Businesses are constantly on the look out for better ways to streamline their operations, especially when it comes to improving their bottom line. This objective has become even more important in recent years because of highly competitive markets, technological changes and economic conditions.
What is a CMMS?
Until recently, business owners have relied on pencil and paper approaches to tracking their company operations. Spreadsheet methods whether done manually or using software such as Apple Numbers, Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets provide a limited range of analyses based on data input. While they are useful for bookkeeping and inventory control purposes or when making sales projections, they do not have the ability to address specific maintenance needs of companies. Since efficient maintenance management is central to successful company operations, a growing number of businesses of all sizes and from all business and industry sectors are looking for a more comprehensive solution. Taken together, these factors have paved the way for company managers to aggressively pursue options that will result in cost, time and resource reductions. Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) offers a reliable solution for these concerns.
For those new to maintenance management systems, CMMS software can best be described as highly sophisticated software programs that utilize thousands of data points that at any given time, can provide a user with an overview of a facility’s operation or alternatively, with the status of an individual piece of equipment. In terms of functionality, these systems offer businesses the ability to monitor inventory levels, track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets required preventive maintenance. Maintenance management software systems are well suited to companies spanning a broad range of industry, service and corporate sectors including manufacturing, mining, healthcare and hospitality, to name a few.
Here I outline the most valuable elements of the CMMS software and how businesses can benefit from them.
Without a doubt, the preventive maintenance (PM) component of CMMS software systems is consistently the major drawing card for a growing number of companies as their maintenance management solution. A well-planned preventive maintenance program assures maintenance managers of optimal working conditions for all company assets through regularly scheduled maintenance checks. In doing so, it conserves the life span of the equipment while at the same time saves time, resources and money because unexpected and costly breakdowns that can interfere with facility operations can be prevented.
Preventive maintenance schedules can be established for all equipment based on manufacturer’s recommendations, inspection schedules or equipment past performance histories. CMMS software sends alerts to maintenance supervisors about upcoming preventive maintenance, generates maintenance reports as well as provides analyses that can project future equipment operations. This powerful component saves time, resources and money as routine PMs can also be scheduled during operations down time thus limiting unnecessary operations interruptions.
One of the best CMMS software features is mobile accessibility, which means that users can access all data and system functions using their tablets and smart phones from wherever they may be. With the mobile access interface, work orders can be sent in real time without maintenance technicians having to return to a desktop computer or sending a paper work order using more traditional pencil and paper approaches. The mobile CMMS app feature increases response time to any unexpected maintenance events when and wherever they occur.
Image and Scanning Interfacing
With CMMS software’s mobile access feature, the system can also interface with photo and scanning features of tablets and smart phones. This means that technicians can send photos of equipment in need of servicing or barcodes for parts in need of replacement. These features increase accuracy in correctly identifying a piece of equipment in need of repair and/or a part to be ordered. This time saving tool eliminates the often laborious and error prone exercise of finding a serial number and then looking up a part number. Finding the right part is just a click or tap away when using CMMS software.
An architectural drawing is a rendering of an architectural design as plan and/or elevation views of a building or structure. Of interest to organization maintenance and management, architectural drawings also provide details within a structure – e.g. the placements of HVAC, plumbing, electrical, entrance doorways, sprinkler system etc. Architectural drawings are a useful tool when it comes to planning, allocating and resourcing equipment and supplies in large organizations; particularly those with more than one facility. As well, when there is a need to replace a large piece of equipment and / or add large quantities of supplies within a facility, these drawings are helpful in determining appropriate space allocation. A further benefit of having architectural drawings as part of an integrated CMMS software system is being able to identify the precise location of maintenance requirements by highlighting on floor plans where work orders need to be conducted. Finally, based on the locations of PMs or unscheduled maintenance, technicians can be deployed strategically. The overall benefits of having access to architectural drawings using a CMMS eliminates confusion and increases efficiency for service providers.
Hospital floor plan as seen in Hippo's CMMS Software
The CMMS software features described above are those that offer the greatest utility to business owners. The system’s easy to use dashboard, customizability and ability to accommodate growth and change within a company make automated maintenance systems are good investment. CMMS software (also known as facility management software) is a powerful and robust tool when used consistently and appropriately by maintenance staff. The systems offer business owners the opportunity for increased efficiency, a greater return on investment and of course, an increased bottom line.