CMMS VENDOR'S PERSPECTIVE
Eli G. Katz
Maintenance Automation Corporation
This presents one personal-computer (PC-based) computerized maintenance management System (CMMS) producer's views on data-input standards. Standardization jargon, standard code structures, standard codes, and standard data exchange formats for at least “equipment information ” and “work orders” are vitally needed. Users of CMMS now face the overwhelming task of obtaining or creating these items. Informal surveys made with three major hotel chains in the mid-1980s concluded that virtually all of their chief engineers and engineering departments could operate a PC-based CMMS, but that less than five percent had the capability to set up a CMMS. This was because of the absence of the needed standards for jargon, code structures, and codes. With such “corporate standards ” in place, close to ninety percent can gather the local data to start-up the CMMS.
Adding standard record contents and structure for “equipment information” and “work orders” will facilitate a huge increase in benefits and convenience. Manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, and CMMS users will be able to easily exchange technical and business information. CMMS users will be able to exchange information between brands of CMMS and other systems. Individual plant engineers will be able to easily establish, maintain, and relocate their own personnel professional armories of information as a career credential.
The “information processing revolution” with low cost, extremely high-powered PCs and PC local area networks combined with CMMS application software is now ahead of most users ' start-up capabilities. These data-input standards are urgently needed.
The five documents described below were attached to this paper; however, because of their lengths they have not been reproduced in this report.
Attachment (1) is an example of a successful data standard. It allows various
brands of project management software to easily exchange data. It should be used as a template for present efforts. The author is now using this MPX format for pilot two-way data exchange between the Project Management Module of CHIEF 2000™ and Microsoft Projects brand software. It really works! It really accomplishes the goals being sought by this workshop.
Attachment (2) provides an introduction to Computerized Maintenance Management Systems for those not familiar with them plus specific recommendations, now being strongly reinforced and repeated, that CMMS coding standards be established, and that they be based upon the strong construction industry foundation of the Construction Specifications Institute Masterformat Coding Scheme. This scheme is used in the United States and Canada. It is used by the AIA, NSPE, Sweets, Means, etc.
Attachment (3) provides User Manual Application Notes details of one brand of CMMS (the author's CHIEF 2000™) for further background reference.
Attachment (4) provides an example of how one brand of CMMS documents a glossary and data elements. In the future these should correlate with standards to be developed by present efforts.
Attachment (5) presents the author's professional background. Many years of voluntary work on NFPA standards have made him a true believer in the power of the U.S. consensus standards process. The process is wonderful. It is truly American democracy at work with most participants rising above plebeian company interests and working to truly improve the state of the art.
THE POWER OF GROUP THINK: THE ANSI CONSENSUS STANDARD METHODOLOGY
My National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Committee work has taught me that “Group Think” by technically qualified professionals aimed at improving the state of the art is phenomenally powerful. Over and over I would come to a committee meeting thinking I had an optimum solution, communicate and interact with other committee members who also thought they had optimum solutions and two or three days later realize that our “Group Think” had produced practical, sound, extremely beneficial results that I totally agreed with and that far exceeded my original solution.
As part of the ANSI consensus standard process our outputs would be documented and widely published for “public comments.”
Considering the “Public Comments” always added to the power of the document. Exposure to inputs from all over North America and the world picked up flaws in detail and caused reevaluation of scope and direction.
The disadvantages is that it takes from three to five years to produce a standard. This might be partially mitigated for Federal Construction Council purposes by the producing of a preliminary draft document that is referred to by appropriate federal construction and procurement specifications with notice and intent for it to be replaced by the ANSI Standard.
For expediting it is suggested that an existing “ANSI consensus code organization” be enlisted for this effort. Possible organizations are NFPA, ASTM, and ASHRAE.
It is suggested that the following professional organizations be involved in this standard:
CSI CODING AS STARTING POINT
It is strongly recommended that Construction Specifications Institute Masterformat Coding be the starting point for standard coding. It is widely used and accepted in the construction and maintenance fields. It will provide a familiar foundation to build upon rather than trying to start an overwhelming task from an absolute beginning. The CSI coding provides for the coding of everything that is constructed and used in construction. It provides for amplification to cover entire industries such as manufacturing, biomedical equipment, petro-chemicals, etc., that are not fully detailed.
The widespread North American maintenance and construction familiarity with the CSI coding is simply and overwhelmingly the best basis for maintenance coding. Possible alternatives that might be considered could technically be suitable, but would not be familiar to the majority of users and would require cross referencing to the CSI coding. The alternatives specifically not recommended are:
U.S. Custom Codes
European Common Market Custom Codes
United Nations Goods and Services Coding Scheme
EDI is the Electronic Data Interchange Standard for business transactions. Theoretically, this CMMS data effort might be considered to be a sub-set of EDI. The proper relationship, if any, with EDI should be considered in the proposed new standard making process, and certain EDI rules on processing technical record and file delineation and marking might be followed, or the same ASCII of ANSI Standards, might be shared, but formal integration with EDI is not recommended for initial efforts.
NEEDED DATA ELEMENTS
Glossary of Data Element Terms
Attachment 4 provides an initial list of terms for the Glossary. Special attention is invited to:
The term for the “thing” being maintained. CHIEF 2000 uses “Maintenance Record.” Others use “Equipment Record” or “PM Card.” Remember it can be an item of equipment, or a building, or a roof, or a length of cable, or a city, or a hotel room, or thermostat, or. . . . etc.
The terms for the structure of a multi-element “thing” being maintained. What is a system, a device, a component, a spare part? Think of a built-up major air handling unit with supply fan, exhaust fan, return-air fan, heat recovery unit, hot deck, cold deck, tempering coil, motors, starters, drives, valves, and controls plus casings and structural elements. Think of an assembly line. Think of a boiler in a boiler plant.
The terms for the location of the “thing” being maintained plus the term for the location of a group of “things” being maintained. Can we simply have rooms on the floor of a building grouped into a work zone, or do we have structural bays, or map coordinates, or. . . . ?
The terms for a generic person and for that generic person laboring for an hour.
Formats for Coding of Data Element Terms
PC users expect alpha-numeric coding. Or is it alphameric? Minicomputer and mainframe computer users generally expect to be limited to only numeric coding. PC users expect separate codes fields and look-up code descriptions for every data elements plus every data element with its own field in records to facilitate use with the multitude of PC reporting and management tools. Minicomputer and mainframe computer users expect records to be combined into a single field with access techniques finding the proper digits within the large field for each data element. The author's focus is on modern useable PCs and PC LAN techniques rather than archaic (SIC) minicomputer and mainframe techniques. The standard should recognize these differences and address them appropriately. It will either have the codes as numeric only, thus accepting the traditional mainframe limitation, or have parallel numeric and alpha-numeric formats.
The author's experience is that 18-character codes and 25-character descriptions make a good base set. Larger code exceptions are some long strung together mainframe type accounting codes which reach 32 characters and the 32-character Federal Supply Part Numbers. Smaller codes are the 9 digit or 12 character Social Security Number, the two digit CSI trades or crafts,
five digit CSI categories, and most building codes of no more than 8 characters.
Twenty-five-character code descriptions have rarely caused a problem in the English language.
Uniform Codes for Appropriate Data Element Terms
It is suggested that you obtain a copy of Construction Specification Institute Master List of Titles and Numbers for the Construction Industry, publication number CSI MP-2-1-88. CSI is located in Alexandria, Virginia. Please note that the back of the document cross references from Item Description to 5-digit code. The front of the document defines the 16 Divisions and the expansion of the Divisions into Broadscope and Title. Of course, you know that Division 16 is electrical and 16400 is electrical service and distribution and 16480 is motor control and that Division 15 is mechanical and that 15170 is motors. You also know that you can use these codes to find catalogues in Sweets and cost estimates in Means. In Means, the expansion of the structure beyond 5 digits is applied.
Data Exchange Formats
Now that the glossary, coding structures, and coding scheme are established, let's establish the formats for combining the information into useful Records and Files for Data Exchange. Formats for discussion are the “THING RECORD” and the “WORK ORDER.”
Coding standards for PC-Computerized Maintenance Management Systems are urgently needed. The Federal Construction Council and National Academy of Sciences are urged to give their creation the highest possible priority. The combined stature, authority, and purchasing clout of the two groups give them the unique power to get the proper attention and commitment from all appropriate organizations.