Chances are, if you don’t already have a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), then you’re probably using a paper or Excel-based system that works pretty well.
But just because your current system works, doesn’t mean it’s ideal. Going digital by adopting a CMMS can be a huge step towards making maintenance at your facility cheaper, more effective, and more efficient.
Why do you need a CMMS?
A lot of maintenance teams get into the bad habit of reacting to breakdowns when they happen, rather than coming up with a plan to avoid them in the first place.
Move from reactive to preventive maintenance
The best way to move away from this kind of reactive maintenance is to work towards a preventive maintenance approach—focusing on fixing a machine before it breaks, rather than scrambling to fix it after.
Computerized maintenance software can help you implement preventive maintenance in two ways:
- It’s more reliable than keeping track of maintenance in a paper calendar, or by scheduling tasks in Outlook. You can set time- and meter reading-based notifications in your CMMS, which makes scheduled maintenance a breeze.
- The software lets technicians log a problem as soon as they spot it. This lets your team diagnose the problem and repair it before something actually breaks down.
Get more done with less
A CMMS keeps all relevant information—everything from reports, work requests, records, service warranties, and schematics—in a single, searchable database, which makes finding it much easier. By decreasing the time your team spends finding and filling out paperwork, you increase the time spent actually maintaining assets.
You don’t always have the resources you need to get 100% of the work done. Instead, you’re forced to focus your energy on the most critical repairs and maintenance. A CMMS gives the maintenance manager a central view of all upcoming work orders and in-progress jobs, so they can figure out what their biggest priorities are and act accordingly.
Easily comply with regulations
CMMS software is a great way to help your business pass audits and meet certification and compliance standards, since it keeps a central database of assets and procedures and helps systems run efficiently. This lowers emissions and operating costs and can help make your business eligible for ISO and LEED certification. It can also help you comply with government and client maintenance requirements, pass audits, and even qualify for insurance policy savings.
A CMMS makes it incredibly easy to see who is responsible for what work in your facility. It lets you see all your maintenance information in one spot so you can immediately see what work is overdue and what’s in progress, which makes it easy to follow-up on work that’s taking too long.
Most maintenance software also comes with report-generating features that let you analyze the performance of the entire maintenance group. These reports can help you justify the investment in preventive maintenance, since they make it easier to show overall reduced downtime.
How do you choose a CMMS?
Now that you know the why, let’s look at the how. There’s no one size fits all maintenance and asset management solution. There are three big factors that should impact what kind of software you buy.
Your business size
Knowing where you fall in the market is big for understanding what software you need.
If you’re a small company looking for simple work order software, you don’t necessarily want to buy something that comes packed with thousands of features. On the other hand, if you’re a growing company, you don’t want to invest in software that you’ll outgrow in a year.
Usability, training, and price
Even if you find a product that’s perfect for your business size, it’s a waste of money if no one can use it. It’s very important to consider how easy the software is to use, configure, and implement before you invest.
Look at factors like what training and support is available to you, both during and after implementation. Instructional videos, in-software guides, and on-site training can all be life savers as you get your team up and running with the new software.
Another important factor to consider is price. This might seem obvious, but it’s not as simple as just looking at the initial cost of the software. When calculating price and ROI, you need to consider cost over the lifetime of the software, which includes:
- The cost of the software or the monthly/annual subscription
- The cost of importing data into the system and integrating it with other business systems
- The cost of upgrades
- The cost of training and support
Technology is moving forward by leaps and bounds, and you want to make sure you get software that’s flexible and adaptable enough to change with the times.
To ensure you get modern software that will grow with your business, look for the following three factors:
It’s really hard to overstate the benefits of cloud-based software. It takes away the complexity of on-premises software implementation, leaving you with a solution that’s instantly accessible via the web, has fewer upfront costs, is updated automatically, and is available anytime, anywhere.
More than 71% of people aged 18-54 in developed countries own a mobile device, which means there’s a lot of hardware floating around for companies to leverage.
And the best way to take full advantage of mobile devices is with an app. In a maintenance context, mobile apps let technicians submit work orders on the fly and enable productivity tools like QR code readers that can quickly scan assets and access to their entire maintenance history.
An application programming interface (API) extends the power of your CMMS and lets it talk to other computers, applications, smart devices, sensors, and equipment.
For example, you can use an API to collect meter readings from equipment and transfer them to your CMMS, where they can trigger actions like emails, alarms, or service requests. Or you can use it to synchronize date from your CMMS to an ERP system in real-time.
Maintenance Assistant CMMS has plenty of other tools and resources to help you choose software that’s right for your organization. Check out the blog for CMMS info, as well as tips, tricks, and industry news.
Author Bio: Jeff O’Brien is a product specialist, CMMS evangelist and industry blogger at Maintenance Assistant. Jeff has over 10 years of experience as a customer service engineer, and a further 6 years managing all aspects of Maintenance Assistant’s Client Support operations. He is a solutions-orientated engineer with solid experience in problem solving data analysis and continuous improvement.