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A Brief Glossary

The following provides brief explanations of terms used on our web site.

Administrator
The person responsible for MainBoss at a particular site. The administrator controls who can use MainBoss. The administrator also performs operations like backing up the database.
Asset 
Any significant piece of equipment or space in your organization: what maintenance departments maintain.
Back-ups 
Making a copy of your data so that it doesn't get lost if something bad happens (e.g. the power goes out in the middle of a big operation, leaving your database messed up). You might store the copied data on a different computer (to protect your data in case the original computer has hardware problems) or even move the copy out of the building (to protect your data in case of a fire or some other major disaster).
Charge backs 
Charging some or all of the expenses of a job to a third-party (e.g. charging a tenant for work done in the tenant's space)
CMMS 
Computerized Maintenance Management Software (or System)
Corrective maintenance 
Maintenance work intended to correct an existing problem (as opposed to preventive maintenance which is intended to prevent future problems)
Cost center 
A term used in MainBoss when allocating maintenance costs. Cost centers are parts of your organization that can be held responsible for such costs. For example, one organization might allocate costs on a department-by-department basis, in which case each department is a cost center. Another organization might consider each building a separate cost center, or each production line, or each project.
Data conversion 
For the purposes of our web site, data conversion means converting data from some other CMMS package into a form that can be used with MainBoss. This is often necessary if you switch from some other CMMS to MainBoss.
Demand maintenance 
Maintenance done on demand, i.e. in response to a specific request (as opposed to preventive maintenance, which is done according to a schedule rather than in response to immediate need)
Downloading 
Copying information to your computer from some other computer (e.g. downloading trial software from this site to your own computer)
Downtime 
Time when equipment is not available for use (e.g. because it's broken or being repaired)
Equipment specifications 
Information that might be useful when servicing a piece of equipment. For example, this might include horsepower, voltage, amperage, size, weight, type of oil needed for lubrication, and anything else that might help someone who's working on the equipment.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) 
An attempt to integrate all of the computer applications used by an organization, so that (for example) the maintenance software exchanges information with the accounting software which exchanges information with the inventory software which exchanges information with manufacturing software...
Excel 
Spreadsheet program from Microsoft
FAMS 
Facilities Asset Management System
FMMS 
Facilities Maintenance Management System
Hardcopy 
Information printed on paper (as opposed to displayed on a computer screen)
HVAC 
Heat, ventilation, air-conditioning
Implementation 
The set-up required before you can start using a CMMS in day-to-day operations. In MainBoss, for example, you need to type in a list of the equipment and places your department maintains
Inventory 
The maintenance department's supply of materials including spare parts, tools, lubricants, and anything else needed on the job
ISO 9000 
Used as a blanket term for a family of standards from the International Standards Organization (ISO 9001, ISO 9002, etc.). These standards attempt to ensure a reliable level of quality in the products and services your organization offers. The key is a set of procedures by which you document all aspects of your operations (including maintenance activities).
Internet Service Provider (ISP) 
The company that provides your connection to the Internet.
IT 
Information technology. Many companies have IT departments that supervise all computer usage in the company.
Local Area Network (LAN) 
A combination of hardware and software that allows a group of computers to exchange information. "Local" means the computers are physically close to each other (for example, all in the same building).
Manufacturer's specs 
Recommendations from the manufacturer for how equipment should be maintained. For example, the specs might say how often preventive maintenance should be performed and what should be done in such PM jobs.
MTBF 
Mean Time Between Failures (average length of time a piece of equipment stays up and running)
MTBR 
Mean Time Between Repairs (average length of time a piece of equipment can go before repairs are needed—either scheduled or unscheduled repairs)
Megabyte 
Used to measure quantities of information stored in a computer. Roughly equivalent to a million letters or digits.
Microsoft Access 
Software from Microsoft for storing and retrieving data in files.
Newswire
Occasional newsletters offering MainBoss news and tips. Newsletters appear online here.
Online Help 
Helpful information stored on a computer (as opposed to in printed manuals)
PDA 
Personal digital assistant. Typically a small computer such as a Palm Pilot, a Tablet PC, an iPhone, or a BlackBerry.
PDF 
Portable document format. A way of storing documents on a computer, designed to make it easy for users to share documents with each other.
PM Task 
Preventive maintenance task. Typically a check-list or step-by-step instructions on what should be done during a preventive maintenance job.
POP3 Protocol 
A way of retrieving email from an email account. It is used by MainBoss @Requests in MainBoss Basic or MainBoss Service in MainBoss Advanced. For further information, see POP3 and @Requests.
Preventive maintenance 
Inspection, lubrication, regular part replacement, or any other scheduled maintenance intended to prevent unscheduled problems; also called Preventative maintenance 
Proactive 
Taking action before something happens: anticipating possibilities and getting ahead of the game. In maintenance, it means an emphasis on preventive maintenance instead of corrective.
Reactive 
Taking action after something happens: playing catch-up. In maintenance, it means you spend all your time on corrective maintenance rather than preventive.
Requestor 
Anyone who submits a work request (see below) to the maintenance department
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) 
U.S. federal law passed in 2002 with the intention of holding corporations more responsible for their actions, particularly in their obligations to shareholders. SOX requires the keeping of accurate records on all aspects of business, including maintenance operations.
Schematic drawings 
Diagrams intended to help with the maintenance and repair of equipment (e.g. pictures that show where everything is inside a machine)
Service contract 
A contract with an outside company whereby that company agrees to provide some type of maintenance for you. For example, you might have a service contract with a garage to provide regular oil changes for your company vehicles.
Slide-show 
A computerized walkthrough describing features of our software; click here to download the presentation.
SMTP 
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A technique for sending email to other users. SMTP is used by most email software—you use your email package and your email package uses SMTP.
SQL 
Standard Query Language. A standard format for obtaining information from a database.
Unit 
A piece of equipment or a place where you perform maintenance.
Unplanned downtime 
Interruption of service caused by equipment breakdown (as opposed to planned downtime where equipment is shut down for scheduled maintenance)
Uptime 
Length of time that equipment remains up and running (continuously available for use)
Vendor 
Any person or organization that provides you with goods or services. This includes, for example, companies that sell you equipment or materials, and outside contractors who perform specialized maintenance for you.
Wide area network (WAN) 
Similar to LAN, but allows the computers to be farther apart (e.g. all the computers are on a university campus as opposed to all the computers being in a single building)
Work order 
A description of a maintenance job. Typically, work orders are prepared by a maintenance manager. The manager schedules the work, assigns personnel to the job, reserves materials (if necessary), and writes up whatever instructions are appropriate. The work order is then printed off and given to the workers who are expected to do the job. After the work is finished, the work order is closed. The closing process records the actual time that the job took, the materials actually used, and so on.
Work request 
A request for maintenance work. Often, work requests are submitted by non-maintenance personnel, providing initial information about a problem. Maintenance personnel often create work orders in response to work requests.
Zip file 
A single file that contains data obtained from many other files. The contents of a Zip file are compressed; usually a Zip file takes up much less memory space than the collection of original files. Zip files are used for MainBoss back-ups and for transmitting data to MainBoss Support.