EAM software gives you dozens of ways to improve asset reliability. Developing a PM program is one of the more common. But the method with the biggest potential to increase uptime—and the one that’s most underutilized—is the use of Problem and Failure Codes on corrective maintenance work orders.

Problem and failure codes are key to solving reliability issues. Failure analysis starts with failure codes. When used properly, they allow you to aggregate failure data across the equipment registry—giving you the information you need to drive analysis, reduce failures, and increase asset uptime.

Problem Codes define the problem you’re having with a piece of equipment—seized, leaking, overheating, etc. Failure Codes designate “what” is failing—bearing noisy, seal/gasket leaking, valve worn, etc. This allows Maintenance to conduct further analysis on the part that’s having the issue.

Together these two code types are extremely powerful. When applied consistently to corrective maintenance work orders, they provide visibility into asset failures. These codes allow you to trend and identify the most common and expensive problems and failures. So instead of hunting around in the dark, you’ll know exactly where to spend your time and money—and have the data to back you up.

Developing great problem and failure codes doesn’t have to be difficult. Prebuilt coding libraries can speed up development for a fraction of what it would cost to build code sets from scratch.

At SwainSmith, we have the industry’s most comprehensive equipment class-specific problem-failure coding library. Our library contains over:

  • 1,500 problem-failure-action-cause codes.
  • 200,000 failure relationships.
  • 167 distinct equipment classes.

Our library can jump-start the development of your RCM initiative.

About Us

SwainSmith is a leading asset management consulting firm. We have implemented successful EAM systems for some of the world’s largest organizations. Getting your EAM software system to help the organization accomplish its objectives is what we do.


Tracy Smith

Tracy S. Smith has been helping organizations implement successful EAM software systems for 20 years. He is the president of SwainSmith, Inc., an EAM solutions company. He also offers complimentary 30-minute EAM consultations. No sales pitch or a pesky follow-up call. Just straight answers to your questions—and an objective, experienced assessment of your issues and goals.

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