Asset naming conventions for better maintenance
Give your maintenance guys a brief description of the repair and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. “Which generator unit? The one in the storage room in the sub facility by the tool shelf! ……..Gotcha!” While this does a good job of describing the type and location of the asset, it doesn’t use asset naming conventions suitable for a CMMS. Locating that generator unit in the sub facility in your CMMS when all your generator units are called “Generator” can be a nightmare. This is a common problem that organizations have when they start using their CMMS for the first time.
The answer to the problem is to create asset naming conventions and asset labeling conventions during the CMMS implementation process. Basically, this is just a way to name your assets in your database so they can be identified quickly. Even small companies should come up with useful asset naming conventions for their assets before they go live with their CMMS. If you don’t get your asset naming conventions right at the start, it can be extremely difficult to change it later on. You need to look at the big picture so when your organization grows, or simply purchases new assets, there won’t be any conflicts and you won’t need to redo any work. Good asset naming conventions should also have a certain level of logic so that everyone who works with the CMMS can easily identify assets.
Potential asset labeling convention components:
- Location – country, site, building, floor, room, department etc.
- Usage type – production, development, testing, research, parts cannibalization etc.
- Equipment type – Engine, generator, pump, air conditioning unit etc
Numbers have very little meaning so it is important to minimize their use and maximize the use of character instead. This makes asset naming conventions more intuitive and meaningful. A good asset naming convention should also strive to achieve a certain level of logic. For example, adding a location component to a mobile asset makes no sense l if the asset needs to be renamed every time it moves.
- Parsable structure – your technicians should be able to deconstruct the asset labeling convention for meaning.
- Consistent number of characters – Consistency is important for identification. For example, if you pull a list of your assets from the CMMS for asset 1, asset 2 and asset 12 you will get 1,12,2. If you label them asset 01, 02 and 12, your asset list will be in order.
- Informational components – adding characters to the name that help identify the asset means your technicians can locate the assets quickly in the CMMS.
- Drill down approach – Each component should be a subset of the previous. For example, country, site, building, floor, room…
Lets have a look at an example:- We have 4 plants in 4 geographical locations around the world. Each plant has multiple buildings. In each building, we have numerous XLA lasers.
This tells me this is my XLA laser 001, in building 1 at my US plant. Simple! This also comes in handy when we want to search the CMMS for old issues on our XLA lasers – we simply type in XLA into the closed work orders search box and we’ll get all the past issues and fixes for XLA lasers. Here’s another example:- We have 10 pleasure boats. We refer to engine 1 on our boat “The Henley” as:
Clearly, you will have to define your own asset labeling convention but this is a simple task. You will be surprised how easy it is to abbreviate the identifiers for various assets. An ideal naming convention for your organization will most probably require you to pick and choose certain components while ignoring others. At first glance, you technicians will think they look complicated but they will adapt quickly. See how easy it is now to identify that generator below:
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