If CMMS system users are complaining that they can’t find the information they’re looking for, it usually means that an effective asset-naming convention hasn’t been put into place. Creating an asset-naming convention involves defining and formatting the way assets are named within your system. It is essential to follow consistent naming standards when entering data into your equipment maintenance software so that assets can be identified and data can be retrieved quickly.

Asset-naming conventions help you search for records and maintain the integrity of data. Standardized naming conventions also aid in data reporting and analysis. Come up with a useful naming convention before you go live with your CMMS system because it can be difficult to change later. Even if you manage to change it, your archived report data could become invalid. Small businesses should look at the big picture when establishing naming conventions, so they don’t have to alter their naming conventions later if their businesses grow and they purchase new assets.

Asset naming doesn’t have to be complex, but it needs to be consistent and logical. The goal is to adopt a naming convention that allows users to recognize an asset’s location and purpose at a glance. Once you determine the structure of your naming convention, record it in your maintenance policy document so that everyone in your organization adheres to it when entering data or assets into your equipment maintenance software.

Asset-Naming Convention Best Practices

In a manual maintenance management system, you may be as descriptive as you like when naming an asset—but in a CMMS software system, you must use naming conventions that communicate the same amount of information in a concise manner. An asset-naming convention should be easy for maintenance technicians to deconstruct and derive meaning from.

Furthermore, the codes you use should have a consistent number of characters. You might want to alternate numeric characters with alphabetic characters to make naming conventions easier to read and identify. Ideally, naming conventions should drill down, with each component of the code being a subset of the previous. When deciding on an asset-naming convention, consider the hierarchical structure of your assets.

Follow these best practices when deciding on your asset-naming convention:

  • Ensure that the first characters of the name refer to the categories you want grouped together because by default, your CMMS may sort records by the name. For example, all air handling units may begin with AHU followed by a number: AHU-001; a chiller may be CHLR-001. In the number portion, leave enough room for future expansion.
  • Include “gaps” in your identification method so that you can easily insert new records or record groups in the future.
  • Create an identification method that is meaningful, easy to use and easy to remember.
  • Use consistent terminology, especially with abbreviations. For example, consistently use either “BLDG” or “BUILD” as an abbreviation for BUILDING so that a query or search finds all occurrences of “building”.
  • Don’t use just numbers as they are not easily remembered, especially numbers that may change such as defining a part with the manufacturer’s part number.
  • There is no need to include location, department and other fields that are separately defined. With the query capability of relational databases, they can be easily found using and/or options.

The task of establishing an asset-naming convention for your organization is simpler than you’d imagine. Developing an appropriate naming convention for your organization will likely require you to focus on certain components while ignoring others. While maintenance technicians might think that an asset-naming convention looks complicated at first, they tend to adapt quickly.

DPSI works closely with customers to guide them in establishing proper asset-naming conventions and supports them through all phases of the CMMS system implementation process. Contact DPSI today for more information about our products and services.