Wheelabrator Technologies chooses the ideal CMMS/EAM application to improve maintenance cost-efficiency

In this installment of What Works, a company uses CMMS/EAM technology to improve maintenance and increase cost-efficiency.

When Wheelabrator Technologies began the process of selecting a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)/enterprise asset management (EAM) application, it had clear ideas about its requirements. "We were replacing our existing system, which was a 'green-screen,' early-generation system that basically did work orders and purchasing orders," says Art Posey, manager, maintenance engineering for Wheelabrator. "We wanted a system that was easy to learn and use for our personnel, and that linked all our plants. We also wanted a system that would provide us with information, not one that would just spit out order forms."

After two years of research and evaluation, Wheelabrator's selected TabWare Online, a hosted application service provider solution developed by AssetPoint, a subsidiary of Integrys Holdings LLC. "TabWare Online did not represent the low bidder, but the system incorporated the features we wanted," says Posey. "It was user-friendly, had multi-plant capabilities and, maybe most important, had a query feature that lets us get information quickly and accurately."

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A computerized maintenance management system helps Wheelabrater Technologies track maintenance expenditures.

Wheelabrator Technologies built one of the first successful commercial waste-to-energy plants in the United States in 1975. Since then, its waste-to-energy facilities have processed more than 100 million tons of waste, saving more than 150 million barrels of oil and producing 50 billion kW-hrs of electricity. At the same time, the facilities recover more than 800,000 tons of steel and close to one million tons of glass, plastics, white goods, batteries, paper, metals and ash are recovered for recycling each year. "Each of our 24 facilities generates some 2,000 purchase orders and 2,000 work orders every year," says Posey. "Altogether, we manage some $40 million in inventory. It's a big undertaking. We needed a system that would help us determine where we were spending our money and how we're managing our facilities."

Introduced in March 1999 as an alternative to the existing TabWare's OnSite application, TabWare OnLine was the first rental CMMS/EAM system available via the Internet for a monthly fee, thereby eliminating the capital investments typically required for software, IT administration, upgrades and maintenance. The TabWare OnSite and TabWare OnLine programs manage work orders, equipment and preventive maintenance, and material management functionality, which enables plant owners and operators to maintain and operate their facilities with greater efficiency and improved equipment reliability.

The implementation schedule Wheelabrator set was aggressive,one year from start- to-finish for the entire 24-facility enterprise. Notwithstanding that schedule, AssetPoint completed implementation with time to spare. During the project, a Wheelabrator and TabWare team trained 600 people to use the TabWare OnLine modules. "We have literally thousands of users of TabWare, primarily in the process industries, so we are well aware of the implementation challenges facing our customers," says Bradley Smith, director of services for AssetPoint. "The goal is to have the system up and running as quickly as possible. In cooperation with Wheelabrator, we were able to fully implement the system well under the scheduled time period."

For Wheelabrator, the investment is already bearing fruit. "Recently, I was at a meeting with managers who wanted to know how much money we were spending on a particular system," says Posey. "With TabWare's query function, I was able to call up that information. Before, we would have had to spend days finding that information. But now, we have the information we need to make better decisions. We're confident this is the tool that will help us better analyze our spending, improve our maintenance and increase our cost-efficiency, all at the same time."

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