Although U.S. and Canadian manufacturing sectors were both hit hard by the 2008-2009 recessions, each has experienced recoveries resulting in continued growth. According to FRED Economic Data (2017), the U.S. reported a record level third quarter in 2016 of approximately $2.18 trillion in industrial output. In Canada, manufacturing sales were reported up by 1.5%, amounting to $51.8 billion in November 2016 (Statistics Canada, 2017). In each case, upward trends have been observed since bottoming out during the recessions. It is also noteworthy, that in March 2017, the U.S. manufacturing industry reportedly employed 12.4 million people (FRED, 2017), while the Canadian manufacturing industry employed 1.8 million people during 2016 (Statistics Canada, 2017). These indicators attest to the importance and enormity of the manufacturing industries in both countries making them large contributors to their respective economies.

Given the observed growth in the manufacturing sector and the challenge of economic recovery, it is not surprising that a growing number of manufacturing companies are seeking ways to increase productivity and efficiency and above all, improve their bottom lines. For these reasons, companies are turning toward Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) systems. CMMSs are highly sophisticated software systems that utilize thousands of data points which at any given time, can provide a user an overview of a facility’s operation or; it can provide the status of an individual piece of equipment. Current CMMS softwares offer businesses the ability to track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets requires preventive maintenance or repairs. Recent innovations in the software include secure cloud-based interfaces, mobile device accessibility, and paperless functionality that further increase ease of use. Below are six reasons why a CMMS software is critical to manufacturing plant management:

Reduce Equipment and Machine Downtime

A manufacturing comp any’s ability to function profitably largely depends upon the efficiency of its operation. If there is a breakdown on a piece of equipment, productivity will be directly impacted. Since unexpected equipment failure can occur, the key is to ensure that any downtime in a company’s operation is minimized. CMMSs provide real-time access to data such as equipment identification, parts needed, manuals, schematics, vendors, images, maintenance history, contacts and contact information, etc. via desktop and mobile devices. Moreover, work orders can be created and transmitted using the same media almost instantly. Being able to locate and identify a problem, create a work order and then transmit it almost instantaneously from anywhere a user may be, results in saving money, energy and valuable down time.

Improve Labor Utilization

Companies who do not utilize CMMSs tend to respond to equipment maintenance reactively. In other words, they spend time, money and energy responding to equipment breakdown only after it occurs. The goal of effective maintenance is to keep all equipment in top operating condition through routine preventative maintenance checks and replacing or repairing parts as needed. Having CMMS systems in place allows companies to conduct and properly record preventative maintenance checks. Conducting scheduled PMs means less unexpected equipment failure and shorter down times. Moreover, since PMs can be scheduled during low usage times, the impact on a company’s operation can be greatly reduced. The result is better functioning equipment and optimal labor utilization.

Extend Equipment Life

Regardless of the industry, manufacturing companies invest heavily in their production equipment. In most cases, it is more economical to maintain an expensive piece of equipment than to replace it. Apart from the actual capital involved in replacing a piece of equipment, the added cost of production delays while waiting for it to be installed also needs to be considered. Downtime impacts greatly on production. A CMMS alerts users to scheduled maintenance checks on all equipment. By conducting regular PMs on equipment, companies can ensure that each piece is kept in top operating condition and in doing so, will extend the life of equipment in place. The result of scheduled PMs is a higher return on investment (ROI) because of the savings on equipment replacement as well as associated downtimes in production.

Get Email Notifications for Upcoming Preventative Maintenance

The next step in understanding the value of a CMMS is knowing that the software can be programmed to provide advance email notifications of each PM. This feature is important for a couple of reasons. First, since many manufacturing plants have hundreds of pieces of equipment of various types, it is important to schedule PMs strategically such that the actual checks can be done most efficiently. Having advance notifications of the PMs will allow maintenance staff to allocate the appropriate amount of time and staff to conduct the checks. Second, by having advance notification of PMs, a maintenance team has sufficient time to ensure that inventory is in stock or parts and materials can be ordered if necessary, and preparations can be made within the facility to conduct the checks.


Ensure Preventive Maintenance is Not Missed

Conducting PMs on a range of equipment is no easy task. Often a PM on a single piece of equipment involves multiple tasks or steps. A CMMS provides a checklist of all tasks involved in each piece of equipment. If preventive maintenance tasks are missed, the CMMS sends alerts to managers as well as a report to take proper action.

Get Detailed Information on Important Metrics

Among the many benefits of CMMS systems is its ability to provide real-time information on a variety of metrics that relate specifically to the functioning of a company. On the maintenance of a manufacturing plant, the following metrics are important considerations:

  • MTBR, Mean time between repairs – This metric refers to the average number of repairs conducted in a timeframe. It is calculated by taking the total necessary instances of repairs during a given timeframe and dividing it by a specific timeframe such as “months.”
  • MTBF, Mean time between failures – This metric refers to the projected time lapsed between equipment failures. For examples, if a piece of equipment broke down at 250 hours and again at 300 hours, the MTBF is 250 hours. Being aware of the MTBF will help predict future maintenance and reduce large repairs. The goal is to strive for a higher MTBF.
  • MTTR, Mean time to repair – This metric represents the average time required to repair equipment. It is calculated by taking the total unplanned or corrective maintenance time of failures and dividing it by the total number of corrective or unplanned maintenance work orders. As efficiency resulting from scheduled PMs increases, it is expected that the MTTR will likewise decrease.

Manufacturing plants are challenged to find the most efficient and effective ways to grow and be profitable. Having equipment and operations function in top form is a large part of that equation. Due to the complex nature of modern manufacturing facilities, outdated pencil and paper management strategies are considered less viable options in achieving these goals. CMMS systems can automate maintenance management in less time, energy and labor utilization. For these reasons, CMMSs are a preferred choice for manufacturing companies who want to stay on top of the ROI growth curve.


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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