Digitization has disrupted a number of sectors, from data science to supply-chain management. Another industry being transformed by the technology boom is maintenance management, with Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) leading the charge.
Previously, organizations relied on a complex hierarchical system in order to facilitate work orders and keep everything running smoothly. It involved a paper trail that was difficult to organize, making agile activities such as preventative and predictive maintenance nearly impossible to execute efficiently. The emergence of maintenance management software has largely been credited with helping companies extend the life of their assets, cut operating costs and manage inventory at scale.
CMMS Software Functions
Specifically, CMMS software helps manufacturers cut costs in the following ways:
- Provides a dense, centralized database spanning thousands of data points so that a manager can easily pull up information on specific pieces of equipment and get an accurate snapshot of overall maintenance needs.
- Triggers call-to-action alerts for equipment malfunction and preventative maintenance software cycles that ultimately extend the lifespan of an asset.
- Prompts regular equipment audits, compliance with regulatory standards and inventory management, and stores data for future analysis and forecasting.
CMMS software helps to automate time-consuming administrative tasks as well as to promote higher levels of vigilance and accountability that might have been missing when using legacy systems. We will outline how the numerous benefits of using a CMMS system coalesce to enable the collaborative work of different departments and third-party suppliers to become more accurate and cost-effective.
Improving relationships with vendors
One of the more unseen elements of a successful business operation is its dealings with third-party vendors and suppliers. If an organization outsources equipment maintenance, it needs to make sure that it's using a platform that improves resource management, allows manufacturers to evaluate vendors and facilitates an open flow of communication between all parties.
A CMMS system does all of the above. A unified, end-to-end solution, the software allows vendors and business stakeholders easy access to the information and tools they need to perform routine maintenance because it's all organized in one location. Additionally, business owners can make information clear and precise on work order pages as well as on financial statements like invoices, which decreases the likelihood of preventable communication error between the manufacturer and the vendor. Any subsequent issues that arise with a vendor can be tracked, and a business owner can decide to sever ties if they feel like a relationship is no longer mutually beneficial based upon the presented data.
Streamlining preventative maintenance
Companies save 12 to 18 percent by performing preventative maintenance as opposed to reactive maintenance. This margin is understandably a point of concern for manufacturers, as they don't want to experience losses on assets in downtime if it could have been avoided. A CMMS system helps businesses take charge of asset management by scheduling routine preventative maintenance and all necessary equipment.
If a business's equipment are endpoints for the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning they are connected to a network that collects and shares information, then a business owner has the added benefit of being able to "converse" with their assets. When issues arise, no matter how minor, the system creates an alert in a CMMS so stakeholders can address it immediately.
AI Powered Applications
Taking it one step further, business owners can use the power of artificial intelligence to perform predictive maintenance. Different than preventative maintenance, which is performed based on a predetermined rate of failure, predictive maintenance monitors the functionality of equipment as it's actually running and can therefore draw a more accurate timeline for potential equipment failure and assign maintenance tasks accordingly.
Additionally, automating aspects of data collection and reporting offers assistance from a staffing standpoint. Stakeholders spend a significant amount of time essentially moving spreadsheets around while doing their best to stay organized. CEO and industry thought leader Mark Hurd commented on the increasing prevalence of AI-powered software in accurate reporting by saying that "using AI, those reports become virtually error-free and insightful and the work goes away, allowing people to focus on higher-order tasks."
Improving internal communication
CMMS systems help improve internal communication through centralized and accurate record-keeping. This allows for the timely conveyance of objectives, related tasks, and expectations for success, delineating a clear sense of accountability. This is a powerful currency in business, but especially in the manufacturing sector, where profitability is contingent on the ability to maintain assets, resources and factory throughput. The late Stephen Covey, business leader and author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said that "accountability breeds response-ability." Businesses that run on systems that encourage accountability are better prepared to respond agilely to keep their operations running smoothly.
The global work order management systems market is expected to grow to nearly $700 million by 2023. Because manufacturers are beginning to tie CMMS to decreased costs and increased asset performance, the market is ripe for growth and innovation.
Beyond simply being a useful tool for tracking work orders, CMMS help establish the concept of real-time collaboration between stakeholders. By bringing more factions together that had previously operated in silos, business owners can ensure the right information is getting to the right people.