By looking at a work order from start to finish, we can see how an easy-to-use, fully-featured CMMS makes life better for the average facilities manager.

Facilities managers are in charge of deciding what work gets done, who does it, and in what order, on top of a million other things. If this describes your day-to-day work life, leverage the CMMS benefits that can help make life simpler.

Control request portal size

Even the best preventive maintenance schedule can’t completely erase on-demand work orders. There’s no question that your organization will have them. The question is who gets to generate them.

A good CMMS lets you control the answer. In some organizations, only the maintenance department gets to send in tickets. In others, it’s the head of each department. Some organizations keep the request portal wide open, with every employee able to submit a ticket. There are pros and cons to keeping the portal everything from wide open to closed tight. The important idea here is that a good CMMS lets you decide.

Approve or decline tickets with data, confidence

One of the best advantage of CMMS is that you can approve or decline tickets with data. Once a ticket has been submitted, you can decide to approve it and start building a work order or decline it and not bother generating a work order at all. Sometimes, the decision is a complete no-brainer. You know the relative criticality of your assets and equipment, and can often approve or decline based on how important something is to keeping the line up and running. For example, you’re not going to put off a ticket coming in related to a critical press or pump. But, sometimes it’s harder to know what to jump on and what to back-burner. A good CMMS gives you the data you need to decide wisely.

One way is by showing you the PM calendar. Say, for example, an operator reports a faint, strange grinding sound coming from a small conveyor belt. Thanks to the CMMS, you know that a PM is scheduled for that machine in less than a week, and that a part of the planned maintenance involves adjusting all the belts. In that case, you’re more likely to decline. It’s not that you don’t believe there’s an issue; you know it’s not serious and will get taken care of soon enough.

The PM schedule might reveal something else. It could be that the asset in question was recently worked on as part of a PM. Now you’re perhaps more likely to approve the ticket. There shouldn’t be any issues with an asset that was so recently looked at, and if there is, it suggests the PM was not carried out properly.

Beyond the PM schedule, a CMMS can help by grouping work orders by asset. So, someone submits a work order request related to a fan inside a larger piece of equipment. It seems to be wobbling a bit more than it should, causing a noticeable vibration. As soon as you look at the equipment’s history, you see a lot of red flags: Not only has that vibration been an issue before, but the last time it was an early sign of a much bigger problem. There ended up being a lot of costly repairs. Right away, you approve the ticket.

And here’s one of the best parts: It can be your first day on the job and you’d still be able to make the right decision. Or, it could be not only your first day but also three days since the old hand on staff, the one tech who knew all the machines better than he knew his own children, retired after 20 years on the job. All the institutional memory is still in the CMMS. It doesn’t leave with old employees and it’s available right away to new ones.

Build data-packed work orders

Once you’ve decided to approve a ticket, you can start to build the work order. CMMS software lets you quickly and easily associate a lot of data. Basically, there’s a ton of information you work attach to a work order, including:

  • Asset description and pictures

  • Digital versions of O&M manuals and schematics

  • Explanation of the work to be done

  • Step-by-step instructions

  • Customizable checklists

  • Associated parts

If you’re lucky enough to get a really nice CMMS, your work order can also include interactive floor maps. How does having work orders jam-packed with information make your life easier? Think of each piece of information as one question you don’t have to answer.

You won’t have techs asking you:

  • Where is the asset and what does it look like?

  • Where are the O&M manuals, and how do I find the one for this asset?

  • What do I need to fix, and how do I do that?

  • How do I know I’ve done everything correctly?

  • Which parts do I need?

Best case scenario, every data-rich work order can save you five or more phone calls.

Keep work orders need-to-know with customizable dashboards

One of the biggest CMMS benefits is how you can customize screens. What you see can be totally different from what each tech sees. This helps the techs by reducing “visual clutter.” Instead of rows and rows of information, they only see the work orders they need to close out. It helps you because now you never have to worry about techs checking up on one another. You don’t have to worry about them seeing what other techs are assigned, which sometimes can lead to a “too many cooks spoil the broth” situation.

Keep an eye on the big picture with KPIs, one-click reporting

Once the work assignments have been assigned and then closed out, it’s time to use the CMMS to crunch the numbers and create some custom reports. Some software only supports basic reporting, but good, full-featured CMMS software tracks lots of data, which is can then use to build, among other things, KPIs. This is going to help you find the assets that are costing you the most time and money, as well as the technicians who are closing out the most work orders in a given block of time. Basically, all the low and high points. Armed with this information, you can fine-tune everything from your PM schedule to your department’s workforce.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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