Need to improve your maintenance management but not sure where to start?
We talked with Hippo CMMS Account Executive Lindsey Hawkes about the big challenges facing facility managers and some of the concrete steps you can take to make your life easier.
Stop relying on reactive maintenance
Back when you were growing up, being a firefighter looked like the best job in the world. Getting to ride around in a giant truck, sirens blaring. Running into fires to save people, everyone cheering.
But with maintenance, it's different. "The last thing you want to do is spend all day running around putting out fires," says Lindsey.
The solution is to make the move to preventive maintenance, where you can find and fix small issues before they have a chance to grow into big problems. With the right combination of maintenance inspections and tasks, you can ensure more uptime, less stress.
Start tracking and leveraging data
If you had to name your current top ten most important maintenance tools, would data even make the list? If not, you're missing opportunities to get better.
"With reliable data, you can start to make better decisions," Lindsey explains.
How does it work? Take this simple test.
How many of these questions can you answer about your maintenance operations?
- Which tech closed out the most work orders last month?
- How many PMs did the team close out last week?
- How much did you spend on parts and materials in total?
- Which asset is costing you most to keep up and running?
With the right data and automated reports, you could answer all of them easily.And with the answers, you could take concrete steps toward improving your department's performance.
Support techs with the tools they need
On the topic of tools, are you supporting your maintenance team with the tools they need to work more efficiently? When it comes to things like hammers, parts, and materials, of course, you have the basics covered. But what about the more technical tools they could be using to boost time on wrench.
"Mobile maintenance apps mean techs aren't wasting time going back and forth grabbing paperwork," Lindsey explains.
In a traditional work order workflow, techs have to first swing by the office to pick up their work orders. From there, they head back out to the assigned asset. If everything goes perfectly to plan, when they're done they go all the way back to get another work order.
If something goes wrong and they need to get clarification or ask for help, it's multiple trips back and forth, wasting time and creating delays.
With a mobile app, it's a lot easier for them to stay on the move, getting more done in less time. They can access new work orders directly from any mobile device, like a cell phone or connected tablet. And if they have any questions, they can add comments to the work orders or take pictures using the built-in camera before uploading them to the work order.
And there's an added bonus for you as well, Lindsey says. Because the app makes it easier for techs to capture data in real time, you get better, more reliable data. If techs have to wait until they're back at the office before they can write stuff down or punch it into a desktop, you're always running the risk of them forgetting or misremembering something critical. With the app, they can add data to the system right away, when it's fresh in their mind and still accurate.
Implement a CMMS or an EAM solution
For most organizations, the best way to move to preventive maintenance, start leveraging data, and get more from techs is by implementing either computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) or an enterprise asset management (EAM) solution.
But that creates a new challenge: How can you choose between a CMMS and an EAM?
The best place to start is by looking closely at the specific problems you want to fix. Before you can choose the right solution, you need to understand your problems. It's just like when you go to the doctor. Before they can give you the right medicine, they first have to figure out what's making you sick.
Know your needs
"Know what problems you’re trying to solve," Lindsey explains. From there, you can decide which is the best solution, a CMMS or an EAM.
Getting to the right answer (again, just like with your doctor), is both an art and a science, so your best bet is to work through the process with professionals in the industry. They have the knowledge and experience you need to get the platform that works best for you.
But Lindsey says a lot of facility managers can start by asking themselves if they feel they have issues with the team or the machines. Basically, when you think about where you'd like to see improvement, is it with how the team works or how the assets run?
Generally, a CMMS is great at helping you get more from the team because of all the ways it supports your maintenance techs and streamlines your workflows. EAM solutions are great at helping you get more from your assets because of all the ways you can turn raw data into actionable business intelligence.
Get only what you need
Lindsey says it's important for facility managers to not overshoot on the solution. Just like when you go to the doctor, you want to get just enough medicine to get better. No one needs full-blown operations and fistfuls of pills if all they have is a case of the common cold.
"Find the easiest solution that still solves your problems," he explains.
If it's mostly managing maintenance requests, streamlining the work order workflows, and setting up, scheduling, and tracking preventive maintenance inspections and tasks, you should look for a CMMS that's easy to learn, easy to use, and works right out of the box, without complicated integrations and fine-tuning.
The advantage is you have a shorter path to a solid return on investment, Lindsey says. "It lowers the cost of change management."
With Hippo, for example, implementation can be as quick as 30 to 60 days. Techs learn it quickly because it's easy. They then keep using it because it's easy and helpful. And the maintenance department don't have to invest time and energy modifying it to meet your needs. It just works right out of the box.
But if you need extra features and more robust reporting, it starts to make sense to go with an EAM. Back to the doctor analogy: if you have something more serious than the common cold, you need stronger medicine.
With an EAM, your path to a return on investment is longer, but it's important to remember that a shorter path won't get you where you want to be.
Now that you know some of the right questions you should be asking yourself, it's time to start talking with professionals to get the best answers.
Hippo's here to help you get the solution that works best for you, including answering your questions about maintenance management software, helping you book a live software demo, or even setting you up with a free trial.
Facility and maintenance managers face a lot of challenges, but there are steps they can take to improve overall operations. First, they should make the move to preventive maintenance and get out ahead of issues before they have a chance to develop into big problems. Second, they can start using data as a tool for better decision-making. Speaking of tools, they can better set up techs for success by giving them a mobile app that helps them boost productivity. A big part of making all these happen is implementing either an EAM or a CMMS. By looking closely at their needs, managers can choose the platform that solves their problems with the fastest possible return on investment.