When using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), proper naming conventions are important to its success. Although it may take time in the upfront planning phase to define IDs for assets, parts, resources, maintenance procedures, etc., the outcome will be well worth the extra effort. Appropriate CMMS naming conventions provide a streamlined process for easily finding information and reporting.
While a state of the art CMMS system provides extensive query capability by most data fields, it still makes sense to think about and craft proper naming standards. Your CMMS vendor should be able to provide recommendations that have stood the test of time and worked well for their customers. Most important to the success of a streamlined and efficient system is to document your organization’s conventions in the maintenance standard operating procedures (SOPs) and provide proper training on the SOPs, along with the software training provided by your CMMS vendor. Once users know the established standards and how to use their CMMS system, finding needed information is a snap.
Tips for CMMS Naming Conventions
The following tips will help to develop a sound naming convention strategy. Evaluate your current method for identifying assets, parts, etc. if you have one and decide whether to keep it, modify it, or create a new method.
- Ensure that the first characters of the name refer to the categories you want grouped together because by default, your CMMS may sort records by the name. For example, all air handling units may begin with AHU followed by a number: AHU-001; a chiller may be CHLR-001. In the number portion, leave enough room for future expansion.
- Include “gaps” in your identification method so that you can easily insert new records or record groups in the future.
- Create an identification method that is meaningful, easy to use and easy to remember.
- Use consistent terminology, especially with abbreviations. For example, consistently use either “BLDG” or “BUILD” as an abbreviation for BUILDING so that a query or search finds all occurrences of “building.”
- Don’t use just numbers, as they are not easily remembered—especially numbers that may change, such as defining a part with the manufacturer’s part number.
- There is no need to include location, department and other fields that are separately defined. With the query capability of relational databases, they can be easily found using and/or options.
Benefits of Proper CMMS Naming Conventions
Improved and Accurate Work Performance
Technicians scheduled to perform maintenance tasks will be able to clearly identify which asset needs to be worked on and pinpoint its exact location. CMMS naming conventions allow maintenance management to be more organized, thus enabling them to run their department more efficiently. From a budgetary perspective, money isn’t being wasted as a result of poor organization.
Elimination of Lost Time
Technicians must be able to easily find assets, and a proper naming convention provides all the necessary information to do so. Using a streamlined naming convention enables a technician to know exactly where to go to retrieve an asset. If they were searching for information about an air handling unit, all they would need to enter in their CMMS would be ‘AHU.’ The CMMS system would then narrow down all selections to just these, and display other identifying information so they can quickly choose the exact air handling unit needed.
Ease of Data Mining for Reports and Dashboards
Reports and dashboards can be generated utilizing any available search criteria. Reports may be useful to maintenance supervisors, who can easily track when inventory is low and new orders are needed. Management can rely on accurate reports to help ensure work is being completed on time and on budget.
DPSI is a provider of CMMS and EAM solutions, and we’re happy to help your team set up a customized naming convention from the start. Schedule a CMMS demo of DPSI’s software to learn more.
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