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Why Plant Maintenance Master Data in SAP is Key

by Sam Evans for Blog Leave a comment
Why Plant Maintenance Master Data in SAP is Key

(Updated for 2024)

Data is the fuel that keeps your machines running.

Hi, I am Phil Hull. Before joining the Maextro team, I worked in the Aerospace industry for over forty years. When I started my career in aerospace, they were still using an IBM mainframe computer. My first job was as an MRP controller in the machine shop but saw my opportunity to move when they decided to move to SAP in 1989 and they were looking for people to do the testing of the new environment. I have not looked back since.

Around the same time, I decided to do an OU BSc honours degree in Information Technology and Computing. I set up SAP Plant Maintenance in the UK for one of the leading European commercial airspace manufacturers.

I decided to take a job at Maextro because I wanted a new challenge and saw it as an opportunity to improve Plant Maintenance process and pass on some of my extensive knowledge on the subject to others.


person holding pencil near laptop computer

In today’s enterprise environment, it is important to maximise throughput though your fixed assets such as machines & plants etc.

It is important to know the status of the assets that you own, whether they are available for production, being maintained as part of planned maintenance activities or are being repaired due to a breakdown. Once you have this data in the enterprise environment, you can see asset availability in real time. This enables you to better plan your production and see maintenance cost in real time without the need to rely on manual reports produced in Excel.

It enables the collection of data surrounding each asset which in turn enables the maintenance department to get a better picture of:


  1. See upcoming planned maintenance and whether you have enough capacity to carry it out or reschedule if necessary. This brings real benefits as you can now capacity plan your workload and resources, but you need to remember to allow some spare capacity for any unforeseen breakdowns.
  2. See what planned maintenance was carried out on an asset. The main benefit here is that you can see the full history of the asset and, in the unlikely event of an incident, you can show that the asset has been properly maintained and was in proper working order before the incident happened.
  3. Cost of planned maintenance for an asset. It enables you to see the cost over a given period of, say, a month or a year or longer.
  4. See Breakdowns across asset groups or a single asset. This enables the business to see breakdowns in real time enabling them to plan around the issue if another similar asset is available to move the production to.
  5. Have a clear view of outstanding breakdowns and their priority and whether they are waiting for spare parts. It enables you to work on the highest priority ones first where an asset is at a complete stop and you have no alternative machine that can do the work. The lower priority ones tend to be an issue where the asset can still run but at a low capacity until it is fixed.
  6. Look for pattens in the breakdowns to enable preventive maintenance to be carried out to stop future breakdowns. The most powerful tool in plant maintenance is the ability to analyse the reasons for breakdowns so that you can see where the same fault is occurring on a regular basis and plan to carry out a regular check as part of the maintenance plan to stop the fault occurring in the future.
  7. Cost of repair of an asset over time. This would include spare parts used, cost of parts and man-hours to fix the asset. It enables you to see the repair cost of each asset over a given period.
  8. Check the mean time between breakdown of an asset. This is a good indicator to use to see if an asset needs replacing as breakdowns tend to occur more frequently as the asset comes to the end of its life. It might just need more planned maintenance to stop the breakdowns happening in the future.
  9. Average time to repair an asset. This enables the maintenance manager to better understand the likely downtime of a machine depending on the fault.
  10. Better utilisation of maintenance team. If you get the planned maintenance right, you stop most breakdowns happening so you can better plan your week, rather than running from one breakdown to another. You will never stop all breakdowns completely.
  11. Better utilisation of spares held by maintenance. If you have bills of materials for each asset of the separable parts, you can better understand what the commonly used spare parts are. This enables you to hold stock of the spares and, when used, replace them.


I never valued the power of the data within Plant Maintenance before, but I do now. It can transform your business from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance where you plan maintenance. The biggest battle you will have is with the production manager who just wants to run the machine until it breaks rather than have planned machine stops for maintenance. Once they see the benefits of planned maintenance rather than reactive maintenance they will come on board, as they usually see a more controlled flow of work through the business.


Phil Hull – Plant Maintenance Consultant at Maextro

For more information on Plant Maintenance, click here.


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