Learn how to manage campaigns with your CMMS

David Berger describes how best to mount a campaign and carefully track progress until its successful completion.

By David Berger

Replicating a change across multiple components, assets, facilities and lines of business can be a daunting task without a proper tool for ensuring on time and on budget delivery. Rather than trying to manage the replication using spreadsheets, project management software, or other standalone tools, the preferred approach is to use your CMMS. This column describes how best to manage the replication process by mounting a campaign and carefully tracking progress until its successful completion.

What is a campaign?

A campaign is a collection of work necessary to implement a change to assets or components in one or more locations. The nature of the work can be a repair to or replacement of the asset, component or a part within, for example, replacing a faulty part on all ABC Co. conveyor systems in your company. The work might also consist of a modification to the design of the asset, such as adding a new safety railing for all presses at a given facility, or replacing all relevant light bulbs with LED equivalents in order to reduce energy costs. Thus the work elements within a campaign can be maintenance work, non-maintenance work, or both.

The term “campaign” is quite common when referring to managing fleet assets; however, it is certainly applicable to any assets. Another equivalent term used in some industries is “replication”, implying that the same fix or modification is repeated across multiple assets. Regardless of what terms are used in your industry, most companies will from time to time experience the need to bundle similar work for a common purpose relevant to multiple assets.

Most modern CMMS packages that specialize in managing fleet or mobile assets will have more sophisticated features for launching and managing a campaign. For simpler or less specialized CMMS packages, there are effective workarounds that can be used to manage a campaign, such as initiating multiple tasks under a given work order, where each task incorporates the fix or mod for each asset targeted by the campaign. For more complex campaigns or those involving multiple sites, a project or master work order can be established for the campaign overall. Individual child work orders are then planned for each site and, if necessary, tasks or grandchild work orders are defined for each relevant asset within a given site.

Origin of a campaign

The reasons for mounting a campaign are numerous, as described below. In general, your CMMS can assist dramatically in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of rolling out all of the changes. The CMMS is especially useful for tracking campaigns spread across multiple sites around the globe, both from a head office perspective, and at the local level where changes are made.

A campaign is usually preceded by the Management of Change (MoC) process. Some of the more sophisticated CMMS packages have an MoC module to help document the risk, cost, and benefits of any proposed changes. Launching a campaign is the logical conclusion emerging from the MoC process, for case types such as the following:

  1. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recalls/warranty: If you have multiple assets across the enterprise that are eligible for an OEM recall, a campaign should be initiated that bundles any work orders (e.g., remove a recalled component; install a replacement part), or activities (e.g., conduct an investigation; complete any warranty paperwork).
  2. OEM bulletins: Technical Bulletins issued by an OEM may provide information about their equipment that is worth investigating further, such as ways to enhance the speed, output, safety, etc. of their equipment. If you decide to act on a bulletin, it may require a campaign to replicate whatever modifications are required.
  3. Health, safety or environmental (HSE) incident or near miss: The vast majority of HSE incidents or near misses (for example, if someone slips as a result of water on the floor) can be tied to an asset at some level. The investigation into the indicent may result in a campaign to take immediate corrective action and/or work to prevent recurrence for all relevant assets.
  4. Unexpected failure: One of the most common reasons for launching a campaign is to prevent the recurrence of an unexpected failure of a given asset. A fire-fighting mentality is a constant frustration for senior management, who would prefer to see a reduction in risk by replicating a more permanent solution as quickly as possible.
  5. Data analysis: Both maintenance and operational data can be analyzed to search for potential improvements. A simple Pareto analysis can highlight the most costly problems and their most likely root causes. In turn, a campaign may be cost-justified to roll out a permanent solution.
  6. Employee suggestion: Another possible reason for mounting a campaign is to implement a good idea suggested by an employee, either informally or through formal channels such as employee suggestion, Six-Sigma or Lean programs.

How to run a campaign

David Berger, a Certified Management Consultant (C.M.C.) registered in Ontario, Canada, is a Principal of Western Management Consultants, based in the Toronto officeDavid Berger, a Certified Management Consultant (C.M.C.) registered in Ontario, Canada, is a Principal of Western Management Consultants, based in the Toronto office. David has written more than 200 articles on a variety of topics such as maintenance management, operations management, information technology, e-commerce, organizational design, and strategy. In Plant Services magazine, he has written a monthly column on maintenance management in the United States, as well as three very extensive reviews of maintenance management systems available in North America. David has done extensive work in the areas of strategy, information technology and business process re-engineering. He can be reached at

One of the most important elements of managing a campaign effectively is to assign a campaign manager, whose responsibility is to track overall campaign progress and ensure that expected benefits are realized. The campaign manager monitors the quality, consistency, timeliness, and cost of campaign planning and execution. Typically the campaign manager is the asset owner or his/her designate, such as a reliability engineer or technical specialist. The planner role is also involved, as the campaign must be planned on the CMMS in the form of a work plan, including:

  • work procedures, and any relevant support drawings, photos, videos, maps, or safety procedures
  • any forms that may be required for reporting to regulators or the OEM (e.g., warranty-related)
  • internal skills required, including any special training needs (e.g., from OEM)
  • external skills required (e.g., specialized skills from contractor or OEM)
  • materials required
  • special tools required including safety equipment
  • estimated time/budget (i.e., performance standards)
  • quality standards
  • any acceptable local deviations to accommodate any material differences amongst the target assets, such as age of equipment, geographic location, accessibility of equipment, and so on.

Of course, individual maintenance managers, supervisors and those responsible for scheduling the work at all relevant locations must also get involved to schedule and execute the work across the enterprise.

Given the number of people involved, from recognizing the need for a campaign to planning, scheduling and executing the work across the enterprise, it is no small wonder why senior management from many asset-intensive industries have come to realize the potential risk and importance of campaign management. Modern CMMS packages do an excellent job of helping to manage the campaign from initiation to completion, including dashboards, reports, and analysis tools for planning and reporting progress.

Read David Berger's monthly column, Asset Manager.