Can any of you recommend a PM (preventative maintenance) software
system? I need to setup something for our medium size shop, and
started to do a spreadsheet based system, but we have a lot of stuff
and can see that it will over whelm the spreadsheet quickly. I see
these computerized systems that used to just run on a pc and cost ~3-5k
$ are now web based for a few hundred a year, so that looks
attractive. Any thoughts?
Ahm no 'spert, but goddamm, you must have one really big small shop, or
still have DOS Lotus 1-2-3.
In fact, I think Lotus 123 would suffice. Really, what is PM but just a
big goddamm calendar?
And frankly, properly-strategized index cards should suffice. They come in
I"d use green for daily stuff, blue for weekly, pink for monthly, yellow for
yearly. Just go through each pile, and check shit off, make notes.
One card for each machine in each pile. Have a master sheet with all the
explicit dates, if yer into all this super-accountability shit, and need
If you must, a simple relational database would more than do the job, and
would allow infinite tweaking for your particular setup. Access.
In fact, an index-card system would help strategize the database,
Mae West (yer fav CongressShill) to the Gangster (yer fav Lobbyist):
Depends on what you really want to track.
I track all the FD gear maintenance, inventory and repairs with a few
simple Excel sheets.
One sheet per vehicle/pump/air-pack. Items that we have multiples of
(hose,air-bottles and the like) all go on individual sheets with 40 per
Use simple color coding and sheet tags to keep track of tests/maintenance.
For instance on the air bottle sheets
I enter in the FDID number, serial number, make and type of cylinder,
last hydro test, last visual test and last fill date.
The last hydro gets compared to todays date and when the date hits 4
years 11 months the cell the hydro date is in turns red, Visual is the
same but every year.
When one of the above items is completed you just enter the date of
completion and it reverts to the green OK color.
That could be changed by making a simple check box for each item.
VERY simple formulas for the above as well.
I'd be leery, but you might find something better than useless.
In general, most multi-thousand dollar database-derived systems can be
done better in house with someone who actually understands what you need
done and a general purpose database (usually under $1000, or under $2000
if you need a server and a bunch of seats for users, and are not delving
in the (IMHO) painful-but-free solutions) - unless you have a
spreadsheet-oriented guy like Steve in-house who prefers to do it with
spreadsheets. Open Office's version may get past the painful part while
still being free, but I have not done anything with it, being invested
in and having experience with a non-free database, that I therefore find
easier/faster to use. There are tradeoffs either way; I'm on the
database - preferring end of the spectrum, but am not doing exactly this
at the moment. Even though you are obviously looking to avoid "doing
database stuff", canned database solutions nearly always are either
solving someone else's problem, or nobody's problem, and have holes or
excess detail in various places due to not fitting your actual problem.
Be very wary of things which you subscribe to or buy that keep your data
hostage if you decide to use something else - once you have pile of data
in, if you can't get it out it's a huge disincentive to use something
better, cheaper, or more appropriate to your use.
In my personal opinion, any PM tracking system should be able to track
failures as well as "tell you when to change part X" - so you can use
any actual failures to either modify your time to maintain, or your
parts to stock in case of failure.
I"ve set up a couple of PM systems on a number of plants that I was
chief engineer at.
The one that I've had the best results with is MEX
You can download a working copy to give it a trial. It can be as simple or
as sophisticated a system as you want it to be.I usually set it up with only
about three levels of equipment. ( department,machine,component).
It has a selection of add ons like asset tracking and stores control but
that may not be needed.
Give it a try. its pretty well priced as well>
======One task that you need to do before making a choice is to list
all the tasks that you want the software to do.
For example do you want it to print out a simple list of the
items to be done for the coming week, or separate job
tickets/work orders for each item, etc. and how much time do you
expect to spend administering the system, e.g. "closing the loop"
by entering the information from the completed work orders
showing exactly what parts were changed, services performed, etc.
Also how ready is your shop? Do you have every machine
identified with a unique asset number painted on the front of the
machine so the services can be tracked? [The green press in the
northeast corner won't cut it] Do you have the manufacturers'
suggested maintenance schedules? Who is going to input the data
to get the program started?
One suggestion is to install Hobbs hour meters on the electrical
equipment to track actual usage. This can be a real eye opener,
particularly if you are a growing shop and about to spend big
bucks for more machines. If you have any "wise guys" in the
shop, versions are available that require minimum amp draw to
activate the hour meter avoiding counting idling/warm-up time as
running. Installing both total on time and load hour meters can
be helpful on any expensive or bottleneck machines.
for some examples see
Be reminded that in most cases the cost the prep the shop, e.g.
identify and number the machines, collect the manuals and other
materials, and input the data far exceeds the cost of the
computer program and even the computer.
Unka' George [George McDuffee]
He that will not apply new remedies,
must expect new evils:
for Time is the greatest innovator: and
if Time, of course, alter things to the worse,
and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better,
what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman.
Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
Magic words: Google (preventive maintenance freeware)
Example : http://www.filetransit.com/freeware.php?name=Preventive_Maintenance
Slightly more expensive words: Google (preventive maintenance
Also Download of the Day, Giveaway of the Day etc.
For commercial software don't overlook Microsoft Works which is cheap
(eBay etc) and often is enough.
Once you select a PM database be "absolutely anal" about
nomenclature. I used to work for a small software company that
provided a WO/PM system for hospitals...Biomed and Facilities.
One of my jobs was to convert their old databases to our
structure. One customer had 12 different spellings of "Bell &
Gossett"...and 4 spellings for "pump" When you go to sort
things by manufacturer, location, device description, and such,
it makes a difference. Also use unique identification numbers
for devices. Too many people think a serial number is
great...until you run into several different devices with the
same 3 or 4 digit number...or no serial number.
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