Today’s manufacturing companies are very different from those that existed just a couple of decades ago. In general, they tend to be larger, more specialized and technically more complex. Today’s business owners are also faced with the added challenges of keeping pace with competition while also being mindful of economic constraints and evolving market trends.
A cornerstone of running a profitable manufacturing business is maintaining optimal operating conditions by limiting costly delays that are often associated with malfunctioning equipment. A big part of that equation is ensuring that all company equipment is well maintained and functioning safely. Utilizing equipment maintenance software is now an option that is being embraced by an increasing number of companies across a wide range of manufacturing sectors.
Equipment maintenance software is packaged as part of a larger and more comprehensive system known as Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS). Here we’ll look at the ways CMMS and more specifically, equipment maintenance software assist manufacturing companies achieve the goal of optimal functioning and profitability.
CMMS Systems are highly sophisticated software programs that analyze all operational functions of the assets included in its database. Depending on the size of a company and the number of assets it has, will determine the scope for the software. And when seeking an automated system, CMMS customers consistently place preventive maintenance at the top of their list. This is where the equipment maintenance software component of CMMSs comes into play; because it can instantly determine which pieces of equipment require preventive maintenance (PM), how often it is needed it and when. Appropriate use of CMMS systems have shown that through PMs, equipment lifespans can be extended along with fewer unexpected breakdowns and their resulting production slowdowns. Overall, maintenance management software offers business owners the opportunity to reduce their operational costs and increase company profits through improved organization, better time management and labor utilization.
Preventive Maintenance : A key element
Before the introduction of CMMSs, equipment maintenance was primarily done in a reactive manner; meaning that maintenance was conducted on an “as needed” basis only when a problem arose. While perhaps cost effective in the short run, a reactive approach to equipment maintenance also comes with costly long-term consequences such as unanticipated disruptions in production cycles and equipment failure that often requires total replacement. With equipment maintenance software, PM programs can be implemented to eliminate most if not all unanticipated equipment breakdowns while maintaining optimal production operations and extending equipment lifespans.
Setting up Preventive Maintenance Program
Two benefits of a CMMS and more specifically, equipment maintenance software are its customizability and adaptability to any business needs. As a prelude to set up a Preventive maintenance program, company owners are advised to have a clear idea of what their operations needs are in order to benefit most from the equipment maintenance software. They can do this by gathering input from their maintenance staff about the equipment, inventory and users that will be included in the system database. For businesses with a large number of assets, maintenance managers may choose a systematic approach to the software implementation in order to realize CMMS benefits more quickly. This approach involves first adding the most costly or most essential assets first and then overtime, adding less essential ones.
Second, business owners need to assess their own capabilities. This begins with considering the size of the company, the number and variety of assets and most importantly, the technical capabilities of individuals who will oversee the implantation process as well as the time needed to do so. Customers who have the time and the in house technical resources may choose to undertake this task on their own. For customers without the technical staff or the time to implement the system in a timely manner, CMMS vendors can provide a range of supports in the form of on site audits or remote and telephone tech support for implementation purposes.
Finally, business owners and their maintenance managers need to decide who will have full access or partial access to the equipment maintenance software system. Once again, CMMSs give company owners the flexibility to assign different login credentials to system users based on their employment status, site location or areas of responsibility. All considered, during this preliminary phase of PM program implementation, the primary goal is to find the right fit for company needs across time.
Implementing Preventive Maintenance Program
Further to the customizability of CMMSs, business owners can benefit from the software’s ability to create PM plans that have the ability to adapt to changes within their companies over time. In other words, equipment maintenance software makes it possible for companies to change or modify their PM plans or schedules as needed. At the outset, a good starting point in a PM design for any business is to review their equipment repair histories and company’s production cycle.
This first step will make it possible to prioritize equipment based on age and/or repair frequency. Once done, PM schedules can be set according to low usage times (i.e., facility off hours), inspection dates, mileage on vehicles or based on equipment locations. CMMSs also offer the benefit of creating multiple PM schedules that can be run simultaneously. Finally, by reviewing CMMS generated reports, PM schedules can be evaluated and if needed, informed decisions about adjustments can be made.
A growing number of business owners concerned about profitability, efficiency and growth are consistently making the move from reactive maintenance management to preventive maintenance programs using equipment maintenance software. The high retention rates found among CMMS customers attest to their satisfaction with PM programs that result in increased organizational efficiency, reduced unanticipated production shut downs and extended overall equipment lifespans. It is clear that CMMSs offer a viable solution for forward thinking business owners concerned with improving their bottom line.