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It is crucial for a CMMS that staff are trained and given direction on how to avoid data entry consistency problems that may cause confusion for themselves, fellow employees and stakeholders.

A simple example involves the entry of a HYDRAULIC LEAK. How is it coded? HYD. LEAK, HYD. LK., HYDRAULIC LEAK or H. LEAK? While it may not be apparent initially in an CMMS implementation, in the future it is critical that staff be provided consistency rules, documentation and/or guidelines. Make coding consistent TRO can train your staff to make consistent coding to facilitate data searching.

In time, it is expected that the decision to use upper case characters versus lower case characters will have as much significance as “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

A well-written application can easily differentiate between upper and lower case characters. When in doubt, especially for the primary or key fields, convert all characters to upper case. An older application or dated programming language may be more restrictive. TRO is well-versed in this never-ending debate and is eager to step into the ring to defend either strategy, depending on which is best for your particular situation. When in doubt, ask and we will explain our reasoning.

It is best to build slowly starting off general and then drilling down to specifics.

An organization that puts greater emphasis on identifying generalities and specifics will benefit from more flexibility in data retrieval.

A simple example involves maintenance of a HVAC system. HVAC is general, then focus on air conditioning, then air handling unit then air handling unit 1. Should we need to break the air handling unit 1 out further, to the motor, valves, coils, etc., into their own equipment records? The answer depends on the details required. If it is important to track the life cycle of the asset in question then it needs to be an equipment record. If it is simply a question of tracking the cost of replacement then the answer is no.

TRO can develop a methodology of field usage for tracking asset life cycles and appropriate CMMS reporting.

If we continue with the HVAC system example, once equipment records are identified you MUST establish a parent / child relationship or asset hierarchy whereby the database recognizes motor 1 as part of air compressor CAG1.

The coding structure needs sufficient flexibility to recognize that motor 1 can move from air compressor CAG1 to air compressor CAG2. The parent / child relationship allows for the costs to roll up to the parent such that in production environments costs can roll up to the individual lines. It also builds the flexibility to tackle preventative maintenance by the parent and demand maintenance by the child should the organization wish.

The premise behind parent / child relationships, therefore, relates to the answer of this simple question: how far do you drill down to identify the components of an asset?

TRO recognize the need for structure and flexibility. TRO can determine the appropriate level of asset hierarchy within your CMMS structure.

The key to numbering equipment is to understand how software displays the information.

It is critical that special characters such as * are not used. If you think of Microsoft Excel, the * is used as the symbol for multiplication. Using the * as part of the equipment number is for obvious reasons not a good idea.

In summary, no special characters should be used in key fields. Even hyphens and underscores should be avoided as they may cause immediate or unforeseen software problems in the future.

! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) {} [] \ | <> ” ‘ ; ~ :)

Avoid costly data corruptions and sluggish performance with the help of TRO Solutions.

The amount of information you put in against an equipment record will determine down the road how effective the software will be for you.

The less you enter the less effective your database will be in the future. Enter garbage, get garbage. Make an extra effort, reap profit and rewards in the future.

For example, if you identify the date the equipment started, and the cost to replace a piece of equipment, Capital Replacement Programming becomes a Microsoft Excel exercise of comparing maintenance costs against replacement costs for the financial analyst of the organization.

TRO employees are detail oriented.

TRO can train your staff to avoid costly data errors when inputting data.

The step most organizations miss is relying upon the IT department to perform a backup of the server or central computer system.

Of course backups are important, however, a central backup should not replace the data backup process.

For example, if you identify the date the equipment started, and the cost to replace a piece of equipment, Capital Replacement Programming becomes a Microsoft Excel exercise of comparing maintenance costs against replacement costs for the financial analyst of the organization.

It is extremely important that a process be established to perform a backup of the data only. In the event something goes wrong in a particular table, only that information needs to be restored and not an entire system or database.

What is the status of the backup process within your IT organization? Are procedures documented, verified and monitored? TRO can review the backup practices within your IT organization.

The number one reason CMMS implementations fail is lack of resources.

Organizations MUST devote resources not only to implement the system but also run the system they implement on a day-to-day basis.

To run the system requires a maintenance planning person. For small organizations this is usually the Maintenance Manager. For medium organizations the planning person is often an administrative assistant who acts more like a coordinator than planner. Only for large organizations is there a maintenance planner.

Maintenance planning and scheduling is more of an art than a science. Proper planning means determining the resources available, the skills required and the procedures involved. Scheduling is the function of coordinating all the logistical issues during the execution phase of the work.

Need extra resources. TRO can help…

Databases sort in ascending order on key fields by default.

This is the difference between going from 1, 10, 11..2, 20, 21 etc, and going from 01, 02, 03..09, 10 etc.

If you want line 1 equipment to be displayed all under line 1, you need to make sure line 1 is identified as the prefix of the number. If child equipment records such as motors move around, you want the software to identify a generic number. If you have 100 air compressors and use a counter methodology to signify how many air compressors are present in the facility, the first air compressor needs to be numbered 001, allowing it to be the first one displayed.

TRO can organize your data including the sort order (ascending / descending) of key fields.