How to analyse CMMS reports

Published:  12 October, 2017

Sanjay Murthi, manager at SMGlobal, looks at how to analyse machine/ equipment breakdown reports from CMMS software.

As an operations manager or maintenance manager you will regularly look for problem equipment. These cause frequent shutdowns or incur big maintenance costs. When you have hundreds of equipment it can be hard to do. For this equipment breakdown reports or similar asset maintenance reports from your maintenance management software will be helpful.

First – Identify problem equipment

1. Maintenance costs by equipment

Use reports from your CMMS program to get an idea of the total maintenance costs. Get unplanned as well as planned maintenance costs over the last twelve months. Avoid looking at too short a period. Otherwise costs will be skewed if some equipment needs heavy maintenance only during certain times of the year. Find the most expensive machinery to maintain. Review the costs to see if anything seems out of line. Consider manufacturers cost estimates and prior years data to see if costs seem unusual.

2. Equipment downtime duration

Look at equipment downtime reports for the past twelve months. If parts were not available or maintenance personnel were shifted to higher priority jobs, downtime can seem high for some equipment because it took a long time to fix. Filter out such equipment from your list.

3. Complaints history and maintenance work requests

Look at reported complaints and work requests over the past twelve months. Look for assets that have many complaints or many requests for maintenance work.

4. Equipment statistics (e.g. MTBF, MTTF)

Statistics on equipment can be useful in many cases. They will not be so useful when you have many types of equipment. You will not be able to compare statistics easily. With similar equipment used in similar ways you can compare statistics. Investigate equipment that has statistics way out of line.

Next – Find breakdown reasons

Once you have a list of problem equipment you should check further. Find the underlying causes. Equipment or machines that break down frequently could be failing for reasons such as:

1. Close to end of life

While it may be theoretically possible to keep on using equipment assets with a lot of ongoing maintenance, at some point it becomes too expensive to continue doing so. Internal metal fatigue, non availability of spare parts, lack of maintenance skills or newer equipment with better productivity and efficiency are reasons to consider replacing old machines. Replace any asset in your list that falls into this category.

2. Poor maintenance practices

This covers things like skipping preventive maintenance, using poor quality spares & supplies or maintenance technicians not knowing how to do the job correctly. Check if maintenance personnel keep replacing the same parts or frequently report issues during maintenance using some parts. Look for skipped preventive maintenance. Check work orders to make sure that maintenance procedures are being properly followed. Any equipment in your list that falls into this category needs a better preventive maintenance plan. Maintenance personnel may need better training. If poor quality spare parts are causing problems it is time to look for vendors offering better quality.

3. Poor operational practices

This means that equipment operators are not using the equipment properly. Or the equipment is not designed for the loads being put on it. Feedback from maintenance technicians may mention operator errors. Improved operator training can help here. Equipment that is considered critical and fails frequently even if maintenance was properly done could be a sign of over loading of equipment. You may need to buy additional machines or look at making changes in operational flow to reduce peak loads.

4. Poorly designed or built

This means that the equipment has internal flaws that cause it to fail frequently. For example over heating because of inadequate cooling. If you have many similar equipment and they all seem to have frequent failures due to the same problem it could be sign of design or build issues. Do some research to find if other organisations using this equipment are also reporting similar problems. You may be able to get the manufacturer to fix these issues. Or consider buying better equipment from another vendor.

5. Incorrectly installed or setup

The equipment was not installed correctly. Or it was damaged during installation or initial startup. This may look similar to equipment with poor design or build. However, it will usually be isolated to only a few equipment out of many similar ones. Any research you do on other organisations reporting similar problems may not result in many similar complaints about the equipment. Comparing equipment statistics to manufacturers recommendations can also provide clues. You will need to check such equipment and do a complete re-install if necessary.

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