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The Maintenance Management Blog

May 30, 2023

Inside Your CMMS - Assets

Image: oil drill at sunset

So, you're considering investing in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). You've noticed that spreadsheets aren't keeping up with maintenance department operations. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying spreadsheets are bad. I use the program at home. However, for a larger facility with a lot of equipment and inventory and purchasing, spreadsheets are limited in what they can do. I understand investing in a powerful "tool" such as a CMMS demands some contemplation. As well it should. The tricky part is seeing how it will work for you before buying and using it. What's included in the modules, features, and functions? This series seeks to help you understand what's inside your CMMS. I'll highlight several areas within such a system that you'll want to consider.

Of course, what's needed and used from a CMMS will differ from industry to industry. Ethanol plants will utilize modules and features in a different manner than a large hospital. However, there are commonalities used by all.

What I hope to do is show some features and options that would be important to many companies. I could hit everything, but after using a quality CMMS for a while, you'll discover other bits you need. Also, the system vendor should be able to assist by showing you how to access some of the smaller benefits. Look at this series as a gestalt of various modules, dipping a toe into interesting details now and then.

First up is Assets.

When we delve into this, keep in mind we're not just referring to large equipment items. In fact, that's one of the areas to note—designating what type of asset you have. Whether it's the company grounds, a particular building, or a large vehicle, you can specify that in your item listing.

When creating the listings, consider the various data fields that will benefit you.

Equipment ID and Keyword. This is important for categorizing and grouping. Do you have multiple pumps, processors, tanks, welders, etc.? Having keywords allows you to access these items easier for preventive maintenance (PM), purchasing, and cost reports. Inserting proper ID and keywords make it easier for the system to help you.

Hierarchy. Sometimes you have items that are part of a large piece of equipment. Identifying these "Russian doll" type assets, again, helps with PM and purchasing.

Status. Sometimes, you'll want to designate whether the piece of equipment is in service or give it an "importance" rating.

Description. This is an obvious data field, but consider a couple of suggestions. Remember, the CMMS is software. With all software, what you put into it is what you'll get out of it. This means, the program only knows what you input. It cannot read your mind to intuit what you meant. Remember the acronym GIGO. Let's make sure you're not inputting garbage.

For descriptions, it is suggested you keep them concise but with detail. What I mean is, don't write a manual but insert enough detail so you and the system can find it later.

For example: Conveyor, Titan trough style, model 400 bulk material – 4-inch center

Notice the logic of the description. What it is, the style, model, and a spec. Conveyor being first makes it easier to locate when conducting a system search.

For other non-equipment assets, you might use something along the lines of: Administration building, staff offices, general manager, and others. Once again, you have the largest descriptor followed by what's included. It may cover a lot but you know what is being identified.

Cost center. Some facilities have cost centers and want certain equipment identified with them.

Location. Is it somewhere on a vast production floor? Make it easier for workers to find it.

Misc. Description. The great thing about a quality CMMS is it lets you be as detailed as you want. Add model and serial


Vendor. Specify from where you purchased it, cost, and if you've purchased this in the past.

Safety procedures. Help with PMs and a good reminder for workers. You should be able to add these to work orders.

Notes. There should be a field for miscellaneous notes. No more sticky memo notes.

BOM. For preventive maintenance tasks and work orders. What bills of material (tools/parts/supplies) get used for this equipment?

PMs. I've mentioned these throughout because it is vital for operations they are done. So many areas throughout a good system are cross-referenced and that's good. You know you'll conduct PMs, so put those for the individual equipment in the listing.

Meters/Gauge readings. This is so important for the longevity of your equipment. Keep up to date on the health of your machines.

Attachment. Add a picture of the item.

Costs. Make accounting happy with any associated costs. Labor, materials, etc.

Depreciation. A CMMS is great for determining the continued value of machines. When does it become more cost-effective to buy new than continued repair?

As you can see, there are numerous points to consider when planning to input Asset info into a CMMS. I've listed a quick 16. Again, your company may not use all of these, or you might need a few more or something different not mentioned. Make a list of the features and information you'll want. Yes, it'll take a bit of time if you are starting fresh. If much of the information is on a spreadsheet, then ask the CMMS vendor to assist in transferring that info to the system.

Plan, then call 800-922-4336. Discuss with a Mapcon rep how a superior and comprehensive system can work for you.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: CMMS, maintenance, asset management — Stephen Brayton on May 30, 2023