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Why Remediation of CMMS Data is Essential to Reliability-Centered Maintenance

Remediation Process

Companies need to institute a system for periodic review of maintenance data. Remediation is the process of auditing and correcting asset data and documentation utilized by a CMMS. If a company wants to continuously improve reliability efforts, remediation must be performed periodically to ensure the accuracy of its data. The benefits of remediation include: 1) increased equipment data accuracy for decision making, 2) increased maintenance efficiency and 3) reduced total operating costs and risk.

The steps for conducting a successful remediation effort on a system usually include the following:

  • Walkdown and verify all system component information
  • Verify system drawings
  • Review analysis of system
  • Update spare parts information
  • Update CMMS with new data
  • Walkdown and Verify all System Component Information

System walkdowns involve taking the current data in the CMMS, along with the system drawings, and going to the field to verify what is actually there. Over the years, system component, piping, and instrument information can change dramatically. Even with a disciplined approach to change management, many changes are overlooked in the CMMS.

 Figure 1 – Walkdown and Verification Process

Figure 1 - Walkdown and Verification Process

Verify System Drawings

The drawings should be redlined/updated during the walkdown. Locations and relationships of equipment can change over time. Periodically updating the drawings will allow crafts personnel to locate equipment more quickly and easily. Up-to-date drawings also allow decision makers to more readily see potential changes that may be proposed. Any changes can then be promptly mapped out on a current drawing.

Review Analysis of System

An analysis may or may not have been completed at system start-up. Whether it is RCM or another type of analysis, it must be updated to reflect the current installation in the field. Using the CMMS data, system documentation, and client input, an analysis can be done to determine what preventive and predictive maintenance activities need to be done on the system. A review of historical data must be completed in order to determine how effective the current PMs are and whether changes need to be made. Once this analysis is complete, the PMs in the CMMS must be reviewed and updated.

Figure 2 - Analysis Remediation Process

Figure 2 - Analysis Remediation Process 

Update Spare Parts Information

Spare parts tend to be the most overlooked portion of the CMMS. Maintenance personnel spend far too much time researching parts information for repairs rather than doing the actual work. Remediation is an opportunity to update the bill of materials data included in the CMMS. Also, parts tend to become obsolete after a few years. The current parts in the CMMS must be researched and updated. Historical data can be useful to determine an updated stocking strategy. In review of the spares, each model number must be considered for obsolescence. If new models or parts are available, then the appropriate measures to ensure that the correct spare parts are linked to the right component will need to be generated and approved to update the CMMS. Obsolete spares must be removed from stores.

Teams may find that they will spend the bulk of the time and money on a remediation project dealing with spares issues. Over time, many companies will change parts designations or will simply not produce the parts anymore. Management will need a detailed assessment of these shortfalls in order to make the best decisions possible about how to proceed.

Figure 3 - Spares Remediation Process
Figure 3 - Spares Remediation Process 

Update CMMS with New Data

The changes to system data must be documented, approved, and entered into the CMMS. Companies will differ on the approach to this, but the key to this is documenting the changes. Whether it is done electronically or in writing, the data changes should be documented and stored for future reference. This is especially true for data that impact regulatory compliance. Once the data is documented and approved, it can be loaded into the CMMS. Electronic means is recommended, as it has proven to be far less error-prone than manual means.

Remediation Lessons Learned

As companies embark on their own remediation programs, here are a few lessons learned:

  • Gather complete information for CMMS and spares during walkdown. Model numbers, serial numbers, component numbers, materials of construction, and sizes will be very helpful when working with a vendor on obsolete equipment. The more information gathered will allow the vendor to recommend a suitable replacement.
  • Complete walkdowns before analysis review begins. If items have been added, removed or replaced in the field, then this should be reflected in the analysis. Reviewing an analysis before the walkdown will cause the team to have to revisit the analysis to make updates.
  • A good understanding of equipment locations will allow the remediation walkdown proceed more quickly. Team members will need a tour of the area from experienced personnel. This will allow the team to become familiar with the equipment and how it works in the system. It will also allow the team to become familiar with any obstacles or hazards.
  • Employing useable remediation-type reporting is a must. The team must decide with the end user on how the data updates will be presented for approval. The team must also decide on what metrics will be generated such as price per tag or percent change per system to name a few. Deciding on the approval means and the metrics ahead of time will save the team from doing rework.

Remediation Example

Prior to the decision to undergo remediation, one company was running the risk of inaccurate long-term trending, making financial decisions on bad data, and potential regulatory compliance issues.

The company decided to perform remediation on a system to determine the accuracy of the CMMS data. The asset data evaluated included 119 pieces of equipment and instrumentation with 25 unique fields per record (2,975 total fields). The remediation team downloaded the CMMS data into the selected remediation software. The team went to the field with handheld devices and drawings to walkdown the system components. Field updates were entered into the handheld devices for later upload to the CMMS (upon data review and approval). The study found that 35% of the information in this system was either incorrect or missing. Of note was the discovery of over 50% missing or obsolete model numbers that required research for future support by vendors.

The team found that the use of the handheld devices and a temporary remediation database to work on the CMMS data worked much more efficiently than a similar project not using these technologies. With electronic gathering and updating of the data, the team was able to accomplish the work in far less time with a 70% cost savings over utilizing hard copy printouts in the field and manually updating the CMMS.

Figure 4 – CMMS Case Study Example 

 Figure 4 - Case Study Example

 For their spare parts inventory, the verification of correct spares on the shelf, current sourcing, pricing, and stocking strategies were all taken into consideration. Of the 88 models requiring spare parts in the CMMS for the system, only 28 had spare parts attached to them. The remaining 60 items (68%) required new spare parts packages to be attached. 44 of the individual spare parts (48%) that were in the system were found to be obsolete, and required new spare parts to be attached in the CMMS. Obsolete spares were forwarded to the stores for decommissioning and disposal.

Once this asset data was corrected, the company was able to use it to improve the efficiency of their RCM program. Engineering analysis was done in order to recommend appropriate preventive and predictive maintenance job plans; seven job plans were changed or added. The CMMS was then loaded so the approved PM work orders could be automatically generated for their maintenance organization.

The combination of correct equipment data, updated drawings, improved PM plans, improved regulatory reporting capabilities, reduced inventory, and an accurate count of necessary spares resulted in greater overall equipment availability, increased maintenance efficiency, and reduced total operating costs.


Reliable data is a cornerstone of an excellent reliability and maintenance program. With the right PMs in place, overall equipment reliability will be improved. Having the correct CMMS data and correct drawings will improve the efficiency of the maintenance crafts, as well as help management to make better informed decisions on future upgrades and improvements to equipment, while reducing the risk of breakdowns at a critical operating time. With the right spares in place and information available on the parts not stocked, repair times will be improved when equipment does breakdown. In conclusion, periodic remediation must be performed to keep the CMMS data as accurate as possible in order to guarantee the value of all RCM efforts performed.

Bio: Scott Weston is a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional and is a Reliability Engineer working with Global Knowledge Management, Inc. He has been working in the maintenance and reliability field for the past 14 years since leaving the U.S. Army. He is an active member of the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals, as well as a founding board member of the SMRP Indiana Chapter.

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