Using CMMS to track staff, vendor training credentials

With high demands to service computerized equipment and systems, maintenance professionals may need to be certified for any number of skills.


If a broken pipe led to a toxic chemical spill, how fast could you find a vendor or staff technicians with the right EPA certification to clean it up?

What if OSHA came to call? Are all your team members up to date on their safety training requirements?

Answering those questions becomes much easier when you tap into a best-of-breed computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to keep track of the many certifications or training programs completed by the maintenance professionals you work with.

At one time, it may have been sufficient to note staff or vendor credentials in a spreadsheet or log book or file cabinet, or even to assign one employee to the post of training coordinator. But now—with demands to service ever-evolving computerized equipment and systems—maintenance professionals may need to be certified for any number of skills. It makes sense, then, to use a CMMS to quickly find the person with the appropriate training and qualifications for the task at hand.

For one thing, most maintenance managers already have basic information on staffers and outside contractors in their CMMS database. With minimal effort, that data can be expanded to include details on trainings, certifications and other pertinent information about qualifications.

In addition, using a CMMS to document training and certifications can also offer these benefits:

Easier deployment of personnel: Having quick and easy access to information on a staff member’s level of skill and training makes it easier to assign work tasks. Link training requirements to specific equipment in the CMMS database and include a list of staff technicians and contractors who have the skills to make those repairs. Some advanced CMMS will not allow assignments to be given to staffers who may not have certain specific qualifications. Maintenance managers can see the information they need and make the final decisions about job assignments.

Enhanced operator safety: Proper operator training helps prevent accidents and injuries that can hurt employees—and damage equipment. Often, employee training takes place when machinery is first purchased and inspected. But a preventive maintenance (PM) notice can also be set up to remind maintenance professionals when it’s time to refresh skills or register for updated training programs, and that, in turn, helps reduce the risk of injuries.

Improved compliance with regulations: Using the CMMS to send reminders about when staff certifications need to be renewed makes it easier to fulfill regulatory requirements and meet stringent deadlines. The CMMS database can also document the history of governmental reviews of previous compliance efforts around training programs.

Timelier updates: Operator manuals and instructions should be part of any CMMS equipment record, with repair updates entered as new fixes are issued by the manufacturer. Equally as important is the maintenance of renewal certifications and repair skills for technicians. CMMS provides an audit trail of equipment maintenance training and helps the team keep machines running dependably.

Higher team morale: The CMMS can send alerts to announce when a staff member has completed a training program or earned a hard-won certificate. Communicating and celebrating those accomplishments boosts employee morale and motivates staffers to upgrade their skills.

While CMMS manages fixed assets like equipment and machinery, these systems are also proving their worth in helping maintenance team leaders take care of their most important assets: a well-trained staff.

Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group, which produces Bigfoot CMMS.

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