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by | May 8, 2017

Standardizing Maintenance in Maximo

Maximo is often considered the Maintenance System that surpasses all others, but it’s how you deploy it that really counts.

Its rich toolkit and high degree of configurability – both in terms of system and data – means that IBM Maximo always features highly in Gartner’s upper right quadrant for EAM. But, one of the biggest mistakes made during a Maximo deployment (because it is so configurable), is the desire to provide Users with all the functionality. This is often promoted over what the Business or Operations need: The Big Picture.
As a Solutions Adviser with over 25 years experience, I’m often asked what is the single thing that should be considered when implementing Maximo? My reply is usually standardization.
Standardization is the key to flexibility in design. It allows a business to concentrate on doing what it does best, without being dictated to by the system. It also provides business flexibility, considering processes and workforce efficiencies.
Some of the tools that provide a level of standardization in Maximo are well-known and used but others are often overlooked. Let’s consider the techniques involved in getting to The Big Picture.

Well-Known Standardization Tools

Job Plans are well-known in the Maximo world. They provide a library of requirements for any work including Tasks, Labor, Materials, Services & Tools. They can be used with either Preventative or Corrective Maintenance Work Orders to reduce the planning burden, and also provide a degree of technical control to how work is carried out.
Did you know… that a plan created in a Work Order can be saved as a Job Plan and added to the library for later use?
PMs (Preventative Maintenance) are also heavily used in Maximo. PMs provide the ability to generate Work Orders to a specific frequency for either single or multiple Assets or Locations and attaching a Job Plan and possibly different Job Plans at different frequencies. Not only can these be generated but PMs can be forecast ahead of time and scheduled to produce a required Resource Loading balanced across the maintenance calendar.
Did you know… that Frequency doesn’t have to be over a fixed period or for a set number of visits? The next Work Order can be generated based on when the last Work Order has been completed thereby reducing the number of maintenance visits!

Less-Known Standardization Tools

A lot of time can be lost when initially loading Locations and Assets into a Maximo System. Whilst there are tools to speed up the data entry (Import/Export, MxLoader etc.), there is still a need for every Location/Asset to assign the PM and/or Job Plan required to maintain it. Maximo already has an answer to this: Asset Templates and PM Masters.
When used together, Asset Templates and PM Masters enable a maintenance manager to simply select an Asset Template that will pre-populate many details such as the Classification. It will also allocate a predetermined PM from the PM Master. If the PM Master is changed then the changes can be rolled down to all the associated PM records. If the PM needs fine tuning for a particular instance, you can separate the link to the master.
This will also allow the business to clearly see the ratio of Locations and Assets that are using standard regimes verses bespoke regimes. Let’s put this into perspective. When this function was used by a multi-national Technical Facilities Management company, their first thought was, “but everything we do is bespoke?” Later, having used Asset Templates to aid the Contract On-Boarding process, analysis revealed over 85% of PM regimes used where in fact covered by a standard. The On-Boarding process, in conjunction with a mobile data collection app, was reduced on average from 6 weeks to 3 weeks! The data was collected in the same way, it just allowed for the automatic assignment of the required PM Regime and the default setting of data.
Safety Plans are not the sole propriety of the HSE experts. This Maximo tool allows for the configuration of specific plans to deal with and manage known Hazards (both Physical and Work Hazards), and mitigate their impact or likelihood through Precautions and appropriate Job Plans.
There are many more tools that aid standardization and the Maximo Industry Solutions provide a different flavor for some of these tools. Whether this be setting expected date targets using SLAs, speeding up data entry and improving data quality with Ticket Templates, or standardizing naming conventions using Classifications, there are many more tools at our disposal in whatever flavor of Maximo we have.

The Big Picture

As well as the tools, there are many other things to consider when designing and implementing Maximo. The key is usually to remember KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). The more complex and structured a design (especially with Work Flow), the more rigid and unforgiving a System is.

Here’s some top tips when designing…

  • Limit the number of Statuses that you might require, whether for Work Orders or other objects. Rather than have several “waiting” statuses – use WAPPR and then the Owner & Owner Group functions to determine who the Work Order is waiting on.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Most Maximo functions can be adapted easily to suit another purpose. It will save the headache, and later-on, the support burden.
  • Rely on processes, training and good judgement of users to ensure that Data Quality is maintained (you might need a verification/review stage) rather than using Maximo to insist on Data Entry in a prescribed way. It only makes for a rigid, unbending system. Improve Data Quality through User Awareness and Quality Checking.

One big consideration is how your Maximo is deployed, maintained and supported. This is often a trap into which businesses fall. Having committed to the CapEx, it is hard to change tack.

  • Single Environment Deployment – often via expansion, businesses can end up with multiple Maximo production environments. These all need maintaining, supporting and keeping up to date. It might require more planning and design, but Single Environment Deployments will improve efficiency and be easier to maintain standards across an organization. It also enables the movement of staff without additional training.
  • Outsourcing – as with all forms of Outsourcing, it allows for a business to concentrate on what it does best, the thing that makes it a success in the first place. A good Maximo Outsourcer will be able to give you the flexibility of the services you require from maintaining your own solution on the business’ infrastructure to providing an agile cloud-based solution to a full SaaS (Software As A Service) model, allowing the greatest level of flexibility impacting OpEx rather than CapEx.

To finish off, there are many ways to deploy Maximo. I find the key is to consider how functions and data can be standardized. There are many tools in Maximo, it’s how you deploy them that counts.

If your organization needs help defining and implementing The Big Picture, please contact us.

Simon Barnes

Simon Barnes

Simon has been working with Maximo for over ten years in a variety of industries (Oil and Gas, Utilities, Facilities Management etc.). He has a passion for sharing his experience and passing on his Business, Functional and Technical Know-How. Simon has worked with BPD Zenith in both Canada and the UK on a wide variety of projects. He takes a no-nonsense, direct approach and loves to solve problems. He has also worked for end users in senior management positions, giving him an insight into the challenges of making Maximo work for the business and its operations.

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