#5 The crucial role of Asset Master Data in CMMS

In today’s fast-paced industrial landscape, Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) have become indispensable tools for managing maintenance operations. These powerful software solutions streamline processes, increase teams’ productivity. However, the linchpin of a successful CMMS often goes unnoticed – asset master data. 

Asset Master data is the cornerstone of CMMS, encompassing essential details about assets, maintenance procedures, inventory, and more. It acts as the bedrock upon which the entire system relies, ensuring seamless information flow and efficient management of maintenance activities. In this article, we delve into the critical importance of master data in a CMMS, underscoring its significance through key keywords. 


Computerized Maintenance Management Systems

Data Accuracy: The Pillar of Reliability

The foremost reason asset master data is pivotal in CMMS is data accuracy. Inaccurate or outdated maintenance data can lead to costly errors and inefficiencies, causing disruptions in operations. Imagine scheduling a maintenance task based on incorrect data, only to discover the asset is in perfect condition. This not only wastes resources but also disrupts operations. 

Asset master data guarantees the accuracy and timeliness of information within the CMMS. It encompasses asset specifications such as model numbers, serial numbers, and maintenance history, forming the bedrock of effective maintenance practices. 

Asset hierarchy: the importance of ISO 14224

Effective asset hierarchy is fundamental to CMMS, and asset master data plays a vital role in this domain. CMMS relies on asset master data to track and manage assets, including in-depth records of each asset’s location, attributes, history and maintenance requirements. 

ISO 14224 provides a comprehensive basis for collecting equipment reliability and maintenance data, including:

  • Equipment limits
  • Equipment / component taxonomy
  • Hierarchical classification

Image : ISO 14224’s hierarchy breakdown recommendation 

Below is an example of standardized, accurate asset hierarchy for a paper mill:

  • Level 1 – Factory
    • Level 2 – Areas: paper mill, converting, installations…
      • Level 3 – Systems: pulp dissolving, internal breaking, pulp mixing, paper machine, effluent treatment, water supply, compressed air…
        • Level 4 – Equipment or subsystem
          • Levels 5 to 9 – Assemblies and sub-assemblies as required

The importance of BOMs in CMMS

A Bill of Material (BOM) is a structured list of the components that make up a technical object or an assembly. Often an equipment’s parts list. 

There are 2 types of BOMs 

  • OEM BOM – Original Equipment Manufacturer BOM 
    • Includes all assemblies and parts used in the manufacture of the equipment
  • MRO BOM – Maintenance Repair Operations BOM 
    • Includes all parts and portable items likely to be required during maintenance and servicing of the equipment. 

Example of an MRO BOM on a paper machine roll: 

While building BOMs in a CMMS, it is imperative to apply rules of standardization. These rules include but are not limited to: 

  • Class 
  • Attributes 
  • Manufacturer, MFR P/N… 
  • Standard Description  

Example of optimized and standardized BOMs:  

  • OEM Description: SPHERICAL ROLLER BEARING 23148 CCK/C083W33 

The benefits down the line

  • Maintenance strategies: accurate and complete asset master data in a CMMS paves the way for world-class preventive maintenance programs. It delineates maintenance requirements and schedules for each asset, enabling organizations to extend the equipment’s operational lifespan. 
  • Cost control: Asset master data is indispensable for controlling maintenance costs, offering vital insights for budgeting and resource allocation. Understanding the maintenance history, repair frequency, and expected asset lifespan enables informed decisions regarding budget allocation. 
  • Work orders management: Work Orders are the heart of any CMMS. They define the tasks that need to be performed on assets, assign responsibilities, and establish deadlines. Precise asset master data forms the bedrock for generating these work orders. 
  • Reporting and Analysis: a CMMS serves not only to track maintenance activities but also as a potent tool for reporting and analysis. Quality asset master data facilitates data-driven decision-making and performance analysis. Organizations can generate comprehensive reports on various aspects of maintenance, including asset performance, maintenance costs, and workforce efficiency. 
  • Inventory Management: effective inventory management is a linchpin of maintenance operations. Asset master data includes information about spare parts, encompassing details such as part numbers, quantities, and supplier information. This data is vital for efficient spare parts and inventory management. Accurate inventory data enables organizations to minimize stockouts by ensuring that the right parts are available when needed. Simultaneously, it helps avoid excess inventory that can tie up capital and storage space. 
  • Regulatory compliance: documenting compliance requirements and integrating them into the CMMS enables better tracking and management of compliance efforts, reducing the risk of non-compliance issues that could result in fines or penalties. 
  • Vendor Management: quality asset master data enables an organization to consolidate vendor relationships.  
  • Knowledge Transfer: asset master data also serves as a vital tool in knowledge transfer by documenting maintenance procedures and historical data, a critical asset for training new staff, ensuring consistent maintenance practices, and preserving institutional knowledge. 

What to consider when embarking on an asset master data optimization project?

  • What is the involvement of the manufacturer? 
    • Do they build hierarchy and part list 
  • Do you have a template to import the hierarchy and parts in the CMMS 
  • Do you have internal standard for : 
    • Creating Functional Location 
    • Creating equipment 
    • Creating BOM 
    • Creating Parts 
  • Do you have an internal team to build hierarchy? 
  • What is the involvement of your selected / local supplier? 
  • Do you have a corporate parts library? 
  • How detailed you want to build the hierarchy? 


Asset master data forms the bedrock of successful CMMS operations. It ensures data accuracy, facilitates effective asset management, supports preventive maintenance, and controls costs. Furthermore, it ensures precision in work orders, empowers informed decision-making, streamlines inventory management, ensures compliance, supports vendor management, and facilitates knowledge transfer. 

To maximize the potential of your CMMS and reap its benefits, investing time and resources in developing and maintaining high-quality asset master data is not an option, but a necessity. Organizations that prioritize this foundational aspect will be best positioned to optimize their maintenance processes and achieve their operational goals. 

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