Real-life accounts: Demonstrating the importance of accurate CMMS data for safe, efficient and effective maintenance management

16 February, 2021 by Add Energy

David Logie recently joined the Add Energy team as an Engineer within our Asset and Integrity Management division. With a background in mechanical maintenance in the energy sector, we wanted to chat with David to learn about the challenges he faced working within a fast-paced maintenance environment, and uncover his lessons learned and tips for ensuring maintenance is conducted as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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Tell us about your career path and the experience you have gained...

“I joined one of the UK’s top operators initially as a placement student, and then joined their graduate programme after graduating from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University - where I gained invaluable offshore and onshore experience on production assets, as well as a new offshore platform commissioning project. This exposure was crucial as it allowed me to gain hands on experience with the equipment that I would soon be planning and preparing maintenance for.

“I then progressed into my role of Mechanical Maintenance Engineer. This was predominantly based in the office, but I’d often get called offshore as and when required. I was a “jack of all trades” in this role, with my responsibilities spanning the management of HSE actions, breakdown failures of equipment, planned maintenance, vendor management, spares reviews, work orders and much more. The main function of this role was to help ensure the mechanical maintenance operations were run as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

What was the most common challenge you faced in this role?

“Lack of readily available, accurate and reliable data and information was one of the biggest challenges I faced in this role. When being tasked with preparing planned maintenance, arranging spare parts and organizing 3rd party specialist vendors, it was crucial that I had access to the right information in order to make the right decisions, and this wasn't always readily available in the CMMS or in document management systems.

“With day-to-day operations taking priority, updating the CMMS was typically deprioritized and the crucial data we needed to work effectively and efficiently was not always captured. I found that by building good relationships with the maintenance technicians and supervisors on site through daily communication provided me with the platform I needed to absorb the insights o
f challenges they were facing to collate a good amount of the information I needed to make informed decisions.

“This was particularly useful when looking at ways to optimize maintenance, in obtaining the insights from the maintenance team that were lacking in the CMMS maintenance work order data, I was able to take the information away and discuss it with the respective Technical Authorities (TAs) to determine updates to the maintenance strategies that would provide better mitigation of known failures. One example of this comes from a fire pump with an anti-rotation device that was designed to stop it from spinning in reverse, during discussions with the maintenance technicians, it became apparent that this was frequently getting stuck and damaging the ratchet system. When discussing this issue with the TA, it was advised that we should introduce simple visual checks into the planned maintenance routines, at the same frequencies that already existed, which enabled the team to identify the degradation and intervene just at the right time.”

What advice would you give to other maintenance professionals, based on your experience and lessons learned?

1. Ensure accuracy and discipline to maintain CMMS data quality

“Based on the challenges that I have experienced over the years, I cannot stress this point enough. It's common for the CMMS to get messy quite quickly, and this can cause lots of issues for the maintenance team and management who are making decisions about budgets and strategy. By keeping the CMMS up to date with good quality maintenance records it can help ensure:

  • Your maintenance plan is adhered to because the correct information is available for maintenance to commence without delay (e.g. historic failure reporting, accurate durations, spares required)
  • You can organize materials, personnel and workpacks well ahead of time for larger scopes, integrating key maintenance into the overall asset plan and avoiding last minute scrambles and disruptions
  • You build a strong library of documentation and history - potentially saving you (or your successor!) a lot of hassle finding key knowledge and historical information in the future

“My top tip here would be to instill discipline to this task to ensure the CMMS is updated consistently with the relevant signed work orders, not backdated and updated afterwards.

AE_photo_oil_gas_platform_020_lores-2“The effects this can have are extremely influential, here is a real-life example of how detrimental the lack of CMMS update can be: a couple of years ago I was working on an asset and the records for the crane’s spline inspection had been recorded incorrectly in the CMMS. The spline should be inspected every 2 years, and the CMMS said that the spline was last inspected 1.5 years prior, however, when digging through the data, I was able to identify that this inspection actually took place 1 year and 11 months ago. This caused panic, as we had to organize and plan for a spline inspection to be completed on a critical asset within the month, in November on a FPSO, which created all sorts of additional challenges due to weather conditions and personnel logistics.

“It was later identified that the previous work order had been closed out too late, and we only found this by chance when looking at the previous inspection report itself. This could have easily been avoided if the CMMS data was up to date and accurate.

“If this wasn't identified when it was, not only would this have meant we were non-compliant with our own Performance Standards and Safety Critical work requirements, it would have also exposed us to significant risk of incident. To date, there have been a number of serious incidents and near misses across the North Sea due to continued wear and degradation of crane hoist splines going undiagnosed due to a lack of inspection - to the point that the HSE released a Safety Notice (SN 2/2005) specifically to address this issue.”

2. Create an accessible platform for information sharing

“The sharing of information is absolutely fundamental to streamlined and effective maintenance and integrity management, and this involves pulling multiple parties and information sources together to collectively improve efficiencies.

AL_CMMS_Data_Analysis_Image2“There are many ways to do this, but I found a weekly call with the full maintenance team - from technicians through to supervisors and managers - as well as relevant vendors was very effective. This enabled everyone to share helpful and specific information when required, to improve the work being done.

“Another key to unlocking the success of this is building relationships with the team on-site. In my experience, these guys know the site like the back of their hands, and are able to provide detailed accounts of the day to day operations and maintenance through daily phone calls better than communicating this through use of the CMMS, so it’s worth your while building a strong relationship with them in this manner. They’ll be able to share valuable insights with you and the wider team, and give you advice to help plan maintenance more efficiently and effectively.

“Also build feedback into your processes. If a change in maintenance is required, discuss this with maintenance strategists, TA’s and the on-site team to determine what change was required and trigger feedback from the technicians and supervisors.”

3. Learn from the people around you and account for this in your day to day operations

“This is true in any role, but learning from those around you is invaluable - especially in the world of maintenance.

“Actively learn from mistakes made, lessons learned and the coping mechanisms of the wider team or people who managed and conducted the maintenance on the asset before you. You can do this by reading their notes, or speaking with them directly and asking for help when there are unknowns. In my experience, the stupidest question is the question that has not been asked.

AssetVoice_Example_Image_Web3“A good real-life example of this comes from an experience I had in a past position when I was completing maintenance on a crane and one of the parts wouldn’t re-attach. I read back the notes from the previous maintenance log and found that the engineer had a similar issue two years ago. By reviewing previous documentation, I was able to save my team the two days that would have been required to come up with a solution - we then made a point to revise the maintenance instructions to include this information as well.”

4. Keep your own notes neat and up-to-date

“Following on from the previous point, it’s also important to ensure you are good at documenting your work consistently. This requires discipline and dedicated time and effort, but the return on this investment is too great to put this task to the wayside.

CMMS_Data_Building_Key_Graphic-1“From personal experience, you’ll thank yourself in the future if you consistently keep your notes neat and up-to-date! Create a neat filing system, with set folders for each system, and label work by date and work order. Having the work order title against the file title will save you a lot of time trying to figure out which one refers to which - but most importantly, make sure that all relevant files and documentations are attached to the Work Order itself in your CMMS to ensure proper close out of your work. 

“It’s extra work in the short-term, but it paid me dividends in the long-term.”

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