PPM Preparation – why spreadsheets?

Many managers and consultants who have a great deal of experience in the preparation of PPM plan data, insist on preparing the base data for PPM systems (asset and procedure pairing, start date and cycle, service provider) in a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are undeniably convenient, but most of the managers and consultants being described would say that preparation of plan data in a spreadsheet is ONLY way.

It’s quick, similar plans can be copied, and whole sections can be cut and pasted. This sounds good, but it’s all prone to error, the type of error which may not reveal itself until the plan is live.

If base and plan data is entered directly into a system which is back-ended by a professional database such as SQL Server, most of the errors which occur in a spreadsheet can be precluded, because the database simply won’t allow them. The application should provide any further required protection against bad data.

The best PPM systems also have time-saving mechanisms, such as creation of Tasks and Task Dates by groups of assets. Essential an expert user would be saying “create the 28-day inspection task for all the air handlers in the specified building, to start on 1st July” or “all the assets in this room are to have their quarterly inspection, starting on 2nd July”.

Fine-tuning can be done later (often visually, as in the case of staggered start dates), but creating the plan in this way completely prevents the bad data that creation in spreadsheets can allow.

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