A computerized maintenance management system or CMMS is used to schedule and plan equipment maintenance the same way a material resource planning or MRP system schedules the ordering of raw materials and assemblies so you never run short or waste more money than necessary on storage. CMMS systems are not as expensive as MRP systems, but there is the cost of buying it, learning to use it and maintaining it. When is it worth the effort? Here are six signs your business needs a computerized maintenance management system.
The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Maintenance Management System
Too Busy Putting Out Fires
If your maintenance department is overwhelmed putting out fires – hopefully not literally – handling everything that is breaking down, and they don’t have the time to spend on required maintenance, you need a CMMS system as soon as you’ve brought in extra people to catch up on the backlog of repairs. The better choice is having a computerized maintenance management system so that you prevent most unexpected breakdowns with their attendant disruptions in production.
Maintenance Occurs Right Before Repairs Are Needed
When you don’t schedule maintenance, you may end up deferring maintenance until the equipment is nearly in need of repair. Think of the equipment that needs oil replaced periodically, and it tends to only occur after someone reports the equipment is smoking from burned oil or the motor is making extra noise because contaminants are affecting the mechanical components. A similar technology is used in drug storage systems in online pharmacies. While maintenance may take place before a total failure, the impact of this practice is that your equipment wears out faster than it would with proper maintenance. You end up replacing equipment sooner than otherwise necessary, literally paying for deferred maintenance with higher capital costs later.
Maintenance or Repairs – One of Them Goes on Overtime
Some companies end up wasting time and resources performing maintenance based on the calendar instead of when it needs to be done based on runtime. The end result may be several days a month where repairs are delayed so that preventative maintenance is done to prevent future breakdowns, or overtime is run up because you schedule repairs on top of the planned maintenance schedule. With a CMMS system, you can plan the maintenance as part of your staff’s intended workload to reduce, if not eliminate, overtime costs. A CMMS tool also allows you to schedule work around new equipment assembly and new repairs so that maintenance activities aren’t forgotten in the rush of higher priority work and end up on the overtime budget before it is too late.
Didn’t We Just Do This?
A CMMS system allows you to not only schedule maintenance tasks, but log how often it is being done. The data from a computerized maintenance management system allows you to see which pieces of equipment are requiring maintenance like oil changes or filter replacements more often than would be expected; now you can see exactly which equipment likely has a serious, hidden problem and plan to repair it before there is a catastrophic failure. A computerized maintenance management system also lets you schedule maintenance based on runtime instead of the calendar; this may let you do maintenance less often when the equipment isn’t run as hard and as long. CMMS systems can track when you take equipment offline so you don’t take staff away from critical tasks to change the oil or filters on something just turned on after having been idled for a few months.
What Is Asset Management and Site Monitoring?
Report generation is built into CMMS, so you can run reports for auditing maintenance department labor costs or let an industrial engineer determine changes to operations to minimize failures and maximize productivity. You can use the same reports to demonstrate that old equipment has an accelerating failure rate, so it is time to buy new equipment before a catastrophic, unplanned failure.
Furthermore, CMMS systems allow you to track the consumption of consumables used for maintenance activities from oil, glue, shims, filters and rags to replacement parts. With this data, you can plan the ordering of these consumables just as manufacturing resource planning ensures you have enough screws and sub-assemblies to build your product. Whether the need for these items is communicated to the purchasing department or has to be ordered by the maintenance manager informed when stock is getting low depends on the tool.
Depending on the CMMS tool you select, the maintenance management system may track the time required for each person to perform maintenance activities. If you have this data, you could assign the people who complete the needed type of task fastest to the job and send those who take the longest back for training so that they can complete it more quickly next time. You then invest training only in those who need it instead of lecturing the whole department about something most of them already know. Reports could let you see who uses more supplies than others for maintenance work, and you can learn how they are doing the task differently or determine if they are squirreling extra items away for personal use.
Manual? What Manual?
The computerized maintenance management system does not only track the schedule at which work must be done and the time allotted to it. They often let you store user manuals and work procedures so that maintenance staff always has the right work instructions and diagrams needed to do the job. The CMMS tool can be set up to provide checklists, too, so that no one misses critical verifications before turning the equipment back on. The checklists can be altered by the software to include monthly or annual tasks not necessary during more frequent maintenance so that it isn’t neglected because it was forgotten.
If you are too busy dealing with failures to prevent them from happening via periodic preventative maintenance, you need a CMMS system. If your deciding point to perform maintenance is when the equipment is about to fail, you should invest in a CMMS tool. If you have to choose between maintenance, repairs or overtime costs, you need CMMS. If you don’t know when you last did maintenance work or staff don’t know if they’ll have the information and supplies they need to do the work, you should get a computerized maintenance management system. If you don’t know which equipment is consuming spare parts and consumable supplies or send someone to maintain equipment someone else took offline, see CMMS as an investment in the productivity of your maintenance department.