It has only been a few decades since the idea of paperless work environments has become popular. Instead of filing cabinets and loads of paperwork, cloud-based CMMS tools now allow field maintenance staff unprecedented freedom.
When computerized maintenance systems first showed up around 50 years ago, preventive maintenance was just an idea. But thanks to computer technology, this extremely useful feature has led to the birth of a whole industry dedicated to keeping the world’s industrial and commercial equipment smoothly functioning.
Those early CMMS were primitive by today’s standards and were designed to help business owners document, standardize, and verify manufacturing processes. In this article, we will discuss how the CMMS has evolved over time, as well as more recent developments in preventive maintenance systems. You can learn more about the benefits of computerized maintenance management systems here.
Preventive Maintenance Gets Easier
In a process involving multiple work streams, resources and departments, this previously meant forms and documentation would travel around the organization, with various signatures and approvals required. Bottlenecks such as a missing part or lost approval form could bring things to a complete standstill.
With the advent of CMMS tools, automated workflows became possible. Now, computerized workflows with specialized software making repetitive tasks a lot easier and faster. With a few mouse clicks, you can dispatch work orders and material requisitions, with online approvals done in seconds. In addition, barcode readers, wireless sensors and a host of technological developments have enabled automated data collection into the CMMS.
Instead of assigning inspectors to monitor equipment health, the sensors can now let you know of any upcoming issues before they occur, using modern sensors and condition monitoring techniques. The CMMS and the input from sensors can be leveraged for any kind of preventive maintenance efforts.
In a 2018 survey of the manufacturing industry worldwide, 53 percent of the respondents reported using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). This shows that the adoption of CMMS is growing steadily growing.
Over time, the best practices followed by an organization get codified and standardized across companies and departments. But today, people no longer have to relearn the standards each time someone is hired or refer to bulky manuals. Instead, the CMMS conforms to the industry best practices and incorporates lessons from decades of experience across companies. It becomes a repository of knowledge, which can be extremely valuable and can speed up the onboarding process of new technicians.
It’s All About Communication
In maintenance, it is key that the right work is done and the work is done right. And that requires excellent communication. Modern CMMS facilitates the flow of information to the right person at the right time, allowing both maintenance managers and technicians to stay on top of their responsibilities.
Whereas previously people would be assigned tasks according to a manual roster and required more supervision and meetings, now managers can quickly change work priorities, work orders, and due dates and communicate them quickly to the whole maintenance team.
Additionally, using the CMMS, maintenance managers can assign duties, create standardized maintenance processes and offer a stable communication platform for regular and emergency maintenance tasks.
Where previously a team would be following up with the store, parts vendors and other stakeholders manually, now they have mobile access to an up-to-date system that shows near real-time information. Consider that in 2017, 9 percent of respondents from the worldwide manufacturing industry reported using mobile devices that are fully integrated into a plant-wide computerized maintenance management system.
This winning combination of faster communications and mobility means less time spent in coordination and higher overall plant productivity.
Less Time Spent On Inventory Checks
With every company trying to optimize their workflow, the less time you spend on inventory checks, the more time you have to work on activities that actually add additional value to your company.
Before you could use maintenance solution that can automatically track your inventory, every so often, someone would have to do a manual inventory of the stock. Luckily, that is no longer the case as today we have automated scanners and software that can update the stock levels in real-time.
With fewer workers devoted to inventory, they can be reassigned to other tasks that demand attention, like ensuring maintenance orders are fulfilled in a timely fashion.
Easier Data Management And Faster Reporting
We all know that a business decision can only be as good as the information you based it on.
With the development of IoT and condition-monitoring technology, the amount of data about your assets you can gather can be overwhelming. Luckily, modern maintenance software can pick up on that constant stream of data and help you analyze the data and find the right answers through the use of complex algorithms.
And while this might sound complicated at first, it’s not that you need to know how all of those algorithms work. The only thing you need to do is to recognize which reports you need and have the ability to interpret the available data to make the right decisions.
The use of computerized maintenance systems has completely transformed the way companies do business. The impact goes well beyond cutting down on paperwork – the concept of predictive maintenance owes its existence to the developments in sensor technology and software analytics.
By implementing a CMMS, you not only help extend the life of equipment and prevent failures, but you also boost the productivity of your workers by empowering them to make decisions based on real-time information.
Compared to the manual maintenance operations of the past, modern computer-assisted maintenance leads to higher morale, fewer work interruptions, better safety, and higher quality products, which ultimately boosts your bottom line.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.