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4 Ways to Improve Maintenance Practices in 2020 with CMMS Software

By Jonathan Davis | January 06, 2020

It's a brand new year and that means yet another batch of resolutions. But what makes 2020 different is that this time, finally, you're going to follow through. You're going to keep your maintenance management resolutions. All with the help of a CMMS.

Let's be honest. Most New Year's resolutions fail. In fact, we tend to give up fairly quickly; January 12th is known as Quitter's Day. One theory is that most resolutions are both too ambitious and too vague. People say, "I'm getting six-pack abs," only to give up less than two weeks later. What they needed to do was think in terms of concrete steps. They should have said, "I'm going to the gym three times a week."

That's where the CMMS software comes in. Getting a CMMS(Computerized Maintenance Management System) is the concrete step you need to take to reach the most common maintenance management goals.

Let's look at a few common resolutions and see how a CMMS delivers success.

Standardize maintenance practices

How much information can you squeeze into a work order that's printed on a piece of paper? Not much. And how much information can you get into an Excel spreadsheet's cell? Again, not much. And that's one of the problems with more traditional paper- and spreadsheet-based systems. They tend to be data poor.

But a CMMS solution let's you build data-rich work orders packed with everything technicians need to close out efficiently, including:

  • Customizable step-by-step instructions and checklists
  • Complete asset work order histories
  • Associated parts and materials
  • Digital versions of O&M manuals
  • Digital images and schematics

Some platforms even come with interactive floor plans, which means technicians go directly to exactly where they're needed.

And once all the technicians are using the same instructions and PM checklists, consistency skyrockets. No more guesswork. No more sloppy, on-the-fly workarounds. And when the department decides to change a process or procedure, there's zero lag between making the decision and everyone following the new and improved best practices. All you have to do is update the instructions and checklists in your work order templates.

Increase time on wrench

Having all that information accessible from work orders also saves time.

First, technicians never have to run back to the office half ways through a task. They arrive with all the parts and materials they need, knowing what work needs to get done and, just as importantly, how to do it. If there are ever any questions, they never need to track down paperwork back in the office. Also, because they can quickly access the entire history of associated work orders, they never have to chase down the last person who worked on an asset or piece of equipment to have them explain earlier repairs. Time on wrench soars.

And second, as an added bonus, it takes less time to train new technicians. There's less hand-holding because starting Day One, technicians can find assets, thanks to interactive floor plans, and follow best practice, thanks to custom instructions and checklists.

Control inventory

Inventory management is all about having the right part, at the right price, at the right time. If you get it too early, your money's tied up in something you don't need. On top of that, you're spending additional money to store it. And if you don't use it soon enough, you might just end up having to throw it out. A lot of materials and parts expire or degrade over time. And even the ones that last might be for assets or equipment that gets retired. What are you going to do with replacement fan belts for a retired engine? On the opposite end, if you get something too late, it's going to cost you a lot in rush deliveries when you suddenly do need it.

A CMMS software makes juggling inventory so much easier. With a bit of setup, the software does all tracking for you. To start, you tell the software how much inventory you currently have and at what level it should warn you to order more. Let's say you have ten bottles of oil and, based on lead times with your current supplier, you need to order more every time you get down to three. Every time someone closes out a work order that includes oil as an associated material, the software adjusts your inventory levels and makes sure you still have enough on hand. Once you dip below three bottles, it sends you an email warning. Remember, if you decide that three is too low or too high, you can easily change it. The CMMS helps you here, too. With auto-generated reports, you can quickly use historical data to make informed predictions about future needs.

Save money with preventive maintenance

One way to reduce spending is through austerity. That means cutting wages, benefits, and hours. When something breaks, you end up patching it with duct tape and prayer. It's a recipe for long-term misery as short-term savings are eaten up by the inevitable long-term loses in productivity and asset life. All the time and money you saved never lubricating a piston is lost as soon as the piston fails early and needs to be replaced.

A better way to save money is to evolve from reactive, on-demand work orders to preventive maintenance, and a good preventive maintenance software or a CMMS makes this possible. Instead of waiting for assets and equipment to fail, the maintenance department proactively finds and tackles little issues before they have a chance to grow into giant problems. Instead of replacing a seized engine, you're finding and fixing small oil leaks.

Ready to learn about making the jump from reactive to preventive maintenance? Start with From Reactive to Preventive Maintenance: Out of the Red Volcano, onto the Calm Blue Sea.

Deep Dive Into PM Success

Topics: facilities maintenance interactive floor plans PM maintenance maintenance management inventory management software Maintenance Software


Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis started out writing for textbooks before branching out to video games and marketing collateral. He has a master’s degree in journalism and a certificate in technical writing.


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