How to strengthen the effects of using a CMMS system? Levels of advancement

26 January 2018

The mistaken belief that the implementation of a system for maintenance alone will solve all problems continues to exist in the market. If fact, in order to achieve measurable benefits it is necessary to work with the system and know how to use it. A system is only a tool thanks to which some work can be done but we have to carry out this work on our own.

The article is the third part of our guide to implementation of a CMMS system:

The prevailing number of failures in the implementation of CMMS software results from the fact that after putting the system into use hardly anyone uses it or users do not have appropriate skills. What we consider to be an implementation failure are not infrastructural problems or the impossibility of installing a program (because the pre-implementation audit prevents such cases) but the lack of benefits resulting from the unused potential of a system.

So how to achieve an implementation success and work out really satisfactory results? Is it possible at all? The practice shows that it is but determination and commitment to independent development are needed.


What are levels of advancement in using a CMMS system?

Achieving levels of advancement is a process of the last, fourth phase of the implementation. You can read about all of them in the first part of this guide: How to successfully implement a CMMS system? Due to high complexity of the process and a lot of people involved following the development paths presented below is a good practice:

  • reactive path,
  • warehouse management path,
  • analytical path,
  • preventive path.

Each of them consists of a few levels. In the initial period of using the system they simplify the work with the system, but first of all they enable to achieve the implementation goals set earlier. The key to success is the approach of persons involved and following the plan.


Reactive path

We begin developing the maintenance department with the use of a CMMS system from mastering basic rules associated with the reactive approach. This path allows to become familiar with the system and gather data, which later will be used in the further development. We distinguish six levels of advancement:


Level of advancement 1

Beginning work in the area of reporting and handling breakdowns. At this level special attention should be paid to categorization of requests (for example electric breakdown, mechanical breakdown, fault, adjustment, etc.). From now all problems reported by the maintenance department are registered in the CMMS system.

Goal: Automatic recording the real time of a request.
Effect: Shortening the response time. Verbal and telephone requests are accepted.


Level of advancement 2

Beginning work in the area of reporting and managing breakdowns. At this level special attention should be paid to categorization of requests (for example electric breakdown, mechanical breakdown, fault, adjustment, etc.). From now all problems reported by the maintenance department are registered in the CMMS system.

Goal: Better preparation for handling requests by technicians and the possibility of handling more important requests first (priorities).
Effect: Further shortening the response time. Faster handling requests thanks to eliminating the need of carrying out multiple inspections by technicians before taking action.


Level of advancement 3

Acceptance of rejection of completed tickets by the production department (operators). From now, authorized persons from the production department decide on closing a ticket. In this way the maintenance department receives information on an ongoing basis which tickets have been correctly handled.

Goal: An increase in the quality of acquired data. Elimination of hidden work that the maintenance department still has to do.
Effect: Acquiring first data allowing to evaluate the quality of work.


Level of advancement 4

Using a mobile application by technicians and mechanics for handling tickets and recording work.

Goal: Automatic recording the real time of response and the time of repair. Recording the real time of work. Acquiring data allowing for the analysis of the indicators MRT (Mean Reaction Time) and MTTR (Mean Time To Repair).


Level of advancement 5

Providing information on symptoms when reporting a breakdown (by the production department). Fulfilling information on symptoms is now required.

Goal: Classification of tickets by categories of symptoms. Obtaining the capability to conduct the Pareto analysis and take remedial actions in the areas in which they will bring the greatest results.


Level of advancement 6

Completing information on causes of breakdowns by technicians and mechanics (the maintenance department). Persons from the maintenance department who handle a particular ticket are obliged to enter information on actual causes of a breakdown.

Goal: Diagnostic support for tickets and obtaining more information which enable o conduct the advanced Pareto analysis based on causes of breakdowns.
Effect: The CMMS system will automatically begin to generate suggestions on causes of breakdowns based on previous associations of causes with symptoms.


Achieving the sixth level of advancement will allow to take effective actions which will increase availability of machines. Moreover, it guarantees a significantly higher quality of preventive actions, which will be focused on diagnosing the most frequent problems.


Warehouse management path

Depending on the progress in the reactive path improvements in the area of warehouse management can be introduced in parallel. Its elements will be necessary to carry out preventive jobs effectively, the achievement of which can be considered the end of the implementation of a CMMS system. In this area we distinguish four levels of advancement but the first one should be completed during the phase of preparation for implementation.


Level of advancement 0

Ordering spare part indexes (eliminating doubled indexes and correcting too general indexes). Defining groups of parts, warehouses, storage places. Carrying out a comprehensive inventory of a warehouse and data import to the CMMS system.

Goal: Proper preparation for implementation of warehouse management.


Level of advancement 1

Recording parts acceptances and releases in the CMMS system.

Goal: Maintaining real and reliable information on spare parts inventories.


Level of advancement 2

Defining minimum inventory levels for individual parts and identifying critical parts for the manufacturing process.

Goal: Maintaining safe spare parts inventories.


Level of advancement 3

Integration of the functionality of warehouse management with the ERP system.

Goal: Limiting to minimum the work related to entering information on inventories (for example acceptances only in ERP, releases only in CMMS). Shortening the time spent on operating the systems.


Analytical path

Similarly as in the case of the warehouse management path, it can be realised in parallel with the reactive path. The analytical path and the warehouse management path support prevention and are present throughout the development in using the system. However, they shouldn’t disrupt the work related to achieving all levels of advancement in the reactive path.

The analytical path consists of two levels of advancement:


Level of advancement 1

The analysis of basic indicators: MTBF, MTTR, MRT, MTR.

Goal: Being able to obtain basic information on the condition of maintenance processes and the evaluation of development actions undertaken. The analysis of basic indicators such as MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) or MRT (Mean Reaction Time) allows to make a decision on possible corrective actions (for example, if the mean time between failures (MTBF) has increased, it means that the actions taken have been effective).


Level of advancement 2

Defining in cooperation with the production department KPIs – key performance indicators (for example, availability of machines) used by both departments.

Goal: Carrying out the Pareto analysis to take actions which will eliminate the most frequent causes impacting KPIs. Being able to plan preventive actions in relation to machines that have the highest value for production.


Preventive path

The execution of the preventive path can be begun during or even before beginning activities in the areas of analytics and warehouse management. However, a plant should have achieved all levels of the reactive path. The prevention path consists of four levels of advancement but the first one should be completed during the phase of preparation for implementation.


Level of advancement 0

Carrying out the analysis of machines’ criticality. You can find information on the method of carrying out the analysis in our Knowledge Base: Strategies of machines exploitation.

Goal: Focusing on preventive actions in relation to the most critical machines (belonging to groups A and B). Selection of a preventive unit which specialises in inspections.


Level of advancement 1

Developing plans of prevention for machines. Assigning individual persons/maintenance technicians to the actions planned.

Goal: The possibility of generating and managing preventive actions. The analysis of feasibility of preventive plans.


Level of advancement 2

Developing check lists for preventive events and appropriate attachments.

Goal: Cataloguing and clarifying technicians’ work. The possibility of reporting completion of preventive actions.


Level of advancement 3

Ongoing verification and execution of preventive plans at the set level.

Goal: A significant increase in availability of production capacity of the machinery park.



The achievement of the last level of prevention is the culmination of the implementation of the CMMS system, which can be considered to be successful. At this stage, an enterprise is able to achieve significant results in the areas of maintenance and production. Due to close cooperation between these departments the production processes are also improved, which directly translates into the production performance and profits achieved.

Thus, the implementation of a CMMS system results not only in the improvement of technicians’ work, but also the performance of the whole plant. For this reason, it is so important to have a serious and responsible approach to the implementation and continue efforts after the software is installed.

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