We spend so much time at Hippo writing about the benefits of our CMMS solution that we've developed our own set of go-to expressions. Because they're nice and short, they carry a punch while saving on time and space.
But it's worth looking at them in more detail to better understand exactly what are the benefits of CMMS.
Access anywhere from the cloud
This one comes up whenever we talk about the benefits of a modern CMMS backed by cloud computing. In many cases, we're comparing them with traditional paper- and spreadsheet-based methods, which are both slow and prone to their own unique frustrations.
With paper, there's only one copy of the work order, and that means your data is often incomplete and always fragile. Incomplete because you can only ever scribble so much on a single sheet of paper. Technicians get a basic description of which asset to work on and the type of work that needs to be done. With that much reading between the lines, there's a lot of guess-work. And the data is fragile because of how easy it is to misplace a piece of paper.
With spreadsheets, you have the opposite problem. Instead of having one copy, you have a bunch. The one on your desktop, plus the one you emailed to yourself as a backup, and then there's the one that you sent to the technician. The problems start as soon as you make changes to any one of these copies because now you don't have copies, you have versions. Changes you make in one file are not carried over to the other files, and it quickly becomes impossible to know which version is the most recent, which one has the right data. When you try to update the work order with new information, the technician has no idea. They're still working off the old data. And when they update their version, adding notes or closing out, you don't know until they've told you. Remember, you can only see your versions of the files.
Modern CMMS software takes all your data and puts it in one place. In fact, we do all the IT heavy lifting for you. We take care of data backups and software security updates. Changes are handled in real-time; when you assign a work order or a tech closes one out, everyone can see it. And we make the data available from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. In the end, "from anywhere, at any time" means that no matter where they are, your whole team is working from the same data. The benefit is that you're always working with accurate, dependable data. Effortlessly, you keep everyone in the loop who needs to be there.
Streamlined work order workflows
In some ways, this one is a bit of carryover from the benefits of having all your data in one central database that's updated in real-time. Instead of having to run back to the office every time they close out a work order and need a new one, technicians can access tasks on the move. Modern work order software reduces technicians' downtime between tasks, boosting productivity.
But it does more than tell technicians where to go and what to do. Work order software gives them everything they need to work efficiently and close out quickly, including:
- Complete asset repair and maintenance histories
- Step-by-step instructions
- Customizable checklists
- Associated parts and materials lists
- Digital schematics, images, O&M manuals
- Interactive site and floor maps
Also related to the idea of working faster, having associated parts and materials lists built into work orders saves techs from unexpected delays when they have to run around tracking down inventory. They arrive onsite with everything they need. But it also helps the department control overall inventory levels, ensuring you have the right parts at the right time, and at the right price. When a technician completes a work order, the parts and materials are automatically removed from your inventory counts. And when you reach customizable min levels, the software sends out an alert, warning you to place an order. No more sitting around, waiting for parts to arrive.
People tend to think of work order software as a one-way street, with information moving from the maintenance lead to the department's technicians. But a good CMMS supports clear, two-way communication, and that helps the department get more done, and get it done faster. When a technician has a question about a task, they can quickly attach comments, requesting help or further explanation. When they're about to close out a work order, they can upload digital images of their work, requesting a virtual visual inspection.
Get ahead of the maintenance curve with preventive maintenance
This one is all about how our maintenance solution makes it so much easier to set up, schedule, and track a preventive maintenance program. In the end, you get out from under that pile of on-demand work orders and stay a couple of steps ahead. Instead of being reactive, now you're proactive, finding and taking care of little issues before they have a chance to grow into big problems. Not only are you saving yourself a lot of frustration but you're also saving the organization a lot of money. Quick example: replacing a cheap cog or widget before it breaks means the company isn't paying operators to stand beside idle equipment and your department isn't paying rush-delivery prices for parts on top of overtime rates for technicians.
Here's how preventive maintenance software makes it happen. First, it has all your equipment and asset repair and maintenance records and can auto-generate reports that tell you which assets are eating up the biggest chunks of the department's budget. Combining that with manufacturers' recommendations, you can set up your PMs, which are the required preventive tasks and their frequencies. Next step: schedule the preventive maintenance inside the software, which is easy thanks to the in-app calendar. Input the tasks once and have the software automatically generate and assign meter- and time-based PMs. When you need to move things around, drag-and-drop your PMs to fine-tune the program.
In some cases, you make small adjustments to your PMs to better accommodate holidays or parts and resource availability. In others, you can use the preventive maintenance software to quickly add, remove, or adjust large parts of the program. For example, with COVID-19, many organizations are adding hourly sanitation schedules or, in cases where facilities are shut down, pausing their entire PM programs.
Data-driven decision-making with automated reports
Asset management comes down to getting the most value out of equipment and assets for the least amount of money, and in the end, it's a balancing act. You might be able to completely eliminate on-demand work orders, but there's no point if the only way you're doing it is with PMs that recur every two days. At the other end of the spectrum, you might save money in the short term by cutting back on scheduled maintenance, but you pay for it with unscheduled downtime and costly repairs in the long term.
The best way to know what to do and how often to do it is with robust automated reporting. Before you can take the right corrective action, you need to know which assets are costing you the most to run and the types of repairs you're putting into them. In some cases, you can fine-tune your preventive maintenance program. In others, you can look into switching vendors. For example, if you're adding lubricant to your pumps regularly but still having failures, it's time to switch suppliers. And reports are for more than just parts and equipment. It's also people. By tracking KPIs related to productivity, you can better manage your workforce resources.
Keep track with inventory control
One of the big benefits of preventive maintenance is that because you know when the team is doing specific tasks, you can easily ensure they have the right parts right when they need them. And with the luxury of ordering early, you avoid spending extra on rush deliveries.
But it's more than just that. Hippo's inventory control software starts when you enter critical data for all your inventory items: your current supply and your customizable par levels. When anyone generates a new work order, on-demand or preventive maintenance, they can associate the required parts and materials with the work order. Later, when a technician closes out that work order, the parts and materials are automatically removed from your inventory counts.
And when your levels fall below the customizable min level, the CMMS sends you an alert, so you know to get the next purchase order ready. But that's also a breeze because you have all your vendors' contact info inside the CMMS, and the software helps you more by partially automating the purchasing process. Later, when the inventory arrives, there's a simple process for updating the numbers in the CMMS, including intuitive ways to count partial and complete deliveries.
Work order templates
When you first get a new asset, it makes sense to follow all the recommendations from the manufacturer. They're the ones who designed the equipment, so they know it best. Also, there are likely provisions in the warranty that require you to perform (or avoid performing) specific inspections and tasks.
But over time, the real experts for that asset are the techs on your team who have working on it most, learning all its secrets. At that point, it likely makes more sense to start doing what you know works, regardless of what's in the manual.
Think of it this way: when you first get married, it might make sense to ask your spouse's parents for tips on a good birthday gift. But once you're a decade into the marriage, those same parents are now asking you for advice. You know your spouse better than their own parents know them.
With assets and equipment, though, you can run into problems when all that insider knowledge exists only in the heads of one or two senior technicians. It's called "key person risk," and it means your department runs the risk of losing all that know-how if just a few key people leave, either through a transfer or retirement. When they walk out that door, so does all that knowledge.
The way to remove the risk is by safeguarding maintenance know-how inside the CMMS, in templates packed with checklists and instructions. Whenever you generate a new work order, you can add the template with just a few clicks, instantly giving the techs what they need to solve problems using the department's favorite SOPs and best practices.
And when those key techs leave the department, you still have all their insights, and it's safe and accessible to the whole team.
Show compliance with the activity log
It can vary between industries, but generally, everyone has to find ways to stay compliant with government regulations and industry standards.
Hippo helps by making it easy to set up and schedule preventive maintenance inspections and tasks, manage on-demand work orders, and make sure techs do work properly with work order templates packed with checklists and instructions.
But that only covers the first part of compliance, which is becoming compliant. There's a second part, though, and it can be equally as challenging: proving that you're compliant.
The bad news about compliance is that it's sort of like those math quizzes from high school. It's not enough to have the right answer; you need to also "show your work."
The good news is Hippo makes it easy. Remember, with a modern CMMS, all your data is in one place, where it's safe, secure, and searchable. That means when you have to prove you did the right work on the right schedule, all you need to do is use the software to auto-generate some reports for you.
You can also drill down into individual work orders to check the Activity Log, which tells you for that work order exactly who did what and when they did it.
The OSHA inspector wants to know the last time someone inspected the safety rails on the press? You can look that up right away. A different inspector wants to know how long it took from your team to close out a specific safety-related work order? It's right there in the log.
Increase transparency and enforce accountability with better tracking
When you're able to track and trust your data, you can finally see what's going on in your department. Finally, you know what's working and what's not, giving you insights into how to best fix problems with assets, equipment, inventory, and even people.
Once you know which asset is costing you most to keep up and running, you can start to look into why. Is it time to retire the asset? Should you look at a new supplier for the parts and materials? Or, do you need to review and update your SOPs for on-demand work orders and PMs?
And what you learn about your assets, you can also learn about the techs who work on them. Are close-out rates roughly the same across techs? Is there someone on the team whose repairs tend to need fixing?
There's also the flip side, where data insights show you what's working well. In fact, CMMS is a great way to highlight the maintenance department's contribution to the entire organization's bottom line.
CMMS benefits are not guaranteed
That's not a phrase we use a lot, but it is true. In fact, it's not uncommon for CMMS projects to fail. That means you need a CMMS provider that's committed to your long-term success and knows a lot about successful CMMS implementations. First, you want to make sure they have a solid onboarding process with dedicated instructors and a variety of resources, including recorded videos and live online lessons. Then check out their ongoing support systems.
CMMS software can deliver a lot of benefits. Some of them apply to all industries, while others are more industry-specific. To get a fuller picture of the types of benefits you can expect, you need to reach out and start talking with CMMS providers. Once they know more about your organization and the challenges you're currently facing, they can give you a more tailored list of benefits and explain how they can work with you to make sure you see them.
But what if your next step is convincing the boss your department needs a CMMS? Send them the following section, a concise summary written right for them.
Summary of CMMS benefits
There are plenty of buzzwords surrounding the benefits of CMMS software, but what do they really mean? How can a CMMS really deliver? Many of the benefits come from how the system is set up, which is a central database accessible through a clean, clutter-free UX design. Once all your data is in one place and accessible from anywhere, you can easily capture and share data, making everything faster and more reliable. Work stops slipping through the cracks, and the maintenance team can not only schedule ahead but also see exactly what they accomplished and how they did it, making it easier to re-enforce and recreate successes. And what this all boils down to is cost savings not only for the maintenance department but the entire organization. When your maintenance team has a CMMS, they can deliver more uptime for less money. You get more productivity for lower costs across the board.