Maintenance Management Systems
Maintenance Management is a time-consuming activity for large companies
who have to keep track of a wide variety of maintenance activities on
equipment situated at many sites and locations. Maintenance Management can
be made much more efficient, with considerable cost savings, by using an
automated Maintenance Management System.
This page describes just one of the many types of documentation project
I have worked on. For details of my other projects, see my
Documentation of MS-DOS Based Software
From 1991 until 1994 I worked on the documentation of a relational
database, used for maintenance management purposes. I worked at home using
my own equipment, with regular visits to the client's site, and produced a
total of nine volumes of documentation. The application is divided into
modules, and the manuals are as follows:
- Module 1 - The Knowledge Base. Defines the equipment at sites and
locations, such as operating units and stock items, together with their
manufacturers and vendors.
- Module 2 - Event Monitoring. Defines incidents in terms of events
occurring on units, for example breakdown of machinery.
- Module 3 - Planning. Defines cycles of planned maintenance, so that
whenever maintenance is due on any unit of equipment, a planned incident
- Module 4 - Work Control. Defines the jobs that need to be done in
response to an incident, and issues work orders. Tasks can be defined
which create jobs automatically in response to commonly occurring
- Module 5 - Operating Statistics and Bugetary Control. Displays
statistics on the availability of plant and the causes of downtime. Also
accumulates job costs to appropriate accounts and produces budget
summaries for pre-defined periods.
- Module 6 - Fault Analysis. Identifies the frequency of incidents
occurring on all equipment units of a given design, and the faults
associated with the incidents. Faults are ranked in order of frequency,
so that key problem areas can be identified.
- Module 7 - Inventory. Maintains a stock system so that parts are
always available for use on jobs, and requisitions for new stock are
made automatically when stocks become low. The stock system can be
optimised so that requisitions for new stock are made in quantities
which minimise costs. Requisitions can be converted to purchase orders
which are sent out to suppliers and subsequently matched with
- User Guide. Describes the software installation on stand-alone
systems and Novell networks, and the creation of databases, user
accounts, and administrative super users.
- Report Writer. Creates formatted reports, including work orders and
I produced all the above documentation by working on pre-release
versions of the software, discussing it with the client's staff and
developing reference text and tutorial examples. I used Ventura Publisher
to create a consistent style of documentation, and except for the first
two modules, I produced the final PostScript output disks, sent them out
to a printer, and then checked the proofs. The only thing I didn't work on
was the front covers of the manuals.
Documentation of Windows Based Software
During 1996 and 1997 I worked on the documentation of a Windows based
version of the maintenance management software that had already been
produced in DOS. This was not just a straight conversion to Windows. The
modules were re-structured to take into account the feedback and
requirements of customers, and to make the product more appropriate for a
Instead of producing printed manuals, I produced Windows Help files,
since these were cheaper to produce and increasingly popular with users. I
produced both reference text and tutorials, and context-sensitive help for
every screen and every cursor-accessible field.
I would be interested in any documentation projects on maintenance
management systems or other related activities. Please get in touch with
me if you have any enquiries.
Mike Gascoigne, Write_on
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