Charged with the responsibility of organizing and installing world grade lubrication equipment programs within and beyond North American continent is Noria Reliability Solutions. The equip list given by each client is used in the drafting of lubrication equipment plans. Contained in this list are key information as regards
the equipment, like identification and serial number of the equipment, functionality and physical description etc. One major drawback of this list is that the information contained in them are usually faulty, outdated or peripheral. I am astonished when I see maintenance crew working themselves off on such information.
Essence of accounting
Most companies as I have discovered depend on their accounting software in running the maintenance. The programming of this software is often done by accountants who use though accurate but depreciated asset values of company. This software are meant to keep record of conditions of the company’s asset but not produce information and details needed for maintenance.
Companies with weak accounting departments most times opt for maintenance software. They aim at following up their production of valuable quality and also tracking their work output. Though this may seem to work out well at first, such practices are not of standard because there has to be at least two ways of identifying particular equipment.
I have seen some production firms can’t keep track of their equipment because they virtually have no single equipment list at all. They run their production utilities at grave risk without even knowing it.
In recent development, laws bordering on how companies monitor their production assets are changing as the days go by. Most notable is Sarbanes Oxley Act passed in the year of 2002. The act, named after its architects of Sen. Paul-Sarbanes and Representative Michael Oxley were designed to address the rampant scandals caused by illegal accounting. The act later came to know as “Public Company Accounting Reform” and orSOx or Sarbox for short of Investor Protection Act.
The act boosted investors’ confidence that was dwindling at that time, and make stronger corporate government. Sarbox made it clear that proper records of maintenance as well as the condition of each asset should be accurately documented.
Companies with billions of dollars invested in assets were specifically tasked with accurate recording and tracking of inventories and income. To benefit from Sarbanes Oxley liability, companies are required to have an accurate asset and control systems on ground.
In the light of this act, wrong equipment list was deemed illegal with punishable consequences. This is because inaccurate equipment list does not reveal the activities on production floor and this can bring about poor management of the company, ultimately leading to the failure of the company.
Inaccurate equipment lists
Inaccurate equipment does not just appear overnight on its own. There are many reasons that can lead to poor equipment listing. But we will only focus on the major ones in this article.
#1 Acquiring a new facility
Most companies operate on the assets of the company they purchased, without altering the original asset identification system. A new company will then need to integrate this old system of identification with its identification structure. In generating this new identification, data which are barely tested for accuracy from the old facility list is made use of. The result of this is two faulty equipment lists. To reduce the complexity of running the equipment by employees already used to the old identification system, the company ends up relying on the old identification system. Training the employees on the new identification system is quite a cumbersome task
#2 Implementing new software
Due to business needs, companies sometimes replace their old maintenance software, but this would require altering the identification system previously in place. Just like the case of acquiring a new facility, new identification system is generated based on the old system. Technically, there are now two systems in place. The problem now is which of them will the maintenance personnel consult as it would not be possible to consult the two at once.
#3 Comparison between accounting system and maintenance system
What we are talking about here is when a company deploys computer programs to manage all its accounting needs. The software is responsible for assigning identification numbers to all assets. An alternative maintenance system is required. Buy if is mostly the maintenance personal that runs these equipment through the maintenance system, the integrity of the account system is jeopardized if care is not taken.
#4 Too many equipment list
There are several angles to this type of case. Personally, I have seen production facilities newly acquired that run on both maintenance and accounting systems at the same time. In this situation, the parent company in the bid to integrate the old system of identification of the production facility they acquired with their current system, another equipment list is generated altogether.
More equipment list are also generated when the parent company when they implement their own management software and when they upgrade their management system. In the end, up to four equipment list are on ground. This scenario ends up making things complex for maintenance personnel
Equipment listing goes beyond tagging numbers to machines and then documenting them. The exact location of the asset must be also accounted for.
Identification tags should not only be placed on the machine itself but on its constituent component like the motors, electrical system, and control systems.
Perfection is a continuous journey
Achieving excellence in equipment listing is never an easy task and for this reason many shy away from it. Because of the cumbersomeness of having just a single equipment list, having a second list has become a viable option. Though most maintenance managers as I have seen would rather start on a clean slate, it is never an easy task. Caution needs be exercised in implementing a single equipment identification system. Marking on each equipment needs to be easily identified.
It is important also for accounting software to properly complement of maintenance management system. They both need to be user-friendly.
When an equipment list is done right, it makes maintenance of equipment much easier to perform, and also make compliance with government laws easier as well. With a single accurate equipment list, the likelihood of forgetting an equipment location within the plant is greatly reduced.