Two of the biggest challenges facing companies today are keeping pace with their competition and at the same time, coping with ever tightening operating margins. Market demands, changing industry trends and evolving technologies all place added pressure on business owners to stay on top of the curve. Since there is every reason to believe that these and perhaps other stressors will continue, it’s important that businesses address issues over which they have control. One way is to concentrate on the operations side of the equation by ensuring that their maintenance departments are functioning with maximum efficiency.
In recent years, a growing number of companies, large and small and from a broad range of industry, service and corporate sectors have taken steps in this direction. They have done so by trading in “pencil and paper” or spreadsheet approaches to maintenance management in favor of Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS). CMMSs are powerful and function loaded automated maintenance systems that provide maintenance managers the option of receiving an overview of a facility’s operation or the status of an individual piece of equipment. Among other things, these systems are also able to manage work orders in ways that are not possible using traditional manual approaches. Here, I’ll discuss some of the features as well as the benefits of incorporating CMMS work order software into a company’s maintenance management department.
Real time work order processing
The traditional approach to managing work orders generally involves writing up a hard copy work order that is then placed on a desk or in a maintenance technician’s inbox. It will remain there until it is seen. Since maintenance staff is busy with other jobs, this could mean hours or even days until it is retrieved. During this gap in time, technicians may not even be aware of its urgency, location and if parts are needed to address the problem. This amounts to vital time lost that may result in disruptions in production cycles. This in turn affects a company’s bottom line. Automated work order programs transmit work orders in real time; in other words, they are received instantaneously. Since work orders are sent through the CMMS software, all relevant information about a repair is identified. This includes the location of the repair, the type of repair, its priority as well as a list of parts needed, if any.
Manage work orders on the go
A recent innovation in CMMSs, is the incorporation of the work order app. With mobile access, maintenance staffers can utilize all features of the software through an App on a smartphone or tablet from wherever they happen to be. Requiring only cellular or WIFI services, the work order system can be utilized to address maintenance issues without the need to return to a computer station within the facility. This means that work orders can be initiated without any unnecessary time delays.
Access important documents; images, manuals, and drawings
A problem facing companies that have a large number of assets is keeping track of them. In terms of maintenance management, when a piece of equipment is found in need of servicing, being able to accurately identify it is vital. In a large facility, errors often occur when locating the asset and the problem situation or when ordering replacement parts. CMMSs remedy these problems in the following ways:
- Making it possible for facility blueprints to be uploaded into the system such that when a piece of equipment in need of servicing has been identified, its exact location within a facility can be marked on the work order.
- Taking a photo of the faulty part on a piece of equipment that can also be added to the work order.
- Incorporating bar code scanning capabilities that make ordering replacement parts quick, easy and accurate. There are no longer delays caused by incorrectly transposing serial numbers or when having to look them up.
Simple search and reporting tools
The beauty of automated maintenance management software is once all asset data have been entered into the system, creating work orders requires little more than a click of a mouse or a tap on a mobile device. Work order operations are accessible from the CMMS desktop using intuitive and easy to use drop down menus. Users do not require any technical skills to manage work orders from start to finish. Using a work order system, maintenance staff can create a work order, identify its location, order parts, track the work order status and create reports when the repair is completed. These tasks are all done with the CMMS. Traditional maintenance management approaches do not have these one-stop and real time capabilities.
Hippo's CMMS Software Work Order Scheduling Calendar
The benefits received by implementing a work order system through CMMSs form just one piece of what the software has to offer businesses. Since maintenance departments are dependent upon to keep production cycles running as they should, having the best tools to make that happen is essential. Overall, automated systems offer business owners a maintenance management solution that when utilized as designed will ensure a facility's safe operation, improve it production quality and add months, if not years to its equipment lifespans. Together these translate into improved company operations that in turn, impact positively upon its bottom line.