There are so many benefits that it's hard to narrow down the list to just five. On top of that, separating them from one another can be tricky. They're interconnected and complementary. Sort of like a Venn diagram that's just one giant circle.
Hard but not impossible. We can pull the benefits apart a bit and put them out into three general categories: the ones that save you time, the ones that save you money, and the ones that save you stress.
A good facilities management platform saves time by cutting down on wasted effort, helping you move from just effective to truly efficient.
1. Keep your workflow flowing
If you're using a paper- or spreadsheet-based system, your workflow can quickly go from a clear, fast-moving stream to a muddy puddle.
Take the average work order, as an example. It starts out as a spreadsheet file that's time-consuming on your desktop or truly frustrating on your mobile device. What's the key do you need to hold down when you hit enter to have separate lines in the same cell? And now where's the alt key on that small keyboard on your smartphone?
Once it's filled out, you have to then attach it to an email and send it. So, shut down the spreadsheet program and fire up the email program. But here's the thing: you're not actually sending the spreadsheet. You're sending a copy, and that's were all your problems are going to start. On your computer, there's one copy. But as soon as the person you sent it to changes anything, you're now working with two versions. Every time something changes on either version, everything is a little bit more out of sync.
Modern facilities management software backed by cloud-computing solves this problem by keeping your data on a remote database that everyone can access from their computer or mobile device. When anyone makes changes, everyone can see them, in real-time. And because there's just the data, not a bunch of increasingly independent versions, you never have to waste time tracking files down, checking them for accuracy, or re sending them.
2. Set it, never forget it
The best way to tackle big problems in manufacturing is to catch them when they're still little issues. And for that, you need a preventive maintenance program.
Without facilities management software, these programs can be hard to set up properly. If the conveyor belt motor tends to break every three weeks, you can easily schedule a preventive maintenance work order (PM) that comes up every two and half weeks. By going in periodically and looking at the asset before it tends to break down, you can make sure it doesn't. But here's the problem: unless the staff has encyclopedic knowledge of all the assets and their work order histories, which they can then cross-reference with the various manufacturers' suggested maintenance schedules, it's going to be hard to know when to set your PMs. Facilities management software makes catching data and leveraging it a breeze because all your historic work orders are already in the system. You don't need to know all that stuff. The software knows it for you.
Even if when you do have technicians with encyclopedic knowledge of all your assets, you still need facilities management software. How do you think the technicians came by this deep connection with the machines? It's from working in the department for a long time, which means they're likely near retirement age. And when they leave the company, so does everything they know. With the right maintenance solution, you can safeguard all that data by putting it into data-rich work orders and PMs. With the software, you never lose all that valuable tribal knowledge, the experience-based know-how that lives inside the technicians' heads. Even after they're gone, their hard-won insights live on in work orders and PMs jam-packed with step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and customizable checklists.
A good facilities management solution saves money by showing you where you're spending and where you could be saving.
3. Save big money with the big picture
Before you can save the kidnapping victim, you need to know where they are, right? Ok, that's a bit over-the-top dramatic, but that doesn't mean it's not true. And it's the same with money. You have to know where it's going before you can save it.
What's stopping you from doing that without facilities management software? Honestly, nothing. But it's going to cost you a lot of time and energy. Let's take the average manufacturing plant's maintenance department. How would you track down the money? Well, you would have to look at all the work orders and then for each one calculate all the associated costs, including at a minimum:
- technician wages
- materials and parts
- lost production
That's for all the work orders. If they're on paper, that's a lot of shuffling. And if they're on spreadsheets, that's a lot of scrolling through old emails looking for attachments. With good modern faculties management software, you're only ever a few clicks away from autogenerated reports that crunch all those numbers for you. By leveraging historic data to track key performance indicators (KPIs), you can quickly and easily see where the money is going. For example, you can find out which asset is really costing you the most to keep up and running.
Deciding which KPIs to track is an interesting topic all on its own. Our blog post Classic KPIs for CMMS ROI is a great introduction.
KPIs related to technician performance are a great way to enforce accountability at a manufacturing plant. Instead of having a rough idea of who's doing what and how long it's taking them, the facilities management software tells you exactly how many work orders were assigned to each technician, how many they closed out, and how long it took them, giving you a real sense overall productivity. Because so much data is captured, you can use it to paint a very detailed picture of technicians' average workday.
Modern facilities management software takes the stress out of the average workday by systematically removing all the not-knowing and guess work. Tasks are a lot more manageable when you can see them coming.
5. Knowledge is power, the power to stop worrying
There are many different sources of stress at a manufacturing plant, and many of them are related to handling unexpected tasks. Facilities management software tackles these ugly surprises in a bunch of ways.
When it comes to on-demand task, maintenance departments are able to efficiently find and manage them. Requests come in as tickets which are then declined or taken and built into data-rich work orders. These work orders are then prioritized and delegated, all through the software and all with just a few well placed clicks and scrolls, to the technicians. Departments never have to worry that work is getting overlooked. Technicians never have to worry about what to do next. And once they close out a work order, they never have to worry about running back to the office to pick up more assignments. The always know where to go and what to do.
When it comes to scheduled work orders, which are critical to reducing the number of on-demand ones, departments are able to use historic data to set up efficient PM programs. For each asset, there can be time- or meter-based PMs. If you're running a fleet of trucks, the PM to change over to winter tires is time based but the one to change the oil is meter based; you change the oil based on mileage, not season.
Regardless of their type, all the PMs work together to reduce the overall number of unexpected failures. That means no one has to rush to a critical asset and try to get it back up and running knowing the company is eating loses in production and operator wages. No one is working under pressure. When people leave for the day, in time to eat dinner with their families, no one is worried about frantic calls at midnight and having to rush back to the plant.
If you don't have a CMMS software, now's the time to get one. Recent developments in the technology and business model have been game changers. Old on-premises systems required huge investments in IT hardware and licensing fees. Organizations were then on the hook for installing and rolling out every update and upgrade. Companies that threw together homebrew versions cobbled together with paper forms or spreadsheets saved a bit of money up front but gave up a lot of productivity in the long run. Those were the Dark Ages.
Modern solutions use cloud computing and subscriptions. All the IT legwork is done for you. Your data is safe and secure and available from any computer or mobile device. Everything is updated in real-time. Your data is always your property; you're free to leave with it whenever you want. Providers are like good babysitters: the make sure your baby is safe until you come to get it. With subscription-based pricing, you know providers are focused on keeping their customers happy.
So, if you don't have a system yet, start calling providers and get the conversation going. There's a lot of wasted time, money left on the table, and unnecessary stress you can put behind you.