How a shift in CMMS/EAM can impact nearly all business functions

An Ohio plant overcomes challenges in implementing new software.

By Eric Edmisten, CMRP, PPG Industries

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As part of the enterprise asset management (EAM) conversion by the Commodity Chemicals division of PPG Industries to SAP in 2012, the group was required to convert from the established system of Maximo to the SAP Plant Maintenance (PM) module. The conversion experienced by the maintenance department at the PPG facility in Barberton, Ohio, also impacted nearly all business functions of multiple facilities in the PPG organization.


SMRP Conference

Eric Edmisten, CMRP, reliability engineer at PPG Industries, will present “Overcoming Challenges in Implementing a New CMMS/EAM” at the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Oct. 22 at 11 A.M. The presentation will cover the CMMS conversion experienced by the maintenance department of the PPG Barberton, Ohio facility in April 2012 and includes the events of the preparation, changeover, and adaptation to the SAP PM Module after years of using Maximo. Learn more about the SMRP Conference at

Facility background

The PPG Barberton facility, located in northeast Ohio, has been in operation since 1900, when it was established primarily to produce soda ash for glassmaking operations. Today, the products produced at the plant are optical casting resins for eyewear applications, Teslin Synthetic Printing Sheets, and designed silicas used in the manufacture of paints, tires, and rubber products. The maintenance department at the facility consists of 24 skilled tradesmen, two supervisors, two planners, and a reliability engineer. I began employment at PPG Barberton in October 2010 as the reliability engineer, approximately six months prior to the commencement of the SAP conversion project. I was chosen as a subject matter expert (SME) and later as the lead trainer for the PM module at the facility, primarily due to my prior experience with other CMMS systems at previous employers.

Prior to the implementation of SAP, the maintenance group utilized Maximo as the CMMS. All equipment, inspections, and spare parts had been defined in the system. Work requests were entered into the system by department supervision, which would be planned, converted to work orders, and distributed to the maintenance tradesmen. Completed work orders would be returned to the maintenance supervisors for sign-off and then routed to the planners to close in the system. The tradesmen would keep a record of hours spent on work orders, which would be manually entered by the planners on a weekly basis. Spare parts were checked out of the on-site storeroom using a wireless barcode scanner.

In early 2011, PPG’s corporate management announced that the Commodity Chemicals division would be converting to the SAP software for most business processes. The scope of this project included seven separate facilities in three countries and approximately 15 different software packages used for the separate business functions of the company. An extremely aggressive timeframe of 12 months was proposed for the conversion.

Project background

A centralized group called the SAP Core Team was formed to work with a systems integrator to manage the conversion effort. Additionally, each plant assigned a facility lead person, along with several SMEs to assist in the specific conversion details for the individual facilities. These individuals were first required to “blueprint,” or define, the existing processes in order to tailor the SAP application to accommodate the needs of each facility. This process was accomplished primarily through conference calls and Web meetings.

After the blueprinting process was completed, the realization phase of the project began. During this phase, the blueprinted processes were translated into the functionality of the SAP software package. Due to the number of facilities and processes involved, as well as the short timeframe, many compromises had to be made. Despite the compromises, care was taken to preserve existing processes as much as possible. For example, although several plants were previously using Maximo as their CMMS software, each plant’s specific Maximo configurations were unique. The data selected for capture and the fields where it was assigned were not standardized. This necessitated unique translation protocols for each plant and subsequent errors. SMEs were in regular contact with their corresponding Core Team representatives to ensure data from legacy systems would be accurately transferred into SAP. SMEs were also involved in testing the imported data in development environments.

At the end of the realization phase, facilities assigned trainers to attend functional specific training for their respective areas. This event was titled “Train the Trainer” and was held in two different locations to accommodate the geographical disparity of the audience. Separate sessions were held for each functional area and were 2-5 days long. During these sessions, the assigned trainers were given presentations and performed exercises designed by the core team to simulate the expected usage of the end users. These exercises were performed in a testing environment with fabricated data to simulate the information that would be used in the live environment. At the conclusion of the training, the trainers received all of the presentation materials and exercises from the training, as well as additional resources to assist the training effort at the plant level.

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