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What Does it Take to Make SAP PM an Enabler for Your Organization?

There are past due notifications and maintenance orders often going back as far as the SAP go-live date. What are these orders? They range from awaiting material, to past due PM's, to left over project related activities, jobs that have long been completed, etc. Why are these items still on the system? To us, the answer is simple. While the organization usually has some maintenance process in place, more than likely, it has not been mapped to SAP PM, hence there is no disciplined process to control work.

Often times, the SAP installation/implementation timeline is driven by the organization's financial department. The maintenance organization barely has enough time to have the PM master data elements properly cleansed, enhanced, standardized, and formatted utilizing legacy system data. As a result the bare minimum is carried over. At SAP go-live, the maintenance organization is provided with adequate training on the SAP PM module to get started. The formal training effort is discontinued after go-live. SAP PM requires participation from shop or plant floor personnel. These individuals are not always the computer savvy types.

When a financially based software system is introduced to people that thrive in mechanical and electrical knowledge, helping the two skills merge effectively is a challenge. Enter SAMI AHC Stage 1. We collaborate across the board from shop floor staff to middle and upper management in a 13-week design phase, amalgamating the organization's existing maintenance process with world class maintenance practices to form a maintenance process that is mapped to SAP PM, thereby making SAP PM an enabler rather that a disabler.
I have found that having an ex-member from the organization's SAP implementation team on our team expedites the master data and data integrity improvement effort as the individual has the knowledge and associations in the organization to have the necessary changes made.

Opportunities to make SAP PM an enabler:

Is it easy to find what you are looking for on the functional location/equipment hierarchy? Often in the rush to implement, the data is 'dumped' into a structure that is not user friendly. Frustration or lack of time to find what you looking for cause selection of a higher level classification that not only makes it difficult for the planner, but makes history, reports and accurate cost tracking nearly impossible.

How much of the equipment or functional locations have accurate bills of materials (BOMs)? Lack of BOMs makes the planner's job more difficult and time consuming.

Can we find the material effectively without a BOM? Until the BOMs are completed, just finding the material can be difficult with new naming conventions brought on by standardization.

Extend the routine planning and scheduling horizon to 6 weeks. This gives the planner sufficient time to identify and secure parts, materials, permits, production assistance, and anything else required as part of a work plan. Only schedule work on available time less the break-in rate. This will provide the execution personnel a realistic timeline to accomplish the scheduled jobs.

The Notification is the heart of the Equipment or Location History and therefore the basis for improvement of chronic problems. This information requires accurate input from a human (preferably the craftsman). If you can't measure it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it.

As a final note, no matter which EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) or CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) tool that you have in place, there is one thing that you must do. Map your process to the tool. Make the tool an enabler, not a disabler.

Article submitted by Chris Chetty, CMRP, Senior Consultant, SAMI Corporation

For help on how to make SAP PM an enabler in your organization, contact Chris Chetty (

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