Preventive Maintenance Application Helps Companies Extend Equipment Life and Reduce Costs with OpenInsight and The NLM

Sophisticated Multi-Module System Automates Manufacturing Maintenance Process - With a GUARANTEED Payback in Two Years

Manufacturing experts know the true cost of equipment goes far beyond the original purchase price. The hidden expense lies in proper upkeep of the equipment through scheduled preventive maintenance. Like the regular oil change that can prevent major automobile repair costs, equipment maintenance is essential to manufacturing operations that must ensure production lines are operating at peak efficiency with minimum downtime.

However, with hundreds or thousands of major pieces of equipment, some manufacturers face a heavy burden in ensuring that their machinery is properly maintained, on schedule, by qualified technicians. And all of that activity must be properly documented to ensure OSHA compliance and ISO 9000 certification as well.

To attack this opportunity, DFM Systems, Inc., a 25-person application software firm, created a comprehensive suite to help engineers and shop forepersons manage equipment maintenance. According to Brock Prusha, senior developer at DFM, the need for automation assistance for the maintenance process is crucial. 

"The whole idea is to save money," he said. "If you’re spending more money on repairs and losing revenue because of downtimes, then skimping on maintenance costs will actually cost you far more in the long run. The fact is, proper maintenance will reduce repair costs, reduce or delay replacement-equipment expenses, and reduce critical downtime."

Customers push for OpenInsight solution
DFM’s solution is The Maintenance Planning and Control System (MAPCON), a leader in the specialty market for Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). This comprehensive suite of software modules helps automate and manage the equipment maintenance process.

Initially, MAPCON was created through Advanced Revelation, the robust character-based software development environment from Revelation Software. When the time came to migrate its several hundred customers to a Windows environment, DFM evaluated the market very carefully.

"We considered using PowerBuilder and some other similar tools," Prusha said. "But we determined that it would be easier to develop what we need for our application in OpenInsight rather than in PowerBuilder. We had many conversations with our customers and they urged us to use Revelation’s OpenInsight so that they could maintain their file structures." 

"When we first started working with Revelation, they were the very best product for the networked PC platform," said Prusha. "The multi-value fields with unlimited text entries were very big reasons as well. By moving to OpenInsight, we can retain all of those benefits. And the performance is constant as well. Even if you have many users, OpenInsight’s performance stays

Streamlining the maintenance process
With MAPCON, companies can implement a managed process for maintaining their equipment and machinery. MAPCON is customizable for use in numerous industries and is currently used by manufacturers, food processing plants, state governments, school districts, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, and others.

Using MAPCON, the manager of the maintenance department can generate the Preventive Maintenance Work Orders for the week – they’re automatically scheduled by MAPCON. Now, he knows when to do maintenance, on what machines, and he can determine the labor requirements. Typically, he will hand subsets to different department foremen who assign a work order to a lead mechanic. Once the lead mechanic gets the PM Work Order, he determines which parts and people he’ll need to complete the job -- such as two electricians and two mechanics. He enters that information into MAPCON. Then he goes to the stock room to retrieve necessary parts. The stock room manager checks out the parts out of inventory using MAPCON (If any parts were out of stock, MAPCON would put the maintenance job on hold. When the parts are received by purchasing, MAPCON notifies the lead mechanic that the work order can be completed). The team performs the maintenance, and then returns any unused parts to the stock room and scrap/salvage to a different stock room. Then the lead mechanic enters the hours for each crew member on an electronic timesheet -- including any hazardous duty pay -- and charges it to the maintenance work order. Once the work order is complete, MAPCON’s cost accounting reports help determine the fully loaded cost of equipment and maintenance. 

"MAPCON is ideal for preventive maintenance, repair management, project management, scheduling, and vendor analysis," said Prusha. "Since it has a rich database of information, it can help our customers determine when the optimal time is for replacing in-service equipment. You can find out how much parts inventory you should keep on hand. You can even use the statistics to help with vendor negotiations -- for example if a machine keeps breaking even with scheduled maintenance."

According to Prusha, MAPCON has a built-in return on investment model. "Our software generally costs less than $20,000 to implement and comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don’t save the cost of the software within two years, we’ll refund your money. I should point out that we haven’t had one request for a refund, either."

Revelation Network Performance products give dramatic performance boost
In a recent upgrade, DFM integrated the Revelation NLM with MAPCON. Revelation Software created these Network Performance Products to enable Advanced Revelation applications to run better in networked environments. The products increase application performance 30-50 percent and virtually eliminate Group Formatting Errors. Best of all, it is a "drop-in" solution, requiring no changes to the Revelation application.

Prusha says customers are very impressed with the increased performance. "That’s got to be the best product Revelation has ever put out," he said. "In fact, we won’t sell a MAPCON system without it. It saves us support dollars by dramatically reducing our calls. It saves our clients money, too. In fact, the president of our user group tells us that the improved speed and data integrity that they’ve enjoyed paid for their Revelation NLM in about 30 days."