April 1, 1997
The National Manufacturing Week ’97 Conference and Exhibition held last month in Chicago was especially noteworthy on several counts. First, it was the first major trade show held in the (finally) remodeled McCormick Place, but that paled in comparison to what transpired and the themes we saw emerging from within the exhibition hall.
This convention/exhibition is actually four show events at one venue, but the one of most interest to our readership is the National Plant Engineering and Management Show and Conference.
New this year was an area on the show floor devoted specifically to maintenance software, and input and delivery systems. Love it or hate it, maintenance software is definitely going to be your work companion from now on. Here you could "test drive" several maintenance programs, all designed to help keep facility maintenance capabilities high and downtime low.
We spoke with a number of vendors who see information technologies (IT) being applied to a wider range of departments and purposes (including facility maintenance) than has typically been the case in the past. Companies from across many industries are looking for ways to integrate IT across their enterprises. Some are cobbling systems together out of smaller parts while others are looking at solutions offered by the "big boys" of IT that include SAP, Baan, Trilogy, and even Microsoft.
Some of the more prominent maintenance-related products we came across included:
- PSDI - MEO-online.com is a Internet-based information clearing house for data about maintenance, repairs, and operations (MRO). When fully functional (at an as-yet undetermined date), the Web site, http://www.MRO.com, will feature maintenance and equipment data from PSDI and third parties. Information will include equipment specifications and diagrams, vendor information, an MRO knowledge base, and links to other relevant Web sites.
- CK Systems - MaintiMizer+ is a Windows-based computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Its design is an outgrowth of the company’s DOS-based product that was popular for its simplicity. The new system include "Quick Look Ups" for parts inventory, open work orders, vendor contact information, and facility CAD drawings.
- Datastream Systems - The beta release of its MP2 Enterprise Version 5.0 is reportedly the first 32-bit, client/server, CMMS written specifically for Microsoft’s SQL Server. Designed to work across WANs supporting multiple sites, Version 5.0 is Microsoft BackOffice-compatible.
- Eagle Technology - The Enterprise version of its PROTEUS product is a CMMS for large-scale industrial plants and commercial facilities. Enterprise is specifically designed for consolidating multiple plant inventory and centralized purchasing activities. It uses multiple databases over a WAN in supporting organization-wide maintenance management.
- Prism Computer Corp. - Developer of the FAMIS Asset Enterprise (asset management software) demonstrated an interface to Oracle Financials. FAMIS Asset Enterprise is a suite of tools for managing physical assets consisting of maintenance management, inventory control, tool control, calibration management, and space management modules. The interface also supports various material acquisition functions.
- Rockwell International Corp. - Trekker 2020 mobile information system is a lightweight, voice-controlled, wearable (on your head) Pentium computer system. Trekker represents pioneering work with a system that lets users access the same information available on the desktop PCs—all without having to take their hands or eyes off their work.
- Fleming Systems Corp. - 4Site for Windows is a client/server maintenance and materials management software package. The company said that its four individual, but integrated modules (maintenance, purchasing, stores/inventory control, and accounting) provide the depth of functionality typically found with mainframe-class systems in a user-friendly Windows-based format.