In Part one of this article, published in the July 2018 issue of Food Engineering, we looked at the costs of reactive maintenance strategies, preventive maintenance (PM), risk-based PM strategies—and whether any form of PM could provide the depth-of-maintenance knowledge as that of a predictive maintenance (PdM) system.

In the second part of this article, we’ll look at TPM, integrating CMMS and EAM systems with ERP systems, training and manpower issues and IIoT integration.

TPM: Philosophy or complete maintenance strategy?

Total productive maintenance (TPM) reaches beyond PM strategies, and includes a system of maintaining and improving the integrity of production and quality systems through machines, equipment, processes and employees that add value to an organization (Wikipedia).

More specifically, TPM, as defined by the author of the original book by that name, Seiichi Nakajima, is more of a philosophy than a system, says Emerson’s Bruce Hawkins, director of technical excellence. It was originally developed at Nippondenso in Japan in the 1950s to combat the high cost of PM. The goal is to make the equipment more reliable and capable of making fewer defects, thereby increasing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

According to Hawkins, TPM has the following principles:

  • All functions focus on maximizing OEE
  • Improve planned maintenance systems
  • The operator is the best monitor of equipment condition, and must develop a caring affinity for the equipment
  • Provide training to upgrade operator and maintenance skills
  • Involve everyone and use cross-functional teamwork in continuous improvement

Successfully implementing a TPM philosophy will require a significant cultural shift in most organizations.

The operators should be ready to own the equipment, says Bob Argyle, Leading2Lean chief customer officer. In many cases, they are more in tune than anybody as to what is needed to keep the process running smoothly. Operators should be engaged in PM tasks and empowered to be part of maintaining the equipment. This enables ownership, and also helps to streamline the existing PM process, adds Argyle.

“TPM can be achieved from a PM system with the right mindset,” says Kay Jenkins, Aptean director, AssetPoint, Axis & Activplant product lines. “Root cause analysis is key. PM can become rote if it’s just always done. If you do not have technicians committed to accurately recording data into the system (in particular the specific piece of equipment which is involved, failure modes and corrective actions) when performing any work, you will not have the data sets to effectively implement the analysis required of TPM.”

Consider a bearing that keeps being replaced, says Jenkins. Preventive maintenance means the bearing is replaced regularly, but it does nothing to find the underlying cause of that failure. Root cause analysis may reveal that the equipment needs leveling, thus the bearing lasts longer.

When migrating to a TPM strategy, it is important to consider both the human and machine factor, adds Jenkins. A CMMS is a repository of information, but people are needed to input meaningful and accurate data into the system and to analyze the results. “A CMMS with the ability to progress into more advanced strategies will enable you to continuously improve your uptime metrics by way of a TPM methodology,” says Jenkins.

Processors should first identify their critical machinery and get as much information as possible from the OEM on how to set up a PM plan for their major equipment, says Jerry Browning, IFS senior advisor for enterprise asset management. Next, do a failure mode effects analysis on each machine. Software needs to support this by providing information via queries or reports on what is going on in the facility and what corrective steps this information requires of plant management. Plant personnel need to manage and adjust the plan based on information that is presented to them from the system, adds Browning.

Rather than going hog-wild and trying to cover all bases at once, Michael Watson, Fluke product application specialist, suggests beginning with a simple program. “Start with a pilot program, on one type of equipment or in one part of a facility,” says Watson. Then develop a complete workflow of PMs and reports. Get some wins that can be promoted and championed to senior management. Prove the ROI and reliability of the technology and strategies. After this, extend the pilot to other areas of the plant. The other recommendation is to get buy-in from the people on the team who will implement the technology and plan. Without their support and acceptance of the change, the plan will likely underperform or be unsuccessful.

Starting small and scaling is really the philosophy here, says Sean Barry, IIoT business developer, Siemens/Mindsphere, a partner member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will one achieve a TPM system. Realize that an ecosystem of applications and solutions provides operators the software tools to achieve TPM for variable install basis, distributed across your manufacturing network.”

Dude Solutions’ Work & Asset solution has the abilities to drive TPM, such as basic PMs for the operator, entering meter readings, entering requests and looking up info on an asset whether using a mobile device or a browser, says Paul Lachance, senior manufacturing advisor. His advice is to work closely with a CMMS provider and be sure there is support throughout enabling a TPM strategy.

The importance of training

Training is one of the most overlooked pieces of the transition from basic PM system to a total productive maintenance system, says Jeremy Wright, ATS director of product management. With today’s turnover rates in production and the switch from a few “specialists” to having more hands on the equipment, a lot of training is needed, or mishandling and incompetency will create far more issues with the production equipment.

There has been a trend to slim engineering and maintenance staffs in food plants today such that there are few, if any, engineers on duty in some smaller and medium-sized food companies—so who does the training, asks Jorge Izquierdo, PMMI vice president market development. The skills gap has not only affected food processors, but their suppliers as well. Therefore, training operators has become an important part of maintenance, and machine vendors realize that they are often short-staffed, so they are resorting to remote troubleshooting and remote training of operators.

To close the skills gap and get the most out of maintenance tools, Samer Forzley, CEO of Simutech Multimedia makes the following three recommendations:

  1. Create and implement a skill assessment process to evaluate the true skill of the maintenance staff. This will help processors inventory the skill areas where the team is strong as well as the skills that require more development. Because teams are always changing, it is recommended that the assessment be repeated at least once a year.
  2. Embrace a learning culture. Skills training should be all-encompassing and include base knowledge of electrical and mechanical concepts; equipment-specific training and software training (PLC training or how best to use maintenance software, etc.).
  3. Invest in troubleshooting training software. Troubleshooting is a skill that is only going to become more critical as automation forms an ever-increasing part of manufacturing. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be trained, and with the right software, can be done at a reasonable cost.

Software is a tool, says Harry Kohal, Eagle Technology vice president business development. “TPM is a cultural way of life. Eagle teaches TPM, 5-S and will do follow-up evaluation and remedial training as necessary.” It is critical that TPM be supported from the top of the organization to be successful, and not just in word, but in action from every department, adds Kohal.

Another barrier in migrating from PM to TPM is written documentation and task lists, says Wright. There is a massive amount of material that will need to be generated to aid in the training and execution of the tasks. Visual aids with pictures and directions posted at the machine level seem to be a successful strategy in plants practicing TPM today.

Integrating CMMS and EAM systems with ERP

A CMMS can be a standalone system, and when it is, it’s usually focused on maintenance, just as a standalone enterprise asset management (EAM) system is focused specifically on assets and their conditions. Some ERP systems have CMMS and/or EAM modules that may serve the needs for some manufacturers, depending on their process. While an ERP system might not have the detailed focus of a CMMS or EAM, often the latter two can be integrated into an existing ERP system, such that at least there is a financial connection between CMMS and ERP. Integration of CMMS into ERP or the level of ERP functionality required for maintenance management is a discussion processors will want to have with their ERP provider.

An effective CMMS can either be standalone or part of a larger system, says Emerson’s Hawkins. Effectiveness is driven more by the quality of implementation and discipline to use it than the type of system. If standalone, there should be an interface to the MES (manufacturing execution system) or ERP system to allow cost information from the CMMS to flow into the financial system, eliminating duplicate data entry.

To make the most of a solution, a CMMS definitely needs to be integrated with an ERP system, says Infor’s Mike Edgett, industry & solution strategy director, process manufacturing. Some ERP systems, especially if they were designed for manufacturing, will have a maintenance module that will do much of what a separate CMMS or EAM will do.

“Whether you need a separate CMMS,” says Edgett, “is really dependent on 1: the breadth of capabilities of the ERP and 2: how complex and expansive your asset management needs are. For example, a food company that owns its own fields also will have even more complex asset management requirements (e.g., tractors, harvesters, etc.), which means they likely will need a best-in-breed EAM/CMMS to complement what is in their ERP.”

The important thing about a CMMS is that it stores only the data that is important for maintenance professionals, says Fluke’s Watson. However, storing this data needs to be as intuitive as possible, so having data from handheld tools, wireless sensors, onboard sensors, SCADA systems, BMS and other equipment can be a benefit. End users should look for a system that integrates important maintenance-focused data automatically from other systems into the CMMS.

While a standalone system is better than none at all, each solution should be integrated to avoid data silos, says Aptean’s Jenkins. Integrating the CMMS with ERP can streamline maintenance operations by better planning and scheduling production and maintenance tasks. CMMS/EAM financial information is important to interface to the ERP for a comprehensive view of the numbers for the financial analysts of the company. Visibility for operators into upcoming and historical activities, as well as visibility for maintenance technicians of production schedules, facilitates collaboration between the departments.

Additionally, interfaced operational MES data can be transformed into actionable intelligence in the CMMS/EAM by triggering usage-based and condition based PM schedules, and providing the ability for MES operators to enter a work request for maintenance from their HMI improves the percentage that information is recorded in the CMMS/EAM for future analysis, adds Jenkins. MES fault codes that can be interfaced immediately to the CMMS/EAM provide another avenue of ensuring that accurate and timely maintenance requests are present in the CMMS/EAM.  One of the biggest challenges to having comprehensive CMMS/EAM analyses is knowing that all maintenance information has been recorded in the system. Integration provides even more insight so the data becomes transformed into actionable intelligence, and promotes a collaborative atmosphere between operations and maintenance. Collectively, a more effective maintenance program can be developed.

Food and beverage customers can achieve the most holistic view of the shop floor by taking advantage of integrated suites including ERP, MES and CMMS. ERP dictates, MES executes, and CMMS ensures reliability and uptime, says Jenkins. 

“A CMMS can be an effective tool as a standalone system or part of a holistic ERP solution,” says Christopher J. Voss, ATS business & system architecture manager. The key ingredient to a successful implementation is the interoperability of system data. If the CMMS is a standalone system, it should be able to easily extend the data via secure modern methods, including application programming interfaces (APIs).

Purpose-built APIs offer a convenient and standardized method to extend the platform to other systems, including internal and external purchasing and finance tools, says Voss. If the CMMS is implemented as part of a larger MES or ERP implementation, the integration of the modules may already be readily available. Although this scenario may offer some out-of-the-box benefits, the process to make changes, understand the impact of those changes and implement new functionality may force groups leveraging the CMMS module to be subject to other business groups and processes—and compete for development resources and priorities.

“I would define CMMS as ‘Cloud-based Maintenance Management Systems,’” says Siemens/Mindsphere’s Barry.  “With this definition you have the advantages of being able to scale easily across your enterprise while also eliminating the need to maintain servers on-premises. Furthermore, incorporating MES and/or ERP systems is more natural in that these also tend to be—or will be—cloud based solutions as well.” 

This allows one to contextualize orders, production scheduling and execution, with asset performance/downtimes, adds Barry.  Further integrating these technologies allows producers to achieve closed-loop manufacturing and adjust productions on the fly in order to maintain productivity in face of the unexpected.

Maintenance and the cloud—or IIoT

Before beginning a discussion on Web-based and/or cloud systems, it’s important to make a distinction between “web-based” and “cloud.” “Web-based” usually refers to the GUI used to access a program and relies on HTTP protocols—as opposed to a traditional software application that uses its own interface, e.g., Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop.

“Web-based on IIoT are two independent ideas,” says Harry Kohal, Eagle Technology Inc. vice president business development. “A solution can be web-based on a company’s servers, or hosted on the Amazon or Azure cloud.” Both Amazon and Azure have better security than the average in-house IT system.

“Collecting IIoT data can be a one-way out port, and work orders can be generated on sensor data (run-time or out-of-state conditions) making the cloud-based solution an excellent choice for the organization,” adds Kohal. Secure back-ups are another advantage to the cloud-hosted option. IT costs are eliminated except for Internet access.

 “Cloud based CMMS certainly decrease costs as OPEX is spread across a network of factories and eliminates the need to maintain on-premise servers,” says Barry. “Backing up a CMMS on-premise is a nice practice in case of Internet interruption, but not needed from a data-lake point of view since modern-day cloud service is failure free. Additionally, most hardware comes with a buffering capacity to alleviate this as well. It is widely agreed amongst security experts that IIoT based on public-clouds (i.e. AWS (Amazon Web Services)) are more secure than on-premise alternatives. I speculate this is in large driven by the decreasing reliance on user error.”

“Cloud is definitely the way to go with EAM/CMMS,” says Infor’s Edgett. “We find that most companies prefer that deployment model due to its scalability and the fact that it remains current. The security risk is lowered as the cloud providers are typically better experts at security than the typical food company.”

“Cloud-based or IIoT CMMS systems are common and can be more cost-effective since an on-site server is not required,” says Fluke’s Watson. “As long as the cloud storage is secure, the data is secure. Most data breeches actually occur with onsite servers. Most major attacks that have occurred did not affect larger cloud storage suppliers like Amazon of Dropbox. The short answer is that [the cloud] is likely more secure than an on-premise storage system.”

“IIoT can be made very secure, but if a sophisticated actor is committed to breaking in, they still may be successful,” contends Jerry Browning, IFS senior advisor for enterprise asset management. “So, it might make sense to pick your fights in terms of what equipment you expose as a web service for consumption by IoT systems. You can isolate your IIoT environment and just share the results with an enterprise application—so you can benefit from the data without making the entire equipment asset vulnerable.”

“Software in the cloud should already be mirrored somewhere else,” Browning recommends. “You may want to use a plant historian or other system to capture data from a cloud application in real time.”

“There’s an understandable concern about what data you keep on premise versus off premise,” says John Boville, marketing manager, hybrid industry, process automation, Schneider Electric. IIoT brings transparent access to data, which could improve bottom-line profitability. Specific plant assets have plenty of data around maintenance, reliability and profitability, and this data can also be managed locally so that maintenance professionals are not relying solely on the cloud. And, of course, cybersecurity needs to be built into the network from the get-go. It must begin with an initial assessment, but also be closely monitored over the lifecycle of the asset, adds Boville.

“Web-based [cloud systems] provide the ability of the system to receive dynamic updates to PM prescriptions and/or learning across the installed network,” says Honeywell Intelligrated’s Dave Trice, sr. director business development, lifecycle support services. “In addition, readiness and scalability [of] an IIoT solution to automation within the CMMS make this a cost-effective decision.”

Cloud solutions have enabled manufacturers to make huge step gains in the way they manage and leverage their maintenance resources, says Leading2Lean’s Argyle.  Everyday plants are transforming non-value-added groups of maintenance people into high-performance technical professionals with a production focus to drive results and reduce operating costs. 

“I personally have seen plants with no previous maintenance system achieve world class levels in record time by adopting platforms that are designed and built as a tool—not a task,” says Argyle.

“For many smaller organizations, a web-based [cloud] CMMS helps maintenance departments move toward world-class operational effectiveness and maximize asset performance in a safe and secure environment without breaking the budget,” says Aptean’s Jenkins. 

IIoT will soon find itself as manageable only in the cloud, adds Jenkins. The elasticity, computing and storage power, and analysis algorithms that will be needed to make full use of the big data coming from IIoT will likely be difficult to manage on premise. In addition to this, cloud infrastructures are becoming more cost effective to own and manage because so many necessary functions are being abstracted away from the IT staff (for example, backups, DR, and other services that cloud providers have provided and made simple) that it takes less IT resources to manage larger and larger footprints.  Rather than focusing on backing up IIoT data on premise, IT organizations will need to focus on ensuring that they can retrieve and/or move this data if the need arises in the future, and that they fully understand the cloud provider’s backup strategies and DR options so that they can be sure their corporate data is resilient to potential failures in the infrastructure.

“Most manufacturers are using web-based CMMS for a variety of reasons,” says Dude Solutions’ Lachance. One reason is that the total cost-of-ownership is far less due to the lower IT costs and easier deployments. It also enables updates to happen without installs, making it far more effective. IIoT enablement is possible and secure with a CMMS, which makes it the way for the future.


For more information:

Bühler Aeroglide,

Dude Solutions,



Stratus Technologies,






Eagle Technology, Inc.,



Schneider Electric,

Honeywell Intelligrated,

Rockwell Automation,


Simutech Multimedia,