February 13, 2015
What A CMMS Could Have Done For These People
As professionals in the reliability industry, we have a firsthand view of how computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) get used in our everyday environments. If you are like me and a historian at heart, you are probably well-versed in how manufacturing innovators have used maintenance software. But let's step out of the box for a moment and contemplate how some famous characters may have used a CMMS to pursue their maintenance goals!
Fictional history is rife with mad scientists, oddball chemists, evil geniuses, and inventive tinkerers, often after one of two goals: ruling the world or, in the case of the good guys, stopping evil from rising to power. While these ambitious manufacturers of mayhem usually hog all of the limelight in books and movies, you and I both know that there is no way they can carry the burden of world domination and properly maintain their facilities and equipment at the same time. Somewhere, nestled in the background, there must be a maintenance manager pulling their hair out over the crazy antics of their death-ray-blasting, budget-destroying boss.
Imagine what it would be like to work for the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll (of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fame). Sure, he is a pleasant enough guy when he is out and about performing his normal chemistry duties. But then he goes and decides to make himself a guinea pig and drink some of his own "immortality" juice, and the next thing you know, the nasty Mr. Hyde shows up and wrecks the whole laboratory. In a few short minutes, you've gone from a nice and orderly facility to a lab full of broken beakers and Bunsen burners. Not only would you have to grab a mop and broom to clean everything up, but you would have to be an expert on OSHA standards as you try to safely clean up all of the chemical spills. Reporting hazardous incidents would be a nightmare, and your budget for hazmat suits would be astronomical. Never mind trying to manage your ever-depleting inventory of odd-shaped glass vials that are constantly being smashed by a maniacal Mr. Hyde!
Of course, not all mad scientists would be that terrible to work for. Doc Brown from Back to the Future seems like a pretty straightforward employer, at least when he isn't getting shot at by angry Libyan black-marketers. But hey, where else are you going to get the plutonium for all of your time-traveling needs? Regular gas won't generate enough jiggawatts, as we all know. Your main problem working for "Doc" would be twofold: one, handling all of that chemical waste and toxic material required to fuel the coolest car ever, and two, the constant preventative maintenance a DeLorean from the 1980s would need. Under ordinary circumstances, maintenance would not be terrible. However, the rigors of lightning-bolt strikes and time travel have to wear down a vehicle pretty quickly. A simple oil change wouldn't do. Besides, as we see at the end of the movie, the famous DeLorean doesn't even use oil. Instead, it uses garbage and recyclables. That can't be good for the engine.
It could be worse, though. You could be the facility or maintenance manager for the forgetful Hubert Farnsworth from Futurama or for Dexter from the aptly named Dexter"s Laboratory. Worse still, imagine working in the treacherous world of Breaking Bad and having to slave under the notorious Walter White (and his alter ego Heisenberg)! It makes you appreciate your current job a little more, doesn't it?