AKWIRE for Maximo User Group

How a Maximo Power User Leverages the CMMS Across Business Units

by Mariah Patterson on November 3, 2016

Pick a topic, any topic. With very few exceptions, you’ll likely find proponents and opponents on the subject. The same holds true with EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) software, such as IBM Maximo – there are those who rail at having to use the platform and others who can’t say enough in support of it.

Jason Luke is one of Maximo’s greatest champions.

“Every day, I'm kind of the salesman for the Maximo software. It's definitely a passion of mine. I enjoy it and I like talking about it. What I love about Maximo is the flexibility and tool set it provides within the product.  I am always being challenged with unique business requests and within IBM Maximo, there are always multiple ways to create a great solution.
It doesn’t matter if you utilize condition expressions, workflow, escalations, automation scripts, relationships, new applications and more… if you can think it up you can build it.”

When Jason began working after college, he likely never dreamed that any one software program would have such an influence on his career path.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he has degrees in both computer science and MIS. Growing up in Houston and with his father still living in the area, he decided to move back to Texas after graduating.

Finding a path to the IBM Maximo EAM

“When I got back here,” he recalled, “I applied to a couple different companies and after a couple weeks one of them picked me up.” While working at NRG, his initial projects were web-based, where he was tasked with moving files from server to server. “I really didn’t even know what Maximo was at that point.”

Soon though, the project ended and he was asked what he might be interested in working on after that point. After hearing about Maximo in general conversations, he told his supervisors that he wanted to learn more about that particular software. Jumping in, he learned as he worked on small projects.

Five years later, he was the Maximo team leader, supervising four other people. “It was a great environment,” he recalled. “I loved the team.”

Then, he was tasked with upgrading software versions. Working with one other colleague, they completed the implementation upgrades in six months.

The day after ‘go live’ with the new Maximo version, however, the company announced it was buying another company and had already made the decision to go with a competitive product. “It was a sad day,” he recalled. “I was very frustrated and upset with that decision so I put myself back out on the market.”

He worked briefly for another company only to find that they didn’t really use Maximo efficiently at the time. “It just wasn't the right fit for me. I like to be very busy and have a lot of work to do.”

Maximo EAM at Kinder Morgan

He kept searching for the right fit that would allow him to be more immersed in the Maximo software. “Then I moved to Kinder Morgan and I am the Maximo team here.” With its headquarters in Houston, Kinder Morgan is the country’s largest energy infrastructure company with a diverse set of customers from local energy distribution companies to leaders in the oil industry.

Jason-Luke-Maximo-CMMS.jpg

Either operating or having interest in about 180 terminals and about 84,000 miles of pipelines, their massive infrastructure relies on operating efficiencies, including the IT department. No small task for Jason, who oversees Maximo, of which there are over 3,000 users.

“At Kinder Morgan, we have three unique business segments utilizing Maximo in different ways but in the end, the result is to help track their work and manage their assets,” Jason said.

Natural Gas is one of the segments benefitting from Maximo. “Our Natural Gas segment is focused heavily on compliance and we have built solutions to help track compliance work orders with compliance dates and requirements around explanations of why dates may have been missed or needed an exception.”

In fact, the LNG facility at Elba is considered a leader site for the company. 

“The Natural Gas division has two subsets; PSM (Process Safety Management) and our LNG facilities that need to perform and track the maintenance on their assets.  The LNG Facility at Elba is spearheading the charge around maintenance planning,” Jason said. “In the last two years, I helped move them from managing all of their inventory in spreadsheets to using Maximo.”

After that, they encouraged their technicians to begin planning what they needed on any work orders “so we now do purchasing and receiving which allows us to track costs for Material in Maximo.”

The next step was to work on building metrics for scheduling and planning resources. “They had been using Maximo out of the box and using some reports,” Jason said, “but it is time consuming and we needed a few reports and a lot of manual review.” Consequently, this segment opted to move forward with AKWIRE to help streamline this process and for weekly resource allocations.

Also, two years ago, their CO2/terminals group moved to Maximo. “Now we have 37 terminals/15 CO2 facilities utilizing Maximo. We are continually improving and trying to grow and utilize more and more of the product. Our goal for this group will be to be able to show the true cost of ownership for our assets,” he said.

When bringing Maximo on board, this group broke the implementation down to three phases:

  1. Learning the system
  2. Refining the data and
  3. Using Maximo to help make budget decisions

At the moment, Jason said, this process is between phases 1 and 2.

Additionally, Kinder Morgan’s CO2 group has used IBM Maximo for compressor analysis, which has been a significant focus for them. He went ahead to explain that, “We have created special surveys for the technician to provide feedback on compressor reviews and for us to better track future maintenance on these big, expensive units that need to have long up times.”

While integrating Maximo with these groups, Kinder Morgan has also been continually upgrading their system. “When I first started here, we were on Maximo 7.1.1.9. In 2015, I upgraded us to 7.5.0.6. This year, I upgraded us to 7.6.0.5. So we're kind of the latest and greatest of Maximo.”

Bringing AKWIRE on board for planning and scheduling in Maximo CMMS

One thing that Jason said has enhanced Maximo for the user end is the integration AKWIRE’s software. While he has designed and built many of the Maximo interfaces that Kinder Morgan uses, he has always liked what AKWIRE has to offer.

He said, “I've gone to a lot of conferences and I've seen a lot of products. Most of the time I'm like, 'we could do just do that ourselves.' We have a few interfaces in Maximo today and most of them I built.”

However, he saw the AKWIRE capabilities demonstrated on several occasions by Richard Almendarez from Solufy.

“I looked at it and thought, 'That's a pretty neat product.'”

So when their Elba facility, during a growth pattern, said they were interested in a scheduling tool because they wanted do a lot more planning and scheduling, Solufy's AKWIRE vScheduler was a natural suggestion.

“In 2016, this group decided to go to AKWIRE to help with the expansion and utilizing this enhanced tool for visualizing the schedule and better resource planning each week,” he explained.

“It was a very easy implementation. From a technical perspective, I liked AKWIRE over Maximo’s Scheduler because the processing was going to happen on a Citrix server vs utilize CPU on the Maximo application servers. I had heard and seen demos in the past that showed Maximo Scheduler using a lot to process all this data. So to have it off loaded onto a different server, seemed like a better technical solution.”

While they were in the process of upgrading to AKWIRE, Jason noted that “The technical support staff at Solufy was great and they really helped work through the few issues that we had.”

There were a few components that were difficult to put in place but the Solufy staff helped Jason's team resolve those quickly through the setup process.

Jason continued by comparing AKWIRE to a similar tool he was familiar with while working in his first position. Although he never worked with the other tool directly, "it was always having problems. It definitely feels like it's a lot smoother sailing working with the AKWIRE tool." While they had looked at other products,

“the visualizations and built in metric views inside of AKWIRE look very nice and it’s very easy to look at the data in different ways.”

When enhancing the Maximo CMMS at Kinder Morgan, the time it took to upgrade AKWIRE was less than an hour, where if he was working with the other tool, "It could have been a major overhaul to get that upgrade done."

Leaving work at work and enjoying family time

Jason-Family.jpgSpared of any significant overhauls at work allows Jason to relax more when he is home with his family “I kind of have two lives; I have my Maximo life and my family life. My family is very important to me.”

He and his wife, Becky, have two children: Hunter, 3 ½, and Kaylee, 6 months old. Despite the fact that his wife is from Alaska and has yet to fully acclimate to the Texas heat, the family spends a lot of time enjoying the outdoors with their Schnauzer, Abby. “We do a lot of walking and different activities to make sure she’s involved.”

A sports fan who enjoys getting out to golf, Jason also appreciates simply relaxing in his own backyard. Between gardening and a koi pond, there is always something to do to maintain both flora and fauna.

“Our pond is very pretty,” he said. “We have lily plants and a waterfall, but you have to trim the plants every week and take out the dead lilies. In the summertime, it gets so hot that a lot of algae grows, so you have to put in other plants that take the algae out. We have a company to help maintain it but I clean it out every two weeks myself as well.”

Jason-Luke-Pond.jpg

Easy to maintain Maximo add-on

In some aspects, perhaps it is more seamless to keep up with the maintenance schedule at work, compared to the maintenance schedule of his own fish pond.

Recalling the time period while he was in the process of bringing AKWIRE on board, he said that while migrating the tools was easy, maintenance has also been very smooth. "Once you figure out how Solufy does the configuration, it's very easy to fix on the fly. So now I know how to go and do it.”

Jason foresees his work career continuing hand in hand with Maximo. With hopes to train an apprentice so he can continue moving ahead with Maximo, he noted that he continues to promote Maximo to others in his company.

"We have another business line I'm trying to get to move to IBM Maximo." In fact, although the most recent Maximo upgrade was only a few months ago, a new version 7.6.0.6 was recently announced, so he expects to be starting that process in the near future.

From his professional life to his personal one, Jason thrives on keeping on top of projects, updating those that need attention and putting time in when necessary to ensure that all components run smoothly.

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Mariah Patterson

Mariah Patterson began writing as a child as a way to fill her time when her family moved to an isolated region in Maine. With no close friendships, developing cabin fever from intense snowstorms and only one fuzzy Canadian channel on TV, she created her own world through writing.

She began her

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