis differ based on the tools and techniques used. In general, the RCA process is as follows:

  1. Define the problem:
    • Clearly and concisely define the problem.
    • Collect preliminary data about the failure, including specific symptoms and effects.
    • Create a problem statement.
  2. Collect data: Gather all data relevant to the failure, such as what happened before and after, who interacted with the machine, and important details about the asset.
  3. Identify causal factors: Create a timeline of events and examine any contributing or related causal factors.
  4. Identify the root cause:
    • Use one or more root cause analysis tools and techniques to identify the root cause.
    • Determine the best solution to address the root cause.
  5. Implement solutions:
    • Develop an action plan to address the root cause to prevent it from recurring.
    • Monitor and evaluate the solution after implementation.

Root Cause Analysis and CMMS

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is an invaluable tool for performing root cause analysis. It provides a way for maintenance teams to document and track critical asset and maintenance data that can be used when analyzing asset failures.

Work orders track what problems your assets have experienced and what resolved them. Organizations can quickly access important asset information, meter readings, and preventive maintenance schedules to provide context to the events surrounding failures. Some CMMS systems offer failure tracking and analysis through failure cause tracking. Read our series of articles about failure codes for more information.

When a root cause is identified, the CMMS can be used to easily create or modify preventive maintenance schedules, update PM task lists, attach supplementary maintenance documentation, and document new maintenance procedures. Maintenance reports help you monitor and track the results of any new or changed maintenance activities introduced to address the root cause.

Track Equipment Failures with FTMaintenance Select

The maintenance team is a key source of information for teams performing root cause analysis. Organizations must have a solution in place to store critical data about assets, work orders, and maintenance schedules.

FTMaintenance Select provides a centralized platform for documenting, managing, and tracking maintenance activities and creating a repository of information about asset maintenance and performance. Request a demo today to learn more about how to create a proactive maintenance plan and prevent critical failures with FTMaintenance Select.

What are the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices?

Close up of blue pop tab cans on a manufacturing line regulated by FDA Good Manufacturing Practices

As consumers, we pay close attention to the products that we put into (or on) our own bodies or the bodies of animals. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures the quality of food, drug, and cosmetic products by regulating how such products are manufactured. This article provides an overview of the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations and their relation to maintenance.

What are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Regulations?

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are FDA regulations that set minimum quality requirements for the manufacture, processing, packaging, labeling, and storage of food, drugs, cosmetics, and other products. Adherence to such regulations minimizes or eliminates the risk of contamination, mix ups, defects, and errors that could be harmful to humans or animals.

You may also see Good Manufacturing Practices referred to as Current Good Manufacturing Practices or CGMPs. “Current” mandates that regulated industries use up-to-date technologies or processes that comply with Good Manufacturing Practice regulations.

The GMP’s are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, which includes Good Manufacturing Practice regulations as well as other statues related to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Title 21 FDA regulations apply to the following industries:

Why Are Good Manufacturing Practices Important?

Good Manufacturing Practices exist because consumers cannot fully detect whether products are safe, will work, or are truthfully labeled. Take a classic example from American history: A traveling salesmen, posing as a doctor, attempts to sell his “miracle cures” and elixirs to an unsuspecting public, who later find out that all claims were pure fiction.

The public puts its faith in manufacturers to proactively ensure product quality and safety, especially for products that affect our well-being. GMPs, by force of law, instill public trust in the food and drug manufacturing process. Instead of focusing on end products, GMP regulations focus on the processes used to make the goods. By controlling quality at different points of the manufacturing process, the FDA aims to greatly reduce the possibility that unsafe products are produced.

Good Manufacturing Practices Maintenance Requirements

It is critical that maintenance teams in FDA-regulated industries understand Good Manufacturing Practice regulations because asset performance directly impacts process and product quality. Poorly maintained equipment and facilities increase the likelihood of defects or contamination. Therefore, maintenance processes and activities must maintain or improve quality.

GMP maintenance requirements vary based on industry, though there is much overlap. In the United States, the FDA defines distinct GMP standards for food and drug manufacturers. The sections below summarize key maintenance information contained within the Good Manufacturing Practices for each industry. Be aware that these regulations are subject to change without warning. Always refer to the official FDA documentation for your needs.

Food GMPs

Ice cream cone production machine regulated by FDA food GMPs

Food GMPs are covered in Title 21 CFR, Part 110. It describes the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls required for producing food for human consumption. GMPs for dietary supplements and animal food are covered in parts 111 and 507, respectively. Those GMPs are not covered in this article.

Personnel

Personnel regulations address employee health, hygiene, and habits. These regulations affect maintenance employees because they come into contact with food contact surfaces in order to perform maintenance.

Guidelines described in food GMPs include removing sick employees from the manufacturing process, maintaining personal hygiene, following food safety practices, and protecting food from contamination caused by perspiration, tobacco, cosmetics, and other sources. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be worn as necessary.

Buildings and Facilities

These GMPs are related to the buildings and facilities in which food is produced, and are subdivided into multiple sections.

Plant and Grounds

Many regulations relate to keeping potential contamination sources out of or away from buildings. Facilities should be kept in good condition so as to not attract pests or allow filth to affect food production. Maintenance activities may include waste removal, regular grounds keeping, and ensuring adequate water drainage.

Sanitary Operations

Sanitation is an essential component of any food safety program. Under GMPs, sanitary operation regulations include:

  • Maintaining buildings, fixtures, and facilities in a sanitary way
  • Managing the use and storage of cleaning compounds, sanitizing agents, and other toxic chemicals
  • Controlling pests
  • Frequent cleaning of food contact surfaces of equipment
  • Properly storing and cleaning movable assets
Sanitary Facilities and Controls

Sanitary facility regulations have to do with major facility systems, such as water, plumbing, and waste removal. Food GMPs mandate that water is supplied throughout the plant, plumbing allows for adequate drainage and waste disposal, and toilet facilities are readily accessible.

Assets and Equipment

GMPs for food processing equipment relate to how equipment is maintained, cleaned, and controlled. Part 110.40 (a) states that equipment and utensils should prevent “adulteration of food with lubricants, fuel, metal fragments, contaminated water, or any other contaminants.”

This statement is especially important for maintenance teams, as it requires additional tasks to protect equipment and extra care to be taken by technicians when preparing for, or cleaning up after, maintenance activities. Food safety tasks can be entered on work orders using computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software.

Read Also: Why Food and Beverage Manufacturers Need to Invest in a CMMS

GMPs also require equipment to be installed in such a way that equipment and adjacent spaces can be cleaned. Maintenance teams must be aware of these requirements, as they may help plan, install, and clean equipment.

Production and Process Controls

Production and process control regulations for food cover numerous aspects of raw materials handling and manufacturing operations. As you may have assumed, they all have to do with preventing food contamination in one form or another. Below are some general guidelines:

  • Ensure the accuracy of instruments and controls used to measure, regulate, and record conditions such as temperature, pH, acidity, and air quality
  • Maintain equipment, containers, and utensils used to convey, hold, or store product in a manner that protects against contamination
  • Use a food safety process, such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan, to identify and eliminate hazards and sources of adulteration

Pharmaceutical GMPs

Pharmaceutical pill tablets manufactured according to FDA pharmaceutical GMPs

Pharmaceutical GMPs are covered in Title 21 CFR, Parts 210, 211, 212, 225, and 226. Only Current Good Manufacturing Practices for Finished Pharmaceuticals (Part 211) is covered below. You will find some regulations to be similar to the food GMPs, described above. However, given the precise requirements of pharmaceuticals, drug production environments are even more tightly controlled.

Personnel

Similar to food GMPs, pharmaceutical GMPs for personnel are meant to protect the integrity of drug products. Because maintenance people regularly interact with equipment used to manufacture drugs, they must adhere to these regulations as well. Personnel regulations including wearing protective apparel and PPE, practicing good sanitation and health habits, and preventing sick workers from participating in the production or maintenance process.

Buildings and Facilities

Pharmaceutical buildings and facilities are tightly regulated because any variance in temperature, humidity, light exposure, or other conditions can adversely affect drug products. Facilities must be aseptic and free of contamination from bacteria and other microorganisms. Pharmaceutical GMPs for facilities are largely related to major buildings systems or the equipment used to control them including:

  • Lighting
  • Ventilation and air filtration
  • Air heating and cooling
  • Plumbing
  • General maintenance and sanitation

Assets and Equipment

Maintenance teams in the pharmaceutical industry must go to great lengths to ensure that maintenance activities do not inadvertently alter the safety, identity, strength, quality, or purity of drug products. This level of care requires additional preparation and completion tasks, special knowledge of products used for cleaning and sanitation, and strict documentation of any equipment intervention.

Below are some pharmaceutical GMPs related to equipment:

  • Prevent lubricants and coolants from touching surfaces where drugs are manufactured
  • Clean, maintain, and sanitize and/or sterilize equipment to prevent malfunctions or contamination
  • Establish and follow written procedures for cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • Keep records of maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing, and inspections
  • Routinely calibrate, inspect, and performs checks on equipment according to a written program to assure proper performance

Pay attention to pharmaceutical GMPs documentation requirements. Maintenance organizations in other industries vary in their level of maintenance documentation, with some having no documentation at all. However, keeping records of maintenance procedures and activities is a requirement in the drug manufacturing industry.

That’s why many companies implement CMMS software for pharmaceutical manufacturing. A CMMS provides a single platform for creating, maintaining, and storing documentation required by the FDA. When it comes time for maintenance audits, a CMMS provides a single system for accessing the documentation requested by auditors.

Read Also: Why You Shouldn’t Fear Maintenance Audits

Production and Process Controls

Among the production and process controls outlined in 21 CRF Part 211 is the equipment identification requirement. It states that “major equipment shall be identified by a distinctive identification number or code […].” Organizations typically follow an asset naming convention to identify equipment in a logical way.

A second notable requirement has to do with warehousing. While many of the GMP regulations have to do with the production of drug products, they also cover other aspects of the process such as storage and quality assurance testing. The warehousing requirements simply describe that drug products must be stored under appropriate temperature, humidity, and light conditions. Therefore, facility maintenance should be a focus of maintenance teams.

CMMS and Good Manufacturing Practices

Comprehensive use of CMMS software helps organizations adhere to the FDA’s GMPs. A CMMS provides numerous benefits to organizations in industries that are required to follow Good Manufacturing Practices.

Computerized Documentation

A key feature of CMMS is creating and maintaining computerized documentation. Organizations can use the software to create GMP-compliant tasks and standard maintenance procedures (SMPs) for maintenance work.

Maintenance managers can include step-by-step instructions and attachments that help standardize the performance of maintenance activities. Checklists ensure tasks are done, and work order approvals provide verification that work is completed to standard. When work orders are closed, the CMMS automatically creates a chronological maintenance history to prove that work has been completed. This record helps satisfy auditor requirements.

Mobile CMMS

Mobile CMMS software provides an efficient way for maintenance technicians to access work orders from out in the field. By enabling technicians to access CMMS data from their mobile devices, they can create, edit, check the status of, and close work orders from wherever they are. Keeping the maintenance team out in the field – instead of forcing them to return to a stationary computer – allows them to stay productive and reclaim lost wrench time.

Simplified Planning

CMMS software optimizes maintenance planning tasks for FDA-regulated organizations. It provides maintenance planners with all the information needed to create fully detailed, compliant preventive maintenance work orders from one place. Features such as reusable task lists, real-time inventory keeping, labor scheduling, and maintenance history allow planners to determine the best course of action – or determine what activities must be performed in order to complete maintenance work.

Streamlined Document and Data Management

Storing critical maintenance information in CMMS software streamlines data management. Having digital records accessible from a single source saves time in searching for printed paperwork and ensures the information is stored securely as a backup for physical documents.

Further, a CMMS enables organizations to create reports using stored data. For example, reports can reveal whether preventive maintenance is being completed on time, average work order response and completion times, and mean time to repair (MTTR). Use these and other reports to your current analyze maintenance operations and find opportunities to become more efficient and effective.

Comply to Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations with FTMaintenance Select

FDA regulations are strict and constantly changing. You don’t want to be caught out of compliance with GMP maintenance regulations. FTMaintenance Select CMMS software aids maintenance teams in meeting the FDA’s GMP requirements by providing a single platform for documenting, managing, and tracking maintenance activities. It can be used to demonstrate compliance by creating a record of maintenance procedures and completed maintenance tasks. Request a demo today to learn more about how FTMaintenance Select can help you meet GMP regulations.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.9.1.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.9.1.0, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Reporting
    • Improved Purchase Order Form report.
  • Work Order Management
    • Ability to filter the Work Order list by Labor Resource.

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
  • Purchasing
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Purchasing functionality.
  • Reporting
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Reporting functionality.
  • Service Request Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Service Request functionality.
  • User Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to User Management functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.8.1.0 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.8.1.0, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • General
    • Improved data import utility.

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.7.3.1 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v2.7.3.1, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Service Request Management
    • Restrict the assignment of service requests to service request administrators at the time of request submission.
    • Assign a Work Order Labor Resource at the time of service request approval.
    • Automatically set a Location based on a requester’s associated Location at the time of service request submission.
    • Require requesters to enter Asset and Location data at the time of service request submission.

Solutions

  • General
    • Improved system performance and page load times.
  • Asset Management
    • Corrected an issue that caused the Customer field on an Asset record to be unresponsive.
    • Corrected an issue that prevented Asset records from loading on a Customer record.
    • Improved the usefulness of the State field in Location records.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Location functionality.
  • Inventory Management
    • Corrected an issue that created duplicate Transaction records when performing an Internal Transfer or External Transfer transaction.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Inventory functionality.
  • Invoicing
    • Corrected an issue that prevented a Customer record from saving changes to the Customer Number or Customer Name fields.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Invoicing functionality.
  • Labor
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Labor Resource functionality.
  • Notifications
    • Corrected an issue that caused Email Notification Template content and recipients to be cleared when updating the Text (SMS) Notification Template for the same Notification Event.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Notification functionality.
  • Purchasing
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Purchasing functionality.
  • Reporting
    • Corrected an issue that prevented queries from properly filtering reports.
    • Improved report query field labels and descriptions.
  • Service Request Management
    • Corrected an issue that caused Service Request Status changes to be abandoned when using keyboard commands to submit data in the Reason For window.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Service Request functionality.
  • User Management
    • Corrected an issue that caused login errors with passwords containing certain special characters.
    • Corrected an issue that caused the Create and Update buttons to be unresponsive when required data was missing.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to User functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Corrected an issue that prevented all Work Order Types from displaying when editing Work Order Field Configuration settings.
    • Corrected an issue that prevented a Work Order Labor Resource’s Hourly Rate from being displayed on Labor Log Time Entry records.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.3.4 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.3.4, which incorporates the following:

Solutions

  • General
    • Improved navigation menu to support newly released versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge web browsers.
  • Work Order Management
    • Improved labor log tracking.

Preventive Maintenance Best Practices

Technician’s hands applying lube to a bearing in line with preventive maintenance best practices.

A preventive maintenance (PM) program is powerful tool that helps organizations monitor equipment performance, prolong asset life, and reduce unplanned downtime. Despite its benefits, many organizations struggle to develop and maintain effective PM plans while balancing other maintenance management responsibilities. This article discusses multiple preventive maintenance best practices that will help you improve your PM program.

This article is part of a series of articles related to maintenance management best practices. Read our other best practice articles:

Preventive Maintenance Best Practices

While PM benefits organizations of all sizes in every industry, the most applicable preventive maintenance best practices should be determined by your organization. The goal of this article is to present multiple preventive maintenance best practices for your organization to consider. The results from implementing best practices will vary and selected maintenance practices may need to be changed, adjusted, or eliminated over time after trial and error.

While this article focuses on preventive maintenance best practices related to planning, scheduling, executing, and tracking, know that other aspects of maintenance management can affect preventive maintenance. For example, poor work order management or MRO inventory management practices make it more difficult to improve preventive maintenance.

Best Practices for Preventive Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

The planning and scheduling of preventive maintenance sets it apart from other types of maintenance, like corrective maintenance (CM). The following best practices focus on optimizing planning and scheduling.

Enter Preventive Maintenance Tasks into CMMS Software

Asset service manuals include comprehensive information about preventive maintenance tasks, including the task name, frequency, required parts, and even time estimates. Having hard copy versions of maintenance documentation is useful, but technicians waste valuable time searching through the maintenance library or tracking down manuals when they cannot be readily found.

Instead, collect PM task information and enter it into a preventive maintenance tracking system, such as computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software. A CMMS provides technicians with a single place for accessing preventive maintenance information such as a task’s title, frequency, required parts, and estimated completion time.

A CMMS also allows you to upload digitized maintenance documentation, providing quick access to service manuals, schematics, and diagrams. Leveraging this digital maintenance library saves a lot of time during the maintenance process.

Further Reading: Pros and Cons of Different Work Order Management Systems

Prioritize Preventive Maintenance Work

Not all preventive maintenance tasks are created equally. Failing to properly prioritize preventive maintenance work often leads to wasted time, missed critical tasks, and unnecessary downtime. When scheduling preventive maintenance work, consider the following:

  • Is the asset critical to production or operations?
  • How complex is the task?
  • How much time is required to complete the task?
  • Are the required resources (i.e., labor, parts, tools, etc.) available?
  • What is the risk associated with not performing the task?

Preventive maintenance for critical assets must be carefully prioritized with other tasks. However, you should have a system for determining the order in which other tasks are completed.

Visualize the Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Many maintenance organizations use bulletin boards, white boards, and spreadsheets to plan preventive maintenance work. A major drawback of these manual systems is they don’t communicate upcoming work in a meaningful way. That’s why many organizations prefer to use the preventive maintenance scheduling functionality of CMMS software.

Visualizing the preventive maintenance schedule in a calendar view is more effective and easily understood. Using a maintenance calendar, maintenance managers can assess monthly activity level and appropriately assign employees, better balance the work load, and identify opportunities for additional PMs or other tasks.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance Based on Equipment Usage

Owner’s manuals often include generalized time-based maintenance (TbM) schedules. While this approach may be useful in some situations, it does not always reflect actual equipment usage. As a result, seldom-used machines are often over maintained while heavily used equipment doesn’t get the attention it needs.

Usage-based maintenance solves these issues by prioritizing preventive maintenance towards machines that are more heavily used. It also eliminates unnecessary maintenance activities and frees up resources to complete other important maintenance work.

Best Practices for Performing Preventive Maintenance

Another focus of preventive maintenance best practices is improving the quality of maintenance activities. Maintenance teams must ensure that their performance is meeting the standards and expectations of the organization and any regulatory parties.

Standardize Preventive Maintenance Procedures

Inconsistent maintenance work can be counter-productive to improving asset reliability. Standardized PM checklists ensure that preventive maintenance work is performed the same way each and every time, no matter who is doing the work.

PM checklists communicate the exact steps that need to be followed and ensure that critical steps, such as lockout/tagout procedures, are not ignored or forgotten. Later, checklists can be used to audit whether the quality of maintenance meets set standards and hold technicians accountable for performing quality work.

The level of detail in checklists varies by organization. Tasks written clearly and unambiguously leave little room for misinterpretation. Also consider the skill level of your maintenance team. Trusted, veteran technicians may not require the same level of detail as a team made up of mostly novice mechanics.

Automate Reminders

Manually tracking when preventive maintenance tasks are due is nearly impossible for teams that maintain more than a dozen or so assets. CMMS software automatically reminds maintenance teams when preventive maintenance is coming due. This advanced noticed ensures that required maintenance is not missed and gives maintenance managers time to schedule maintenance when equipment is available.

Hold Your Team Accountable

Meeting your preventive maintenance goals requires accountability. When team members are aware of what is expected of them and to what standards their work is held, they are more likely to perform quality maintenance work.

Maintenance managers are responsible for setting expectations and monitoring employee performance. First, they must develop and document the responsibilities of each role within the maintenance team and clearly communicate them. Putting these expectations in writing is important for future reference or tracking when responsibilities change.

For example, PM tasks that include a time estimate hold technicians accountable for completing work in a timely manner. If completion times fall too far outside this estimate, investigate what caused the delay. When tasks are fully defined, assign follow-up responsibilities to an approver who can verify that work has been completed correctly and to defined standards.

Further Reading: Creating a Culture of Accountability with CMMS

Best Practices for Achieving Preventive Maintenance Goals

Preventive maintenance best practices extend into how you define, measure, and maintain success.

Measure Key Performance Indicators and Other Preventive Maintenance Metrics

In order to know whether changes to your maintenance operations are making a difference, you have to know where you are starting and where you want to be. Set specific and measurable goals to keep you and your team accountable for following your preventive maintenance plan. Then, determine and communicate the processes and procedures needed to reach those goals.

What metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you track is up to your organization’s leadership. Our article How to Measure Preventive Maintenance Effectiveness discusses common preventive maintenance KPIs and how to use them.

Provide Ongoing Training Opportunities

Preventive maintenance success requires a skilled and experienced maintenance workforce. Ongoing training results in more well-rounded labor resources that can perform a wider range of tasks. What this leads to is more productivity, flexibility in scheduling labor, and accuracy of maintenance work.

Improve Your Preventive Maintenance Program with FTMaintenance Select

Preventive maintenance is the core of an effective maintenance program. Given its importance to asset reliability, organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their PM processes. FTMaintenance Select provides a centralized platform for developing, managing, and tracking your preventive maintenance plan. Request a demo to learn more.

Understanding the Difference Between Asset Availability and Reliability

Refrigeration compressors that require high availability and reliability for cold storage applications.

Two meaningful metrics used to evaluate asset performance are availability and reliability. Though often used interchangeably, both terms have specific meaning in a manufacturing maintenance context. For the maintenance team, understanding the difference between availability and reliability ensures that maintenance activities effectively target issues affecting plant performance.

This article discusses the differences between availability and reliability, their relationship to one another, and how maintenance can address each.

What is Asset Availability?

Young male machine operator removing product from a CNC machine with high availability

We acknowledge that organizations define and calculate availability in various ways, depending on their process and performance goals. This discussion focuses on availability as it relates to production and examines equipment-related factors that impact availability, such as malfunctions and repairs.

Breakdown of asset availability parameters.

According to The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), asset availability is “the percentage of potential production time during which equipment is operable, that is, operation is not prevented by equipment malfunction.” Put another way, asset availability measures the amount of time equipment was running and producing goods compared to the time production was stopped due to repairs.

Calculating Asset Availability

Refer to the chart in the previous section. As shown, asset availability considers three factors:

  1. Potential Production Time: the amount of time equipment was expected to run, not counting non-equipment-related delays
  2. Production Time: the amount of time equipment actually ran
  3. Repair Time: the amount of time equipment was not running due to an unexpected malfunction and its subsequent repair

Asset availability formula based on production time

To calculate asset availability, divide production time by the potential production time, then multiply the result by 100 to express the value as a percentage.

Let’s look at an example: A production asset ran for 150 hours in a month, but experienced 20 hours of downtime due to a breakdown and waiting for parts. Therefore, out of 170 hours of potential production, actual production time was 150 hours.

Availability = (150 hours ÷ 170 hours) × 100

Availability = 0.88 × 100

Availability = 88%

Another way to think of asset availability is in terms of uptime and downtime. Uptime is generally defined as the time equipment is running; downtime is time equipment is broken down and/or being repaired. Potential production time, then, is considered the sum of uptime and downtime. The asset availability formula using uptime and downtime then becomes:

Asset availability formula based on uptime

Further, uptime can be measured using the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) metric, which calculates the average amount of time equipment runs before failing. Downtime can be measured using the Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) metric, which calculates the average amount of time it takes to make a repair. Therefore, a third way to calculate asset availability is to use the following formula:

Asset availability formula based on the asset management KPIs MTBF and MTTR

However, since MTBF and MTTR are averages, calculating availability using this formula may be less precise than others. Read more about MTBF and MTTR in our article, 3 Important Asset Management KPIs and How to Use Them.

How Maintenance Can Improve Asset Availability

Availability is a performance metric traditionally tracked by production, not maintenance. However, maintenance teams impact availability because they are responsible for finding ways to minimize unplanned downtime and increase the speed of equipment repairs when failures occur.

To do so, organizations can equip maintenance technicians with the information and tools needed for effective troubleshooting. For example, work order history, failure tracking data, and owner’s manuals help technicians to quickly diagnose failures and develop solutions. In addition, indirect factors such as organized stockrooms, appropriate inventory levels, and effective labor utilization indirectly leads to more efficient maintenance.

Advanced organizations may also perform root cause analysis (RCA) and leverage failure codes to track equipment failures. RCA helps identify probable causes of breakdowns and provides data from which to build or tweak preventive maintenance strategies. Comprehensive failure tracking allows maintenance technicians to quickly troubleshoot issues, thereby reducing repair time.

Asset availability can also be improved by implementing a proactive maintenance strategy. Proactive, as opposed to reactive, maintenance lessens the likelihood of unplanned downtime events all together, thereby improving asset availability.

What is Asset Reliability?

Maintenance technician ensuring the reliability of a construction vehicle by making a repair

Asset reliability, according to AMT, is “the probability that machinery and equipment can perform continuously for a specified interval of time without failure, when operating under stated conditions.” While availability measures whether equipment was operable or not, reliability measures the frequency of failures.

Calculating Asset Reliability

Reliability can be calculated in multiple ways, using either Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) or failure rate.

Using Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)

The Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) metric is the most often used measure of asset reliability. It measures how long assets run, on average, before experiencing a malfunction.

Asset reliability formula, using the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) metric

To calculate MTBF, divide the total time the asset was running by the number of failures it experienced during that time period. For example, a machine that ran for 3000 hours and experienced 5 failures has a MTBF of 600 hours.

MTBF = 3000 hours ÷ 5 failures = 600 hours/failure

Stated another way, the maintenance team can expect an equipment failure approximately every 600 hours.

Using Failure Rate

Asset reliability formula using failure rate

Another way to calculate reliability is to use the failure rate, which is the frequency at which an asset fails. To calculate failure rate, divide the number of failures by the total run time. Note that failure rate is the inverse of Mean Time Between Failure, and can be calculated by dividing 1 by the MTBF.

Let’s calculate failure rate using the same values as before:

Method 1: Using Run Time

Failure Rate = 5 failures ÷ 3000 hours = 0.0016 failures/hour

Method 2: Using MTBF

Failure Rate = 1 ÷ MTBF

Failure Rate = 1 ÷ 600 hours/failure = 0.0016 failures/hour

Because this value is so small, it is easier to think of reliability in more useful measures of time, such as years. Translate the hourly failure rate into a yearly rate by multiplying the failure rate by 8,760, the number of hours in a year. Therefore:

Failure Rate (per year) = 0.0016 failures/hour × 8,760 hours/year = 14 failures/year

How Maintenance Can Improve Asset Reliability

Improving reliability boils down to minimizing the frequency of unplanned downtime events. Organizations use a range of maintenance techniques to reduce the frequency of unplanned downtime including:

The goal of these types of maintenance is to lessen the likelihood of failure by proactively servicing equipment. However, each asset has different needs depending on its age, condition, usage, and known failure conditions.

Maintenance teams must use an appropriate combination of maintenance activities to optimize the asset’s performance. Establishing this maintenance mix is one of the foundations of a higher-level maintenance strategy called reliability-centered maintenance (RCM).

Availability vs. Reliability

To briefly recap:

  • Asset availability measures the amount of time equipment was in an operable state vs. being repaired.
  • Asset reliability measures how long equipment performs its intended function (i.e., how often it breaks down).

So what is the relationship between the two metrics? Generally speaking, assets that are more reliable are also more available. Intuitively, it makes sense – the less equipment breaks down, the longer it can be used for production. However, this is not always the case.

Equipment has high reliability and low availability when repair times are long. For example, a machine component fails, causing a major breakdown. There is no obvious cause of the malfunction and it has not happened in the past. The maintenance team must investigate the problem, determine and test a solution, and possibly wait for parts to arrive. Though only one failure occurred within the time period (high reliability), it takes a long time to repair the asset due to its complexity (low availability).

Now let’s look at the opposite scenario. Equipment has high availability but low reliability when there are multiple failures, but each can be resolved quickly. For example, a machine is stopped multiple times for minor corrective maintenance that takes a few minutes to complete in each instance. While, the total repair time is low (high availability) failures are high (low reliability), which is undesirable.

Asset Management Software

One of the most effective ways to improve asset availability and reliability is to implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). CMMS software centralizes critical asset data, helping maintenance teams quickly identify common maintenance issues, troubleshoot failures, and access important maintenance documentation. The system also allows managers to create customized maintenance plans for each asset.

As a data analysis tool, CMMS maintenance management reports help organizations gain valuable insights into asset performance and maintenance operations. In terms of availability, a CMMS can be used to provide accurate repair time data to the production team, helping them identify other causes of stopped or slowed production. For reliability calculations, a CMMS helps organizations track important asset management KPIs including MTBF.

In addition, CMMS reports can be used to better understand equipment life expectancy, assess the effectiveness of maintenance activities, and set improvement goals.

Improve Asset Performance with FTMaintenance Select

Asset management is a key component of maintenance management. FTMaintenance Select is CMMS software that can be used to measure and track data used to calculate asset availability and reliability. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how FTMaintenance Select makes maintenance management easy.

What is a Purchase Order?

Male technician in a storeroom creating a purchase order based on stocking levels.

Maintenance departments frequently purchase maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) inventory to complete maintenance work. Doing so without documentation reduces administrative work, but creates problems when there are discrepancies with payment, delivery, or order accuracy.

Purchase orders formalize purchasing requirements and make it easy for maintenance teams to track what was ordered, when it will be delivered, and how much it will cost. In this article, we explain what purchase orders are and how they are used by maintenance teams.

What is a Purchase Order?

A purchase order (PO) is a document created by a buyer (your organization) and issued to a seller (a vendor) that indicates the buyer’s intention to purchase goods. It is a legally binding document that specifies what items are to be purchased, and provides details such as item quantities, pricing, delivery timeframe, and payment terms.

Purchase orders, at times, are used to purchase services, though the variability of project deliverables and timelines may prompt the need for additional service contracts and agreements.

Types of Purchase Orders

There are multiple types of purchase orders, suitable for different scenarios:

  • One-time (or standard) purchase orders are the most used type of PO. They are used to make sporadic, infrequent, one-off purchases from a vendor. An organization may use a standard purchase order to purchase equipment or critical spares.
  • Planned purchase orders (PPO) are used for long-term purchases with known demand, but delivery dates that are subject to change. They are typically used for items with fluctuating demand – for example, reams of printer paper in an office. Instead of delivering items on a specified date, the organization issues a release against the PO to confirm a delivery date.
  • Blanket purchase orders (BPO) are used to make long-term recurring purchases from frequently used vendors. They simplify purchasing by allowing organizations to consolidate several standard POs into a single, standing order. What goods are purchased, and their amounts, may vary. However, organizations may set restrictions regarding what items can be purchased, the maximum purchase limit, and who is authorized to make purchases.

Purchase Order vs. Invoice

Purchase Order Invoice
Created By Buyer Seller
Issued to Seller Buyer
Purpose To document an intention to purchase goods or services from the seller To document the delivery of goods or services to the buyer and request payment
When Issued Before delivery After delivery (unless otherwise specified in payment terms)

Purchase orders are often confused with other types of documentation used in the purchasing process, one of which is an invoice. An invoice is a document created by a seller (a vendor) and issued to a buyer (your organization) that requests payment for delivered goods (or services). Like a purchase order, it is a legally binding document that specifies what items were provided, the total cost, and the payment terms. Invoices typically reference the purchase order number.

Why Use Purchase Orders?

For busy maintenance professionals, paperwork simply slows them down. Often times, goods and services are purchased without formal documentation other than a vendor invoice. While convenient, vendor invoices only tell one side of the story. What happens when there’s a dispute about payment, delivery, or accuracy?

That’s where purchase orders come in. Purchase orders provide many benefits to maintenance organizations:

  • Clearly communicates expectations: Purchase orders are highly detailed and ensure that both you and the vendor agree on what’s expected.
  • Reduces mistakes: Using a formal purchase order reduces mistakes that occur from misinterpreting handwritten orders or orders taken over the phone.
  • Improves recordkeeping: Maintaining a purchase order history makes it easy for finance teams to see what was purchased and why it was needed.
  • Makes orders easier to track: Purchase orders make it easier to track what was ordered and when it will arrive, as well as verify that you received what was ordered.
  • Provides legal protection: Purchase orders are legally binding contracts that offer protection to your organization and the vendor. They are a record of exactly what was ordered and can be used as a point of reference if problems arise.

How Purchase Orders Work

The purchasing process at a given organization consists of multiple steps, and varies based on their organizational structure, workflows, and requirements. An example of a “typical” purchase process is shown below. Note that the “buyer” is the organization; the vendor providing goods and services is the “seller”.

  1. The buyer identifies a need for a good or service.
  2. The buyer creates a purchase requisition and sends for approval.
  3. Once the requisition is approved, the buyer issues a purchase order to the seller.
  4. The seller reviews the purchase order and determines whether it can be fulfilled.
  5. The seller accepts and fulfills the order.
  6. The seller ships the order and issues an invoice to the buyer.
  7. The buyer verifies the order and pays the seller.

How a Purchase Order Works in Maintenance Organizations

While the process above is “typical” for non-maintenance purchases, it is not conducive to efficient maintenance operations. For example, when an asset experiences downtime, money is lost with each passing second. The maintenance team simply cannot wait for a formal purchasing process to complete while production is stopped.

Instead, the purchase order process in a maintenance environment may look closer to the steps below. In this example, the “buyer” is someone designated to make purchases on behalf of the maintenance team; the “seller” is the vendor.

  1. The buyer directly orders a good or service from the seller. The buyer pays upfront or the seller issues an invoice to be paid shortly after shipment.
  2. The buyer creates a purchase order to document the purchase for recordkeeping purposes.
  3. The seller ships the order to the buyer.
  4. The buyer verifies the order and immediately uses the part to make the repair.

Due to the unexpected nature of maintenance needs, some organizations bypass purchase orders all together. Instead, the organization may provide the maintenance department with a credit card and communicate any restrictions for what can be purchased, credit limits, and so on.

Purchase Order Software for Maintenance Teams

As shown above, maintenance purchases have unique requirements that are not typical of other types of purchases. Therefore, maintenance departments do not require the robust purchasing capability of other systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting software.

In fact, most maintenance organizations don’t even use the built-in purchasing functionality of their computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Often times, the purchasing process typically takes place outside of the CMMS. Maintenance teams are afforded the flexibility to make whatever purchases are required to keep assets in service.

Organizations that do use the purchasing capability of CMMS traditionally fall into one of two categories: 1) they seek a simplified way to keep record of repair part purchases, and 2) they plan to integrate the CMMS with other purchasing systems.

CMMS software makes purchase order creation easy for organizations seeking simple maintenance purchase tracking. The CMMS has direct access to vendor and inventory information, making it easy to identify what goods are being purchased, and from whom. Some systems allow you to generate purchase orders based on inventory items that have reached their set reorder point. Historical purchase order records and purchasing reports track past purchases for review or auditing purposes.

Manage MRO Inventory Activity with FTMaintenance Select

FTMaintenance Select helps maintenance teams effectively manage their spare parts inventory from start to finish, including the ability to generate purchase orders. Robust inventory management features allow you to organize your inventory catalog and access key information related to costs, quantity, location, and more. Request a demo today to learn more about FTMaintenance Select.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.3.2 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.3.2, which incorporates the following:

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Corrected an issue that prevented Customer records from being added to Asset records.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
  • Service Request Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Service Request functionality.

How a CMMS Improves Maintenance Budgeting

 

Paper spreadsheet, tablet, and graphs representing maintenance budgeting and financial analysis

Budgeting is a critical management activity that ensures organizations have the resources needed to do business. Unlike other departments whose expenses are fairly predictable, the variability of maintenance needs make it difficult to determine how much to budget for maintenance – that is, without the right system in place. Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software not only tracks maintenance activities, but maintenance expenses as well.

How a CMMS Improves Maintenance Budgeting

Listed below are multiple ways in which a CMMS helps you improve maintenance budgeting.

Tracking Historical Corrective Maintenance (CM) Part Costs

The unplanned nature of asset failure makes corrective maintenance (CM) part costs difficult to predict from year to year. Tracking corrective maintenance in a CMMS provides you with a basis of historical data from which to estimate future part costs.

Maintenance organizations incur part costs whenever repair parts are not in stock and must be purchased, or when replenishing stocked parts. However, it is not necessarily appropriate to “add a little” to the previous year’s budget, as many organizations do. Critical failures with especially large part expenses should be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine the root cause of the failure, whether the failure can be prevented or mitigated, and the likelihood of recurrence.

Further reading: What is a Failure Code?

Analyzing corrective maintenance work order history in a CMMS provides context to why part costs were high or low in a given timeframe. If enough historical data is available, you may average multiple years-worth of data in order to come up with a baseline CM part cost estimate. Then, adjust the maintenance budget accordingly.

Forecasting Preventive Maintenance (PM) Costs

Costs related to preventive maintenance (PM) are easier to predict because they are planned. CMMS software stores cost data related to what tasks need to be done, what parts are required, and who will perform the work. Scheduling maintenance activities in a CMMS, whether based on runtime or date-based frequencies, helps organizations forecast the costs of future planned maintenance. Some CMMS solutions also track contracted preventive maintenance services like HVAC maintenance.

CMMS software can also be used to anticipate future preventive maintenance demands. For example, if your organization plans to purchase and install new assets, you can set up PM schedules ahead of time and factor their costs into the maintenance budget. Additionally, maintenance management reports can identify assets that are under or over maintained and adjust the preventive maintenance budget forecast accordingly.

Evaluating Staffing Levels

The number of employees needed to carry out high-quality maintenance depends on the workload. CMMS software provides insights into your maintenance history, including the amount of corrective maintenance vs. preventive maintenance, the amount of labor hours spent on maintenance, whether work is being completed on time, and the size of the work order backlog. You can then use this data to justify staffing levels.

Changes to the maintenance strategy may also prompt a need for additional staff. If your organization seeks to improve asset reliability, preventive maintenance work may need to increase, possibly requiring additional staff. Organizations getting started with failure analysis, such as Root Cause Analysis (RCA), need to dedicate resources to investigating asset failures.

Justifying Asset Replacement

Maintenance teams use many assets to execute maintenance work including vehicles, dedicated tools, or specialized equipment. At some point, these assets reach a point where they become too costly to repair. Tracking maintenance assets in a CMMS enables you to compare the cost of repair versus replacement.

Tracking the Maintenance Budget

CMMS software not only provides that data from which to build a maintenance budget, it also helps you track your performance against budget goals throughout the year. As you complete work orders, maintenance costs are automatically attributed to cost centers, ensuring that costs are attributed to the correct budget account.

Depending on the system, you can set budget goals by month, fiscal year, or other accounting period. Maintenance reports, dashboards, and data views help you visualize how closely you are meeting your budget goals and allow you to adjust accordingly.

Track Maintenance Expenses with FTMaintenance Select

FTMaintenance Select provides a single platform for tracking maintenance activities and costs, allowing you to make better decisions about your maintenance budget and resources. Request a demo today to learn more.

5 Labor KPIs for Measuring Maintenance Team Performance

Maintenance worker checking pressure of a pipe and being tracked by productivity KPIs

Labor performance tracking keeps employees accountable for completing assigned maintenance work in an efficient way. Organizations must have methods to measure the productivity and efficiency of their staff. This article discusses several labor performance metrics that you can use to track your maintenance team’s performance.

This article is part of a maintenance management metrics KPIs series. Read our other KPI articles:

Maintenance Employee Performance KPI Examples

Every maintenance team is comprised of a unique set of individuals, with varying levels of experience and skill. The employee performance metrics you track depends on the business goals of your organization.

The following productivity metrics represent common key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked by maintenance departments. Note that many of these KPIs rely on the availability of accurate time tracking data, such as that stored in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Average Service Request Response Time

Average Service Request Response Time formula

Average Service Request Response Time is the average amount of time it takes to respond to work requested via a service request. This metric measures how quickly the maintenance team responds to service requests, starting when the request is submitted up until work towards solving the issue begins.

To calculate the average service request response time, take the sum of the response time—the total elapsed time between the service request times and their related work order start times and divide it by the number of service requests submitted in the reporting timeframe.

Keep in mind what unit of time is used for the response time. Converting the output of this calculation from hours to minutes or minutes to hours requires an additional step. Convert values in hours to minutes by multiplying by 60; divide values in minutes by 60 to express in hours.

How to Interpret Average Service Request Response Time

A low (short) response time means the maintenance team responds to requests quickly. However, shorter response times should be viewed in context of the types of repairs requested. Employees are more likely to contact maintenance personnel directly for urgent issues, rather than submitting service requests.

A high (long) service request response time can mean there is a backlog of requests that are getting pushed to the backburner. However, a backlog may not be unusual because requests have to be balanced with other important maintenance work. Long response times may also indicate that requests are submitted with incomplete information. Work request management software, like a CMMS, standardizes the information required to submit requests.

Note that multiple factors come into play when analyzing average service request response time. Some organizations immediately turn all service requests into work orders. Others assign personnel to review incoming requests and prioritize them accordingly. At times, more information must be gathered before work can begin.

These factors greatly impact how quickly the maintenance team responds, thereby affecting the average response time. When analyzing response time, you may wish to select a subset of service requests that are similar in priority or complexity.

Average Task Completion Time

Average Task Completion Time formula

Average Task Completion Time measures the average amount of time it takes to complete a maintenance task. It estimates how long it takes to complete a specific maintenance and is used by maintenance managers to improve resource planning and maintenance scheduling.

To calculate the average task completion time, divide the total time required to complete the task by the number of times the task was performed during the reporting timeframe.

How to Interpret Average Task Completion Time

The average task completion time primarily applies to planned maintenance activities, where a baseline completion time is known. Owner’s manuals typically include these time estimates. Therefore, a good starting point is to compare your measured task completion time to the values provided by the asset’s manufacturer.

High or rising average task completion times mean tasks take longer to complete than expected. A logical next step is to compare task completion times between employees to determine whether the issue lies with a particular person or team. It could be possible that task instructions are not clear and misunderstood, or that additional training is needed.

Average task completion times that are close to the benchmark value provided in maintenance documentation are ideal. It means technicians are skilled and informed enough to complete maintenance work in a timely manner. Still, expect some variance in completion time, within reason.

Low or falling task completion times mean that tasks are completed quickly. Though preventive maintenance work tends to be less complex and, therefore takes less time, it is normal to scrutinize suspiciously low values. It may be an indication that technicians are rushing through work, skipping steps, cutting corners, or underreporting their work time in an attempt to look more productive.

Work Order Performance

Work Order Performance formula

Work Order Performance tracks how many work orders are completed by their due date. This metric determines the percentage of work orders completed on time.

To calculate work order performance, divide the number of work orders completed by their due date by the number of completed work orders in the reporting timeframe, and then multiply by 100 to express the value as a percentage.

How to Interpret Work Order Performance

Like average task completion time, work order performance best applies to planned maintenance work. Unplanned corrective maintenance (CM) and emergency maintenance is addressed immediately.

When it comes to work order performance, the higher the number, the better. A high value means technicians are consistently able to complete work orders on time and is a sign of high productivity.

A low value means work orders are being completed late. In this case, maintenance managers should look for patterns in which technicians have been assigned to the late work orders. If it is one particular employee or group of employees, that may be the root of the issue.

However, employees are not always at fault. Management may underestimate the amount of time needed to complete tasks or set unrealistic deadlines for work orders. Other possible causes of late work orders include:

  • Understaffed maintenance teams
  • Stockout occurrences that delay maintenance work
  • Lack of equipment availability to maintenance
  • The need to complete unexpected or higher priority maintenance work

Wrench Time

Wrench Time formula

Wrench Time measures the percentage of time a maintenance technician spends manually performing maintenance work. It does not include time spent traveling to the asset, retrieving inventory parts from the stock room, reviewing maintenance history, and other tasks that don’t involve physically repairing an asset.

To calculate wrench time, divide wrench hours by total working hours, then multiply by 100 to find the value as a percentage.

Be aware that tracking true wrench hours requires granular, consistent, and accurate time tracking. We also recognize that there are many methods of measuring wrench hours, each with varying amounts of accuracy. Therefore, wrench time remains a controversial metric in the maintenance industry. The decision whether to use wrench time as a KPI is up to your organization.

How to Interpret Wrench Time

Wrench time can be tricky to interpret, even deceiving. Remember that the time physically performing work represents a small portion of someone’s day. To add a bit of context, experts estimate that world class wrench time is 55%. In reality, the average wrench time for most organizations is between 25%-35%. For the purposes of this discussion, high or low wrench time means that wrench times are outside of this range.

Low wrench time means that technicians are spending too much time doing something besides performing maintenance. However, low wrench time does not necessarily mean that time is being wasted. As mentioned earlier, retrieving items from a stockroom or troubleshooting a breakdown is within the scope of a technician’s work but doesn’t involve physically repairing an asset. Other causes of low wrench time include:

  • Technicians not performing up to their true potential
  • Poor maintenance planning and scheduling
  • Asset not being available for planned maintenance
  • Unexpected emergency maintenance events
  • Waiting for parts and tools
  • Inaccurate time tracking

If a technician’s wrench time is consistently low, review the jobs that have the lowest scores and try to identify the underlying problems.

High wrench time is generally positive. However, wrench time that seems too good to be true can be cause for concern as well. Depending on how wrench hours are recorded, numbers can easily be inflated so as to make an employee appear more productive than they actually are.

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

Mean Time to Repair formula

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) is the average time it takes to repair an asset. Unlike wrench time, MTTR accounts for the total time a technician is actively working on solving the issue, including travel time to the asset, troubleshooting, performing the repair, and testing the solution. Though MTTR is typically used as an asset management KPI, it is impacted by the efficiency and effectiveness of labor resources.

To calculate MTTR, divide the sum of repair time (usually in hours) by the number of repairs in the reporting timeframe. Note that MTTR is calculated per asset or asset class.

How to Interpret Mean Time to Repair

Interpreting MTTR can be tricky because the number will rise and fall based on the types of repairs that were done during the time period. Therefore, it is best practice to calculate MTTR by the type of repair performed on an asset or asset class.

An MTTR value that trends higher over time means that assets are taking longer to repair. One possible cause for this trend is labor performance. Start by identifying who performs repairs on the asset and, using other maintenance productivity KPIs, determine if the cause is employee related. For example, a particular technician may not have the correct skills for making the repair.

It is important to look at low MTTR in context with other information about your assets and maintenance process. For example, aging assets are more difficult to repair than new ones. Unavailable parts cause long delays in maintenance work. Previously neglected preventive maintenance work leads to more critical, complex, and lengthy repairs.

MTTR values that trend lower over time mean that your maintenance process is optimized for speedy repairs. In terms of labor, low MTTR means that technicians are quick to respond to maintenance issues, well-trained, able to troubleshoot efficiently, and are not wasting time.

Track Employee Productivity and Maintenance Performance with FTMaintenance Select

FTMaintenance Select is a powerful CMMS platform that empowers your team to stay productive by providing them with access to critical asset and maintenance information. Maintenance reports provide insight into your day-to-day maintenance operations and allow you to keep technicians accountable for how their time is spent. Request a demo today to learn more.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.0.2 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v.2.6.0.2, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Asset Management
    • Look up assets by serial number on work orders.
    • Update an asset’s status using a web browser on a smart phone or tablet.
  • Notifications
    • Notify users of purchasing events via email.
  • Permissions
    • Assign permissions to users and user groups.
  • Reporting
    • Generate a report that displays inventory items whose quantity on hand is at or below the inventory item’s set reorder point.
  • Service Request Management
    • Assign service requests to an administrator for review.
    • Configure visible and required service request record fields.
  • Work Order Management
    • Configure visible and required work order record fields.
  • Work Order Scheduling
    • Automatically set the work order due date on calendar-based preventive maintenance work orders.

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset and Location functionality.
  • Inventory Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Inventory functionality.
  • Purchasing
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Purchasing functionality.
  • Reporting
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Reports functionality.
  • Service Request Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Service Request functionality.
  • User Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to User functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.

FTMaintenance Select v.2.5.0.2 Release Notes

FasTrak SoftWorks, Inc. is pleased to announce the release FTMaintenance Select v.2.5.0.2, which incorporates the following:

Features

  • Asset Management
    • Access asset management functionality from a mobile web browser, including the ability to view asset details, log meter readings, and create service requests.
    • Identify the owner of an asset.
  • Inventory Management
    • Browse inventory items by storage location within a specific inventory.
    • Track an inventory item’s reorder point to easily identify when stock of an inventory item needs to be replenished.
  • Reporting
    • Generate a report that displays the response time to service requests and work orders.
    • Generate a report that displays the turnaround time of service requests and work orders.
  • Work Order Management
    • Improved usability of preventive maintenance work order scheduling functionality.

Solutions

  • Asset Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Asset functionality.
  • Inventory Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Inventory functionality.
  • Notifications
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Notification functionality.
  • Purchasing
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Purchasing functionality.
  • Service Request Management
    • Corrected an issue that prevented requesters from selecting an Asset on the Service Request.
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Service Request functionality.
  • Work Order Management
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order functionality.
  • Work Order Scheduling
    • Minor defect fixes and improvements to Work Order Scheduling functionality.

What is a Remedy Code?

Young male technician repairing a printing machine, which will later by documented by a CMMS remedy code.

This article is part of a series of articles on the topic of equipment failure tracking. Read our other articles on this topic:

What are Remedy Codes?

The first two articles in this series, focusing on failure codes and cause codes, established the following:

  • Failure codes are used to track a problem or type of failure.
  • Cause codes are used to track the reason why a failure occurred.

Together, these codes help tell the story of what failure occurred and why it happened. A third piece of information that is of interest to the maintenance team is how to fix the problem. That’s where remedy codes come in.

A remedy code, sometimes called an action code, is a value used to uniquely identify a type of maintenance action taken in response to a failure, and is often found in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Like failure codes and cause codes, remedy codes are a combination of an alphanumeric code and a description. Remedy codes represent the action a maintenance technician took to correct the issue identified by the failure and cause codes.

Where are Remedy Codes Used?

Remedy codes are used in CMMS software on work orders to identify what type of work was performed to return an asset to working order. Over the course of a repair, technicians may take multiple actions to repair an asset that has failed, some of which may not solve the problem. Technicians test their handiwork to ensure that the asset’s condition has returned to normal. Only then can technicians apply remedy codes – after they implement an acceptable fix and work is considered complete.

Why Use Remedy Codes?

There are many reasons organizations use CMMS remedy codes. Note that, while remedy codes can be useful for any organization, they are most commonly used in organizations or industries that have rigorous failure tracking requirements, such as oil and gas.

Improved Repair Time

The details of maintenance work are contained in many places on a work order or in a CMMS. When it comes time to perform maintenance, technicians must sift through many historical work order records to find previous solutions.

Remedy codes sharpen troubleshooting and issue resolution skills by providing technicians with a well-defined list of maintenance tasks that solved the problem in the past. Ultimately, this allows technicians to return assets to service more quickly. Over time, technicians will become better at thinking about which remedies are most appropriate for a given failure cause.

Implementation of a Proactive Maintenance Strategy

Tracking asset failures through failure codes, cause codes, and remedy codes sets the stage for implementing proactive maintenance strategies, such as reliability-centered maintenance (RCM). Upon completion of corrective maintenance work, the failure, its cause, and its solution are known. This allows maintenance management to plan for future occurrences of the failure and schedule maintenance tasks to prevent them.

Further Reading: How to Implement a Proactive Maintenance Strategy

Labor Resource Productivity Tracking

Remedy codes can be used as a way to estimate and track how long it takes technicians to perform maintenance tasks. As each remedy becomes known, maintenance managers can assign labor time estimates to each maintenance task, improving maintenance planning.

Remedy codes with associated time estimates also help maintenance managers track labor performance. For example, a CMMS report that compares the estimated labor time to actual labor time spent on a remedy may reveal who performs tasks well and who might need additional training.

Identification of Training Needs

Maintenance managers are responsible for making sure their team has the correct skills required to perform maintenance work. Tracking maintenance work through remedy codes helps identify what types of tasks are performed most often and helps prioritize training, especially for new hires.

As mentioned previously, CMMS reports filtered by remedy code can also reveal underperforming employees who might require refresher training. At the same time, reports may reveal high performers who can help train others on certain tasks or repairs on specific assets.

CMMS Remedy Code Construction

The information needed to create meaningful remedy codes comes from team experience and asset maintenance history. As technicians document their work in the CMMS over time, maintenance managers can identify trends in the types of tasks being performed – and how long they take.

Remedy Code Design

Like failure codes and cause codes, remedy codes are typically unique to each organization and their assets. Because remedy codes are used for rigorous asset failure tracking, they are more comprehensive and asset-specific. Even though the maintenance task may be the same, it will take a different amount of time to complete depending on the asset, easy of performing maintenance, etc.

Remedy Code List Example

Below is an example of a remedy code list for a CNC machine. Note that this list is not exhaustive of all maintenance actions.

Remedy Code Remedy Code Description
BLOCK-NOZZ Remove blockage from coolant nozzle
CHIP Empty chip box
CLEAN-CHK Clean chuck
CLEAN-CF Clean cooling fan
CHECK-HO Check flow of hydraulic oil
CHECK-COOL Check flow of coolant; fill coolant tank
PRES-HU Check pressure of hydraulic unit
REPLACE-FLT Replace filter
REPPLACE-MTR-BRNG Replace motor bearing

CMMS Remedy Code Best Practices

The goal of developing remedy codes is for CMMS users to be able to track maintenance actions in response to failures. Keep the following best practices in mind when constructing remedy codes:

  • Make Remedy Codes Clear and Specific: As discussed, remedy codes will differ by asset. However, the list of remedy codes for a given asset should be easy to understand and memorize. Codes and their meanings should not overlap with one another – each should be tied to a specific maintenance action.
  • Include a Catch-All Remedy Code: When getting started with remedy codes, all possible failure remedies will not be known – they will be discovered over time. Therefore, it is acceptable to use a catch-all “other” code that can be later analyzed and broken down to generate additional remedy codes.
  • Hold Team Accountable for Use: Rigorous maintenance tracking requires that maintenance teams use remedy codes consistently. A CMMS makes maintenance documentation more transparent, providing a shared reference point for holding employees accountable for entering required data.
  • Review and Update the Remedy Code List: Because failures and their causes are unpredictable, it is unlikely that the original remedy code list will be inclusive of all maintenance tasks. The need for additional remedy codes will arise as technicians perform maintenance work and more asset data is collected. Periodically review work orders and consult with your team to expand the remedy code library.

Document and Track Asset Maintenance with FTMaintenance Select

Remedy codes make it easy for maintenance workers to identify corrective maintenance actions. When failures occur, technicians are able to drill in to historical CMMS data to quickly find solutions and return assets back to service faster. FTMaintenance Select is a centralized platform that provides maintenance organizations with a single source for documenting and tracking asset maintenance. Request a demo today to learn more about FTMaintenance Select.

This article is part of a series of articles on the topic of equipment failure tracking. Read our other articles on this topic:

What is a Cause Code?

Young male technician testing a printing machine to determine the cause of failure, to be documented by a CMMS cause code.

This article is part of a series of articles on the topic of equipment failure tracking. Read our other articles on this topic:

What are Cause Codes?

The first article of this series, What is a Failure Code?, establishes that failures codes are a way to document the state of a failed asset, as determined by an observer. Because they only capture the problem with an asset, failure codes alone do not paint the whole picture of a failure event. Cause codes help to fill in this missing information.

A cause code, sometimes called a reason code, is a value used to uniquely identify a type of failure cause and is often found in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or other asset management system. Like failure codes, cause codes are a combination of an alphanumeric code and a description. Cause codes are used to record the underlying reason for the problem identified by the failure code.

Where are Cause Codes Used?

Cause codes are used in maintenance management software along with failure codes for asset failure tracking. They are applied to work orders to identify why a problem occurred. In most cases, technicians cannot identify the reason for asset failure without investigating the issue and testing solutions to see if a repair corrected the issue. Therefore, cause codes are commonly entered after work has been completed, though they are sometimes entered during troubleshooting.

Why Use Cause Codes?

There are many reasons organizations use CMMS cause codes.

Improved Maintenance Effectiveness

A description of a failure is often too simplistic to be useful. Without understanding the root cause of an asset failure, technicians are only treating the symptoms of failure and not preventing it from occurring in the future. Cause tracking provides a starting point for failure analysis and the creation of maintenance tasks that reduce the likelihood of failure.

Improved Downtime Tracking

Rather than simply documenting that downtime occurred without explanation, cause codes connect downtime events with a reason for failure. As this information is gathered over time, organizations can drill into the data to identify patterns in downtime and develop plans to reduce it. Recurring issues may warrant more frequent preventive maintenance or identify additional training needs for certain maintenance tasks. Without identifying the true cause of the downtime, it is likely to happen again.

Improved Troubleshooting

When troubleshooting, a technician may first use a CMMS to find historical work orders whose failure code matches what they have observed or what has been reported. Next, the technician may look at the paired cause code to understand what has caused the failure in the past. This failure code-cause code pair provides better direction for troubleshooting, allowing technicians to start investigating the most likely causes first.

Additionally, the use of cause codes refocuses the efforts of the maintenance team to investigate reasons for failure. Otherwise, technicians might simply make repairs and move on, thereby increasing the likelihood the failure will reoccur.

Implementation of Asset Lifecycle Management Practices

Both basic and advanced methods of asset life cycle management rely on collecting information about failures and their causes in order to reduce downtime, extend asset life, and optimize lifetime asset maintenance expenses. As asset lifecycle management strategies become more advanced, cause tracking becomes more important.

For example, to reduce downtime, organizations perform root cause analysis (RCA) to help maintenance staffs backtrack through the steps leading up to failure in order to understand the conditions that prompted it. Building off RCA, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) identifies an asset’s failure modes and their associated risks in order to extend asset life. Going a step further, organizations that practice reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) develop maintenance plans to prevent failures, based on their cause, in the most cost effective manner.

CMMS Cause Code Construction

The information required to construct cause codes comes from high-level maintenance employees and tradesmen, maintenance history, and practical experience with an asset. Employees who have expertise in electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic systems have an in-depth understanding of probable issues that can occur. Maintenance history, stored in a CMMS, provides a database of failure and repair data from which to generate cause codes. In some organizations, the maintenance and engineering teams work together to devise the cause code library.

Cause Code Design

Like failure codes, cause codes are typically unique to each organization. First-time users may favor broad, high-level cause codes that represent the general system causing issues. Not only are broader cause codes easier to construct, but they make it easier to start process improvement as well.

Granular, asset-specific cause codes are better suited for experienced maintenance teams who operate under an established cause tracking system. If making cause codes too specific, maintenance managers may also have trouble identifying cause trends. Also, inexperienced technicians are likely to erroneously assign failure causes and compromise failure data. However, if the CMMS supports it, specific cause codes might be nested under more general cause codes, providing both novice and veteran workers with the ability to document causes.

Regardless of which approach is taken, it is important to keep in mind that tracking causes is not an ending point – it is a starting point for deeper failure analysis. Therefore, the simplicity or complexity of the cause code library should match the organization’s requirements.

Cause Code List Example

Below is an example of a generic cause code list. Note that this list is not exhaustive of all causes of equipment failures.

Cause Code Cause Code Description
AF Pneumatic failure
EF Electrical failure
HF Hydraulic failure
MF Mechanical failure
PM Inconsistent preventive maintenance
SF Start-up failure

CMMS Cause Code Best Practices

The goal of developing cause codes is for CMMS users to be able to track why asset failures occurred on work orders. Keep the following best practices in mind when constructing cause codes:

  • Consider Team Experience: Technicians experienced in a particular trade or craft will be able to more easily identify the probable cause of an asset failure. Making cause codes too complex will result in less-experienced technicians picking the wrong codes. Start with a simple cause code library – the list can become more granular as the team grows into the use of the system.
  • Keep the Cause Code List Size Manageable: There is a delicate balance between too many and too few cause codes. List size will partially depend on team experience. However, also consider the ease of analyzing the data. Starting with broad cause codes allows organizations to dig deeper into issues. Starting with too many cause codes that are too specific can make it difficult to “see the forest through the trees” and understand the larger issues at hand.
  • Make Cause Codes Foolproof: Cause codes should be constructed in such a way that they are easy to memorize, hard to misunderstand, not easily confused with one another, and have specific meanings that do not overlap with one another. Doing so will maximize the value of failure cause tracking while limiting mistakes or faulty data.
  • Hold Team Accountable for Use: Cause codes will only be effective if used consistently and correctly. A CMMS allows you to verify that cause codes are used properly, and becomes a reference point for identifying and correcting mistakes.
  • Review and Update the Cause Code List: Cause code lists are not set in stone. During analysis, it is possible that causes are being miscategorized or that additional cause codes are needed. Periodically review the cause code library and update when appropriate.

Conclusion

Cause tracking makes maintenance more effective by tracking the reasons why assets fail. Based on the root causes of failure, organizations can implement highly targeted maintenance tasks that treat causes, not symptoms. FTMaintenance Select is a CMMS that allows you to easily plan, schedule, and document maintenance activities on critical equipment and facility assets. Request a demo today to learn more about FTMaintenance Select.

This article is part of a series of articles on the topic of equipment failure tracking. Read our other articles on this topic: