What's MRO Done for You Lately?

July 1, 2009
Ongoing maintenance monitoring means smoother operations and a fatter bottom line.

It's maintenance, repair and operations, and with a number of suppliers ready and able to provide solutions to handle everything from monitoring equipment to producing work orders, there are a number of reasons to consider employing the technology in current operations.

An MRO solution helps maximize productivity of company assets, increase equipment life and minimize downtime, all of which add up to real dollar savings. One sophisticated solution is offered in Oracle's JD Edwards World Plant and Equipment Maintenance Management program. It provides enterprise-wide visibility into all equipment details, such as acquisition, repair history and maintenance costs.

Since the solution combines asset management with preventive maintenance, return on asset investment is increased. The supplier points to a number of operations providing user value: “scheduling of preventive maintenance to minimize interference with production and project deadlines; monitoring maintenance records to target potential problem equipment for timely repair-or-replace decisions; matching of project costs to revenues for proper allocation of equipment overheads, revenue recognition and contract or service billing; and ensuring parts availability with system-generated work orders by integrating preventive maintenance with JD Edwards World Requirements Planning.” The program is part of a family of applications and integrates with other JD Edwards World applications.

In discussing its equipment maintenance management software, Datastream 7i, Infor notes it was developed using Oracle Developer 6i that makes use of Oracle's Internet Application Server, database and stored procedures for enterprise-wide applications. The company claims that the Web-based asset management system, Datastream 7i, may be accessed from anywhere, anytime. This minimizes hardware purchases and network traffic. Since the program is built with open Internet standards, including Java and XML, it may be integrated with other enterprise systems.

A simple graphical user interface eases operator tasks. The Datastream 7i browser interface allows even users without software programming or Oracle Forms knowledge to gain a connection to asset management functionality, high-end analytics information and key performance indicators. Datastream 7i offers modules — work, equipment, materials and projects — that permit tailoring of the solution for specific user needs. With its maintenance management software, Datastream 7i can automatically adjust schedules to compensate for maintenance work completed ahead or behind of schedule. It also features revision controls to track modifications and control the authorization of modifications to scheduled tasks, materials and routes.

In speaking of its computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), ManagerPlus notes two components it feels are crucial to the success of its deployment: a short learning curve and ease of use.

As with other suppliers, the provider points to several benefits that result from implementation. They include reduction of downtime through transitioning from corrective maintenance to preventive maintenance. With proper maintenance schedules, equipment will operate more smoothly and be less apt to fail. Paperwork is streamlined because employees can quickly record tasks performed, inventory used and so forth. Inventory management is improved by eliminating the need to store obsolete parts.

ManagerPlus provides detailed analysis of repair histories and downtime to help spot potential problems before they become serious headaches. It's possible to monitor maintenance by hours, days, calendar dates, days of the week, months or even years. The solution will track all equipment sub-systems, as well.

Just introduced is FastMaint CMMS 5.2 by SMGlobal, software that enables creation of a work order, allocation, personnel assignments and tracking of progress. This most recent update introduces major enhancements to maintenance task templates, maintenance parts management and user interface. The same maintenance task can be used to schedule work orders with different frequencies on different equipment and locations.

FastMaint CMMS allows pictures and instructions to be printed on work orders to simplify maintenance jobs. Workload balancing helps identify and fix scheduling problems in maintenance plans. Tracking of maintenance costs for various equipment and buildings is automatically handled. The program can generate history reports to review past maintenance work and identify work that was missed.

With the variety and power of available software solutions and potential benefits to be gained, it makes good sense to investigate and evaluate MRO tools.

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