It’s easy for businesses to underestimate the importance of preventive maintenance system. After all, it goes on behind the scenes, doesn’t generate profit, and is usually only called on when something needs to be fixed. As a result, many organizations have reactive maintenance programs where success is judged more by the speed of repairs than the ability to prevent equipment failure. This approach damages the bottom line — particularly in manufacturing organizations, where even minor equipment failure can derail core business activities.

The problem is, traditional approaches to facilities management make it hard to get preventive maintenance right. With paper and pencil or Excel, it’s hard enough just to keep on top of current work orders. Prioritizing the most important repairs, using worker time in the most efficient way, stocking needed parts and keeping up with routine servicing schedules can be next to impossible — it’s just too much information to organize. As a result, facilities management and maintenance departments are stuck forever playing catch up.

Preventative maintenance software from Hippo CMMS allows you to keep track of everything going on in your maintenance department without frantically digging through stacks of paper or scrolling through thousands of spreadsheet entries. It reminds you about needed repairs and orders, and allows you to efficiently track, organize and delegate responsibilities to your team, ensuring you’re always one step ahead of needed repairs. Want to know how a  preventative maintenance system can help you? Here are the eight most common ways a preventive maintenance software can save you money:

1. Track maintenance costs

You might be thinking, “I already track maintenance costs with spreadsheets/binders/stacks of post-its.” But if you have boxes or filing cabinets full of receipts and invoices, records of labor and overtime costs and other paperwork, you’re probably not analyzing it. Even in Excel, it’s hard to track employee hours against productivity, or see how much money your department has spent fixing a particular piece of equipment (or keeping a specific department running). And if you’re still using paper and pen, you’ll have even less visibility into how costs breakdown.

Preventive maintenance software from Hippo gives you the ability to analyze your cost data — not just store it. Hippo Reports allow you to sort through monthly and annual cost for maintenance, inventory and labor — both maintenance staff and outside contractors.

This allows you to make strategic, cost-cutting decisions; if outside contractors are better at machine repair, you’ll see it, and be able to reassign future work to save money. If a particular division is going through spare parts faster than it should, you’ll be able to investigate, and make sure staff are servicing equipment carefully and using department resources appropriately.

2. Choose the right time to replace aging equipment

Just because you can fix anything, doesn’t mean you always should. As equipment ages and needs more frequent servicing, it’s easy to fall for the sunk cost fallacy; you’ve already put so much work into keeping it operational, after all, and swapping out one more part, or performing one more tune-up won’t cost nearly as much as replacement.

It’s also easy to overlook the other costs of old, unreliable equipment. The productivity lost by an office copier that frequently breaks doesn’t show up in the maintenance leger, nor does the safety risks of an old and unreliable failsafe.

Hippo’s preventive maintenance system allows you to make timely replace decisions instead of holding onto a piece of equipment until you can’t fix it anymore. Hippo CMMS software records the complete repair history of every piece of equipment. With our Asset and Equipment Management System, you can quickly see the maintenance record of your compressor, floor buffer, or punch pressor along with warranty information, scheduled maintenance and more. By monitoring decreasing reliability and mounting costs, you’ll be able to improve productivity and control Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

3. Prioritize and automate your maintenance tasks

Paper and pencil maintenance and facilities management departments approach most maintenance tasks like a shopping list. They might schedule big tasks that need to be done at a certain point (for example, renovating a section of the building when it’s not being used) but most routine maintenance is just added to the queue. In many cases, the process is even more informal: departments request repairs whenever they remember them, and maintenance takes care of those repairs when they decide to. A preventive maintenance checklist may be handy but it wont do the job alone.

The problem is, maintenance tends to be performed according to emotional priorities — not in the order that makes most sense. If Jim on your maintenance crew runs into Bob, and Bob asks him to fix a leaky faucet or tinker with a cooling system that isn’t working well enough to keep him comfortable, Jim might do it before more important tasks — either because he likes Bob, or to get it off of his mind. If Jim gets a big list of work orders with no other instructions except “get it done,” he might start with the easiest one, or the one that he enjoys doing, even if other tasks are more important.

This can lead to poor efficiency, facilities appearance, equipment breakdowns and even injury; complex safety tasks can be neglected in favor of simpler but less important fixes, or equipment can be installed before it’s adequately serviced, leading to increased risks, cost and liability.

Just by shifting work orders to the digital realm, preventive maintenance cuts costs and makes it easier to prioritize work orders, ensuring that crucial tasks are taken care of when they need to be. Hippo CMMS software goes further, enabling you to create, assign, and track work orders from any computer or mobile device, highlighting the most urgent work as well as tracking employee output. Employees will also be able to create work orders in the field, speeding up communication. Managers are automatically notified of new work orders and are able to swiftly assign priority status.

4. Safeguard against equipment failure

Hippo CMMS facility management software doesn’t just help with one-time work orders. It also helps you keep up with routine service that keeps your equipment in peak operating condition. With Hippo CMMS’ preventive maintenance management software, you can create automatic, calendar-based work orders that can take care of repetitive tasks, such as battery replacements or periodic machine lubrication. 

You can also automate work orders based on the condition of any piece of machinery. For example, meter-based PM’s can automatically generate vehicle work orders at certain mileage intervals. Meter-based PM’s are also perfect for businesses belonging to the manufacturing sector, as the system can automatically generate a PM for factory equipment every hundred hours of operation.

5. Improve inventory control

Controlling inventory with paper or a spreadsheet is a constant struggle. Not only do you have to make sure everything is stocked in a limited amount of space, but you have to make sure you can find everything. But between sheds, closets and storage racks, it’s easy to run out of parts you think you have, or to end up with extra supplies.

Trips to local hardware stores for a last minute part increase inventory prices, and cost you extra worker hours as well. In industries such as manufacturing where parts may only be available through specialized vendors, this can lead to downtime and project delays, which can have much greater costs to your organization.

Additionally, as old equipment is replaced, granular changes in design can render your spare parts unusable; not only does this waste money, but it’s often not noticed until employees try to service the new equipment with the old parts, only to find out (usually once the machine is disassembled) that they need to order the newer version. That means more maintenance delays and costly downtime

Preventive maintenance software can help you stock smarter and track better, so you’ll always have what you need on hand. The Hippo CMMS Inventory Management Software System stores complete part information, including:

  • An image of the part
  • The part’s serial number
  • The supplier
  • Any associated equipment
  • Quantity threshold (or the minimum amount of the part you need in inventory)

You can generate automatic inventory alerts, allowing you to contact suppliers before time runs out, and track part obsolescence as you replace associated equipment. This can also inform your repair/replace decisions. For example, you can choose new equipment to be compatible with replacement parts, or extend the life of a costly piece of equipment until parts run low.

Hippo CMMS also allows you to track storage location; in a large, complex facility, this can significantly increase efficiency, both by making it easier to store parts logically and by cutting down on the time it takes workers to round up the parts and tools they need. It also makes it easier to check equipment stores, ensuring the accuracy of your inventory records, and making sure valuable equipment hasn’t gone missing.

6. Keep workers on task

Traditional maintenance management wastes a lot of time in transit. Workers have to go back to the office to file paperwork, pick up new work orders or record completed maintenance tasks. Add in the time it takes to track down supplies and check in with bosses and other workers, and you’ve got a lot of wasted time before they can even start on their tasks.

Hippo CMMS lets workers spend less time rushing around, and more time doing their jobs. Our on demand work order management software has a built-in maintenance request portal, connecting customers, administrators and workers. Admins are instantly informed of new requests, and can quickly create and assign new work orders using priority, current status and other settings. Workers can receive work orders from the field using the Hippo mobile CMMS app, and automatically inform supervisors when the work order is updated or completed.

That also makes it easier to lead and supervise a team. You’ll know where your workers are and what they’re working on at any moment during the day, and you’ll have the flexibility to add or adjust work orders on the go. If an urgent task comes in, you’ll be able to look at a glance to find a worker who is nearby, doing a low-priority job, or has just completed a task. If someone calls in sick, you’ll be able to quickly reassign their most important tasks to other teammates. Not only will this save money by making your team more efficient — it’ll make you look good too!

7. Hold workers accountable

It can be tough to measure employee performance without preventive maintenance system; often, work orders are handed out on paper and filed away when they’re finished, but usually not carefully tracked. It can be hard to figure out who did what, how thorough they were, and how long it took. This can result in inefficient maintenance teams, and make it hard to reward good performance and retrain workers who need extra help.

Hippo Maintenance History Reports lets you track the performance of each worker at a glance. You’ll be able to see a variety of stats, including:

  • Regular, overtime and total hours
  • Regular, overtime and total cost
  • Number of work orders assigned and completed
  • Percentage of work orders completed
  • Percentage of work orders completed on time
  • Average labor, parts, invoice and total cost per work order.

Not only can this help you make smart staffing and training decisions for your onsite crew, but it also allows you to compare different outside vendors belonging to the same work category head-to-head, to discover which vendor preforms the best. 

8. Stop chasing after paperwork

Maintenance produces a lot of paperwork, but most departments don’t have the time or organization to deal with it effectively. Warranty cards, vendor contact information and even inspection forms can get lost, misplaced, buried in the back of boxes or just forgotten about. 

Anyone who has worked without a CMMS knows how much of a hassle this can be. Missing contact information can make it hard to get through to the vendor, or remember the extension of the person who handles your orders. If equipment goes bad quickly, a missing warranty can force you to pay for a repair or replacement that should be covered. And when manuals go missing for a complex piece of machinery, it can be much harder to service correctly.

Hippo CMMS organizes all of your information in an easy-to-find format. The Advanced Dash provides an interactive floor plan dashboard, which match your facility and equipment. This lets you visually link machines with the data that applies to them, so you can access warranty information, purchase dates and operating manuals with the click of a mouse.

All your vendor info can be stored in our vendor management software. You can sort vendors by work category, and quickly send email notifications for work orders. Our vendor portal lets you give them access to Hippo; that means your vendors can fit into the same workflow as onsite staff, receiving and filling work orders, and automatically informing you when they’re done. And, like staff, you’ll be able to easily track vendor performance, as well as cost, response time and other metrics.

Maintenance workers are the unsung heroes of the workplace. Behind every top manufacturer is a great maintenance team, keeping the machines tuned, the ventilation running and the facilities spotless. Spending hours chasing down lost parts and missing work orders, or heroically rushing to fix a broken gear means more stress, higher costs and less satisfaction in a job well done.Create a preventive maintenance plan that can guide you in the right direction. Whatever your industry, Hippo CMMS’ Predictive and Preventive Maintenance Management Solutions can give you the edge to keep your organization running like a well-ordered machine. 

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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