Friction in your workflows? With old-fashioned maintenance management systems, things slow down or break down every time data moves or changes. It's nearly impossible to reliably get data from one person to the next, and more often than not, you're wasting your time trying anyway. That data's already out of date.
But modern maintenance management software is an industrial-strength lubricant. Let's look at two workflows to see how modern CMMS software gets things flowing.
What is a maintenance workflow?
When large assets fail, the maintenance department hears about it right away. But when there are issues with smaller assets or when an asset hasn't failed yet but is already showing all kinds of warning signs, often the only way maintenance knows is when they get a maintenance request. Someone noticed a problem and is trying to report it to you.
They might send you an email, leave you a voice mail, or leave a slip of paper on your desk. The problem is that it's hard to keep track of all these requests when they're coming at you from all sides. And not only are they in different formats, they're also of different quality. Not everyone knows what information to include, and that means a lot of your maintenance requests are more confusing than helpful. It's like when someone goes to their mechanic and tells them the car is making a funny sound. Things go a lot faster when the mechanic knows what that sound is, where it's coming from, and when and how often the car is making it.
What's the impact? When maintenance requests are disorganized, assets don't get fixed as quickly as they could, increasing downtime and killing productivity. And when maintenance requests are incomplete or confusing, maintenance departments waste time trying to figure out what they need to do. When techs don't know what they're dealing with until they get there, it's impossible to come fully prepared with the right parts and materials. Time on wrench suffers.
And that's just at the very start of the workflow. From when a maintenance request comes in to when the maintenance department is crunching accumulated work order data to learn more about the maintenance big picture, there's friction.
When it comes to the on-demand work order workflow, modern CMMS software gets your data moving smoothly as you people request maintenance, and you generate, assign and track work orders.
Maintenance software benefits for workflows
Maintenance management software's open request portal means everyone knows how to reach you. Instead of trying to track down your phone number or email, everyone knows the one, best way to send in requests. On top of that, because everyone is using the same template, you always get the information you need. Now you have all your requests in one place and they all have the information you need, it's much easier to prioritize them.
Once the requests are in and you know the order you're going to tackle them, it's time to start building the work orders. Instead of forcing you to write everything out longhand or type it into a spreadsheet, maintenance management software lets you generate data-packed work orders with just a few clicks. Work orders include:
- Customizable checklists
- Step-by-step instructions
- Associated parts and materials
- Digital copies of schematics and O&M manuals
A good CMMS even has interactive floor maps.
Techs know exactly where to go with interactive floor maps
Because it's so easy to include information, techs get work orders with everything they need to come prepared, follow all best practices, and close out early.
Assign and track
Modern maintenance management software is backed by cloud computing. That means all the data is kept in a database everyone in the maintenance department can access from anywhere, at any time. When you assign a work order, techs can use any mobile device to access it. No more running back to the office to pick up paperwork. And no more emailing spreadsheet files back and forth every time there's a change. Because it's all kept in one spot, everyone is working from the same up-to-date data. When you assign a work order, the tech knows right away, and when they close it out, you know right away.
Importance of maintenance workflows for facilities
With older maintenance management systems, both paper- and spreadsheet-based ones, you're spending a lot of time and effort guessing on preventive maintenance tasks and frequencies, and then missing those PMs anyway.
Because you don't have easy access to an assets' work order history, it's hard to know what preventive maintenance tasks to set up and how often to schedule them. You can always go by the manufacturers' recommendations, but those are generally only good when the asset is fairly new. As time goes on and your asset has a maintenance history, you need a preventive maintenance program tailored to the asset's specific needs.
And with older systems, PMs easily fall through the cracks. It's not hard to remember to change a flat tire. You can't drive the car until you do. But what about rotating the tires? That's a lot easier to forget because there are no short-term negative consequences. Without a solid reminder, it's not going to get done.
What's the impact? When your PM program is off, costs rise. When you under maintain assets, they're more prone to failure, there's more unplanned downtime, and productivity falls. All of this costs money. On the opposite end, when you over maintain assets, you're wasting money on labor, parts, and materials.
When it comes to the preventive maintenance workflow, modern CMMS software smooths over the bumpy parts as you set up, schedule, and fine-tune a preventive maintenance program.
Set up and schedule
A good CMMS does more than collect data; it makes it searchable and "crunchable." Need to know the last time an asset was worked on? You can find that information easily. Need to know which asset cost you the most in labor and parts over the last six months? Or how often an asset has failed over the last year? The software can crunch the numbers for you and get you those answers easily.
Once you're able to work with an asset's maintenance history, you can set up and pick the right preventive maintenance tasks and set the right frequencies. The next step is to schedule them in the software so you can easily see them approaching on your calendar. Preset reminders also help ensure PMs don't slip through the cracks.
Everything you need to do is right there in front of you
Even the best preventive maintenance program needs to change over time. As assets age, their maintenance needs change. You might have only needed to change the oil every so often on that 1990 F150 back when it was brand new, but two decades and four owners later, it might be drinking oil pretty frequently. There's no question that you need to make periodic changes to your PM program. But how do you know which changes to make?
Auto-generated reports make sense of all that data
Just like when you were setting up PMs, the process of fine-tuning a preventive maintenance program ranges from gruelling to impossible when using old-fashioned paper- and spreadsheet-based systems. But with modern CMMS platforms, the software does all the heavy lifting for you. It collects the data, keeps it safe and up to date, and then crunches it for you. It's not mind-numbing rows of endless, disconnected numbers. Instead, it's insight-packed reports with easy-to-read charts and KPIs.
With older maintenance management systems, there's friction every time data moves or changes. Modern maintenance management software removes the friction.