Ask yourself: When did you last update your maintenance management system?
Is the answer anything like “a while ago,” or perhaps even longer? If so, then there’s a high chance that you are missing out on systems that could be saving your business vast sums.
Many businesses are still burdened or even crippled by ineffectual or outdated maintenance management software. Worse still, some businesses may not be using any software designed for this purpose at all. These businesses are not operating anywhere near as efficiently as possible, and are wasting time and resources. Profit margins are lower and the advantage is given to competitors, who may be able to offer customers a better value-for-money service.
Here, we explain what exactly maintenance management software is. We’ll then move onto the problems your business may be experiencing if it is using a substandard system, or no system at all. Finally, we’ll tell you what to look for in good software designed for this purpose.
What is maintenance management software?
You might have come across the term CMMS. This stands for Computerized Maintenance Management System. CMMS or maintenance management software can offer your business the following features:
- Preventive maintenance planning
- Work order management
- Asset performance tracking and reporting
- Inventory management
- Audit readiness
The software is designed to be a one-stop solution for optimizing the availability and performance of all assets. for preventing unplanned breakdowns and costly reactive maintenance, and for inventory control.
The cost of run-to-failure, reactive maintenance schedules
The alternative to using a CMMS is to run a reactive maintenance system. Many businesses operate this way. By this, we mean that little maintenance takes place unless it is critically required. Machinery is used until it eventually fails irreparably.
If reactive maintenance is your primary maintenance strategy, then you are not alone. Around 60% of asset-intensive businesses still operate this way.
Let’s look at the ways it costs businesses:
1. Through more frequent, unnecessary breakdown of equipment
When preventative maintenance operations are not taking place, this vastly increases the likelihood of equipment breakdown. Machinery and equipment may then be out of action for long periods of time, and nearly always at unpredictable times.
As you’ll be aware, emergency repairs are often very costly and can put a drain on cash flow.
These sudden breakdowns may also affect supply chains and client or customer relationships. This further eats into profit as well as affects reputation.
Under a reactive maintenance schedule, personnel may suddenly find themselves unable to work efficiently due to a lack of equipment. Whole business operations may grind to a halt. Many profitable working hours may be lost, seriously eating into profit.
2. By shortening the lifespan of assets
When pieces of equipment are not properly maintained, their lifespan is often reduced. This results in more frequent replacement and more capital outlay. If you are not following a preventative maintenance schedule, you are not getting the best possible value for money from each asset.
3. Through the slower deployment of assets
The vast majority of businesses need to be able to access their assets quickly. Not having the right resources at hand can slow productivity and eat into profits.
A good CMMS or asset management system will allow you to locate and deploy assets efficiently. If you are not yet using one, you are more likely to have out-of-action equipment or assets that are difficult to locate. This can make deployment sluggish.
Perhaps you are in a business that needs to rapidly deploy assets to help clients cope with emergency situations. Having out-of-action machinery can be damaging to your business. The same is true of businesses that need near-continuous access to assets, such as in the hotel trade. In the construction industry, not being able to deploy the right asset at the right time can bring whole projects to a halt.
4. By negatively impacting time management
Without a good CMMS, there will be little room for improvement in the streamlining of work orders and inventory control. A poorly integrated setup may mean your staff are needing to duplicate information across different systems. Perhaps they are even using a system that still involves large volumes of paper to rifle through.
One centralized location with the ability to generate reports, work orders and maintenance histories at the touch of a button would save valuable working hours and, of course, improve profitability.
5. By affecting critical decision making
Business leaders can make far more effective decisions if they are aware of where their assets are and if they are available. Having a system that enables personnel to view real-time data on assets wherever they are, even via a mobile app, makes a business far more agile.
If you are not using a system that allows you to do this, you are not operating as efficiently as possible and may be handing the advantage over to competitors.
What using CMMS could mean for your business
Computerized maintenance management systems can lead real improvements in streamlining operations. Here are some features that could make a huge difference in profitability:
- All asset information in one centralized location for improved transparency.
- Real-time data at the touch of a button for better decision-making.
- Streamlined asset management for improved productivity.
- A switch to preventative maintenance for a better asset lifespan.
- Lower repair costs.
- Minimized risk of equipment breakdown.
- Faster deployment of assets.
Look for feature-rich, easy-to-use software that offers all the above. If you are worried that a CMMS could drain IT resources, then cloud-based asset management software should provide the ideal solution. You can then utilize your new system across multiple devices, even mobiles and tablets, no matter where you happen to be. It should be possible to use this software in and out of the office, on a job via mobile app, or even from anywhere in the world.
Larger businesses from almost all sectors can profit from the acquisition of maintenance management software. Regardless of industry, the right CMMS software can make significant differences in all aspects of your business and at all levels, from time management, to inventory control, to decision-making by leadership. It is certainly worth the investment.
Andrew Piechowiak is the General Manager – Asset Management Business at SGE Group International, a multidisciplinary group of companies with core business interests in Asset Lifecycle Management, Land Development and Software. Aladdin is SGE’s proprietary Asset Lifecycle Management software, designed to empower FM, Maintenance and Asset teams across multiple industry sectors.