February 4, 2014 2 Comments »
Asset management can have a significant impact on the operational performance and profitability of an asset intensive organization so it has become a hot topic in recent years. It is no longer about fixing assets when then break but rather about employing cost effective asset management strategies that maximize asset availability and reliability by minimizing the probability of system failures. Effectively executed asset management can increase the economic life of capital equipment, increase system reliability and reduce maintenance related costs.
Keeping equipment working is paramount to any data center organization so moving to an asset management philosophy can increase the life of capital assets such as HVAC systems, UPS, generators and buildings. This can be difficult to achieve if the IT way of doing maintenance has become entrenched in the culture of the data center organization. When IT hardware fails, technicians react to the situation and swap out the hardware. It is called “reactive maintenance”. Many datacenter organizations have adopted this reactive way of thinking when it comes to supporting data center infrastructure. If it breaks, let’s fix it! Relying exclusively on reactive maintenance is like flying blind, however, reactive maintenance is still the predominant way of working in North America. Approximately 55% of maintenance activities in the average facility are still reactive, and in many datacenters this is significantly higher. Maintenance costs may make up 2% of data center annual budgets but there are a number of other indirect costs that must be considered.
Indirect Costs of Reactive Maintenance
Indirect costs include data loss or corruption, damaged reputations, higher energy costs, equipment damage, collateral damage, inefficient use of resources, safety issues, legal and regulatory repercussions and difficult to control maintenance budgets. For example, clogged filters can increase the load on blower systems, shorten the life of the motor and increase energy consumption by 15%. The main reason for catastrophic data center facility failure is poor electrical maintenance. Sporadic ongoing repair leads to asset deterioration, a shorter asset lifetime and increased long-term capital cost. The first step on the road to asset excellence is to change the mindset from a reactive to proactive way of thinking.
Planned Preventive Maintenance
Planned Preventive Maintenance (PM) is taking precautionary and proactive steps against unscheduled equipment downtime and other avoidable failures. The purpose of the PM is to institute scheduled maintenance and inspections so that defects can be spotted before they evolve into something more severe. Regular preventive maintenance is critical to maintaining the reliability of your data center infrastructure. It will keep your CRAC, HVAC and backup generators in optimal working condition. Sample Preventive Maintenance Tasks – Replace HVAC filters – Check CRAC temperatures – Verify oil levels in compressors – Lubricate moving parts such as bearings – Verify backup generator is operating ok – Inspect fire safety systems Planned maintenance reduces the chances of emergency repairs and downtime; it leads to an increase in system reliability; delivers energy and efficiency improvements resulting in a net reduction in maintenance costs. It is important to complete these PM’s and to complete them on time. This is difficult to achieve if you are relying on paper, spreadsheets or wiki software. How do you determine what planned maintenance is due, who did what, what needs to be done etc without an automated system?
Track Your Data Center Maintenance in a CMMS
Creating a data center preventive maintenance plan can be accomplished quickly with a CMMS. Human error is often cited as one of the leading factors in data center downtime so moving to a CMMS system to track your data center maintenance is the first step on the road to continuous improvement. Standardized procedures and MOP’s can be tracked digitally in the CMMS and triggered when due using the scheduled maintenance tool. Work order information can also be used to identify chronic equipment problems and unacceptable levels of downtime, so solutions such as regular inspections or preventive maintenance can be put in place to proactively reduce the level of downtime going forward. Transitioning to a CMMS can be quick and painless with modern cloud based CMMS. Most contemporary CMMS applications have import tools and copy functions to get your data setup and configured quickly. In 2013, we assisted 365 Main in moving toward a “predictive whole facility view” of data center maintenance. Today, they are saving up to 40 man-hours per site per month on just managing basic maintenance processes with a CMMS.” Read how there did it here.
About the Author:
Jeff O’Brien is an product specialist and blogger at Maintenance Assistant Inc, a leading provider of innovative web-based CMMS. CMMS software is the ideal way to manage your maintenance on facilities and equipment. You can view their website at www.maintenanceassistant.com or reach Jeff on Linkedin.