Seven Ways a CMMS Simplifies Work Order Management

Reena Sommer | October 24, 2017

Seven Ways a CMMS Simplifies Work Order Management

Businesses across many industry sectors are increasingly turning toward Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) systems as their facility management solution. Increased efficiency, reduced costs and a more significant return on investment (ROI) are the primary reasons for companies choosing to abandon traditional pencil and paper approaches in favor of automated maintenance management systems. Current CMMS systems do away with cumbersome and inefficient paper filing systems by offering businesses the ability to track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets required preventive maintenance - all within its cloud-based software. Apart from the benefits of organizational efficiency, this improvement has also led to extended equipment lifespans, better time management, and labor utilization and ultimately, reduced costs and increased profits.

CMMSs are highly sophisticated software systems that utilize thousands of data points which at any given time, can provide a user an overview of a facility's operation or alternatively, the status of an individual piece of equipment. Maintenance management software represents robust systems when used to their full potential. The CMMS industry strives to remain on top of technology and industry changes by continually evolving and being more responsive to the ever-changing needs of their customers. Recent innovations in maintenance management software include secure cloud-based interfaces, mobile device accessibility, and paperless functionality that further increases ease of use.

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In a recent survey conducted by Hippo CMMS of 125 buyers, work order management (i.e., repairs, unplanned maintenance) ranked as important by 91% of respondents. This finding, as well as buyers' value on preventative maintenance (endorsed by 96% of respondents), suggests that CMMS customers prioritize increased operational efficiency as a top objective. Here is a list of seven ways the software systems can simplify work order management:

1. Real-time notifications

There is no doubt that "time is money" and any wasted time can be costly to operations. Companies that rely on hard copy methods spend time writing out work orders and then physically sending them to the designated service personnel. If that person is not present to receive the work order, it could sit on his or her desk for some time before it reviewed. With a CMMS, all work orders are created within the system and transmitted immediately to the appropriate users for servicing. Using email notifications and/or mobile alerts, the work order is received within seconds. The software can also track the work order process making it possible to monitor the work order progress from start to finish.

2. Easy-access, digital work orders

Once work orders are created, there is a digital record available for all designated users. The work orders can be retrieved on multiple devices including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In all instances, the data are consistent with all parties receiving the same information at the same time. Work orders are created in the same format and with mandatory fields to be completed. This ensures that all the relevant information is included. For example, work orders include records of who made the request, relevant contact information, a clear description of the problem including images as needed, as well as the location of the piece of equipment in need of servicing. The digital work order template makes certain that the information contained is clear and legible and that nothing gets lost or misinterpreted.

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3. Simple organization, clear priorities

In medium to large size companies, it is not uncommon to have several open work orders at any given time. Since technicians and time allocations can be limited, it is essential that work orders are prioritized based on urgency, supplies, personnel and time. The maintenance management systems can assign due dates as well as levels of priority (i.e., high or low). Some CMMSs can display floor plans and maps that identify equipment locations and assist technicians in strategically planning work order fulfillment.

4. Effortless reports on overdue work orders

The maintenance software tracks work order fulfillment progress. Work order reports can be filtered by different indicators such as in progress, completed or overdue. If a due date is not met, managers will be alerted. This type of monitoring allows managers to make decisions about staff allocations, hiring and supplies as well as identify bottlenecks for late work. By reviewing the work order reports over time, managers can make changes as needed, to improve the efficiency of their operations.

5. Accessible work order documents

In recent years, CMMSs have evolved in response to industry demands by becoming more sophisticated, robust and user-friendly applications. By way of example, many maintenance systems now include links to equipment manuals, warranty information, relevant documents, vendor contracts and industry code standards. Since all this information is kept in the software's database and is accessible with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a mobile device, there is no need to manually search for important equipment-related data when it is needed. The convenience and ease of accessibility saves time and energy for all those involved in the work order process.

6. Repair history and trend reports

CMMSs can generate a repair history report based on completed work orders. The reports can be filtered by time periods (i.e., days, weeks, months, years) by departments and/or by locations. Having the flexibility of reviewing repair histories across time or via other indicators, managers can assess trends in equipment breakdown, parts replacement, repair costs, labor allocation etc. If a piece of equipment is found to require continuous repair, it may result that it is time to replace it. Having a repair history helps managers make important decisions about the ongoing operation in their departments.

7. Mobile device maintenance management

One of the most significant developments in CMMS functionality has been adding mobile access to the maintenance management system dashboard. Given the widespread use of mobile devices in the form of smartphones and tablets, this change in how customers utilize maintenance management software has now taken automated maintenance management to a new level of functionality. All the CMMS features available on computer desktops are also available using the mobile access feature. With the mobile device feature, users no longer must wait to access a CMMS at their desktop computers. Instead, they can access the system when and wherever they may be. Most important, phone and tablet cameras make it possible for technicians to upload images of equipment in need of repair, or parts in need of replacement. The barcode scanning feature on mobile devices also ensures that the items being referenced are exact. Having images or barcodes reduce the opportunity for error or confusion. Once again, this results in an overall improvement in efficiency.

Ongoing maintenance is an integral part of any operation and a reality that cannot be overlooked. An organization's productivity is impeded when repairs are not done promptly or when repairs are delayed because the work orders are unclear or error-ridden. Creating automated, detailed and consistently formatted work orders eliminates error and confusion while also reducing time and energy. The repair histories generated by CMMSs help companies stay informed about their maintenance operations and offer opportunities to make informed decisions as needed.

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