Choosing and validating a Planned Maintenance System (PMS) for a maritime business can be a difficult task. But if you can find the right planned maintenance software that suits your company’s needs, you can ensure that your ship’s equipment and systems maintain the required standard of operation and safety.   

According to the International Safety Management Code (ISM), it is mandatory for ship owners to have a planned maintenance system on ships that meets the safety and environmental objectives stated in the ISM code.

What is a Planned Maintenance System for Ships?

A planned maintenance system (PMS) allows shipping companies to get vessel maintenance and repair work done in minimum time at a minimal cost. Using PMS software, maintenance teams and operators can plan, perform and document recurring ship maintenance tasks at intervals that conform to Class and manufacturer requirements. The main aim is to ensure that vessel operations and equipment are safe and reliable and comply with applicable regulations. This can be achieved in various ways, based on the size and complexity of the organization and the kinds of vessels operating. A planned maintenance system is also an investment that helps protect assets and optimize their management. 

The Purpose of Planned Maintenance System

  • To make sure that all maintenance of vessel machinery and equipment is performed at adequate intervals and conforms to the system’s schedule. 
  • To ensure all engines, machinery and technical components are maintained in good working condition at all times, avoid stoppages and maintain charter party speed and consumption needs.  
  • To avoid interruption and oversight of work by managing all the work
  • To differentiate distinctly between onboard and shore maintenance work. 

How to Validate Planned Maintenance System?

Once you have identified a good PMS software, it is crucial to test whether the maintenance software suits your shipping business. It must be validated for its intended use. 

The first step in the validation process will be to develop a validation plan that contains a description of the system, specifications about the environment, assumptions, restrictions, testing criteria, acceptance criteria and identification of responsibilities of the validation team, required processes and documentation.  

Validation of PMS software includes tasks like creating, executing, and reviewing maintenance work, plus creating, adding and handling parts and equipment. Define how to handle unexpected maintenance work, overdue jobs or critical equipment and determine how this will function with your own processes. 

The next step is to find out how data can be transferred between the ship and shore systems and what type of permissions can be designed to manage how to access the software. 

Check out how to include creating new vessels and changing vessel details, performance statistics, and how data is received and analysed from the ships. 

For future operations, determine how updates will be sent to the ships.

Additional Points to Consider:

  • How dependable is the organisation? Make sure the company is a trustworthy name in the maritime industry and not a fly-by-night operator. 
  • Are they fully equipped to handle the challenges caused by the ups and downs of the business ecosystem?
  • The security systems of the organisation should be in place and well managed to tackle any virus attack. If the security system is not sound, the organisation can go down with one virus attack. 
  • Is its cloud safe? With Cloud Planned Management Systems, you can view maintenance reports and issues in real-time. 
  • Going for a low-cost PMS is fine, but cheap isn’t always better. Cheap products can be misleading and can cost you in the long run.
  • What are the strategic plans of the organisation and what roadmap do they have?
  • Is the PMS class certified? Class-certified software ensures safe and reliable operations of your vessels. A great choice can be our Shipmate PMS which is class certified by Bureau Veritas.
  • Is the software bug-free and stabilised?

The above questions are an ideal start to a planned maintenance system on ships and should be adapted to your shipping needs. Many PMS programs are generic, but it is important to find a planned maintenance system that best suits your company’s needs. Though there is no secret code for software validation, if you break it down into simple, practical steps, you can easily perform validations.