Looking back twenty years ago, the most powerful home and office computers boasted having a hefty 64MB of SDRAM and a roomy 8GB hard drive. Wi-Fi access was unheard of and cell phones were just coming onboard in analog format only. Tablets and other portable devices weren’t even on the radar screen, email was typically the purview of university or military use and fax machines using thermal paper were considered the panacea for quick and reliable communications.
My have things changed! According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, 77% of all U.S. adults owned a smartphone and 92% of 18-29 year olds owned the same. Geo Marketing also found that smartphone use extends well beyond calling and texting with the average smartphone owner spending 3 hours and 23 minutes per day using apps. Statistics reported that in June 2016, apps accessed through mobile tablets were used on average 22.6 hours per month. Today, our personal and business lives are highly dependent on mobile devices that communicate and transmit information via cellular or Wi-Fi access. Given the growing popularity of mobile devices, it is not surprising that they are also becoming important business tools.
Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has recognized the benefits of mobile devices. And because of that, CMMS developers have integrated them into their systems. For those unfamiliar with CMMS software, they are highly sophisticated software packages utilizing thousands of data points that at any given time can provide a user an overview of a facility’s operation as well as the status of an individual piece of equipment. Apart from the addition of mobile device accessibility, other recent innovations in the software include secure cloud based interfaces and paperless functionality that further increases ease of use. When compared to spreadsheet software, current CMMS systems are much more robust and offer businesses the ability to track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets requires preventive maintenance (PM) or repairs. CMMSs have the ability to create different schedules based on prior equipment maintenance history, maintenance standards for individual assets, inspection times, technician availability, equipment locations and production downtimes. By reviewing operational data, modifications can be made to PMs to further improve efficiency while reducing costs. The software’s ability to customize PMs for businesses across all industry and service sectors is what motivates a growing number of companies to make the shift away from other maintenance management approaches.
The following are some of the benefits of a mobile CMMS software:
Today’s businesses are dynamic and fluid. In the past, it was common for employees to be relegated to offices or workstations. This is no longer the case today when multitasking responsibilities often require employees to move within and outside of their place of work. With a CMMS, facility managers and technicians can access the system from where ever they may be; in a facility, in the field or on the go. The CMMS system dashboard can be accessed on multiple devices including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. All maintenance management tasks including work orders or supply requests can be transmitted through the system thus replacing hardcopies that could often take several hours or even days to be retrieved and fulfilled. Importantly, lengthy time delays associated with having to return to an office workstation to fulfill these tasks are now totally avoidable.
Smart phones and tablets all have excellent cameras installed in them. Mobile CMMS app accessibility makes use of these excellent tools. As part of maintenance management, cameras can be an invaluable tool when it comes to documenting damage found on a piece of equipment or in an area in the facility. Once the extent of the problem is documented digitally, it can be attached to a work order so that proper repair planning can be made. For a maintenance software systems with mobile access capabilities, the benefit is that it provides the ability to capture images and transmit them as needed makes for a more effective and timely repair process.
Mobile CMMSs additionally come with an integrated scan code feature. With this feature, it is possible to automatically generate bar codes or QR codes for all equipment and assets within seconds. The Scan Code feature provides mobile users quick access to critical equipment data, open work orders, maintenance history, photos, manuals and other documents. This feature also serves as a shortcut to performing key functions such as submitting work orders, adding equipment details or taking the asset offline when in repair. With mobile access bar code scanning, it is no longer necessary to search the database with key words and filters for manuals or create work orders when a bar code can be simply scanned with a smart phone or tablet. Errors previously associated with incorrect part or serial number manual transcribing are completely eliminated with the bar code scanning feature. The mobile device bar code scanning capability adds flexibility to maintenance management in an efficient and time saving way.
The mobile device access features puts an end to overflowing filing cabinets and work orders that often wait days or longer to be filled as they stack up on a manager’s desk. The trend toward going paperless is growing and CMMS mobile access makes this possible for its customers. Having maintenance software with mobile access supports a paperless operation by making it possible to access work orders, preventative maintenance schedules, building floor plans etc. without the need for a printer or a place to store the paperwork. Maintenance software enabled mobile access is environmentally friendly because there is less waste when printouts are no longer necessary.
The cost-savings associated with mobile CMMS are realized when time is saved when work and parts orders can be made on the go, when errors ordering parts can be eliminated, when equipment in need of repair can be accurately identified and when it is no longer necessary to deal with piles of paperwork. By integrating mobile device technology into CMMS software, businesses can maximize use of these systems that ultimately will improve their company’s bottom line.