CMMS: How is Your Equipment and Maintenance Vocabulary?

April 16, 2019
1 min

Vocabulary is important. Saying that might seem too academic, but when it comes to maintenance and equipment, it really is. Why? Because using the right words can be the difference between a quick repair and an expensive replacement.

Maintenance vocabulary is important 

Company-to-company, site-to-site, vocabulary can differ. Even within your own company, one department might have a different way of explaining and describing things than another. Whether or not you're centralizing your maintenance management with CMMS, it's important to talk the same language to avoid costly confusion

Standardize Your Maintenance Vocabulary


Using a standardized vocabulary in your maintenance facility does a few things to help make things easier:

  • It initiates a formative dialogue between technicians as well as production within the group or company
  • Allows staff to express ideas in a concise and clear way
  • Obtains easily understood and approved KPIs
  • Helps with sharing analyzes, data and important files with other maintenance technicians working at other companies
  • Helps compare different factories data within the same group
  • With everyone using the same words, accidents and mistakes are reduced

here's an Example of the Cost of Confusion

Let's say one team is using the terms predictive maintenance and preventative maintenance interchangeably. It could be because of any reason — lack of training, taking shortcuts — but it's important to catch.

Predictive maintenance is determined by the condition of the equipment, rather than preventative maintenance, which depends on average, expected lifetime statistics. Essentially, it tries to predict failure before it actually happens by monitoring the machine during normal operations.

Now, you may not use those terms interchangeably since you already know that they differ, but it is one of those things that can slip into casual, every day usage. And it's not the only thing. Even something as simple as a tool or piece of equipment that can genuinely be described with two different terms? You should decide which one your company will use, to prevent any possibility of confusion if, say, a new hire is only familiar with one of them, while another employee only knows the other.

When you use different words for the same object, it also makes it harder to search within the CMMS program and can alter the metrics when it is time to run reports.

Basically, choose one term and use it accordingly.

Want to know more about CMMS? Start here with our CMMS guide!

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