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Simplifying Asset Inventory – a natural way to make a maintenance manager’s job easier

Maintenance pains

If you’ve read read the previous post you’ll have figured out that here at mainsim we’ve been working a long time in maintenance management. As we look back on all the customer interacts and deployments of maintenance management systems we figured that much of the frustrations we found when talking to customers dues to Asset Tracking. A bug slice of the time spent on systems analysis of customer projects was spent devising clever ways to solve problems of keeping up to speed on the state of the Assets in a building or facility. Without a doubt when we talked to maintenance managers the most critical feature of a maintenance management system in their daily workload was Asset Tracking. Whether it was with customers in small business, large distributed retail, facilities management, health care or manufacturing the pole position comment was ” easy Asset Tracking”for maintenance managers and crews. They told us countless times that the very Assets managers need to maintain cause the greatest headaches. Here at mainsim we have come across more than our share of scenarios where Asset Inventory impacts on the daily maintenance management workload.

Let’s start with a definition

There is no better way to turn a conversation into an argument that to begin with a definition. We’re not preaching, we know there are lots of definitions and flavors out there, and you probably have your favorite, but this is the one we keep in mind and what we tend to stick with when laying out maintenance management systems;
An Asset Inventory is an organized list of the major common property assets in a building or in a facility. It includes useful reference information about the basic attributes of each asset,: such as Their unique code, short description, class, type, installation cost, warranty expiration dates, estimated useful service life.

The impact of Assets.

We knew form the out set that a good Asset Inventory and Asset Tracking systems would serve as the baseline for owners, property managers, contractors and consultants when they chose a CMMS. In today’s post we want to take a look at some classic situations that inspired us when we set out to design a practical, workable Asset Tracking feature. Truth be told they are simplistic renditions if the real life situation.  But occur with such regularity f in any given building or facility management scenario that it was unwise to avoid keeping them in mind during development.
  1. Knowing that anything in the building can be considered an Asset is fundamental. We come across countless cases where the the building administrator has requested an estimate of the total floor area of the third floor. The total space needs to be divided and grouped by type of floor finishing. Suddenly the floor space and finishing’s are Assets.
  2.  On any ordinary day you will inevitably have a breakdown of some sort. A water pump? Once the water pump goes down you can have compromised water pressure leading to problems from disabled hygiene facilities to malfunctioning water sprinklers. In our experience we have discovered maintenance mangers with baldy-compiled Assets typically have their repair jobs compounded by lack of information on asset. In this case if we want a replacement what do we know about the water pump?
  3. Another case is in understanding the total number of any Asset type. Take a typical preventive maintenance routine, if all emergency backup lights are scheduled to be replaced in all corridors of our building, do we know the exact number to be replaced? How quickly can we get that information?
  4. From an administrative point there can also be a fall-out for a badly kept Asset Inventory. If a water heater has failed you should be able to tell who will cover the costs. Can you tell Administration departments from your Asset Inventory if the heater is still under warranty or not? When was replaced last? Is it a regular occurrence? Was it replaced or repaired before? Is it down because of fatigue, old age, and incorrect installation?

Not just about Getting Maintenance done On Time

We have come across most of these problems in the past seven years. As a result it seemed only obvious to integrate these typical requirements into mainsim. We integrated Asset Tracking and Asset Inventory functionality that dealt with a simple task without complicating the maintenance workload. Because we know if you can deal with a simple task in a natural way then maintenance manager’s job is easier.

What next

In the next series of posts we’ll look more closely at a number of problems related to the implementation of an Asset Inventory system. But first of all it is necessary to focus on the team that will take care of Asset Inventory and more generally how Asset Management is taken care of in your facility. In the next post will address two issues that come up when talking about Asset Inventory – How can I organize my assets? And in what format? – What type of granularity do I need to achieve for all my Assets?