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A Step-by-step guide to a CMMS build with Add Energy

2 September 2020 by Chris Laing

Having an effective computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is vital for running a facility successfully, allowing the maintenance of equipment and assets to be more proactive as opposed to reactive. 


All decisions should be made based on accurate, reliable data - but for many companies, data within the CMMS is inaccurate or missing altogether. This can cause significant knock-on issues, for example high levels of backlog or conducting more corrective maintenance than preventative, which could be easily avoided.

The key is having a solid foundation of data that you have confidence in, and we support companies across the globe with CMMS data build projects to help them achieve this. In this blog post, Chris Laing, Senior Engineer at Add Energy, explains why this type of work is so important, and takes you through the key steps involved in a typical CMMS build project.

Why is an effective CMMS so crucial?

“An accurate and fully-populated CMMS will drive major efficiencies for an asset. Sites tend to be more reactive than proactive, which leads to costly shutdowns and unplanned downtime, and never resolving the causes behind them. When equipment isn’t working, the entire facility then isn’t working as it should be. 

“For instance, staff become demotivated as they’re having to firefight issues instead of doing their actual job. Those in leadership are then spending more time managing that, instead of working towards KPIs and the efficiency and operation of the site. This could largely be avoided if the right maintenance was being done at the right time, and this should all be based on having accurate and reliable data. 

“Some teams may also want to extend the life of their facility, and this increases the need to have all the information in the CMMS, so they can carry out the preventative maintenance that’s required to ensure the equipment lasts longer.”

Step 1: Equipment identification

“One of the first things we discuss with our clients is what they want to get out of this project, and which equipment they want us to look at. 

“A CMMS build can focus on high priority systems or areas where you’re facing continual issues, but it can also be used to look at specific equipment types or the asset as a whole.

“Once this is determined, we then go through and review all of the relevant drawings and documentation, and in some cases where information is missing, a physical asset verification (PAV) is required to fully capture every single piece of equipment that’s there. 

“This is our starting point, as lots can happen throughout the lifespan of an asset, and it’s very easy for teams to lose track of things over time. Typically we find that there are missing drawings, or discover pieces of kit that were installed but never added to the system. This initial step allows us to identify all of this, plug these gaps and ensure we have the full picture of the system or asset.” 

Step 2: Data enrichment

“Once we have gathered this base data, we need to enrich it. 

“This step of the process involves identifying, organizing, categorizing and documenting what is important to you as a business. For example:

  • What equipment is safety critical?
  • What equipment is important for production, or for the environment?
  • What are your equipment classifications?
  • What are your equipment criticalities?
  • What are the technical attributes of the equipment that you want to record? 

“Getting granular around your data at this stage will enable you to make better, more informed decisions going forward. The contrast that many companies are facing is making decisions on flawed or incomplete data, so this step is vital in mitigating against that.”

Step 3: Review and enhance the maintenance strategy

“Now that we have full visibility of your equipment, we can conduct a review to ensure your maintenance strategy is still fit for purpose.

“We can review how each type of equipment fails within your business and within the industry as a whole, using OREDA or generating FMECAs, then provide guidance around how to protect against these failing modes. For example, you keep having leaks from a seal on a set of pumps - does your strategy protect against this? Are you inspecting them enough, changing them out enough or are you just waiting for the next failure then correcting that? 

“During this stage, we can review, update and enhance your existing maintenance strategies, and apply the recommended strategies across all of your equipment.”

Step 4: Add valuable context

“We now know that in theory, everything is as it should be, however real life constraints also need to be factored in to ensure success. 

“People are often the key consideration at this stage. For example, we need to consider how many people are available to do the work and how many productive hours there are in a day. These insights may highlight that it’s impossible for the team to do more than 150 hours of maintenance in a week for a specific discipline, which will in turn impact how you apply your strategy. This wouldn’t be apparent by reviewing your data alone.

“This step often involves looking at the potential for packaging of maintenance, so that it is done in the most smart and efficient way possible.

“Adding these practicalities into the application of your strategy is fundamental to success, as it allows you to identify the most efficient ways to implement it, and allows work to be planned well in advance and issues to be avoided. It gives more data to decision makers, and allows everyone to make more informed decisions.”

Step 5: Incorporate efficiencies / Continuous improvement

“The data is now at a good point, real life context has been added and equipment has been packaged - the next step is looking at efficiencies.

“Our final focus is around developing a continuous improvement plan, that will maintain the work we’ve done and ensure your data is kept at a high standard. 

“Take a garden, for example. You want it to look nice so you bring in a landscaper to overhaul and improve your garden, but in 2 years time, if you haven’t taken care of it, the plants will have died, you’ll have weeds and there will be lots of work to do. The landscaper could continually come in to improve the garden, or you could learn for yourself how to maintain and look after it.

“This is what we can offer too, by helping you manage your facility and get efficiencies in place. 

“There are two key methods for doing this:

  1. We write up management of change processes and create documentation. This will focus on how you add new equipment, how you make changes, process flows behind them and more.
  2. We provide training to your team. For maintenance managers or supervisors, we can explain things we’ve seen in the past and train them to ensure the maintenance program is being conducted in the way you want going forward. 

“The health of your facility depends on the people and processes behind it, so we could help with a mix of both to ensure the data in your CMMS is maintained and continually improved.”

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