B&A FAQ Toolcrib

Welcome to the Brown & Associates CMMS FAQ and Knowledge Tool Crib.

Information is stored here in easy to find and protected areas. Any subject matter expert may create an article. Brown & Associates reviews and approves all submissions and publishes those we believe are most appropriate.

Why do my purchase orders come up blank when I print them?

Answer: You may be printing a purchase order that is coming up blank.  This can happen as the result of several things.  Below are the possible circumstances and resolutions to the problem.

1. At one time a copy of the original data was distributed with a defective purchase order document report.  This has been corrected for over a year but occasionally a user reports the problem.  Because we do not want to overwrite any user’s customized reports, we are unable to redistribute the report automatically.  It is possible you have the defective version of the report.  You should click on the link below to download the original report template.

2. The report is linked to parts or some other table where records do not match or no records have been entered.  Check the purchase order data to insure that valid vendor and parts are selected.  If the problem persist even though you know all data is correct, consider item 3 below.

3. The report may have been alter in the Data tab in such a way that the report no longer returns any valid data.  Users are free to alter and customize all reports.  However, altering the query in the Data tab can render the report where it no longer returns any valid records.  This is usually the result of incorrect table joins.  You can check and attempt to correct the query or you can download and import the original report template from our website from the link below.

Click Here to download any original report templates from Express Technology Inc.

Can I have duplicate PO numbers in Express Maintenance?

Answer: By default ExpressMaintenance allows you to have duplicate PO numbers in the purchase orders.  However, you can limit this by going to Administration / Defaults / PO Defaults.  Select the option Warn on duplicate POs and change the value to Yes or No as desired.

In addition, you may need to adjust the database table constraints to allow for duplicates.  To do this, you can use the option under Utilities / Run SQL Statement or you can use ExpressSQL or some other SQL program to execute the following commands.

Drop the existing Index with does not allow duplicates:

alter table porders drop ix_porders

Re-create the index without duplicate contraint:

CREATE NONCLUSTERED INDEX ix_porders ON porders(Numbered)

How do I setup a web page for users to enter maintenance requests?

Answer: ExpressRequest is a simple program for users to enter maintenance requests via the network.  Request are written directly into the ExpressMaintenance database for processing into work orders.  In addition, maintenance requests can be entered via a web page interface directly into the Requests table of the ExpressMaintenance SQL database.  We provide you with sample .asp files which you simply adjust to connect to your server and to fit your organization needs.

Using a website development tool such as Microsoft FrontPage or Expression, you can easily edit the sample website pages to work in your environment.  You must have your the computer which contains the SQL Server or MSDE on the network or the internet in order to use this method.  Your web page must include a connection to the ExpressMaintenance SQL database and the Requests table.  To make this connection in Front Page follow the steps below.  Other website development tools will involve different steps but basically work the same way making a connection to the SQL server and database.

Setting Up Web Requesting

1. Begin by setting up your website and web pages as desired

2. Include the three sample web pages we provide which are eRequest.asp, eRequestOk.asp and eRequestErr.asp.

Download the .asp Files in Zip Format.

3. Using FrontPage, open the website and locate the eRequest.asp page

4. Right click on the requesting form and left click on Form Properties

5. Click on Send To Database radio button

6. Click on Options button and the dialog will appear as shown below

What is the simplest way to distribute ExpressRequest to my users?

Answer: It is very easy to use setup ExpressRequest for use on your non-maintenance personnel computers. The target user workstations must be connected to the network where the program and database engine reside.

What is ExpressRequest

If you have purchased a copy of ExpressRequest, you can provide users with a short cut to ExpressRequest.exe. This program allows users to enter maintenance request in an easy to use screen. Users do not necessarily have to know the unit name or proper service to provide. They can simply enter a description of the equipment and service needed or problem.

ExpressRequest Defaults

There are a few defaults settings for ExpressRequest which are located in ExpressMaintenance. You can access these settings under Administration / Defaults / ExpressRequest Defaults help topic in ExpressMaintenance help. See that section of the help for more details.

Distributing ExpressRequest

Like ExpressMaintenance, you do not actually distribute ExpressRequest. You create shortcuts to the application. However, ExpressRequest is handled slightly different from ExpressMaintenance. ExpressRequest uses an ini file for its settings including the Server and Database names. The ini file is stored on the client workstation in the Windows folder. However, the first time the program is executed, the ini file does not exist. Therefore, the program looks in the folder of the executable program for the ini file and copies it to the client workstation. It is not necessary to pass parameters in the shortcut with ExpressRequest. Instead, follow the steps outlined below:

A. Server Setup

1. Install and make sure ExpressMaintenance runs properly.
2. Install and make sure ExpressRequest runs properly.
3. Make sure both applications point to the same database server.
4. Run ExpressRequest and click on the Setup button and to setup values.
5. Leave the Requester Name blank.
6. Save the setup settings for ExpressRequest.
7. Exit ExpressRequest.
8. Look in your Windows folder on the server for the “ExpressRequest.ini” file.
9. Copy the “ExpressRequest.ini” file to the \ExpressTech folder.
10. Make sure the \ExpressTech folder contains the following three files:

ExpressRequest.exe
ExpressRequest.hlp
ExpressRequest.ini

B. Client Workstation Setup

1. Go to the client workstation
2. Look in the Windows folders and remove ExpressRequest.ini if it exists.
3. Use the windows explorer to locate the server drive and the \ExpressTech folder.
4. Right click on the ExpressRequest.exe file and click copy.
5. Right click on the client workstation desktop and click Paste Shortcut.
6. Run ExpressRequest from the shortcut.
7. Click on Setup button to setup for the user.
8. Exit ExpressRequest and setting will be saved locally in ExpressRequest.ini.

ExpressRequest Help File 

As mentioned above, make sure the ExpressRequest.hlp file is located in the same folder with ExpressRequest.exe. This will insure users can run the help file from within the ExpressRequest application. The ExpressRequest uses the standard windows help system rather than the HTML help system (used by ExpressMaintenance). The standard windows help is more likely to be available on every computer. The HTML help system is more powerful and more compact. However, it is not necessary with this small application.

How do I use PMs and create work orders?

Answer:  One of the major features of ExpressMaintenance is the process of managing preventative maintenance tasks.  ExpressMaintenance allows you to setup certain maintenance tasks (services) that are to be periodically performed on your equipment.  You can then use a powerful service overview screen to view all services due and have the program instantly create work orders.  When work orders are completed, services are then rescheduled based on the setup period and interval.  You can even have ExpressMaintenance perform the service overview query every time you open the program and flash to notify you services are due.

The following is a step by step explanation of setting up preventative maintenance items and creating work orders in ExpressMaintenance.

Note

  1. Always make sure you have the latest release of ExpressMaintenance by checking the Updates Page of our website.
  2. The following is a diagram of the overall maintenance process and flow within ExpressMaintenance.

Setting Up Services

  1. Click on Administration /  Services to access the Services setup screen of ExpressMaintenance.  In this screen, you can enter all of the services that may be performed on Units (equipment).  As you enter services, you can assign a category to the service such as Repair, Cleaning, Inspection, etc.  You can define your own categories under Administration / Codes / Categories.  For more information on setting up codes, see the Codes Setup Tech Bulletin on the Express Technology website.
  2. When entering Services in the Services setup screen, you can also define the Period and Interval that is most common for the Service.  For example, a particular service might most often be performed every Five (Interval) Months (Period).  When the service is applied to the Unit, you can change the Period and Interval to meet the needs of the equipment.
  3. Note that you can always return to the Services setup screen and add new services as needed.

Assigning Services To Units

  1. Click on Maintenance / Units to view the Units (equipment) screen.  You can use the Next and Previous buttons or the Search button to locate the desired Unit.
  2. Once the desired unit is located or entered, click on the “Scheduled Services (PMs)” tab in the center portion of the screen.
  3. Click the Insert button for the Scheduled Services and insert a service item record.  You will select the service from the pick list and assign the Period and Interval information.  You will also want to enter the Last Date Performed and the Scheduled Date.
  4. Once you have entered the services that apply to the particular units, you are ready to review scheduled services and create work orders.
  5. You can also enter specific notes or procedure checklists for the service and that unit by clicking on the Service Notes button.
  6. You can also specify required parts for the service by clicking on the Service Parts button.
  7. You can also inherit / copy service from another unit to the current unit.  See Helpful Hint at the end of this bulletin.

Viewing Services / Creating Work Orders

  1. Click on Maintenance / Service Overview to access the Service Overview screen and view all services that are due.  Enter the date range and other parameters for the desired services and click the “Search” button.  All services that are scheduled within the date range will be displayed.
  2. The services that are due are listed and grouped by Unit.  You can select certain services for generating work orders or you can click the “Select All” button to select all services.  You can also print a report of services due by clicking the “Print List” button.
  3. Once you have selected the desired services for creating work orders, click the “Create Work Orders” button.  You will be prompted for an Employee Name (optional) and Scheduled Date (required).  Enter this information and then click the “Ok” button.  Work Orders will be created for all selected services.  A separate work order will be created for each Unit.
  4. Once Work Orders are created, you will be prompted to Print the Work Orders.
  5. Finally, you can view the work orders data by clicking on the Work Orders tab.  A query will be automatically performed of the newly created work orders.  You can make further edits to the work orders at that time.  You can also scroll through the new work orders by using the Next and Previous buttons of the Data Navigator bar.

Note: ExpressMaintenance includes a flag notification method that automatically queries the services due and notifies the applicable users if services are due.  For more details on service due notification, please see the Service Notification Tech Bulletin on the Express Technology website.

Viewing Work Orders

  1. The most convenient way to view work orders is the Work Order Overview screen.  Click on Maintenance / Work Order Overview and perform a search to see all Scheduled Work Orders for the range of dates desired.  Once work orders are displayed in the grid, you can double click on a work order to see the Work Order data entry tab and make edits.
  2. Another way of viewing work orders is to click on Maintenance / Work Orders and then click on the “Search” button to search for the work order.
  3. Finally, you can also click on Navigate / Maintenance / Reports and print the “Work Orders – Scheduled” report.

Manual Work Orders – Breakdowns

Often it is necessary to create work orders for matters other that preventative maintenance.  For example, you might need to create a work order for the repair of equipment that has been damaged or is a breakdown.  You can quickly enter a work order directly in the work order screen.

  1. Click on  Maintenance / Work Orders to open the work order screen.
  2. Click the Insert button to insert a new record.
  3. Complete the upper portion of the work order screen by  selecting the unit, employee, etc.
  4. In the services section of the work order screen, click the insert button and select the service that is to be completed / performed on the equipment.
  5. Post the record and print the work order.

Completing Work Orders

  1. To complete a work order, use option one or two above to locate the desired work order.
  2. Once the desired work order is displayed in the work order screen, you can complete the work order by completing the data entry fields.  To complete a work order, you must enter a Completion Date and click the Complete checkbox on each service in the Services Performed section.  You can also click the “Complete Entire Work Order” button to automatically complete the entire work order with one click.
  3. You may also want to enter the labor time on each service and any parts used.
  4. Once all completion data is entered for the Work Order, click the Post button at the top of the screen.  Total costs will be calculated.  Most importantly, each services will be updated in the Units screen.
  5. When the work order is posted with completion data, the service items will be written to the Units Service History.  In addition, the service items will be updated and re-scheduled in the Units Scheduled Services screen.

Once services are assigned to Units, ExpressMaintenance makes tracking the PMs and generating work orders easy.

Note: For more information on how ExpressMaintenance re-schedules PMs, see the tech bulletin on PM Scheduling.  Also for information on how to limit the parts and services displayed in the work order screen to those of the same category of the Unit, see the tech bulletin on limiting selection  lists on the Express Technology website.

Helpful Hint

  1. When entering services for each Unit, there is a way to save time if you have multiple units of the same type and similar services.
  2. Enter the PM Services for a particular unit and complete all informattion.
  3. When entering a new unit, click on the Services (PMs) tab.
  4. Click on the Apply Standard Services button and a dialog will appear listing all units of the same type as the unit on the screen.
  5. Select the desired unit from which you will inherit / copy the services.
  6. Click the OK button and the program will copy all of the services from the source unit to the new destination unit.

Do I need to purchase the full Microsoft SQL Server?

Answer: Express Technology software utilizes the Microsoft SQL Server database engine. Microsoft SQL Server is available in a free “Express” edition as well as the full edition. The Express edition has two limitations: 1. It does not include tools for managing and extending your database and 2. The databases have a size limitation of 4 Gigabytes.

For most clients, the two limitations do not present a problem.  Four gigabytes is a lot of data.  However, you may wish to purchase the full version of Microsoft SQL Server if you have a really  large amount of maintenance data and equipment with photos or you wish to create additional database tables and fields for other uses.  You can make the upgrade at anytime in the future.

Installing – You can start with the free version and later upgrade to the full version of Microsoft SQL Server.  Upon installing SQL Server, the existing database will be retained and completely functioning.

Licensing – If you decide to purchase SQL Server, you must purchase a sufficient number of client access licenses (cals) for the number of expected concurrent users.

Version – ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest work with all editions of Microsoft SQL Server. We recommend using the latest edition if possible.  If you plan to do Enterprise wide web interaction you might consider purchasing the Enterprise edition.  Visit the MS SQL Server home page.

Operating System – We recommend using Microsoft Windows Professional Editions or Server editions if you plan to do web hosting or terminal services.  Windows Server is substantially more expensive and you must then purchase client access licenses as well.  SQL Server runs excellent under the Professional Editions and client access licensing is not required.

Purchasing – We have found excellent  pricing on Microsoft SQL Server from CDW.  You can visit the CDW website for more information.

What are the proper steps for installing the database engine and ExpressMaintenance software?

Answer: Please see the concise and simple Installation Guidelines or the full Installation Manual on the Express Technology website or CONTACT B&A

How can I import parts receiving / consumption data from a csv file?

Answer: ExpressMaintenance includes the option to import parts receiving records and parts consumption records (work order) from a comma delimited text file (csv). This allows users to utilize portable barcode scanners for recording incoming parts shipment and then easily import the data into the ExpressMaintenance Parts / Receiving data. It also allows users to utilize a portable barcode scanner to record parts consumption on work orders and import the data into ExpressMaintenance Work Order data. A csv file is most commonly created or edited with a spreadsheet application such as Excel but can also be created using external software such as that provided with portable barcode readers and portable computers.

Parts Receiving Data

In order to import parts receiving records, you must have a csv file in a specific format. The file must include a space for each of the following fields of data and they must be in this exact order.

Vendor ID
Vendor Name
Invoice Number
PO Number
Part Number
Part Description
Quantity
Price

The file can actually contain either Vendor ID or Vendor Name or both. The file can also contain Part Number or Part Description or both. In either case there must be a column for both even if one is blank.

The example below includes all fields:

123.01,Big Sky Supply,D342,Air Filter,12,15.99

The example below omits the Vendor Name and Part Name:

123.01,,D342,,12,15.99

Notice that even though the Vendor Name and Part Name is omitted, the comma is still in place to delineate the columns. This must be present in order for the import program to work properly and associate data with the proper columns.

Importing Receiving Records

In order to import receiving records, simply follow the wizard found in the Parts / Receiving screen as shown below:

Select the desired csv file to import and then click Next button.

The data will be read and viewed in a grid. At this point, you can edit or adjust the data as desired. Next, click the Import button to import data.

Once importing is complete the wizard will report the number of receiving records and parts processed. You can view the receiving records in the Parts / Receiving screen by simply closing the wizard.

Parts Consumption Data (work orders)

In order to import parts consumption records, you must have a csv file in a specific format. The file must include a space for each of the following fields of data and they must be in this exact order. The importing of parts consumption records are actually done from the Work Order screen and utilizes the same wizard interface as the parts receiving function except that it expects different fields.
WorkOrder
PartNumber
PartDescription
Quantity
Price (optional)
CostCenter (optional)
The file can actually contain either Vendor ID or Vendor Name or both. The file can also contain Part Number or Part Description or both. In either case there must be a column for both even if one is blank.

The example below includes all fields:

123.01,Big Sky Supply,D342,Air Filter,12,15.99

How are parts used and inventory adjusted in ExpressMaintenance?

Answer: ExpressMaintenance manages parts inventory including the usage and receiving of parts.  This process is generally referred to as “parts inventory management.”  In addition you can associate parts with specific units for future reference.  This is explained below under “parts / unit association.”

Parts Inventory Management

Parts inventory is automatically adjusted up or down in ExpressMaintenance by two aspects of the program.  Parts inventory is increased when Parts / Receiving records are entered and posted.  Parts inventory is decreased when parts are consumed (used) in a Maintenance / Work Order record by including the items in the lower parts section of the work order.  You can use the Parts / Inventory screen to quickly view all parts activity from receiving records and work orders in one convenient screen.

Parts / Unit Association

In the parts records you can associate parts with one or more units.  This does not mean the part is on the unit or consumed by the unit but rather that it is available for or associated with a unit.  You can associate parts with units in the Parts screen under the Units tab.  Likewise, that same data is available from the Units screen under the Parts tab.  The help topic Maintenance / Units – Parts is helpful in this area.  From either screen mentioned above, simply select the part or unit to associate with the item.  You can associate unlimited parts / units by entering a separate record for each association.

How can I add service tasks and notes to a service that applies to a unit?

Answer:  ExpressMaintenance allows you to easily include detailed task instructions or notes on any given service.  This can be done in two different manners through the use of very flexible rich text notes screens.

First, notes can be entered when the service is initially setup under Administration / Services.  Here you might enter general notes or task instructions that relate to a given service.

Services are associated with pieces of equipment and setup as PMs in the Maintenance / Units screen under the Services (PMs) tab.  Once the service is associated with a Unit, you can establish notes that relate to the unit and that particular service.  This is very helpful and you can inherit the general service notes into the unit specific service notes.  To access these notes, simply click on the Service Notes button in the Maintenance / Units screen at the top of the Services (PMs) tab.

In the screen shot below you will see that you can have Unit Specific Notes that can be inherited from the Service General and Safety Notes.  The notes screen is actually a rich text editor.  To open the full editor, right click on the notes screen for a pop-up menu of options.  The notes field can contain fonts, colors, bullets and even graphics.

Maintenance / Units / Service Notes Screen Shot

How do I get started with preventive maintenance?

Answer:  One of the major features of ExpressMaintenance is the process of managing preventive maintenance tasks.  ExpressMaintenance allows you to setup certain maintenance tasks (services) that are to be periodically performed on your equipment.  You can then use a powerful service overview screen to view all services due and have the program instantly create work orders.  When work orders are completed, services are then rescheduled based on the setup period and interval.  You can even have ExpressMaintenance perform the service overview query every time you open the program and flash to notify you services are due.

The following is a step by step explanation of setting up preventive maintenance items and creating work orders in ExpressMaintenance.

Note

  1. Always make sure you have the latest release of ExpressMaintenance by checking the Updates Page of our website.
  2. The following is a diagram of the overall maintenance process and flow within ExpressMaintenance.

Data Flow Diagram

Setting Up Services

  1. Click on Administration /  Services to access the Services setup screen of ExpressMaintenance.  In this screen, you can enter all of the services that may be performed on Units (equipment).  As you enter services, you can assign a category to the service such as Repair, Cleaning, Inspection, etc.  You can define your own categories under Administration / Codes / Categories.  For more information on setting up codes, see the Codes Setup Tech Bulletin on the Express Technology website.
  2. When entering Services in the Services setup screen, you can also define the Period and Interval that is most common for the Service.  For example, a particular service might most often be performed every Five (Interval) Months (Period).  When the service is applied to the Unit, you can change the Period and Interval to meet the needs of the equipment.
  3. Note that you can always return to the Services setup screen and add new services as needed.

Assigning Services To Units

  1. Click on Maintenance / Units to view the Units (equipment) screen.  You can use the Next and Previous buttons or the Search button to locate the desired Unit.
  2. Once the desired unit is located or entered, click on the “Scheduled Services (PMs)” tab in the center portion of the screen.
  3. Click the Insert button for the Scheduled Services and insert a service item record.  You will select the service from the pick list and assign the Period and Interval information.  You will also want to enter the Last Date Performed and the Scheduled Date.
  4. Once you have entered the services that apply to the particular units, you are ready to review scheduled services and create work orders.
  5. You can also enter specific notes or procedure checklists for the service and that unit by clicking on the Service Notes button.
  6. You can also specify required parts for the service by clicking on the Service Parts button.
  7. You can also inherit / copy service from another unit to the current unit.  See Helpful Hint at the end of this bulletin.

Viewing Services / Creating Work Orders

  1. Click on Maintenance / Service Overview to access the Service Overview screen and view all services that are due.  Enter the date range and other parameters for the desired services and click the “Search” button.  All services that are scheduled within the date range will be displayed.
  2. The services that are due are listed and grouped by Unit.  You can select certain services for generating work orders or you can click the “Select All” button to select all services.  You can also print a report of services due by clicking the “Print List” button.
  3. Once you have selected the desired services for creating work orders, click the “Create Work Orders” button.  You will be prompted for an Employee Name (optional) and Scheduled Date (required).  Enter this information and then click the “Ok” button.  Work Orders will be created for all selected services.  A separate work order will be created for each Unit.
  4. Once Work Orders are created, you will be prompted to Print the Work Orders.
  5. Finally, you can view the work orders data by clicking on the Work Orders tab.  A query will be automatically performed of the newly created work orders.  You can make further edits to the work orders at that time.  You can also scroll through the new work orders by using the Next and Previous buttons of the Data Navigator bar.

Note: ExpressMaintenance includes a flag notification method that automatically queries the services due and notifies the applicable users if services are due.  For more details on service due notification, please see the Service Notification Tech Bulletin on the Express Technology website.

Viewing Work Orders

  1. The most convenient way to view work orders is the Work Order Overview screen.  Click on Maintenance / Work Order Overview and perform a search to see all Scheduled Work Orders for the range of dates desired.  Once work orders are displayed in the grid, you can double click on a work order to see the Work Order data entry tab and make edits.
  2. Another way of viewing work orders is to click on Maintenance / Work Orders and then click on the “Search” button to search for the work order.
  3. Finally, you can also click on Navigate / Maintenance / Reports and print the “Work Orders – Scheduled” report.

Manual Work Orders – Breakdowns

Often it is necessary to create work orders for matters other that preventive maintenance.  For example, you might need to create a work order for the repair of equipment that has been damaged or is a breakdown.  You can quickly enter a work order directly in the work order screen.

  1. Click on  Maintenance / Work Orders to open the work order screen.
  2. Click the Insert button to insert a new record.
  3. Complete the upper portion of the work order screen by  selecting the unit, employee, etc.
  4. In the services section of the work order screen, click the insert button and select the service that is to be completed / performed on the equipment.
  5. Post the record and print the work order.

Completing Work Orders

  1. To complete a work order, use option one or two above to locate the desired work order.
  2. Once the desired work order is displayed in the work order screen, you can complete the work order by completing the data entry fields.  To complete a work order, you must enter a Completion Date and click the Complete checkbox on each service in the Services Performed section.  You can also click the “Complete Entire Work Order” button to automatically complete the entire work order with one click.
  3. You may also want to enter the labor time on each service and any parts used.
  4. Once all completion data is entered for the Work Order, click the Post button at the top of the screen.  Total costs will be calculated.  Most importantly, each services will be updated in the Units screen.
  5. When the work order is posted with completion data, the service items will be written to the Units Service History.  In addition, the service items will be updated and re-scheduled in the Units Scheduled Services screen.

Once services are assigned to Units, ExpressMaintenance makes tracking the PMs and generating work orders easy.

Note: For more information on how ExpressMaintenance re-schedules PMs, see the tech bulletin on PM Scheduling.  Also for information on how to limit the parts and services displayed in the work order screen to those of the same category of the Unit, see the tech bulletin on limiting selection  lists on the Express Technology website.

Helpful Hint

  1. When entering services for each Unit, there is a way to save time if you have multiple units of the same type and similar services.
  2. Enter the PM Services for a particular unit and complete all informattion.
  3. When entering a new unit, click on the Services (PMs) tab.
  4. Click on the Apply Standard Services button and a dialog will appear listing all units of the same type as the unit on the screen.
  5. Select the desired unit from which you will inherit / copy the services.
  6. Click the OK button and the program will copy all of the services from the source unit to the new destination unit.

How do workstations determine the server and database connection instructions?

Answer: ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest use an ini file to obtain SQL Server, database and other information for connecting to the SQL Server.

By defaults, the name of the ini file follows the naming convention of ApplicationName.ini, for example ExpressMaintenance.ini.  The ini file must reside in the folder with the application exe file.  For example, ExpressMaintenance.ini must reside in the folder with Maintenance.exe.

The minimum contents of the file must be as shown below.  In this example, the program will assume the remaining settings such as SQLLogin=etuser and SQLPassword=etrik22.

[Connection Info]
SQLServer=ActualSQLServerName
SQLDatabase=ActualDatabaseName (example: ExpressMaintenance)

If you are using Instances with your SQL Server, the SQL Server name must include the instance name (example: ActualServerName\SQLExpress).

The ini file is best edited using the Notepad text editor.

Notice the space in “Connection Info”.  There is no space in the other entries of the ini file.

Also, make sure this file is in the folder with the program exe file (example: Maintenance.exe).

Give users read permission to the ini file.

Test first at the server and make sure everything works correctly.

Next you will need to create shortcuts on the workstations that point to the exe file on the server computer (example: Maintenance.exe or ExpressRequest.exe).  Make sure they are pointing to the exe file in the same folder where you performed a test on the server computer.

The ini file can also contain additional entries as shown below.  For details on using or disabling the Windows login – click here.

SQLLogin=etuser – The SQL login account to be used for connecting to the SQL Server.  The default value is ‘etuser’.  However, this can be any valid SQL Server login account that has full database ownership (dbo) permission to the database.

SQLPassword=etrik22 – The corresponding password for the SQL login account defined for connecting to the SQL Server.  The default value is ‘etrik22’ for the ‘etuser’ account.  However, this can be any valid password for the login SQL Server account being used.

SQLTimeout=15 – In some network environments, it might be that the workstations require several seconds or even a minute to find and connect to the SQL Server.  By default, ExpressMaintenance only allows 15 seconds to make the SQL Server connection.  You can increase the timeout allowance by adding the SQLTimeout line to the ExpressMaintenance.ini file.  For example, the line item of SQLTimeout=60 increases the allowed time to make the connection to 60 seconds.

UseWindowsAuthentication=Yes/No – Indicates if the program should try connecting to the SQL Server using windows authentication rather than SQL authentication.

UseWindowsLogin=Yes/No – Indicates if the program should obtain the users windows login and use it to login to ExpressMaintenance if it matches, thereby not prompting for the login and password.  This is not the same as the SQL Login account.  This pertains to the ExpressMaintenance account.

The same configuration settings apply to ExpressRequest.  There must be an ini file with the same contents.  ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest default to using the ini file with the application name (example: ExpressMaintenance.ini and ExpressRequest.ini).  There is no need to place ini files on the workstations as they should reside in the folder with the application exe file.

If you are having trouble connecting from a workstation, make sure the ini file is setup as outlined above and the workstations have permission to read the file.  Also, increase the timeout setting to allow for slower network connections.

If the problem persists and you have checked the items above, the problem is likely a permission issue with the workstation logging into the SQL Server.  You should then perform an ODBC Windows level test connection as addressed below.

Specifying Different Ini Files

ExpressMaintenance is capable of working with unlimited different databases.  You can setup separate databases for different locations or departments all within the same SQL Server.  You can then specify which database the program is connect to by using different ini files.  You can create multiple ini files with different names but all residing in the folder with the application.  By adding the ini file name as a shortcut parameter, ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest will use the specified ini file rather than the default ini file name.  Below is an example of a valid shortcut parameter with the customized ini file specified.  Passing just one parameter will always be interpreted by the program as the name of the ini file it is to use for connection info.

C:\ExpressTech\Maintenance.exe “MyIniFile.ini”

Creating Configuration Ini Files with the Utility (encrypted & non-encrypted)

The ExpressConfig.exe utility is available for setting up, testing and creating connection ini files.  The ExpressConfig.exe program also allows you to specify if the configuration information in the ini file is to be encrypted or non-encrypted.  Encrypted ini files are helpful in safeguarding your SQL login and password information.  You can use any valid SQL login and password that has been setup in your SQL Server and has full dbo permission to the database.  The ExpressConfig.exe application will allow you to create the ini file with encrypted settings. ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest will automatically detect that the settings are encrypted and decrypt the settings during execution of the program.  Click here to download ExpressConfig.exe installation program.

Using Parameters Instead of Ini File

You can use shortcut parameters rather than the ini file to direct the program connection.  The list of accepted parameters include the following.  If using parameters, all parameters must be used and must be separated by a space and within quotes.  Below is an example of valid shortcut parameters passing the specifics of the connection info.  Passing all parameters will with the shortcut will force the program to ignore all ini files and use the parameters passed.

C:\ExpressTech\Maintenance.exe “ServerName” “ExpressMaintenance” “etuser” “etrik22” “No” “No”

SQLServer=ServerName
SQLDatabase=DatabaseName
SQLLogin=etuser
SQLPassword=etrik22
UseWindowsAuthentication=Yes/No
UseWindowsLogin=Yes/No

More Complex Server Definitions

The Server Name can be more complex such as the following”

SQLServer=tcp:ServerName\InstanceName,PortNumber

The above example specifices to use tcp for the connection, followed by a semicolon and then the SQL Server Name followed by the backslash and the SQL Server Instanace Name followed by a comma and the port number on which the instance can be found.  To determine the port number for an instance, go to Start / Programs / Microsoft SQL Server / Configuration Tools / SQL Server Configuration Manager.

In the configuration manager, in left column, select SQL Server Network Configuration and open Protocols for MSSQLServer (Instance Name).    In right column, right click on TCP/IP and select Properties.  There you will find the port number being used by the instance of MS SQL Server Instance.  Also make sure TCP/IP protocol is enabled.

Testing With ODBC

For more information on testing the ‘etuser’ account and creating the account in SQL, please see the tech bulletin on Testing Connection via ODBC or the tech bulletin on creating the ‘etuser’ 

What are the proper steps for installing Express Maintenance and creating the MS SQL Server database?

Answer: Below are step by step instructions for installing the Microsoft SQL Server database engine and ExpressMaintenance.  These instructions also apply to existing customers wishing to transfer the application and data from one server to another.  Where applicable, the difference is noted.  Though this guide appears lengthy, the steps below only take a few minutes.

Note: These steps are to be performed using a login with full administrative rights.  They should be taken at the server computer or at a standalone computer functioning as its own server.  We recommend carefully following each step below checking them off as they are completed.  Should you need to email our support department, please be specific about which steps you have completed and where you are having trouble as well as any error messages you received.

Installing the Database Engine – Microsoft SQL Server Express

ExpressMaintenance uses the very powerful and robust Microsoft SQL Server for database storage and retrieval.  ExpressMaintenance will work with all versions of MS SQL Server.  Below are the recommended versions of SQL Server that may be used.  The download links are for the express (free) edition of Microsoft SQL Server.

1. If you already have an existing copy of SQL Server installed on your server / computer, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INSTALL one of these versions as it is not needed and may damage your existing SQL Server installation.  Proceed to step 4 below if you already have SQL Server installed.

2. If you do not already have SQL Server installed, you will need to download and install one of the versions listed below based on the version of Windows you are running. If using Microsoft SQL Server 2008, be sure to use Revision Two (R2).  We recommend using SQL Server 2012 or SQL 2014.

Select Database Engine Version To Download Download Link
 MS SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2008
 MS SQL Server 2012 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2012
 MS SQL Server 2014 Express Install 32 or 64 Bit  Microsoft SQL 2014

3. Download and run the desired MS SQL Server installation file from your hard drive at the server.  Follow the installation dialogs and take the default options with three exceptions noted below. We recommend you make these changes during the installation of SQL Server Express.

a. Authentication Method: We strongly recommend you select “Mixed Mode Authentication” (SQL & Windows) and enter a password for the ‘sa’ login account.  Be sure to note the password you select for the ‘sa’ login to the SQL Server.  Mixed mode authentication will allow the program to connect to the SQL Server using Windows or SQL authentication.  If you do not select Windows and SQL authentication (mixed mode), your workstations will not likely be able to connect to the SQL Server.

b. Instance Configuration: We recommend you do not use instances which is the default.  You must specifically select the option that reads“Default Instance.”  This will allow the SQL Server to be referenced as the same name as the computer name on which it is installed.  If you must use instances, be sure to change or note the instance name (default is \SQLExpress) you select as you will need to reference it as your SQL Server database engine.

c. Server Startup: You will be prompted for the accounts and manner in which you want the SQL Server services to startup.  Be sure to select “Automatic” startup for the SQL Server service and select Automatic for the SQL Server Browser service.  The SQL Server Agent service is not used and does not matter for our software.

 Configuring and Starting SQL Server Database Engine

4. If you installed SQL Server 2005, SQL 2008 or later you need to configure SQL Server and restart the SQL Server service.  This only takes a few seconds but is very important.  To configure SQL Server, go to the Windows Start button and go to All Programs / Microsoft SQL Server / Configuration Tools and run SQL Server Configuration Manager.  Once in the configuration manager, click on SQL Server Services in the left panel and make sure SQL Server Service and Browser service are running in the right panel.

5. While in the Configuration Manager, you also need to turn on certain protocols which will enable your workstations to communicate with the SQL Server.  In the left panel, open each subsection and note if there is a subsection for Protocols.  At each Protocols section, you must enable Shared Memory, TCP/IP and Named Pipes.  To enable a protocol that is disabled, right click on it and left click on Enable.

6. Once you have enabled the above noted protocols in each subsection, left click on the SQL Server Services in the left panel and then right click on the SQL Server in the right panel.  Left click on the option to Restart the SQL Server and wait for it to restart.  Once the SQL Server is restarted and running, exit the SQL Configuration Manager.

Installing the Application – ExpressMaintenance

7. Download the ExpressMaintenance install file below to your hard drive on the computer where you have installed the SQL Server database engine.  You may also wish to download and install ExpressRequest.  Be sure to note the folder location where you place these files.

Note: Even if you are transferring to a new server and are running an older version, you need to download the latest release of the software.  When you first run ExpressMaintenance, your data will be upgraded to the current version.

ExpressMaintenance Downloads Download File Size
ExpressMaintenance  (maintenance application install) EMInstall.exe 37.2 MB
ExpressRequest (optional module application install) ERInstall.exe 14.1 MB

8. Once you have downloaded the ExpressMaintenance install file (EMInstall.exe), run the installation file and follow the prompts.  We recommend you accept the defaults including the default installation folder.  If you choose to change the installation folder, be sure to note the location you specify.  If you have purchased ExpressRequest, you will want to run that installation program as well.

Creating The ExpressMaintenance Database

9. Once ExpressMaintenance is installed, run the program at the server computer.  ExpressMaintenance will indicate that the SQL database could not be found and prompt to run the Create Database Utility.  Select Yes – Run the database creation application now.

Note: If you have existing ExpressMaintenance data from a prior server, you should copy your original data and log files from your old server and paste them in the ExpressMaintenance installation folder (default is C:\ExpressTech)  to overwrite the model files.  This will allow you to setup the new database using your existing data.  See the tech bulletin or help topic on Transferring Data for information on obtaining these files.  If this is a new installation without any prior ExpressMaintenance data, this note does not apply.

10. The Create Database Utility will appear as shown below.

CreateDatabase1

11. To proceed with the creation of the ExpressMaintenance database, complete the fields as shown above.  Enter the name of your SQL Server name or search for it.  Enter the ‘sa’ password you entered when installing SQL Server.  Then click the Connect SQL button to make the connection to the SQL Server.  After the connection is made, click the Next button to proceed.

12. The next screen will appear giving you the option to select how you would like to create the new database.  If this is a new installation with a new database, select the 1st option, ‘Create an SQL database database and all tables by running an SQL script file.  If you are using existing data such as moving to a new server, select the 2nd option, ‘Create and SQL database using existing data and log files’. After selecting the method, click the Next button

13. Once you have select the method and click Next, the scrren will be different depending on the selection made.  If creating from a script file, you will be prompted for the script file name.  This should be entered for you.  You will also be prompted for the folder location where you want the data and log files to reside.  If you are using existing data and log files, you will be prompted for the location of these files.

Note: If you are using data and log fiiles that you previously had on another computer, you will need to select the correct data and log files from the folder where the files have been placed on the new server.  If you are transferring data but only have a backup file (.bak) rather than the actual data and log files, you should create a database using the models as if this were a new installation.  Once the database is created, you can then use the Restore option under Administration to restore your backup data over the new database.

14.  Once you have completed your selections, click the Create Database Now button.

15. Once the database is created, click the Close button to exit the Database Creation Application.

16. Now you are ready to run ExpressMaintenance.  Now run ExpressMaintenance again and it should connect without errors.  If this is a new installation, you will see the Registration Screen.  Email the serial number along with your company information to Express Technology.  We will verify your purchase and provide a permanent registration code.

If you purchased a multiple user license to ExpressMaintenance or ExpressRequest, you are now ready to setup shortcuts for workstations to access the program.  For more more information on setting up workstation shortcuts – click here.

Troubleshooting

If the program fails to create the database, you should check the following items:

1. Make sure you enter the correct SQL Server Name.  By default it is the Computer Name or ComputerName\SQLExpress (if using instances).

2.Make sure you are using the correct ‘sa’ login and password that was assigned during installation of the SQL Server.

3. Make sure you started the SQL Server service as outlined in steps four through seven in the section above.

4. If using SQL 2005, 2008 or later, make sure you have configured SQL Server as outlined in step 5 above.

If you are able to run ExpressMaintenance at the server but the workstations fail to connect to the SQL Server database, you should check the following items:

1. Make sure users have permission to read the ExpressMaintenance.ini file.

2. Make sure you have the SQL Server set to Windows and SQL Authentication (mixed mode).

3. If using SQL 2005, 2008 or later, make sure you have configured the SQL Server as outlined in steps 5 – 7 above.

4. ExpressMaintenance connects to the SQL Server using the SQL login account of ‘etuser’.  When the database is created, ExpressMaintenance will automatically setup this login for you.  However, if you need to setup the ‘etuser’ login manually, step by step instructions are available – click here.

Should you need to email our support department, please be specific about which steps you have completed and where you are having trouble as well as any error messages you are receiving.

What are the terms of the Express Maintenance software license agreement?

Definitions
LP Systems Inc. dba Express Technology (“Express Technology”)
Express Technology Software (“Software”)
Licensed Purchaser (“Licensee”)

1. Concurrent Users
Licensee may use the Software on either a single computer or a local area computer network on the number of workstations licensed. A local area computer network is any combination of two or more workstations located at a single site that are electronically linked and capable of sharing the use of a single Software program. Licensee’s use of this Software on a computer network is authorized only if Licensee has purchased and dedicated at least one copy of the Software from Express Technology and is limited to use on the number of workstations for which the Licensee has purchased licenses.

2. Media
Through periodic updates, Licensee may receive multiple CD disk copies of the Software. Licensee may only use the disks appropriate to Licensee computer (and/or computer network). Licensee may not use the remaining disks on another computer (or computer network), nor may Licensee loan, rent, lease, or transfer them to another user. If the entire Software package is transferred to another user on a permanent basis, then all disks must be transferred to that user. If Licensee transfers the Software, Licensee may not retain any of the disks or copies thereof for Licensee’s own use.

3. Rental and Other Restrictions
Licensee may not rent, lend, lease, or assign this Software. Licensee may, however, transfer the Software and any accompanying written materials on a permanent basis. If Licensee transfers the Software on a permanent basis, Licensee may not keep any copies, and Licensee must remove the Software from Licensee’s computer and network. Also, the person to whom Licensee transfers the Software must agree to the terms of this License.

4. Warranties
The software is sold “as is”, without warranty, implied or expressed. While every effort is made to insure that this product and its documentation are free from defects, Express Technology shall not be held responsible for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage including, but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or other damages occasioned by the use of this software.

5. General
Express Technology retains title to and ownership of the Software. Express Technology retains all rights not expressly granted. Nothing in this License Agreement constitutes a waiver of Express Technology’s rights under the U.S. copyright laws or any other Federal or State law. Express Technology or its designee has the right to audit Licensee’s computer and Software usage to determine whether any unauthorized copies of this program have been made. Any litigation in connection with this agreement shall be conducted in the state of Alabama.

6. Confidentiality
Each party acknowledges that all material and information which has or will come into the possession or knowledge of each in connection with this contract or the performance hereof, consists of confidential and proprietary data whose disclosure to or use by third parties will be damaging. Both parties, therefore, agree to hold such material and information in strictest confidence, not to make use thereof other than the performance of this agreement, to release it only to employees requiring such information, and not to release or disclose it to any other party.

7. Entire Agreement
This agreement states the entire understanding and agreement between the parties and supersedes all prior understandings, agreements, and proposals. Only a writing signed by both parties can amend this agreement.

8. Copyright/Trademark Notice
Any authorized copy of the Software, including authorized backup copies if any, must include Express Technology’s copyright and trademark notices.

9. U.S. Government Restricted Rights
Software and documentation thereto are provided with RESTRICTED RIGHTS. Use, duplication or disclosure by the Government is subject to restrictions as set forth in sub paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software clause at 52.227-7013. The contractor/manufacturer of this Software and documentation thereto is Express Technology Inc., 8100 Falcon Blvd., Fairhope, AL 36532, 888-565-0127.

How do I fully register my licensed copy of ExpressMaintenance?

Answer: When you install ExpressMaintenance, the program automatically generates a serial number.  When you purchase a license to the program (or if your company has an enterprise license), you will need to be provide us with the serial number that appears on the opening registration / evaluation screen.   You can provide this serial number on the order form or email it to us: Email Support.  We will promptly assign a corresponding registration code for you to enter following instructions below.  If you have not purchased ExpressMaintenance, please see our ordering page.  Registering your copy is easy.  Simply follow the steps outlined below.

Registering ExpressMaintenance

1. Note or copy Serial Number as it appears on the opening registration screen

2. Provide Serial Number, your name, company name and location to us via order form or Email Sales.

3. Receive corresponding Registration Code via email

4. Run ExpressMaintenance

5. Click on Administration / Registration to access the Registration screen

6. Enter the Registration Code provided (replacing what is there)

7. Click the “Register” button, program will respond with licensed user information

8. Click the “Continue” button to proceed with using the program

9. Store your Serial Number and Registration Code in a safe place

Note About Workstation Setup

You do not need to install the program on each workstation.  You only need to install on a single computer that will function as the server for ExpressMaintenance and ExpressRequest.  You only need to setup shortcuts on the various workstations.  For full details, see the applicable tech bulletin – click here.

Note About Users Slots

ExpressMaintenance tracks the number of concurrent users accessing the program by saving information in a network access file.  This file resides in the folder where the Maintenance.exe file exist.  All users running ExpressMaintenance must have full read / write access to that folder in order to run ExpressMaintenance.  For more details, please see our knowledge base.

Have a suggestion for an FAQ?

If you have a suggestion for the FAQ Toolcrib we’d be happy to hear it!

PS. Feel free to head over to the B&A Forum to start a new topic or contact us directly

Maintenance Problem-Solving Techniques

The goal is optimal run time – but if issues should arise, we’ve compiled a list of problem solving techniques:

  • Problem, Environment, Resolution, Cause
  • 5 Whys
  • Six Sigma Techniques
  • Theory of Constraints
  • PERT
  • SMART delegation techniques

Tips for CMMS Database Success

When creating an efficient database for your CMMS consider the following:

  • Equipment (Unit) identification and condition
  • Parts: naming, tracking, critical spares
  • Vendor-based MRO considerations
  • Services definitions and considerations
  • Grouped services
  • Parts Kitting

Have any questions? Contact us today!

Selecting the best CMMS for your Company

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).  Use the following topics as a guide for choosing the best CMMS to meet your needs.

Things to consider:

Purpose of looking for software
Business reasons for this research
History of previous maintenance management systems
Compliance or certification issues
Key decision makers
Operational complexity
Maturity of computer network and workstation distribution
Overall Look and Feel
Ease of Implementation and data conversion
Parts management considerations
Use of Work Orders
Demand versus Predictive Maintenance
Equipment (Unit) downtime tracking
Workflow (dispatch), notification, alarms
User’s requests for maintenance
Dashboards and KPIs
Flexibility for allowing changes and advancements
Expandability for other plants
Total cost of Ownership
On site versus cloud data hosting
Service after installation