CMMS in context of the Maintenance Cycle

CMMS in context of the Maintenance Cycle

CMMS in context of the maintenance cycle


This article briefly covers the Maintenance Cycle in relation to a CMMS.

Objectives and Outcomes


The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to the Maintenance Cycle and its relation to the CMMS


The reader should be able to understand the definitions of a:
1.    CMMS
2.    Maintenance Cycle
3.    Maintenance Workflow
4.    Maintenance Types
5.    Maintenance Options in the CMMS

Abbreviations, definitions & terminology

  • CMMS – Computerised Maintenance Management System
  • PM – Planned / Preventative Maintenance
  • SM – Scheduled Maintenance
  • CM – Corrective Maintenance
  • M2M – Machine to Machine
  • EM – Emergency Maintenance
  • CBM – Condition Based Maintenance
  • LAN – Local-Area Network


Defining Maintenance

Maintenance can be defined as:

“The combination of all technical and associated administrative and system activities intended to retain an item in, or restore it to, a state in which it can perform its required function”.

This definition infers the following:
  1. Maintenance has both a technology perspective (i.e. focus on items of plant and equipment) as well as a management perspective (i.e. focus on the organisation and management thereof).
  2. Maintenance focuses on items of plant and equipment in order to ensure that it performs a required function (i.e. the driver of maintenance is the function to be performed, not the plant and equipment itself). This forms the foundation of a preventive and reliability centered maintenance planning approach.
  3. Maintenance deals with both preventing and correcting any condition that could result in downgrading the function to be performed. Finding the appropriate balance between such preventive and corrective work is key to optimising plant and equipment lifecycle cost and profitability.
The challenge to the maintenance function is therefore to understand both the equipment to be managed and as well as how to manage these in a way that will result in maximum value to the company.

What is a CMMS

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), is a software package that maintains a computer database of information about an organization's maintenance operations. This information is intended to help maintenance workers do their jobs more effectively (for example, determining which machines require maintenance and which storerooms contain the spare parts they need) and to help management make informed decisions (for example, calculating the cost of machine breakdown repair versus preventive maintenance for each machine, leading to better allocation of resources). CMMS data may also be used to verify regulatory compliance. To properly control the maintenance of a facility, information is required to analyse what is occurring. Manually this requires a tremendous amount of effort and time. A CMMS also allows for record keeping and tracking completed and assigned tasks in a timely and cost-effective manner. In recognition of this, companies are widely using CMMS systems to better control and organize their maintenance departments and tasks. 

A CMMS offers multiple core maintenance functionalities. It is not limited to manufacturing but expands to facilities, utilities, fleet, hospitals, sports arenas and more where any type of equipment/assets are subject to repair and need maintenance. With improved technology and increasing competition, more and more companies are switching to CMMS vs using manual methods to track and organize information. The different functional components of a CMMS include but are not limited to:
  1. Equipment/Asset data management through control of the Asset Register
  2. Service Request and Work order system
  3. Corrective and Preventive Maintenance through the Work Order and Planning functionality
  4. Labour and Service Provider Management through the Work Order functionality
  5. Scheduling/Planning functionality
  6. MRO Parts Inventory Control and Stores Management
  7. Purchasing and Vendor Management
  8. Budgeting and Cost Tracking
  9. Performance Reporting
CMMS packages may be used by any organization that must perform maintenance on equipment, assets and property. Some CMMS products focus on particular industry sectors (e.g. the maintenance of vehicle fleets or health care facilities). Other products aim to be more general.

CMMS packages can produce status reports and documents giving details or summaries of maintenance activities. The more sophisticated the package, the more extensive analysis facilities have available.

Many CMMS packages can be either web-based, meaning they are hosted by the company selling the product on an outside server, or LAN based, meaning that the company buying the software hosts the product on its own server.

The Maintenance Cycle

The maintenance cycle below provides a graphical overview of the overall maintenance process, including: planning, scheduling, execution, performance assessment and ongoing improvement.

© EAMS Global, 2016

Some of the key steps shown in the Maintenance Cycle above are:
  1. Asset Management Policy, Objectives and Strategy: This process happens outside of the CMMS, it considers the maintenance Business and Statutory requirements and comes up with an Asset Management Policy. This Policy is documented in a Standards Manual, this standards manual is the master document that outlines how the CMMS system will be setup and utilised to perform the company maintenance requirements.
  2. Plan Work: Plan Work considers the asset condition and, based on the Asset Management Policy, determines which assets requires Preventive Maintenance, and how often (frequency) such maintenance is required. The Frequency is determined by the asset condition and criticality.
  3. Planned Maintenance Tasks: This includes activities such as Preventive and Condition Based Maintenance Tasks as well as scheduled events such as Maintenance Projects. The standard work plans/ instructions, maintenance frequencies and schedules are carried out in the CMMS. These tasks are typically of a repetitive nature and once loaded into the CMMS they can be scheduled once and will automatically reschedule and assign resources on an ongoing basis.
  4. Corrective Maintenance Tasks & User Requests: This includes planned as well as unplanned (emergency) corrective maintenance activities events as well as ad hoc service requests. These activities are recorded and  managed via the CMMS to ensure effective response time and allocation of work. These tasks are not fixed and are determined by the condition of the asset or equipment.
  5. Schedule Work: This process is carried out in the CMMS and refers to the allocation of resources such as Personnel, Materials, Tools or Equipment to a Job card. Such allocation of work is typically performed by a Maintenance Planner. Modern mobile-enabled CMMS systems can push the work directly to field technicians in real time without the need to generate and issue paper based Work Orders.
  6. Execute Work: This process is carried outside of the CMMS and refers to the actual physical work/ maintenance that is carried out.
  7. Feedback: There are 2 steps in the feedback process. The first step happens outside the CMMS and refers to the Technician completing the job card with feedback of the parts used, work done etc. The second step happens inside the CMMS and refers to the Planner capturing the feedback from the job card into the CMMS. Modern mobile-enabled CMMS systems now allows the Maintenance technicians to directly capture their feedback in the CMMS system, thereby reducing unnecessary administrative work.
  8. Reporting: This is the power behind a CMMS system and refers to the reporting capabilities of the CMMS. All data that is captured from Job cards and the information that lies on the asset can be crossed references to build reports.
  9. Analyse: This is the process of analysing the reports generated by the CMMS and benchmarking this data to performance standards and best practices. This gives a platform for improvements to be made.
  10. Improve: Refers to the improvements made to the Plan Work that has been identified in the Analyse phase.

Typical Maintenance Options

All maintenance activities can be classified as either Planned or Unplanned. The diagram below shows the relation between planned and unplanned maintenance and standard industry maintenance option classifications.
© EAMS Global, 2017

Overview of Common Maintenance Types Used in CMMS Systems

While the above maintenance options provide a basic structure for categorising maintenance work, most organisations, require more specific categories to effectively plan and track their maintenance activities. The following section provides an overview of common maintenance type designations used and where they would typically fall under the above maintenance options framework.

Scheduled Maintenance Types
  • Shutdown Maintenance: All standard maintenance activities that is planned & scheduled as part of the recurring shutdown events.
  • Planned Maintenance: All other planned/ scheduled maintenance that does not fall into the category of Inspection, Shutdown, Meter Reading, Corrective or Calibration 
  • Inspections: Any type of scheduled activity that involves the ‘visual’ inspection of plant and equipment items. [Any repairs/ restoration tasks identified during inspections needs to be actioned as Corrective Maintenance tasks].
  • Meter Reading: Any type of scheduled activity that involves the taking of Meter Readings.
  • Calibration: Any planned and scheduled maintenance activities related to the calibration of specific items. [i.e. periodic calibration of precise measuring tools]
Condition-based Maintenance Types
  • Preventive: Any planned/ scheduled maintenance activities that are performed to reduce the probability of failure or performance degradation of an equipment item.
Planned Corrective Maintenance Types
  • Corrective: Any planned corrective maintenance as a required to restore/ repair an item defect/ failure but have not impacted Operating Hours or Run-Time Hours.
  • Upgrade: Upgrade is a type of Maintenance Project that involves all planned corrective maintenance activities executed as part of the project.
  • Safety Actions: Safety Actions includes maintenance activities required to address a specific safety issue.  A Work Order will be raised per issue.
Emergency/ Breakdown Maintenance Types
  • Emergency / Breakdown Maintenance: Refers to any urgent unplanned work activities required to correct/ repair an item which caused a production loss or interruption of in operations, e.g. power off or interruption of material feed

Pulling it all Together

In the above diagram, planned maintenance (including preventive and condition-based maintenance tasks) are identified during the maintenance planning stage by means of an appropriate risk and reliability assessment approach. This approach should take actual equipment performance history into account, as well as the maintenance objectives and maintenance strategies set for the specific facility. These tasks are typically scheduled at fixed time or operating intervals and can lead to the identification of corrective maintenance tasks. During the plant life, the planning process is repeated whenever necessary, to accommodate changes in a company’s business objectives or maintenance strategy, as well as to accommodate learning based on actual plant performance history.

 In addition to corrective maintenance tasks raised during the execution of preventive and predictive work, corrective maintenance tasks are also generated through Service / Work Requests (e.g. from the production function or facility occupants) as a result of specific equipment failures or defects. Unless such corrective work is classified as Emergency Repairs that need to be performed immediately, these tasks are typically planned and scheduled for execution at a time that will result in the least impact on production and resource requirements.

Further to the coordination of work and manpower, Scheduling involves the planning and provisioning of material and spares as well as special tools and equipment (e.g. scaffolding, cranage etc.) required to perform the maintenance tasks. A Work Order is issued to the relevant maintenance personnel when the work is ready to be executed. The information contained in the Work Order is built up throughout the scheduling process and typically includes:
  • A description of the facility or equipment
  • The type and skill level of tradesmen
  • The maintenance interval
  • Detailed specification and standards of work (including reference drawings or other documentation such as work procedures)
  • The estimated time to do the task
  • Whether part or all of the facility has to be shut down
  • The conditions of concurrent working
  • Listing of spares and materials required
  • Special tools and other equipment
  • Permits-to-Work defining special conditions and safety precautions
  • Space for feedback of informationon completion of each task

Once a maintenance task has been completed, all relevant technical, execution and cost information related to the task needs to be captured as part of the maintenance feedback process. This information will be used for re-scheduling and reporting purposes and will also form the basis for the analysis and improvement process. Typical minimum feedback information requirements include:

  • Man-hours
  • Materials used
  • Failure causes and defect work
  • Repair work effected 
  • Equipment down time
In the analysis stage, actual maintenance performance is compared with internal targets and external benchmarks and best practice. From this analysis, potential areas for improvement are identified. These typically fall in two categories, namely:
  • Remedies, which focus on returning performance or equipment condition to that originally intended.
  • Improvements, which focus on changing the original plan. This can include modification of plant and equipment, as well as changes in operating and maintenance standards or procedures. It can also include new preventive or condition–based maintenance tasks or alteration of existing tasks.

Please reach out to us if you need in any help with the set-up and implementation of your maintenance strategies & systems, our team is ready to assist and support you like we have   with almost all our customers:

Tel: +1-800-942-6619 (International)
Tel: +27-12-485-4003 (EMEA Region)

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