Work orders were punched like train tickets, schedules were written on dusty old calendars, and best practices relied on gut instinct. CMMS has changed all of that.
Today, companies are empowered with solutions that refine maintenance management down to a science.
Below, we detail the main features of CMMS solutions.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses need to capitalize the productivity of every thing – every asset – they own.
Assets may refer to:
- Automotive fleets
- Factory machinery
- Office equipment
All assets age, go through wear and tear, and require maintenance. Eventually they need to be replaced. Companies need a strategic, data-driven plan for managing the life-cycle of each asset.
Asset management features help managers organize and track all of the physical tools at their disposal. Metrics include:
- Asset history (purchase date, warranty, lifetime information)
- Service contracts
- Spare parts
- Efficiency monitoring
Not to be confused with inventory tracking, asset management focuses on the tools companies use to run their business. Inventory tracking refers to the movement of products that a company creates, sells and ships.
Fleet management features can be used to maximize the productivity of any group of motor vehicles. Here are three very different examples of fleets that would benefit from CMMS:
- A postal service with mail trucks
- A set of private airline jets
- A cleaning service with vans for equipment
Some companies operate fleets that cost millions of dollars, while others are much smaller. Both types of fleets can be managed by a CMMS.
Understanding the dynamics of performance, what’s working, and what will need to be replaced allows managers to be proactive in assessing risk.
We’ve indicated some of the common features of fleet management below.
Infrastructure management software is the support system of our support system.
Essential, baseline assets like roadways, sewer lines, water processing plants and bridges all require maintenance and upkeep, for government and for private business.
We may not give them a second thought. That is, until something goes wrong.
CMMS solutions help both private companies and government entities maintain the safe and successful operations of some of our most important social and environmental functions. This includes strategic design, maintenance and replacements of key infrastructure assets to make them as economically efficient as possible.
Functions of property-focused solutions include:
- Risk management
- Asset inventory
- Geographic and facility mapping
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
EAM is the broadest type of asset management solution, crossing over with CMMS capabilities.
It refers to platforms that manage an entire company’s physical contents, ranging from the design of the office headquarters to the maintenance of its factories. Enterprise describes the sweeping coverage of the technology to address issues throughout each of a business’ locations, warehouses and departmental units.
Industry experts commonly refer to several different categories of EAM, some of which overlap:
- Physical asset management – the administration, monitoring and control of any asset throughout its entire lifecycle, including “current assets” and inventory that can be turned into cash.
- Fixed asset management – includes permanent, or “fixed” properties of a company such as land, equipment, and infrastructure; fixed assets management tracks and organizes everything from financial information to preventive maintenance.
- Digital asset management – the organization and storage of rich media including videos, photos, podcasts, and all multimedia content within an organization. Digital assets are often vital training materials.
- IT asset management – the strategic management and development of all software and hardware assets.
Most commonly, CMMS vendors offer features that relate to physical asset management, but also often focus on storing training materials as a knowledge base. The depth of information residing in a CMMS system varies.
Inventory management can make or break a company’s bottom line.
While assets generally refer to the “fixed” properties owned by a company such as tools, equipment and buildings, inventory is the store of products to be sold or shipped.
Inventory tracking features ensure your stores are kept stocked and ready to go in the same way that asset management ensures your machinery is ready to perform.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong when managing inventory. The wrong amount of a product can be ordered. Warehouses can run out of space, or they can waste space.
Inventory management makes sure this doesn’t happen by giving managers a dynamic picture of an entire ordering, stocking and tracking process.
Some companies have warehouses full of hundreds or thousands of very similar items. They need a complex program that can see the tiny differences between nearly identical inventories.
A high-end dress shoe company may offer dozens of different products with almost no visible differences. Minor changes in color and size are important to customers. Accurately analyzing the stock of each item means that companies need to be able to categorize based on minute details.
Inventory tracking features can organize goods based on any number of variables so managers are always aware of exactly how much stock they have left.
One way managers lose track of their inventory is when large shipments are being moved out. It’s hard to monitor significant volumes – especially when you want details.
Electronic scanning gives companies a very simple and efficient method of tracking the status and location of each piece of inventory. Usually this involves a barcode taped to the outside of a box that is scanned each time it departs and arrives at a new location.
Tracking software monitors all scanned inventory and gives managers real-time updates on product levels, keeping them informed about their stock.
Many companies manage massive inventories, and it’s someone’s job to ensure every single item is kept at the right level. For companies handling many goods, this can be difficult and time-consuming.
Automatic ordering sets a minimum, optimal and maximum quantity for each product. When the minimum level is reached, the necessary number of new products is ordered. Not only does this save time, but it’s more reliable and error-proof than pure human labor.
The next generation of inventory tracking is a type of predictive management. This platform predicts how long it’ll take shipments to be produced, when they’ll arrive and when to reorder them.
It may take six weeks to manufacture a car part. The automatic ordering feature has already predicted you’ll run out of that part in 10 weeks. Therefore, it would know to order the part in four weeks, to ensure that it’s there when needed.
Time-to-produce is only one aspect of dynamic information which inventory tracking provides managers. In addition, quality assurance procedures can be monitored to determine the results of product tests and more.
Just as each individual product is tracked, each purchase order is tracked.
Companies should know ahead of time if their product is behind schedule or if an order will be incomplete.
Work Order Management
Maintenance managers are busy people. They’re responsible for the health of their warehouses, and they’re always looking out for the lifespan of their machines.
This means routine preventive maintenance on the right machines at the right times. Managers don’t have time to waste on scheduling snafus, and companies looking to be as productive as possible can’t afford downtime.
In the maintenance world, a work order is a request to perform maintenance on an asset, and can fall under two categories:
- Corrective – fixing something that’s already wrong with a machine
- Preventive – maintaining the health of the machines through regular servicing
And in a perfect world, everything should be preventive. Corrective actions are the type that take maintenance departments by surprise, and leave your staff ill-equipped.
Work order management serves three essential functions:
- Producing Orders – Organizing incoming work orders isn’t easy. Requests often come in from multiple employees and locations. Depending on the system used, orders may be placed through online forms, or via direct entry into the system. An important function of work order management is to gather all incoming requests and schedule them. This ensures that too much maintenance isn’t scheduled at the same time.
- Report Generation – CMMS solutions automatically calculate detailed asset data on metrics such as:
- Total repair cost
- Price of new materials needed
- Inactive time due to upkeep
This information is then fed back into the system, where managers can access it to create in-depth reports on the efficiency of their operations. Utilizing the insights gained from these reports, users are empowered to streamline their repairs and overall business processes.
- Tracking – Once orders have been put into the system and organized into a schedule, managers need to be able to access and change the list as they see fit. Some tasks may be more important, and others not as pressing. Each task is given a priority rating. Some CMMS vendors include calendars in their software so maintenance can be scheduled ahead of time, giving them a better plan for the future. Alerts are sent when maintenance is due on a given asset.
All too often, repairs are too little and too late for a company’s key assets.
Even when machines are returned to full working duty again, valuable production time is lost and the lifespan of the machine may be diminished.
Managers can schedule repairs ahead of time and at the right time. Maintenance is executed based on the key factors that determine an asset’s vulnerability, such as age or frequency of use.
A critical function of preventive maintenance is notifying the right people at the right time when a machine will need maintenance. CMMS includes a calendar function to plan repairs.
Tasks that are already on the schedule will be taken into account so that a machine isn’t scheduled for servicing when it’s needed to complete a task.
Metrics which determine alerts are informed by a variety of sources:
- Regulations (corporate standards or government law)
- Input from the asset manufacturer
- Guidelines from industry experts on ideal care
One key indicator of required upkeep is the performance of an asset. Users receive an alert if a machine is not operating within its range of reliable standards.
For high capital assets, these standards can be set through condition-based monitoring. Once an asset has been monitored with hardware and its output recorded in a CMMS, such as the temperature of an engine, the standard is set to its normal range of condition. For more complex assets that require lubricants and give off vibrations, more sophisticated measures are required to determine standards.
Intelligent hardware goes hand in hand with gauging an asset’s performance.
Managers can accurately establish expectations through reliable standards.
In addition to planning repairs ahead of time and in accordance with the work schedule, preventive maintenance calendars can serve as comprehensive timetables that integrate the planning of all other tasks.
Reserving machines, monitoring work orders and booking contracts can all be aligned on a calendar. Making sure everyone is on the same schedule is a key aspect of preventive maintenance.
Good CMMS software will keep track of everything there is to know about your assets. Monitoring the history of machinery helps managers learn from past incidents and mistakes, and plan for a better future.
Examples of critical data that CMMS will store include a record of all repairs and warranties, planned budget for expected servicing and more.