Blog: 3 benefits of a maintenance system’s comprehensive equipment hierarchy and how to build it

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Does it seem to you that the current equipment hierarchy in your maintenance system (CMMS) does not support maintenance operations well enough? Alternatively, is there no hierarchy at all? I will share the three biggest benefits with you that can be achieved by using a correct equipment hierarchy. I will also give you tips how to build a hierarchy, which supports daily operations.

1. Helps you to use maintenance system and target work orders.

A well-built equipment hierarchy supports daily maintenance operations: you can easily find all necessary equipment from a logical hierarchy without spending extra time for searching. With accurate equipment hierarchy, you can target work orders and work reports directly to specific equipment. This way you also collect equipment failure data to the right location, namely the equipment level. You can use failure history to determine right maintenance actions for each equipment.

2. Gives you specific information on equipment maintenance costs.

When you collect equipment failure and work data to equipment level, you can monitor and analyze the maintenance costs for each equipment. By analyzing the costs you can notice how effective preventive maintenance actions are, and you get valuable information on possible investment needs.

A lot of resources can be spent on preventive maintenance of equipment but this does not always reflect in higher reliability. In the picture below you can see how the preventive maintenance costs amount to 9000 euros per year but monthly reliability is only 30 per cent.

Prev maint reliability


In this case, the equipment’s preventive maintenance tasks should be reassessed. Preventive maintenance tasks may have been poorly targeted or calculated, or ineffective actions have been taken. The preventive maintenance program of equipment should be updated based on failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) or root cause analysis. The equipment may also be at the end of its life cycle, meaning that an investment to new equipment may be well founded.

3. Equipment criticality, technical and spare part details are available

With a comprehensive equipment hierarchy, you can gather important information about each equipment into CMMS. This helps in daily maintenance operations.

  • Criticality level of each equipment. This helps in prioritizing maintenance work orders and planning preventive maintenance actions.
  • With the technical information and equipment drawings in the CMMS, you can easily order new spare parts.
  • By linking spare parts to equipment, you can see the warehouse inventory: which spare parts are in stock and their quantities.

A good equipment hierarchy equals to plant’s equipment base

Using equipment hierarchy should be easy and quick. It should also contain all the necessary information to effectively complete daily maintenance operations.

Equipment hierarchy consists of functional locations (in the picture below: -P at the end of ID) and equipment (-L). They both have unique IDs. An ID is often hierarchical: lower level ID inherits a higher level ID with an extension. Functional locations are objects that are bound to certain process locations. Equipment are individual, physical objects that perform the required action, like a pump.

The picture below shows how logical hierarchy path runs from the plant level to the equipment level. This KKS (Kraftwerk-Kennzeichensystem) ID coding is often used in energy plants. When you know the ID, you should be able to locate the equipment easily from the hierarchy.

equipment hierarchy2



Tips for building a comprehensive equipment hierarchy

1. Equipment hierarchy is often recommended to be built based on how equipment are situated in the process. This way you can see how dependent the process is on each equipment.

2. Use enough hierarchy levels to make a hierarchy that is visual and easy to use.

3. When deciding on equipment hierarchy precision use maintenance work targeting needs as a guideline.

  • If equipment hierarchy is not precise enough, you cannot target work orders to equipment. Therefore, when you analyze the failure history it is very hard to identify which equipment caused failure.
  • If equipment hierarchy is too precise, there is a risk of outdated data. This applies e.g. to equipment which is often replaced and you do not update its technical information regularly.

4. Use the help of piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) and process experts when deciding on CMMS’s equipment hierarchy precision.

With a comprehensive equipment hierarchy, you can effectively control the daily maintenance operations, get reliable information on the effectiveness of maintenance and, with the precise data collected, identify the development possibilities.

We will also be happy to help you with the development of your current equipment hierarchy!

Contact us:

Finland: Juho Tuomisalo, Development Engineer, Produtivity & Digital Solutions
Tel. +358 40 124 2899, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sweden: Stefan Altkvist, Local Manager, Maintpartner AB
Tel. +46 72 961 0791, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Poland: Krzysztof Biliński, VP Sales, Maintpartner ASI S.p.z.o.o
tel. +48 60 956 7191, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.