Although its roots are in manufacturing, many different industries have since adopted CMMS software, including everyone from religious institutions to governments, retail locations to non-profit organizations. These days, it's just as likely for a sports arena or performance venue to have a CMMS as it is for a hospital or hotel. And this expansion has been not only across industries but also within organizations. CMMS software isn't just for the maintenance department anymore.
Quick disclaimer: Before looking at the ways departments and people benefit from a CMMS solution, it's important to point out that for the sake of simplicity, it made sense to remove a lot of overlap and repetition. For example, on the list, reporting and budgeting appear only under C-level executives, but in reality, maintenance leads are just as likely to use autogenerated reports to make data-driven decisions for their departments.
That out of the way, let's look at who uses CMMS software and what they're able to accomplish. And although it's true that it's not just for the maintenance department anymore, in most organizations, they're still the ones who use it most, so it makes sense to start there.
Maintenance leads schedule preventive maintenance and track performance with CMMS software
Efficiently running the maintenance department comes down to work order management, including both on-demand and scheduled tasks. Modern maintenance management software makes this much easier by standardizing processes and strengthening communications.
For on-demand work orders, requests come in through the open maintenance portal. Instead of people leaving you random voicemails or sending confusing emails, all maintenance requests come in through the same place, and because the form has set fields, people know which information to include. Once submitted, requests are then ready for review and approval. Maintenance leads can quickly generate, prioritize, delegate, and track work orders packed with everything technicians needs to close out efficiently, including:
- Complete repair and maintenance histories
- Step-by-step instructions
- Customizable checklists
- Digital schematics, images, O&M manuals
- Associated parts and materials
- Interactive site and floor plans
Because modern maintenance management software is backed by cloud computing, technicians can access data-packed work orders from anywhere using any Internet-connected mobile device. And communication is two way. When they have a question or need to explain a step they've taken, they can easily add task comments to work orders. Before they close out, they can also upload pictures of their work, requesting a remote visual inspection.
For preventive maintenance, maintenance leads can develop an efficient program by incorporating manufacturers' recommendations and asset repair and maintenance histories. For example, if the department has replaced one of the belts on the forklift three times in the last three months, they can schedule a visual inspection on the belt for once every three weeks. They can also look into finding another supplier for forklift belts. Once the PMs are in the software, they autogenerate based on date or meter. And because everything is right there on the calendar, nothing gets missed. When a PM needs to be rescheduled, the maintenance lead can simply drag and drop it to a later date.
In fact, they can move around PMs one at a time or pause the entire preventive maintenance program. For example, there are organizations that are currently in a complete shutdown because of COVID-19. No one is in the facilities. Instead of letting a long list of missed PMs pollute their close-out rate numbers, organizations can effectively turn off their PMs. To learn more about COVID-19 shutdowns, check out COVID-19 Shutdowns and CMMS Software.
Maintenance leads can use the software to track not only their preventive maintenance programs but also their technicians. Remember, modern maintenance management software tracks not only all the work that was done but also who did it.
Maintenance leads can quickly check individual technicians' performance, including total number of work orders completed, average time per work order, and number of overdue work orders. Better transparency creates increased accountability.
Maintenance technicians get help troubleshooting and safeguard know-how with CMMS software
With anywhere, anytime access to the software database, technicians always have everything they need to close out efficiently. For example, each work order has a complete list of associated parts and materials. No more arriving at an asset only to discover they need to run back to the supply closet for a part. Work orders also have the asset's repair and maintenance histories, which means no more starting from Square One when trying to figure out what's wrong with an asset. To learn more about how maintenance management software helps technicians diagnose problems and work out the right fixes, check out Maintenance Management Software Makes Troubleshooting Less Trouble.
But the software is not just a place technicians get information. It's also where they can store "tribal knowledge," which are all the time-saving insights and clever hacks senior technicians have developed through long, direct experience with assets. The problem with this sort of information is that it's never written down and so exists only in a small number of technicians' heads. When new and junior techs are assigned a task, they can waste time tracking down the last person who repaired or maintained that asset. Without the "asset whisperer's" help, they can be unsure what to do. And in some worst-case scenarios, companies have to pay retired technicians to come back to help with tasks no one currently on staff knows how to perform. CMMS makes it easy to add detailed instructions to any work order thanks to templates. Once a template is created, new work orders can be easily generated using it as a base. Now when a senior technician retires, all they walk away with is a gold watch; everything they know about the assets stays with the organization.
Technicians can also add other types of information. For example, they can use the maintenance management software to track their hours and overtime. The work order software has built-in timers that make it easy for techs to track how much time they spend on each task, giving them a better understanding of how long certain tasks take and helping them better organize their time.
Facility managers take control of inventory and third-party vendors with CMMS software
Facility managers face constant pressure to do more with less, and that means they need tight controls on spending. When it comes to inventory, it's that same longstanding, never-ending challenge of needing to have the right part at the right time for the right price. Facility management software makes this challenging balancing act possible.
When the software is first set up, the facility manager can include all current inventory levels as well as customizable min/max levels. Setting these levels involves looking at past use and estimated lead times. If you use three cogs a month, and it takes a month to get more shipped, you'd never want to run below four or five cogs. Now that everything is set up, the software automates inventory tracking and maintenance.
Every time a work order is generated, it includes a list of the associated parts and materials. And when the technician closes out, those items are automatically removed from the running totals. Eventually, when any given inventory item dips below its min level, the software sends an email alert. The facility manager can then use the software to reach out to suppliers and place an order. When the order comes in, the inventory level is adjusted up. It's easy to see how automating the process saves money. Because you always have an accurate count and know when you're low and need to reorder, you never have to place expensive rush orders. It's always going to be cheaper to order early and safely coast on your remaining stock as you wait for fresh stock to arrive.
When it comes to tracking third-party vendors such as electricians and plumbers, facility management software helps facility managers ensure they're getting good value. First, it streamlines the whole process. Instead of a series of phone calls and emails, you organize everything directly through the software by generating and sending out work orders.
And because the work is assigned through the software, it can also be tracked by it. Now you know exactly how many work orders have been assigned to each vendor and their historical completion rates.
C-level executives gain transparency and accountability with CMMS software
Backed by cloud computing, CMMS software makes it easy to collect data, keep it safe, and then leverage it into actionable insights. Basically, it vacuums up data, makes sure you don't lose it, and then crunches it into easy-to-understand reports packed with graphs and KPIs. These autogenerated reports help paint the maintenance big picture, which is exactly when the CEO or CFO needs to see. They don't need to know how to fix the assets, but they do need to know how much it costs to keep then running. And making repair-or-replace decisions is a perfect example of why.
Asset management is all about getting the most value out of an asset during its useful life. You need the value coming out of the asset to be more than the money you're pouring into it to keep it running. At some point close to the end of an asset's useful life, those two numbers are going to be very close: the value it's delivering is just a bit more than the cost of maintaining it. By tracking a lot of different numbers, you should be able to pinpoint when the delivered value becomes less than the maintenance cost, which is when you need to stop maintaining the asset and replace it completely. If you don't time it correctly, the organization throws good money after bad. To learn more about repair-or-replace decisions, check out Repair-or-Replace Decisions Are Easy with CMMS Software.
IT managers support consolidation with CMMS software
IT managers used to spend a lot of their time, energy, and budget on a piece of CMMS software. The platforms were on-premises, and the IT departments were responsible for sourcing and maintaining all the servers and other required hardware, including workstations and terminals. On top of that, IT also looked after the updates and upgrades.
Things are so much better now. Modern CMMS solutions use the SaaS (software as a service) model, which means the provider looks after all the hardware offsite and does all the backups and upgrades behind the scenes. They also provide all the training and ongoing support. That does not mean that IT is completely hands off.
One of the things IT does with the CMMS is to connect it to other existing business solutions. A basic example of this is SSO (single sign-on), where one set of credentials allows a user to access numerous accounts. More complex examples involve using APIs to connect business solutions to share data and features. For example, resource management and purchase order information in the CMMS could be accessed and used by the human resources and accounting departments' software.
You get more done, faster, with CMMS software
CMMS software has expanded from its roots in the manufacturing sector, and organizations across industries now use it to ensure they are getting the most out of their assets, equipment, and facilities. Inside organizations, there is a growing list of departments and people who use the software to increase productivity and cut costs.
If you're currently looking for a CMMS solution, either for the first time or to replace a system that's not living up to what you were promised, now it the time to take that next step and reach out to providers. Once they know your current situation and the challenges you're facing, they can make informed recommendations about which CMMS solution is the best fit for you and your organization.