5 Steps to Build Your Training Program

Ninety percent of employees surveyed agreed training and development programs improved their job performance. Below are 5 steps to build your training program.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) out there. You can pick one, install it, and start using it with no problem. You could probably even do that with MaintiMizer™. However, without proper training you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with the multiple functions and ways of doing the same thing, so you’ll find yourself asking, “What are these reports even for?” If you go through the motions when it comes to new things, whether it be a new job, software, or system, you’ll end up sliding back into the old way of doing things.

Every company is different and has its own systems, so training isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Tailoring your training program to your company’s unique needs is what makes the program successful. At Ashcom, when we’re asked to train our customers on our software, some of the first questions we ask are these: “What are your company’s goals?” and “What are your goals for this training?”

Sure, we can come in, show you how to use the program, and leave. But we don’t think that’s enough. It leaves a gap between how to use the program and why you’re using it. Implementing a strong training program is as easy as answering, “What do you expect your employees to be able to do after they complete the training?” This ideology applies to any training program within your company—training new hires, adding new business systems, and management training.

There are five points you need to remember when creating a training program: Identify, Compare, Observe, Create, and Reinforce. These points apply when an outside trainer works with your company as well. Here’s how we define these five points:

  1. Identify

Identify clear goals that support both the organization and the individuals being trained. What are you trying to accomplish within your organization? Answers may include improving company culture, improving communication, or increasing productivity.

  1. Compare

Compare what your employees do now with what they need to do to meet the objectives ahead. Do they need new certifications or software systems?

  1. Observe

Observe the learning styles of your employees. Everyone learns a little differently. Observing how your employees learn, whether it’s through video, in-person training, courses with workbooks and hands-on training, or a mix of styles will help your employees retain the information you need them to know.

  1. Create

Create materials relevant to your program. Examples include workbooks, manuals, how-to videos or an in-depth, hands-on training program.

  1. Reinforce

Follow-up with employees to see if they are on track with the new systems or if they need further instruction.

Implementing anything new should be followed by in-depth training. A study of organizations in Belgium found that productivity was 23 percent higher for trained employees compared to untrained employees. According to a 2019 Education tech Company Structure study, “Seventy percent of employees say they are at least somewhat likely to leave a current employer for one that invests in training and development.” Set your goals, then set up your training programs around those goals. You can improve employee morale and communication and set your company up for long-term success with proper training.

Here’s what a few of our customers have said about our training program:

“We have done a lot of training. This was the most positive feedback I have received on an outside training opportunity. I think the message, delivery, and material were relevant and done in a professional and knowledgeable way. I believe Gutchess Lumber will benefit greatly from this training. Kim followed up at each stage of the process and left our team with the tools to be successful. We have been underutilizing this program and I look forward to better efficiencies in the maintenance department.”

“Tim was very informative. Took time to explain all segments of MaintiMizer™ and answer all questions with patience. Knowledgeable and I believe he went above and beyond to answer all questions”

“Tim and Ka Lok both did an excellent job showing us how to use the system more effectively and any questions they were unsure of was sent to their company to get resolution. Tim is great at presenting and discussing this program. Some areas and issues can be sensitive to people and Tim will diffuse them with a way to make both parties understand.”

 

 

 

5 tips to avoid overwhelm when implementing a CMMS

5 Tips to avoid overwhelm when implementing a CMMS

Avoiding overwhelm when implementing a new software or system in your organization is much easier than it seems. According to plantservices.com “With most modern software packages, the greatest cost can be installation and implementation.  Prices vary dramatically but a rule of thumb is one to three times the cost of the software.” To avoid the overwhelming sticker shock and to see a return on your investment, be sure to implement your software properly. You are not just buying software when you invest in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)—you are essentially changing the way you run your maintenance department.

 

Here are five steps to avoid overwhelm when implementing a CMMS to enjoy a better organized, efficient maintenance program while saving your company money.

 

  1. Research

Take the time to get to know what each software has to offer and why you may need or want certain features. Make a list of the things you need this software to tackle, and then narrow down your choices to a select few.

 

  1. Get Your Team Involved

Who will be using the software? Who will be managing it and who will be paying for it (if it is not you)? Present your list of needs for the software and ask if there’s anything missing. Also, ask what the top needs are—this will help narrow the search while giving your team ownership in the decision-making process. Present your top software choices and let your team view demos, features, and even be present on the initial sales call once you get to that point.

 

  1. Get Everyone on Board

After implementing steps one and two, getting everyone on board should be easy—or at least easier. Change is hard and making the greatest number of people happy is even harder. Take the path of least resistance by keeping everyone informed during the process. Achieving this step will help in decreasing the overwhelming nature of the task at hand.

 

  1. Training

I cannot stress this enough—make sure you understand all the components of the software. When it comes to a CMMS, some components can be overwhelmingly daunting. Ensure there is training available as well as a support team that suits your needs. If you prefer talking to actual people, makes sure that is an option. If you prefer videos, manuals, and quick how-to documents, make sure those are available. If you prefer hands-on training for you and your employees, make sure that is possible. Hands-on training from the software makers themselves can be worth its weight in gold. Learning how to implement a strong training program can be done, and our next blog will highlight how to do just that.

 

  1. Price Tag

Some people like to purchase whatever is cheapest, whereas others spend months hemming and hawing over whether they want anything at all because of the price. Let’s get real for a second — price should not be your main concern. We all have budgets to stick to; however, on average, it only takes about 14.5 months to recoup your initial investment on a CMMS. A CMMS can provide a maintenance cost reduction of as much as 25 to 30 percent. Reducing asset failures, employee downtime, and employee overtime only scratch the surface of what a CMMS can provide. I’m not saying you need to get the most expensive one—you should get the one that makes the most sense for your company. It may end up being the cheapest one after all. However, the price of a CMMS is nothing compared to the benefits of using one.

 

Here’s an indepth look at what a CMMS can do for you if implemented properly. Implement your CMMS properly the first time and enjoy your ROI, efficient workplace and productive, happy employees.

Using Data to Eliminate Obstacles

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) keeps your department organized, and the data it provides can help eliminate obstacles such as budget constraints, time and staffing issues, asset failures, and inventory issues. The data your CMMS provides helps to track and manage the money your department uses and gives a clear picture to decision makers. Being able to know where the money is going and why can alleviate the pressures of budgets and help you determine whether your department is spending too much in one area. Read more here about how to properly manage your inventory to help save time and money.

Saving time is a big deal at most companies. We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money.” The data a properly set up and maintained CMMS provides will give a clear picture of how time is spent in your department. For example, how long it takes work orders to be completed and the average downtime of both employees and assets, planned and unplanned. When you look at your dashboard with MaintiMizer™ 5.0 report widgets, you can have most of this information upon sign in. You can see open work orders, dead parts, bad actors (equipment), completed and on-time work orders, and reported versus scheduled work orders.

Administrators or maintenance schedulers can use the data from open work orders to see whether there are any major backlogs of work, find out why and how to fix the issues. Are work orders taking longer to complete than normal? Are you dealing with employee turnover or call offs? Are there missing parts or tools? Now that you know what is happening and why, you can adjust your preventative maintenance plan and how many work orders are being assigned daily, create an asset criticality plan, go over how much inventory you have on hand each week, or make a case for hiring more employees.

Once you’ve established a baseline of data by entering in all relevant information for work orders, inventory, employee time, and costs, you’ll be able to quickly notice any trends or random outliers in your data, such as a spike in open work orders or a sudden lack of inventory or extended downtime on assets or employees. When one of these outliers or trends pops up, you’ll be able to catch it and work to find the root cause. Take for example, the report widget “equipment bad actors” on your home screen—it will show whether there are assets that seem to be failing repeatedly or having extra work done on them. Seeing this and fixing the underlying issue before there’s a major breakdown—well, I don’t have to tell you why that’s important!

Obstacles are part of life. We can’t escape them all. But having the right tools and insights can help alleviate the major ones or reduce the number of obstacles so your department runs more efficiently. Create a plan in case the major obstacles are unavoidable. Maintenance doesn’t have to be a reactive profession.

Risk Assessment 101

Risk Assessment 101

When we see the words “risk assessment,” we can all probably take a good guess as to what it is. When it comes to working with machinery with many moving parts, at extreme temperatures, and at high speeds, injuries are more likely to happen, even for the most experienced maintenance tech. This is where risk assessment comes into play. To help keep employees, work areas, and buildings safe, some machinery requires a more thoughtful approach before work can be done on it. Risk assessment is the process that identifies hazards and risk factors, analyzes and evaluates those hazards, and then determines how to mitigate, control, or eliminate them.

Of course, there are many ways to go about the process, but typically, it takes only six steps:

  1. Identify the hazards.

Any and all hazards should be noted, whether they are natural, biological, workplace, intentional, technological, chemical, or psychological. Assemble a team that includes people who are unfamiliar with the workplaces as well as those who are familiar with them. That way you have fresh eyes looking for possible risks. Look at past accident reports involving the asset and determine whether an asset has parts that can be easily moved or damaged unintentionally (e.g., safety guards that can be removed).

  1. Decide who might be harmed and why.

Not only the technician working on the machine but also those who are around it can be harmed. Consider all the employees who are normally in the work areas surrounding the assets. You should also think about those who may have a different level of risk such as workers with disabilities, young or inexperienced workers, and new or expectant mothers.

  1. Evaluate the risks.

Now that you’ve listed the risks and who may be harmed, you should consider the likelihood of the risks happening and how much damage could occur. There is no one-size-fits-all template to determine the level of risk. Use your best judgment.

For example, if hazards can cause major injuries, (e.g., fractures, head injuries), poisoning, or even death, those would obviously be high risk. Furthermore, you should consider the probability of those risks happening. Could they happen once or twice a year or once in a working lifetime?

Evaluate the risks and ask yourself how likely they are to happen and what you can do to eliminate or control them. Is a properly fitted hard hat enough to protect from head injuries, or is a full insulated body suit better fit for the situation?

  1. Act to prevent risk.

Now is the time to write down the prevention protocols. A checklist would suffice here. Make sure no one else is near the machine that doesn’t need to be. Turn off or slow down the machine. Mandate wearing proper safety gear. Whatever protocols you decide on should be listed and abided by before work begins.

  1. Record your findings.

Depending on your industry, you may be required by law to have a written risk assessment for each asset. Record everything: how you identified the risks, who or what may be harmed, etc. (Every item from above). Be sure to have everything documented for employees and management to review.

  1. Review and adjust as needed.

Update your risk assessment protocols as needed. Ask relevant questions such as the following. Are there new machines around the existing one, and does that change who or what may be hurt or damaged? Did something happen during the last work order that no one thought of beforehand? Are the risks less than or worse than you originally planned?

Once you have your risk assessment process in place, you’ll use it each time you’re about to perform maintenance on a given asset. You’ll go through your checklist and make sure everything is in order. You may run into issues if not every box is checked where the assessment fails, and the machine is not ready to be worked on. You then need to find the issue or reason, fix it, and perform the assessment again. Once the assessment has passed, you can then perform work on the asset. This process is vital to workplace safety. Workplace safety should be a top priority for any manufacturing company. Risk assessment is not only important but necessary.

We’ve made it easy for you and your company to make risk assessment a part of your maintenance management system. Along with our all-new MaintiMizer™ 5.0, we are launching a Risk Assessment Module. This module allows you to build out your checklist and process it right in our Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). There’s no need for Excel or any other software program, not to mention paper and pencil! A customer previously asked us to build this module into our system, and after a couple of years of planning, coding, and testing, it will be ready to launch by September 2023. If you’ve been undecided about upgrading your system to our 5.0 platform, this module alone should help you determine your need for it. If you are in an industry or company that requires risk assessment, why not use one system to accomplish the task?

Get on our list to upgrade to 5.0 here.

 

Happy Barcode Day! – Do you Barcode?

Do You Barcode? 

Many of our current customers take advantage of this amazing feature. If you’re not one of them, you’re going to want to listen up.

Barcoding has been around since 1951 and is widely used in retail environments where hundreds—even thousands—of SKUs exist. Keeping track of inventory, pricing, and purchase orders make taking care of those SKUs possible. But what about your maintenance department? How can it help you?

Let’s first look at your current stock room. Are your spare parts neatly arranged and labelled properly? Could you successfully send a new employee in there to find them? If not, you may need to use a barcode system.

You might be wondering whether it’s necessary to have a neat stock room. If you can find the parts eventually, does it matter? Imagine the following scenario: you’re pulling your PMs for the day, and you have a few pieces of equipment that need parts replaced; one needs a new belt, another needs a new hose, and some need new bolts. These appear to be quick and simple fixes—until you visit the stock room and struggle to find what you need. The bolts aren’t the right size. The belts you have are for other assets that aren’t interchangeable. That hose you know you saw yesterday is gone. Now what do you do?

If you search for another 20 minutes you might find that hose, but perhaps nothing else. Congratulations! You’ve just wasted an hour, and you can only do one of three PMs. Now you might need to track down your supervisor and explain why you can’t do the rest of your work. On top of that, you might need to wait on a purchase order for those parts to be approved, ordered, and shipped, delaying the scheduled PMs even further.

If you’re already doing heavy lifting to optimize your department with a Preventative Maintenance Plan, consider including barcoding. When you set up barcodes for inventory in your Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), you’ll not only be able to find parts within minutes, but the system also will automatically remove items from your inventory and charge them to the correct assets.

Nuts and bolts in blue bins

 

Maintaining a real-time overview of your inventory will help with purchase orders by indicating when to order new parts, how often you order certain parts, and enabling you to decide how much to order. Perhaps you’re ordering too frequently and have more inventory than you need, or perhaps you can include a part with a different purchase order and save on shipping costs.

Charging a part to its correct piece of equipment helps you be more efficient. The goal of which is to track your assets, keep them running, and maintain a safe work environment. Using a barcode system, you can take the information you receive from your CMMS and turn it into actionable processes. Examining your assets each month, as well as who has worked on them and which parts were used, allows you to adjust your PMs as needed. As an example, imagine that you have an asset that goes through hoses quickly. The CMMS history shows that you’ve changed hoses twice in a single month, but one hose should have lasted two or three months. With barcoding, you can examine what’s going on with that asset and find the root of the problem before it gets worse.

Before utilizing a barcode system, perhaps you were too busy to notice that your hoses were being used more than they should have been. The CMMS doesn’t show which asset is using which parts because the PM wasn’t filled out completely, or it was taken out of inventory without being charged to an asset. This might leave you with problems that could have been avoided, including asset failure and unplanned downtime.

Barcoding systems have come a long way since 1951 and have grown increasingly important in several industries, including maintenance. By keeping your assets running efficiently, avoiding costly downtime, and completing PMs on time, you can vastly improve your bottom line with a barcode system. MaintiMizer™ can provide you with barcoding that you can build directly into your existing system. In addition, we can share best practices for labeling and organizing your storeroom.

For more information, please email us at info@aschomtech.com. If you currently use our barcode system, please email marketing@ashcomtech.com with a note about how it helps your department. We’d love to hear from you.

Happy Barcode Day!

Team Ashcom

Dirty Data? Clean it up!

When data is dirty, you’re getting the wrong picture. Incomplete, unorganized data with inconsistencies significantly affects not only your bottom line but also your efficiency. To stay on track, complete work orders, and keep equipment functioning properly, you need clean data. Clean data also allow you to look at your entire business. You’ll understand exactly what is going on with just a glance. Is work getting done? Why or why not? Are you going over or under budget?

How do you get rid of dirty data?

Let’s first discuss what it takes to clean data with MaintiMizer™. Look at your equipment and parts labels. Are there duplicates? Are they consistent? For instance, are your blenders labeled as follows: Blender1 and Blender2 or Blender01 and Blender02? I’ll give you a tip, MaintiMizer lists items in alphanumeric order. When adding equipment or parts with multiples, we suggest using “Blender01” instead of “Blender1.” If you have over 10 pieces of the same equipment and you pull up a report to look at each blender, Blender11 would be behind Blender1.

Next, be sure abbreviations are consistent throughout the system––are you abbreviating your mixers? What about pumps, thermostats, and conveyors? Keep it consistent throughout. Alleviate any guesswork about what a piece of equipment is or how many you have. Doing this helps avoid duplicate PMs and inventory that will skew your assessment of the work to be done, PM completion, and wrench time. It can also ruin the reports you need for that audit that’s coming up.

If you’re looking at your labels and see several mistakes, you’ll likely get a headache. Don’t worry––you don’t have to do this yourself. At Ashcom, we offer Professional Services, including data cleanup. We can help merge your equipment and inventory and do anything else you need to keep your system clean and ready for anything.

Your best bet to clean up your data or keep it clean is to use the barcode system: label your equipment and inventory with individual barcodes. You should also keep your counts accurate, and equipment labeled properly, ensuring you’re performing PMs on the right equipment at the right time.

Before you do any cleaning yourself, be sure not to delete anything. Why? There are many reasons, and we will outline them in our next blog. Stay tuned!

Also, ensure your data is clean when you upgrade to MainiMizer™ 5.0 to start the new upgrade off right. If you don’t know about MaintiMizer™ 5.0, check it out here. You’re not going to want to miss it!

MaintiMizer™ 5.0

Something we’ve been working on for a while is now finally here: MaintiMizer™ 5.0!

We have given MaintiMizer a huge facelift—an entirely new, modern, and sleek look. Updated search functions. Sidebar menus. Upgraded tablet functionality. Let’s not forget the part we’ve been begged for and are extremely excited over: a whole new home page dashboard with report widgets. The homepage is still customizable, we have five available report widgets—with more coming—you can display up to four widgets nicely on your home screen.


MaintiMizer™ 5.0

 

We are over-the-moon excited to launch this product for you. It’s everything you need in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and then some. MaintiMizer has been a popular CMMS for over 35 years now, and it just got even better.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out my demo here. 

Be sure to get on our preorder list here.

This is one launch you’re not going to want to miss. Once you upgrade to 5.0 you’ll be able to upgrade to each version of 5.0 as it becomes available. Quarterly updates are our standard. As we add more report widgets and continue adding all the features you’ve requested, you’ll get each of those updates for free.*

Upgrading to any software can seem daunting. At Ashcom, we will make it easy for you. Hands-on training is completed either virtually or in person. A world-class support team is standing by to integrate your data, answer simple how-to questions, and install your new software. We make it easy because your success is our success.

—Team Ashcom

*Must have an active AMA for MaintiMizer™ 5.0 to enjoy free updates. 

Maintenance Management Software that will fix your most common maintenance problems!

Your maintenance management team faces new challenges every day.  Equipment breakdowns, a growing backlog of work, missing parts, increasing pressure regarding costs – the list goes on. It is no wonder they always look so stressed. If only there was a simple, cost-effective way that your business could address these issues and reduce your maintenance teams’ stress levels? Well in a world short of good news, here is some cheer, there is!  Maintenance management software or as it is commonly known CMMS will not only help eliminate your daily maintenance challenges, it will also often correct the root cause.  The good news doesn’t stop there either.  The right software, from the right provider, will address your most common maintenance headaches straight out of the box – without any additional development. So, what maintenance management problems do customers most often report and how will your CMMS help?

A real-time, overview of your entire maintenance management operation

When you log-in to your CMMS the first thing you will most likely see is your maintenance dashboard. This vital module gives you a real-time, overview of your entire maintenance operation with access to the key data you require to remain in control just one click away:

  • KPI’s and Performance Metrics: View and review all your important data in one place, you can filter what you see to suit your changing needs.
  • Work Order Status: See the status of live, upcoming, and overdue work orders and PM’s
  • Real-time data: Get an up-to-the-minute look at your maintenance operation in real-time.
  • Customized dashboards: Create dashboards based on an individual’s rights or roles or needs. You can include custom reports too.

As your maintenance dashboard gives you a real-time, overview of your entire maintenance operation it also provides all the maintenance intelligence you require to continually improve and increase your operational efficiency, and not simply after the fact but during the same shift.

Maintenance Overload: Maintenance backlog will always exist, will quickly get out of hand, and overload your maintenance team if not managed appropriately. Your CMMS dashboard allows you to see what tasks are due and when they become overdue. Presenting you with all the information you need to adjust your plan of attack and address this productivity stifling problem.

Bad Communication: It’s hard to make decisions, delegate work, and fine-tune maintenance schedules when you don’t have access to up-to-date information. Not only does the dashboard give you live insights into your maintenance operation, a shared dashboard will also ensure your whole team is looking at the same key metrics, allowing them to work as one.

Team Performance: Having key metrics front and center makes it easy to analyze your team’s performance – a key asset in any operation, identify areas that need improvement, and make changes that increase asset performance.

Track critical work flows

The Work Order module is a vital component of your chosen maintenance management software solution, in fact, we are often approached for ‘Work Order’ software. It is where you build, assign, process, complete, and document work requests and work orders:

  • Work Requests: Allows your entire team, including and perhaps especially those outside of your maintenance team to record problems and create work requests for your maintenance team to address. 
  • Instructions and Documents: Adding manufacturers manuals, SOP’s, drawings, photos, and more to work orders ensures more efficient communication across your team and boosts the likely hood of Work Orders being completed successfully the first time.
  • Spares, Tools & Safety Equipment: Associate all the spare parts associated with an asset or Work Order, produce Kit’s, and include the safety equipment or tools needed for a task.
  • Failure codes: Outline a problem, cause, and action for asset failure and report on it
  • Scheduling: Set deadlines, choose a priority level, and assign an appropriately skilled team member.
  • Additional notes: Include helpful details, like the sound a machine made before breaking down in work requests and work orders.
  • Tracking: See the status of work, monitor costs, and store closed work orders in a secure and easy to interrogate manner.

The additional control the Work Order module provides will solve many of your maintenance problems by contributing positively across your operation by driving efficiency and saving you money:

Costly Downtime: The Work Order module makes the work order process faster than with pen and paper and more accurate than Excel. The quicker a work request or order is created, assigned, and completed, the less time an asset is down. Assets will get running in less time reducing your costs and ensuring output targets are achieved.

Poor Workflow: This feature allows staff to document, submit, and see requests instantly without writing it down twice or by searching through paper files – maintenance becomes a team effort. Also, your Maintenance team can access the resources required to get the task done fast, first time, and safely without wasting your most precious and costly resource TIME.

Lack of Information: The work order builder ensures every detail for a task is available. This eases communication, makes troubleshooting more straightforward, enables smarter decision-making, and improves outcomes.

Deliver on your maintenance management plan

Your CMMS will allow you to create a Preventative maintenance schedule. Not only will it make building an effective preventative maintenance schedule easier. It will also help your team deliver on your plan because of features like:

  • Planned Preventative Maintenance: Automatically trigger scheduled tasks based on date, meter hours, seasonality, or any combination of these factors.
  • Activity: See your team’s schedule and assign tasks intelligently, dependent upon availability, workload and craft.
  • Purchasing Insight: Make sure inventory purchases critical to upcoming tasks are made and the items are held in reserve against tasks.
  • Planned Maintenance Metrics: Quick and easy access to key performance data such as planned maintenance compliance, or indeed non-compliance.
  • Complete PM Equipment Builder: Add all information available from a work order to a scheduled maintenance task enabling smarter decision-making and therefore improve outcomes.

The maintenance intelligence the Preventative Maintenance scheduler module of your CMMS provides will solve many of your maintenance problems, by enabling you to make decisions based on data, rather than gut feelings and other more subjective reasons:

Increased Proactive Maintenance: The single largest advantage of this module is that it will help you establish a preventive maintenance schedule and not only that the means to help you manage it. This will reduce your over reliance on fire fighting and improve everything from safety to boosting asset uptime.

Doing too many PM’s: There is such a thing as too much maintenance. The maintenance planner helps you establish the best frequency for tasks based on real data and maintenance intelligence, so your team are better utilized

Overspending: The planner tool gives you a view into every part needed for scheduled maintenance so you never order too many parts, schedule too many people or the wrong skills, overpay on expediting parts, or lose sight of how your department is performing.

If you’re ready to deliver on your maintenance management plan visit us here

Your team and your successors will feel like they have worked on your Assets all their career

A Digital Asset inventory provides you your business with a complete overview of your assets and not just that but their history too. Helping you, your team and your successors feel like they have worked on them all their career:

  • Asset Hierarchy & Location: Organize assets into a hierarchy, be that based on asset type, function, or production cell and know exactly where each asset is located.
  • Work History: See an asset’s entire work history including past problems, fixes, trends and which skills are required to support specific assets.
  • Documents & Notes: Attach bills of materials, manuals, drawings, safety notes, and more to assets to empower your team’s decision making.
  • Asset Costs: See how much an asset is costing your business to maintain, just how much has been spent on parts and labor for each specific asset.
  • Asset Status: Set the status of an asset and track availability, how much time has been spent online or offline, MTTR (Mean Time To Repair), MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and more.
  • Supplier Information: Associate warranty and vendor or manufacturer information to an asset.

The additional insight and easy access to critical asset data your digital Asset Inventory provides will solve many of your maintenance management problems and contribute to increasing your operational efficiency:

Audit ready: Audits can be stressful. They require the provision of very specific information about assets and their maintenance history. Digital asset profiles give you the ability to find and present critical information in a stress-free and professional manner.

Building accurate budgets: Digital asset profiles contain all the details you need to calculate how much maintenance costs for each piece of equipment within your facility and therefore allows you to make better informed choices about repair or replace decisions, and more.

Inefficient PMs: It’s hard to see the value of preventive maintenance if it’s inefficient. This tool helps technicians avoid having to search for all the information they require about an asset before they start, making it easier for them to complete scheduled maintenance quickly and safely first time.

Get to grips with your inventory

If it is quick wins you are looking for (who isn’t) the Inventory feature is going to be your new best friend.  It will quickly help you get to grips with your spares stock:

  • Parts Monitoring: Know exactly what parts you have, where they are located, how many you have available and what your stockholding days are.
  • Barcodes: Pick the right parts, first time and automatically update stock figures.
  • Stock Alerts: Set minimum and maximum quantities and automatic reordering for critical parts when stocks are below minimum.
  • Part Tracking: Use parts based on date of purchase or use by date or any other method you prefer.
  • Multi-site Organization: Have access to spare parts across multiple sites, not just your facility.
  • Equipment/Work-associated Parts: Add commonly used or recommended parts to work orders and Preventative Maintenance tasks.
  • Purchasing: Automatically create and send digital purchase requisitions and purchase orders and track this activity too.

A robust inventory management system will address some big headaches for your maintenance team by taking control of the many and various spares fundamental to their day to day activity. Your purchasing department will be much happier too:

Mystery Maintenance: Your maintenance management team isn’t your only department relying on accurate inventory numbers. A CMMS makes it possible to share important data with financial software, like an ERP, so maintenance costs are always reflected in company financials.

Out of control costs: Spare parts can be expensive, especially if you are purchasing them in an emergency. Your CMMS should eliminate these circumstances and cuts costs by forecasting inventory needs and establishing just-in-time delivery.

Stock redundancy: Excessive stock holding is a drain on your profits, your CMMS will help you identify redundant parts and slow movers and introduce controls over your future purchases.

Elusive inventory: Hard to find inventory wastes time and can extend downtime – which is super costly. Not only will your CMMS identify parts it will also give you the precise location of each part, down to a bin number so you can always find what you’re looking for.

Track, Analyse & Optimize Maintenance Performance

By simply using your CMMS you will create lots of useful data. The ability to Report on this data will make it easier to track, analyze, and optimize maintenance performance, as well as inform other key departments within your business:

  • Pre-built & Custom Reports: Choose from many pre-built common reports or create your own to find information tailored to your very specific needs.
  • Dashboard Reports: Get real-time metrics sent to your CMMS dashboard.
  • Scheduled Reports: Set up regular reports to automatically run and shared with whoever needs to see them.
  • Other Reports: Create reports for maintenance spending, audit compliance, or other related functions

A universal truth is the data doesn’t lie, which makes your reporting tool essential for making better, more informed decisions, which will in turn further improve your operation moving forward:

Maintenance ROI: Effective maintenance provides value, true. But how do you show it? The numbers will back it up. Easier reporting helps you connect better maintenance to higher production and lower costs, so your team becomes recognized as the profit center it is.

Time Creation: Creating reports by hand in Excel can be tedious, time-consuming and often leads to errors. Pre-built, reports eliminate this issue and save everyone time.

Value Creation: Meanwhile, Custom reports provide everyone from management to technicians exactly what they require.

Identify Problems Build Solutions: Answers to your biggest problems can be hidden amongst a mountain of numbers. Your CMMS makes it easier to sort data, pinpoint problems, or what is causing them, then develop and implement a strategy to fix it.

So, there you go. Do any of these problems resonate with you and your business? Do you think implementing a new or upgrading your CMMS would help you address your pain points (and their cause) Would a product 35 years in the making and the support of a company like Ashcom Technologies supercharge your maintenance management operation? If you’re thinking about implementing a CMMS, Ashcom Technologies is here to help why not get in contact.

Don’t just take our word for it, we have compiled a list of Case Studies from customers. How they use MaintiMizer™ and how it’s improved their maintenance management systems. Find them here.

How a CMMS Makes Workplaces Safer

These days workplace safety is on everyone’s minds as companies take extensive precautions to protect their workers from COVID-19. While it’s no safeguard against viral infection, one of the underrated, yet very valuable benefits of a CMMS is improved workplace safety. 

Supporting OSHA Compliance

Even before COVID-19 made employees and employers more cognizant of workplace safety, a CMMS was a useful tool in promoting a safe work environment. It can even help comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards. If you’ve worked in maintenance or facility management, you’re probably familiar with OSHA, which was created by Congress in 1970 to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.”

On OSHA’s website, there’s a list of “employer’s responsibilities” a short summary of the basics an employer should do to provide a safe workplace. One of those responsibilities is to “make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment”.

Hey! That sounds like the perfect job for a CMMS, which loves nothing more than maintaining equipment and tracking tools, ensuring that your maintenance team has what it needs, when they need it.

Another of OSHA’s Employer Responsibilities that can be supported with a CMMS is the call to “examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards”.

Conforming to OSHA standards depends on your industry, company, facility, and equipment amongst other things and should not be taken lightly but a CMMS does promote a regular examination of workplace conditions with reoccurring preventive maintenance (PM).  A CMMS will remind users when PM needs to be performed, which usually requires a comprehensive examination of equipment.

Here’s another safety reason to keep a CMMS around, it can help prevent the number 9 most cited OSHA standards violation of 2018: Machinery and Machine Guarding.

Take, for example, an injection molding machine. These machines always have safeguards that prevent workers from putting their body in harm’s way of the mold while it’s in operation.

A trained maintenance technician conducting preventive maintenance on an injection molding machine would spot a faulty safeguard and could perform a Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) on the faulty machine and alert the rest of the maintenance team via CMMS. A CMMS notifies the maintenance team that this equipment needs repairs, facilitating a quicker response and thus a safer workplace, sooner.

Preventive Maintenance = More Reliable Equipment

Reliability equals predictability and when it comes to large industrial machinery, predictability means safety. When preventive maintenance is ignored, larger more dangerous problems can arise. Take for example this story of a paint drying oven which wasn’t given proper preventive maintenance leading to a fatal accident.

What we saw in the above story is one of the biggest perils of poor preventive maintenance: the loop of reactive maintenance. When preventive maintenance is performed it’s planned and fit into a schedule, when unplanned maintenance is performed it can lead to poor repair jobs. And other important tasks being neglected.

Anything in a facility can fall victim to poor preventive maintenance which can lead to a dangerous environment. The best way to ensure that a maintenance management team is following a proper preventive maintenance schedule is with a CMMS.

Digital Documentation

A CMMS is more than just a tool for preventive maintenance though, it’s also a place to store important documentation on standard operating procedures, preventive maintenance procedures, and in-house safety plans.

And unlike paper documents, a CMMS stores this vital information in one easily located place.

Digital Documentation of work orders and other documents can even limit the amount of physical interaction needed to perform maintenance, which in the age of COVID-19, is a plus. When information can be accessed digitally, there’s no need to pass along paperwork orders or even necessarily be within close proximity of the work requester. 

Maintenance Reporting

By providing Safety Equipment Reports, a CMMS’ reporting function can be another boon to a maintenance management’s workplace safety.

So, what goes into a Safety Equipment Report? A CMMS, like MaintiMizer, can usually include the equipment description, equipment condition, risk level, and even all of the work orders tied to that equipment so you can accurately assess the reliability and safety level of that particular equipment.

A CMMS is built to manage maintenance and by doing so it mitigates the risks that come with poor maintenance practices. If you’re thinking about implementing a CMMS, Ashcom Technologies is here to help and can guide your implementation with the safest, most responsible methods possible.

On-premise CMMS vs. Cloud-based CMMS, Which is Right For You?

There are maintenance teams in almost every industry, from manufacturing to hospitality. This means there are maintenance teams of every size, from 1 man-bands of maintenance to entire companies dedicated to the upkeep of critical equipment. So, CMMS software must be adaptable to each company’s varying needs and concerns. One of the most critical questions to consider is whether to deploy a cloud-based CMMS or an on-premise CMMS.

To put it simply, cloud-based CMMS software is hosted on the CMMS software vendor’s servers whereas on-premise CMMS software is hosted on the client’s server.

“Hosting” software on a server is sort of like hosting guests at your house. As host, the brunt of the work/implementation falls on you, but it does have its advantages, like not worrying about having to make the trip home.
In reality, it depends on your company’s resources to determine which is right for you.

Here are 3 things to consider when deciding whether cloud-based or on-premise CMMS is right for you.

Security

This is one of the most common reasons cited for choosing an on-premise CMMS over cloud-based CMMS; limiting unnecessary exposure to data. If you’re deciding between the two, it’s one of the first things you should consider, as cybersecurity becomes more important.

The common thinking is cloud-based software sends data in and out of a facility, so it could be exposed to more vulnerabilities and cyber-attacks. 

If we go back to the hosting guests analogy, it’s like when your guests (data) leave your house and make the trip home (vendor’s servers) while you sleep soundly and safely in your bed.

Of course, the matter of which is more secure is not so black and white.

Some security experts would argue that cloud-based software is actually more secure.

When you host your data on a CMMS vendor’s server, more than likely, you’re sending your data to an organization more equipped to handle the security than your own. 

Of course, if you work for a company or organization in the military or energy sector, chances are keeping your valuable data behind a firewall and on-premise is not only more secure, it’s required.

Usually, the biggest determining factor of whether a company chooses on-premise CMMS or cloud-based, is whether they have the resources to support an on-premise CMMS.

On-premise CMMS software requires server hardware, an IT team, and the ability to integrate the software. If your company or maintenance team doesn’t have access to those resources, chances are a cloud-based CMMS would be a better choice.

Convenience

Those required resources make convenience one of the biggest reasons companies pick cloud-based CMMS.

For cloud-based software, deploying it is often as simple as logging into a provided URL.

For on-premise software, the implementation will likely need all the resources listed above.

And even if your company has all the above resources, oftentimes an IT team won’t necessarily have the time to execute the implementation. If this is the case, a cloud-based CMMS may be a better solution.

Of course, convenience is a double-edged sword. An on-premise CMMS solution can be more easily tailored to a facility’s particular needs. So, while the initial set-up may be less convenient, the personal configuration may prove to provide more convenience in the day-to-day.

Costs

You probably knew costs were going to mention at some point, right?

Now, you might assume, due to the extra resources involved, that an on-premise solution is more costly. And you would be right, at first. On-premise CMMS software can usually have more initial costs, but most cloud-based CMMS services are subscription-based, meaning you can only access the software for as long as you pay for it.

With on-premise CMMS solutions, it’s possible to buy the software license outright. Over the course of a few years, the initial investment in hosting the software yourself will prove to be more cost-effective than paying for a subscription model.

Now that you know the big 3 considerations when it comes to the debate of on-premise CMMS or cloud-based, meet with your facility manager, maintenance manager, and IT team (if you have one) to figure out which CMMS deployment is right for you. Schedule the meeting at your house, so you don’t have to worry about the drive home.

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