Interactive site maps and floor plans are a great way to get your maintenance techs exactly where you need them, fast. Your team stops running around in circles, and starts moving in straight lines.
But with the right CMMS software, you can use interactive site maps and floor plans to do a lot more than just direct technicians. You can place new assets and equipment.
First, let's get the basic definitions out of the way.
It's easiest to define them in sections.
Remember all those jokes about old paper maps and trying to fold them back up? When your maps and plans are on a screen, you never have that problem, but what you need is a way to move everything around the screen, zoom in, and zoom out.
That's the interactive part, where you can move the map or plan around the screen, manipulating it to see more of the big picture or more of the finer details.
And you can also use one to get to the other. When you're looking at a site map, you can tap on a room to bring up the associated floor plan. For example, you're looking at a site map of a manufacturing facility. Tap on the boiler room and now you're looking at a floor plan of that one specific room.
The difference between the two is simply scale. Site maps cover large areas, while floor plans represent smaller ones.
For some facilities, you generally only have one or the other. So a lumber yard is one big site map, but a 10-story building is a collection of individual floor plans. It's just as common to have facilities with a combination of maps and plans.
Definitions out of the way, let's look at the benefits.
The first two help technicians work more efficiently, boosting the department's time on wrench maintenance metric. Basically, site plans and floor maps increase the amount of time techs are actively working on assets and equipment.
At first, this might not seem like a big deal, but it is. How hard could it be to find an asset?
Consider the average hospital or sports area. They're basically endless corridors packed with identical doors. And a college campus or retirement community? Now you have multiple buildings, each their own self-contained maze of floors and doors.
But with the right site maps and floor plans, techs easily find where they're needed.
In some cases, the techs can see right away which asset needs work. Let's say you send them to fix a broken handrail at the retirement community's swimming pool. As soon as they arrive, they can see which one is broken.
But what about if you send them to fix one of the filters? Now it's a bit more challenging for the tech to know which of the three identical filters to fix. And what if it's not a repair but a preventive maintenance task or simple inspection? There are three identical filters, all in a row, but only one of them needs maintenance work. How do they know which is the right one?
They know by checking on the interactive site maps and floor plans. By tapping on the assets and equipment plotted on the maps and plans, techs can instantly pull up all associated open PMs and work orders.
Many modern trades have been using apprenticeships since back in the late Middle Ages, and there's a lot to be said for learning by watching and on-the-job training.
But there's just as much to be said for hitting the ground running.
When new technicians join the department, they often need a certain amount of handholding while they learn the lay of the land. Interactive site maps and floor plans do a great job of speeding up the process. Now, instead of having to first ask a more experienced technician to be their tour guide, you can assign a work order to new techs right away, confident that they'll get where they're needed.
There's a concrete benefit here, but let's arrive at it with a quick detour through some philosophy.
The famous line "The map is not the territory" sums up the theory that an abstraction is never the thing it represents. Another famous way of putting this is Alan Watts' line that "The menu is not the meal."
But here's Alfred Korzybski's full quote: "A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness."
And that's the big advantage of a map or floor plan. It actually looks like what it represents.
Here is a list of open work orders. Because they're all in a column, it's easy to see their relative due dates and levels of priority. Thanks to how the information is designed and laid out, we can more easily manage and prioritize the work.
But when we plot them on a map, we see new relationships.
We can see how close assets and equipment are to one another, and that helps us assign technicians based on where they're going to be, cutting the time techs spend moving around the facilities, boosting efficiency.
We usually think of maps and plans as tools to find out where things are. But we can also use them to find out where things should go.
When your organization is preparing to bring in a new asset or piece of equipment, you can use your maps and plans to find the best spot. With a quick glance, you can see where you have open space, what assets are going to be in the way, and what needs to be moved around to make room.
Interactive site maps and floor plans are just one of the many CMMS features that boost productivity, cut costs, and make your life easier.
If you're ready to learn more about modern CMMS software benefits, it's time to reach out to a provider. Once they have a good idea of your current maintenance challenges, they can walk you through your options, helping you find the solution that works best for you.