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Infrastructure projects can take years and cost tens of millions of dollars to complete, raising the question "How can you ensure you see a return on these massive collective investments?"

Infrastructure maintenance is the answer.

Before looking at infrastructure maintenance, it's worth locking down a solid definition of infrastructure. 

What is infrastructure? 

Starting with the widest possible definition, infrastructure is the facilities, structures, and systems we develop to support trade and improve our quality of life. 

There are many kinds of infrastructure, each with its own specific role, but they all fall under that one broad, basic definition. 

People tend to think it's the government that's in charge of all infrastructure, but there's also private infrastructure. 

Public 

Public infrastructure is developed, owned, and operated by the government. It can include: 

  • Transportation: roads, bridges, railroad lines, ports, and airports
  • Energy: power plants, electrical stations and lines 
  • Water: dams, aqueducts, sewers, and treatment plants 
  • Social: schools, hospitals, parks, swimming pools, and libraries 
  • Communication: telecommunication networks 

There's also a lot of "soft" infrastructure, which are services the government finds and runs, including courts of law, regulatory agencies, and the police force. 

A big part of the definition of public infrastructure is that it's open or provides services to the public. For example, everyone can visit the local library, and everyone gets to drink clean water from the water treatment plant 

Private 

Private infrastructure is the facilities, structures, and services at the foundation of a business. They are there to support business operations. Examples include office space, communication systems, software services platforms, and company roads. 

Unlike public infrastructure, here only company employees or customers use the infrastructure. 

Why is infrastructure maintenance important? 

Looking at the list of types of infrastructure, it's obvious: infrastructure is the physical building blocks of civilization. Without it, life becomes basically impossible. And even if it were possible, the quality would be depressingly low. 

Without the right infrastructure, you likely wouldn't be here. And if you were, you certainly wouldn't want to be. 

Maintenance is what keeps the infrastructure, and by extension many of the good parts of modern life, up and running. It also ensures that the infrastructure lasts for as long as possible, delivering a good return on our collective investments. 

How does maintenance management software make infrastructure maintenance easier? 

Infrastructure maintenance is important, but it's also challenging. You have to do a lot of work, and you have to do it properly and on time. 

Modern maintenance management software (CMMS) makes everything a lot easier by helping you capture, secure, share, and leverage critical data. 

Centralized data 

If you're still trying to run a maintenance program with paper or spreadsheets, you already know about all the baked-in frustrations. 

ScheduledWorkORders_Desktop

With paper, it's hard to generate or share data but very easy to lose it. There's only so much you can scribble onto a sheet of paper, so you're generally sending techs out with less than they need to work efficiently. But even if you could jam a lot of information onto a paper work order, there's always the real risk of you or your tech misplacing it. Remember, maintenance techs aren't working from behind desks. Out in the field, it's easy to accidentally lose or damage a simple sheet of paper. 

With spreadsheets, it's easy to generate data but hard to keep it all up to date and organized. Remember, two copies of the same file turn into two versions of the file as soon as someone makes even the smallest change to one of them. Everyone ends up working from different data. 

What's the difference between a copy and a version? Think of it this way: if you have a choice between a copy of the Mona Lisa and version of the Mona Lisa, take the copy. The copy is exactly the same as the original, right down to every brushstroke, every thread in the canvas. The version? It could anything from close to the real painting to something done by an untalented six-year-old child. 

A good CMMS solution helps you pull all your data together, so everyone on the maintenance team is working from the same, single "source of truth." 

And it's not just data about on-demand and preventive maintenance work orders. Your CMMS has comprehensive asset data, including lists of associated parts and materials, and even digital schematics and O&M manuals. 

It's everything you need to maintain your infrastructure. 

Scheduled preventive maintenance 

If you want your assets to last, you need a full set of scheduled preventive maintenance inspections and tasks. There's no other way to ensure you're finding and fixing small issues before they have a chance to fester and grow into budget-busting problems. 

A good CMMS helps you set up, schedule, assign, and track a preventive maintenance program. Once you've decided on your inspections and tasks, you can add them to the software as templates. Next, when you're generating and assigning PMs, you can quickly add all the information that's already in the template, including: 

  • Step-by-step instructions 
  • Customizable checklists 
  • Associated parts and materials 
  • Safety hazards 
  • Digital schematics and O&M manuals 

You can even add interactive site maps and floor plans, helping you get techs right where you need them, right away. Instead of them walking around in circles trying to find an asset or piece of equipment, they know exactly where to go. 

Always-on mobile app access 

And once they get there, they can use the mobile maintenance app to work even more efficiently. 

Remember, assets tend to be big and spread out. The last thing you want is for a maintenance technician to arrive onsite and then have a bunch of questions. With the mobile app, they get the answers they need. 

Is this the right asset or equipment? 

With bar codes, techs can instantly confirm they're working on the right asset.

BarcodeScan_Pixel

A quick scan of the bar code with the built-in camera on their mobile device shows unlocks critical asset data, including any open associated work orders. 

Did I do the work correctly? 

With direct image uploads, techs can request a remote visual inspection of their work before closing out. All they need to do is take a couple of quick pictures of their work before uploading them to the work order. Back in the maintenance office, the maintenance lead can check the work before giving the go-ahead to close it. 

Next steps 

Ready to take control of infrastructure maintenance? 

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.  

Quick summary 

Infrastructure is the collection of facilities, structures, and systems we use to support trade and improve our quality of life. It's everything from roads and bridges to libraries and swimming pools. Because they require large investments of time and money, the only way to see a return on our collective investments is if we can use them for as long as possible. And for that to happen, we need effective maintenance programs. Modern maintenance management software make that easier by helping you capture and safeguard data, set up and track preventive maintenance programs, and support maintenance techs out in the field.  

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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