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Most food manufacturers and distributors have invested substantially in plant and equipment.

However, it's common that even companies who invest in high functioning, sophisticated ERP systems also have manual processes for handling equipment maintenance. 

Even companies using stand-alone maintenance packages have issues. Their PO’s, inventory, payables, and general ledger have to be processed in the ERP system, and they end up with duplicate data entries or inaccurate data.

At ColumbusFood, we’ve grown by expanding our software features to solve the pain points that our customers tell us about. Our Maintenance Management granule is a perfect example of that. Challenges our customers had previously include:

  • Accurately tracking the quantity on hand of maintenance spare parts
  • Keeping a proper inventory value for those parts (instead of expensing them on receipt)
  • Knowing when it was time to buy parts
  • Setting up preventive maintenance and repair work orders
  • Tracking the amount of labor, parts and outside services expended on a maintenance asset to understand the total cost of ownership
  • Keeping the ERP system in sync relative to maintenance costs

We leveraged the core functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central to build an easy solution for our food manufacturing and distribution customers. A good maintenance package requires:

  • An inventory system
  • A purchasing system
  • A payables system
  • A general ledger system
  • A work order system to handle both
    • PM work orders
    • Repair work orders
  • A maintenance asset ledger to track all of the costs expended on each asset

Dynamics NAV/Business Central covers the first four requirements above. For the rest, Columbus has created a work order system and the ability to define maintenance assets and track the history of maintenance costs for those assets, leveraging the building blocks from Microsoft. This provides ColumbusFood customers with a fully integrated maintenance system that can be up and running quickly. 

Here is an example of a maintenance asset card. Maintenance assets can be linked to Fixed Assets, but you may define your assets differently from the point of view of depreciation versus maintenance. You define the characteristics of the asset, including Equipment Detail, Spare Parts, and the Preventive Maintenance routines. You can see the total cost of the asset broken down by Labor, Material, and Outside Contract costs.


From the Maintenance Asset Card, you can Navigate to view the ledger entries for the asset, open Work Orders (i.e., repair orders), PM Orders, the Spare Parts list, and other information.


Here is an example of the Ledger Entries, which store the details of all the costs applied to the asset since acquisition:


And here is a screen shot of a preventive maintenance work order:


If you own or are considering ColumbusFood, please contact us to learn more about all the advantages of using our integrated Maintenance Management granule to maintain your valuable plant and equipment assets.

Next blog: Learn how pack station capabilities improve efficiencies for food  manufacturers



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