Certified Plant Maintenance Manager (CPMM): A Valuable Tool for Facility Managers

A few weeks ago, we discussed the value of certain certifications such as CFM, FM, or CHFM.  Now let’s take a look at another respected credential, the Certified Plant Maintenance Manager (CPMM) designation.  This is obtained from the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE), a great organization which I happen to belong to.  Although I am not currently a CPMM, I have considered testing for it in the past. Writing this post has reminded me once again of the value of CPMM certification and, as a result, I am going to complete my application now.  Here’s why:

The testing consists of multiple disciplines including Preventative Maintenance, Computerized Maintenance Management, Total Productive Management, Return On Investment and Work Flow Planning and Scheduling.  This is a pretty diverse array that, when mastered, really shows that you are a well-rounded manager.  All of these concepts encompass diverse sets of skills that help to differentiate you in today’s demanding work environment. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

  • Preventative maintenance: I think we can all agree that PM is a good thing.  It helps to keep trouble calls at a manageable level, for one thing. But you have to be aware of potential issues with “too much of a good thing”.  You need to be able to identify equipment that makes a direct and high impact on your facility and gear your program towards them.  If you are doing a monthly inspection of a drive belt on an air handler that is serving a corridor, you may be pulling time away from cleaning your cooling towers or washing the debris off the coil of an air handler that serves a vital production area.  It isn’t about applying identical maintenance routines to all equipment.  Everything needs to be considered in context.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): That variable frequency drive (VFD) you’re thinking about installing on the chilled water pump? It might take 5-7 years to pay for itself in energy saving if you have to contract it out.  Is it worth it? Did you factor in the savings of the reduced load on the chiller?  Will the chiller function correctly under reduced flow? These are the kind of questions an effective facilities manager needs to know to ask.  I personally want to see a maximum payback of 2 years for my ROI to be worth it. The quickest ROI I ever had: I purchased a boiler tube cleaner to start doing the annual boiler break down in house. Not only did the machine pay for itself after the first boiler was done (3 days), but by the time we had finished, we had saved $4,000 in the first year. And that’s even including the cost of the equipment!
  • Planning and Scheduling: This tends to be an underutilized segment of most managers’ tool kits.  We know when the chiller plant is going to be down, about how long a pump coupling will last, when the majority of staff will go on vacation (summer!) and yet we seldom take full advantage of these data points.  I like to start big with the major events, and lay out an entire year as a maintenance cycle.  Then drill down to smaller things that need to happen at prescribed times and plug those in.  Finally, balance that workload out with the rest of your responsibilities.  When planning a job, be realistic with your times: if you’re stressed about completing trap maintenance on time before you even start, imagine how you’ll feel if something comes up to set you back on your timetable.

Getting your CPMM is a great way to show that you have a firm grasp of all these skills.  You’ll have proof that you’ve got the skills needed to do your job effectively, or to showcase your value in today’s competitive job market.

Next Steps:


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    May 30, 2012
  • Larson Wood

    Please adjust the name of the certifiecation to the proper name of “Certified Professional Maintenance Manager”? Might help eliminate some confusion.

    August 5, 2019

    I am looking to get this certification for my future carrier in Facility management.-CPMM.
    Please advise.

    April 8, 2020
  • NSG Inc. is hiring a facility maintenance manager ASAP (Jan. 2021). Position is posted at https://www.nsg-inc.com/job/2/ . Please reach out to me or the website if you or anyone with a CMM is interested.

    January 5, 2021

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