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The Maintenance Management Blog

September 11, 2023

CMMS Revisions And History

Image: man at computer wondering

"I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word, and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any change to."

Yeah…I get this a lot on my documents. I’m tempted to hit Control-Z so it will erase any change I supposedly had made, but that scares me even more. Many writers, when creating manuscripts, will save a document as a new version. That way, there's older versions to refer to if necessary. This week, we'll discuss CMMS revisions and history because they're similar to writers saving new versions.

The above quote made me think of note-taking and how I change not only documents but outlines and entire stories. I am constantly making notations on my story outline. Questions about certain locations or other information pop up so I jot a note to find time for research. I think of additional scenes or additions to a particular scene. Recently while jogging, I thought out all of the details regarding a future fight scene my heroine would have. When I finished my run, I immediately wrote the choreography of the fight.

Sometimes I run into problems, usually, time-related and I’ll make a note to review the day’s activities within the story and either change a few things around or create new scenes. I don’t like lag time. I don’t like hours passing without knowing what is happening, even if my character is only sleeping. I remember a particular book I read for review. I don’t recall the title, but I thought the story flawed because literally days would pass within the story where nothing happened. However, the plot was such that, since it was a murder mystery with a killer on the loose, something needed to be occurring. The detectives just didn’t sit around all day. The author thought he could jump ahead to the action scenes but threw off the reader because nothing happened. I would have loved to have seen this guy’s outline if it existed.

Ideas can occur anytime, anywhere. In the shower, while dreaming, while sitting at a restaurant. You hear about authors writing notes on napkins and paper menus. Even on their hands. I don’t get that exotic. Scrap paper usually does the trick. The challenge is putting those scraps in a place where I won’t forget about them. Yes, I have forgotten some notes, discovered them later, and was unable to either remember why I wrote the note at the time or couldn’t understand to what I wanted to refer.

One author friend saves everything. She has emails she’s never opened dating back almost a year. I know this because I once sent her an email regarding a marketing plan. Subsequently, I lost mine. A year later, she found the email. She also saves each rewrite of her manuscripts. This is not a bad idea for some people. If you remember what changes you made the previous times, you can retrieve the information if needed in future rewrites.

The key to note-taking, I think, is to not let the idea sit in your head until you can find time or material to write it down. Don’t wait. Have a notebook with you constantly or have access to something at all times. If you wait even an hour until you have paper/time, you may risk losing the completeness of the thought. I know this from experience. Get it down on paper fast because to wait, means other distractions intruding and designating that awesome idea to the background where it may become watered down or, heaven forbid, forgotten.

Whether it’s a story idea, the germ of an idea, a news article that strikes your fancy, a scene change, a chapter addition/deletion, or a complete rewrite plan, get it down.

Save it. Save it again just to be sure you have it.

Then save it again.

In business, do you draw out strategies for operations, marketing, or sales? When one is laid out, then later revised, do you keep the original? What if you decide the revised version won't work and need to go with what you first planned?

Does your maintenance department use spreadsheets to track assets and inventory? That's fine, but if there's a change to a listing, you don't have any way of checking the original. (Unless you Save As and rename the document, say to the current date.

How efficient is an entire document saved for one item? If you have hundreds of items, you won't know which was changed with extensive comparisons.

Let's look at a different way to keep your records. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Assets – You have your list of equipment and other assets. Normally, the information you originally input will suffice. Not much should change. However, if there is one made to a certain record, the quality CMMS will note that revision. Later, if you remember something different, you can look back to review what update was made.

Inventory Management – The same holds true for inventory. As a simple example, Bob inputs that he has four Phillips-head screwdrivers in bin #4. Later, he discovered he made an error, and they're actually flat-heads. He makes the change. Subsequently, you're doing a physical count to keep your records current, and you discover bin #4 really does contain Phillips-heads. You can check the revision records and discover Bob's error.

Image: man working on street light

Preventive Maintenance – You want a revision record for PMs. This could be a major issue. Another simple example is Bob inputs that an oil change is to be quarterly. When you review the PM, you make the change that this particular oil change needs to be done monthly. Additionally, you want an oil filter replaced at the same time. Every change made is recorded so users can see the history and understand how it's been updated.

Work order history – Work orders are at the heart of your maintenance strategy. These records are vital for cost tracking, when a job was last completed, by whom, what tools/parts were used, and the time taken for completion. This history helps you be more efficient. That job you estimated for four hours took only two? Great. The next time you'll revise that work order, knowing that the job won't take as long, freeing up more time for other tasks.

Purchase Order history – "Bob, didn't we pay fifty dollars less for this part the last time?" If you had a history of those purchase orders, you could answer that question. Records keep track of discrepancies in invoices. They help you track vendor compliance. Check previous records to see if you received too many parts or not enough? Check the revisions on those orders.

I related record keeping and revisions to writing because I'm familiar with that hobby. But for a business, these are necessary and many times required. Using a CMMS for this task is so beneficial. You don’t have to make the notation by hand that "Bob changed the type of screwdrivers." Your system does that automatically.

Ready to dump the spreadsheets and move on to something so much better? Do some planning with your team to figure out what you want from a CMMS. Then visit Mapcon to read about the details of their superior and powerful system. Who knows? You may go down in history as one of the smartest people in your company. Now there's a record worth keeping!


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, revisions, records — Stephen Brayton on September 11, 2023