CMMS Codes: The Building Blocks of CMMS Reporting

This month we released the latest version of our EAM Library. A comprehensive resource of asset management standards. The EAM Library helps organizations accelerate and improve asset management.  

Because of the product release, we’ve been thinking a lot about codes here lately.

  • Why are codes so important for asset management?
  • How do codes help an EAM or CMMS system to perform better?
  • How can you leverage codes to get richer information?

If you want to improve your CMMS reporting, those are important questions. So we’re going to take some time with this blog post to answer them.

Enabling Your Understanding of Maintenance and Repair Events

CMMS codes are discrete data elements that provide a simple, consistent way to communicate key pieces of information about assets and MRO events. They enable everyone in asset management to have a complete understanding of what occurred during a repair, eliminating the need for extensive written communication. They also help to create standardized data for reporting and analysis.

CMMS Codes and other master data, such as asset and spare part records, make up the foundational layer of data in the EAM software system. When you take time to develop and standardize your master data, it opens up a wealth of possibilities for insightful reporting.

Let’s break your reporting and data needs into three buckets.


Depending on the business decisions you are trying to make, you will likely need a baseline set of data for your equipment and other physical assets. This baseline data includes asset types; usage data attributes, such as mileage and hours/years in service; and work order coding, such as problem and failure codes. This baseline data will enable you to track key trends, including high-priority items such as:

  • Asset Utilization and Downtime
  • Cost Per Equipment (what are the most costly units?)

Repair Events

Having a consistent way to capture and report on each repair and maintenance event is also foundational to your reporting strategy. This begins with coding for work type and repair priority, and it also includes event-generated data and servicing location information. At the work order level, this allows you to track and report on things such as:

  • Maintenance Performance Scorecards
  • Frequency, Cost, and Downtime by Problem–Failure code
  • % On-Time Repairs


To take the maintenance and repair analysis one step deeper, you can leverage our coding standards to consistently capture cause, complaint, correction, component, and location for each operation. Combining this with other operational data can provide important reports such as:

  • PM Performance (are the PMs done on time?)
  • Frequency, Cost, and Days Out of Service by System/Component

Once you have the basic elements in place, you can further dig into the data and make it even more valuable by examining areas like manufacturer, asset type, and years/miles/hours in service. You’ll also be able to do internal benchmarking by cost center and/or evaluate the performance of service providers.

Using the EAM Library to Build Great Data

Our EAM Library contains a structured coding system that provides a universal language to help maintenance organizations communicate about, capture, and report on maintenance activities.

Our codes are used to describe causes, corrections, complaints, components, operating systems, equipment, types of work, and virtually any other aspect of maintenance and asset management.

The library also includes naming conventions and classification systems to help clients standardize and organize their master records.

The coding schemes and data standards in our EAM Library help clients:

  • Properly describe their equipment, MRO materials, PMs, etc.
  • Properly sort and group master data, such as asset and MRO inventory records.
  • Properly sort and group transactional data, such as work orders and purchase orders.
  • Think of each asset in terms of its group and associated problem and failure reasons.
  • Prioritize their assets.

The Information Equation

Great EAM information is a product of complete, accurate, and up-to-date master data and properly executed business processes.

Master data by itself is not the answer to every information challenge. You need business processes too. But without good master data, you won’t get anywhere with your maintenance reporting. That’s why if you want better EAM information, you should start with your master data.

Improving master data helps an organization:

  • Find records in the EAM system more easily, which improves system buy-in and acceptance.
  • Drive more meaningful analysis with improved system reporting.
  • More effectively prioritize work events.
  • Make informed and educated asset management business decisions.

Improvement Is Built on Information (Which Is Built on CMMS Codes)

You may be doing a great job focusing on areas like shop productivity, technician productivity, and inventory. But are you looking at the big-picture numbers that help you understand the overall health of your assets?

CMMS Codes are at the foundation of all quality EAM reporting. If you’re not properly coding your maintenance and repair events, it’s very challenging to get the trending information you need to make informed decisions. By combining robust coding structures with asset usage data, vendor and shop profiles, and financial reporting attributes (e.g., cost center), you have a great basis for improving your decision making and ultimately lowering your total cost of ownership.

If you want to improve your maintenance reporting, start with the building blocks. Implement a structured system of EAM codes.

The EAM Library from SwainSmith is a powerful tool for building better EAM data. Contact us for details.