Leveraging Technology to Move From a Reactive to a Proactive Maintenance Strategy

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For maintenance, repair, and operations managers, trying to manage all necessary system maintenance while also eliminating unplanned interruptions can be challenging. Traditional means of maintenance management such as work requests via phone, email, or even word of mouth can be inefficient even for the most skilled MRO managers.

With new technologies, such as a computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), maintenance management plans can move from a traditionally reactive approach to a proactive strategy.

First, what is a CMMS?

A CMMS is a software package that centralizes an organization’s maintenance operations via a computer database. This system allows maintenance and operations teams to maximize the value of their production assets, systems, plants, and processes by streamlining scheduling, organizing, and tracking equipment maintenance digitally. The system can connect to business systems and ultimately enables maintenance and operations teams to make data-driven decisions.

Introducing any new software solution at work can seem daunting— from spending time researching vendors, going through the sales process, justifying the cost, and training your team — but when we review the benefits of the software of implementing a CMMS software solution, the work quickly becomes worth it.

Top 20 Benefits of a CMMS

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Reduce downtime

Within a manufacturing setting, downtime can become debilitating, sometimes costing $22,000-50,000 per minute. Any time downtime, especially unplanned downtime, can be reduced is a good thing. When leveraging a CMMS, downtime can be better controlled:

  • Conquer maintenance backlog

Some degree of maintenance backlog is unavoidable, but too much can send your operation into a tailspin. A CMMS balances resources and maintenance costs, so backlog doesn’t get out of hand. The software captures small fixes that would otherwise go unnoticed and allows maintenance tasks to be scheduled, assigned, and prioritized, so no jobs fall through the cracks.

 

  • Increase asset lifespans

The average age of industrial equipment in the US is the highest since the 1940s. Although age isn’t always the reason for failure, it’s often a contributing factor. It’s not always financially possible to replace old models with new ones, which is why maintenance is so crucial.

Keeping equipment in good operating condition for longer means doing maintenance before something breaks. Integrating CMMS software with sensors, PLCs, SCADA, and MES systems allows you to track an asset’s health in real-time, catch failures before it happens, diagnose problems, and schedule maintenance.

  • Make preventive maintenance easier to schedule and complete

Preventative maintenance catches defects before they become a bigger problem, which reduces the number of breakdowns. Maintenance teams know preventive maintenance is key to limiting downtime, and a CMMS answers this question with automated work orders. Preventative maintenance triggers can be created based on usage, time, or condition to activate a work order, which is then scheduled and assigned via the CMMS.

 

  • Speed up repairs and inspections

Downtime occurs whenever an asset needs to be repaired or inspected. This isn’t always avoidable. A CMMS makes it easier to quickly repair and inspect assets, so downtime is reduced to the bare minimum. Technicians can log into a mobile CMMS app from anywhere and see an asset’s history, diagrams, the location of spare parts, and more so work can get done faster. CMMS software can also help you find work orders that take too long, spot the cause of the delay, and fix it so work can get done faster.

Control costs

In the highly competitive manufacturing market, cost control is a major initiative for all departments. For maintenance managers, leveraging a CMMS provides many cost reduction opportunities:

  • Accurately forecast the parts you’ll need for maintenance

Not having a handle on inventory can lead to all sorts of costly problems. Overspending on inventory can add an additional 12% to 20% to the original purchase cost. If you don’t have the right parts on hand when equipment breaks down, it results in downtime, rush shipping, and risky stopgap measures, all of which are expensive. Managing your inventory with a CMMS helps you purchase, track, and organize parts so you can avoid these costly problems.

  •  Avoid manufacturing scrap and rework

Both scrap and rework require a huge cost in the form of energy, waste, and lost production. The worst part is, it’s extremely difficult to make up for that expense without the production team working overtime.

The best way to reduce the cost of scrap and rework is to avoid unplanned failure by keeping assets healthy with preventive maintenance. CMMS software excels at helping maintenance teams plan, schedule, and execute PMs. Not only can you automate tasks with a CMMS, but you can also prioritize and assign PMs while tracking key metrics to optimize them.

  • Track and report on maintenance costs

CMMS software tracks everything connected to completed work orders, including parts, labor, and other expenses. This makes it easy to run a report on these costs, view where the budget was spent, and make educated capital expenditure decisions.

  • Save energy

American manufacturers spend $230 billion on energy every year, which goes to show that any company can cut costs by reducing energy use. Well-maintained assets are more energy-efficient and are key to lowering your overall energy expenses.

Reactive maintenance is a major source of wasted energy at production facilities because it leads to inventory issues, poor scheduling, and rework.

 

Increase efficiency

Anytime companies can do things smarter, faster, or better, productivity will benefit. A CMMS allows maintenance teams to make their processes more efficient:

  • Optimize your maintenance schedule

Well-planned maintenance schedules waste less time, resources, and money. Better planning is possible when you can anticipate every element of maintenance, like asset needs, production schedules, and inventory. Building a better maintenance schedule starts with understanding your assets and resources.

 

Tools like sensors, PLCs, or MES systems help you capture, track, and analyze data about an asset’s performance. Integrating these tools with CMMS software allows you to use this data to fine-tune the frequency of preventive maintenance tasks and ensure maintenance schedules use staff resources as effectively as possible.

 

  • Automate work requests

It’s common for maintenance managers to receive work requests via phone, sticky notes, whiteboard, or word of mouth. These manual processes force maintenance teams to spend unnecessary time creating work orders and inputting data.

CMMS software eliminates all the extra steps by automating the work request process. No time is wasted translating work orders, tracking down operators, or rifling through a file cabinet.

  • Standardize maintenance processes

One way to make maintenance more efficient is to use a tool you know works well in a certain situation. Starting from scratch with every PM, repair, or report will take longer and lead to extra downtime and costs.

A CMMS gives you the power to digitally build maintenance checklists, workflows, and reporting templates to make tasks easier and quicker. Everyone can access the same information, follow the same best practices, and get the job done as quickly as possible.

  •  Improve access to maintenance resources

A lack of centralized knowledge means having to track someone down, shuffling through stacks of paper, or searching through a computer to find the solution to a breakdown.

A CMMS makes maintenance resources readily available to anyone, at any time by providing a centralized hub for information. Attach videos, manuals, task lists, accident reports, or inventory requirements to any piece of equipment or work order to help technicians get tasks done in less time.

Collect and use data

Data can be daunting, but when leveraged the right way it can unlock valuable insights never thought possible. A CMMS gives a holistic view of maintenance operations: 

  • Find trends in maintenance metrics

Maintenance metrics translate action into numbers so you can measure the performance of everyone and everything in your operation. They allow you to connect cause and effect so you can make better decisions and improve your operation.

CMMS software captures the numbers and tracks metrics over time so you can get a long-term view of your performance. It also makes it easier to analyze the metrics and fine-tune strategies based on the data.

  • Save time on reporting

Maintenance KPIs help you identify chronic equipment problems and benchmark against industry standards. However, compiling KPI reports using Excel or pen and paper can be tedious and lead to mistakes.

CMMS software allows you to collect data from various areas of your maintenance operation, make sense of them with reporting templates, and often automate your reporting process. Having a better understanding of your KPIs helps you add value or reduce risk with small changes.

  • Collect real-time work order updates

Being able to track the progress of work orders is crucial for limiting backlog, creating effective schedules, planning production, and building budgets. If the right people don’t have visibility into work orders, it leads to more downtime, higher costs, and uninformed decision-making.

A CMMS software provides real-time work order updates, like the priority status, who is assigned to it, and how long it’s taking, so you can allocate additional resources if needed. The system can even tell you which work orders are causing delays, downtime, or extra costs so you can figure out why and stop it.

  • Access historical information

Managing an asset through its entire lifecycle is difficult if you don’t know its history. Even if your technicians know everything about an asset’s past, high turnover and retirement rates mean this information is never far from being lost forever.

A CMMS has its own unique record that details everything that’s been done to it, from repairs and inspections to labor hours. Technicians can quickly access these records to assist with PMs or troubleshooting a failure.

Improve health and safety

Workplace safety is a major priority for every company, leveraging a CMMS allows a company to reduce safety risks:

  • Reduce risk on every job

A CMMS makes it easier to create work orders that have the well-being of the maintenance team in mind. You can add checklists, material safety data sheets, safety procedures, and required PPE so you can be sure technicians are doing a job safely and avoiding risks.

  • Prepare for audits in less time

CMMS software makes it easier and more cost-effective to prepare for an audit. It helps facilitate inspection rounds and makes it possible to search the system for maintenance records of a certain asset or time period. Documenting compliance activities is simpler with a CMMS as it gives you the chance to create reports and store photos.

  • Steer clear of OSHA violations and fines

Safety violations lead to more accidents and can take a toll on the bottom line, costing businesses millions of dollars in fines. These violations often happen when people are missing information, expectations aren’t clear, and communication breaks down.

A CMMS can make safety procedures more accessible and visible on checklists and asset profiles. Technicians can pull up these procedures on their phones within seconds so they never miss important safety instructions that could lead to a violation.

  • Manage safety training

Training is a key element of safety as it can lead to fewer breakdowns and unforeseen costs. Although safety training is crucial, everything from bad timing to the need for specialized skills can hinder your team’s best-laid plans.

A CMMS allows you to store and track health and safety information for technicians, like certifications. You can also pull safety reports from the CMMS so you can decide what kind of training should be prioritized.

CMMS software is more than a one-trick pony

Every person in a facility has a different goal — from maintaining uptime to tracking metrics or reducing costs. Regardless of the goal, the real value of maintenance software lies not in its features, but in the way those tools are used to eliminate inefficiencies, identify areas of opportunity, and maximize the talent at your facility. A CMMS makes all of this possible, and more.

*Fiix is only available at EESCO locations.

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