The Value of Preventative Maintenance

Written by Steven Garcia

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” You’ve probably heard this phrase before and for most situations this is a sound piece of advice. Take, for example, the common kitchen stove; attempting repairs on a functioning stove will most likely just result in concerned looks from your significant other.

But! There are numerous situations where “fixing” or performing maintenance on something that’s not broken is the right thing to do. We call this “preventative maintenance” and it’s one of the core values of any successful industrial company.

Alternatively, performing maintenance on an asset or item that is broken is called “reactive maintenance.” This is a perfectly suitable solution for your stove but an incredibly less effective method for manufacturers and other large-scale operations.

Unlike the common stove, manufacturing plants are an interconnected web of machines, tools, and employees all working together to produce an item in the most efficient method possible. So, when one of those machines or tools stops working, it affects everything else in that web and efficiency plummets.

This is called downtime and it’s very, very bad. When downtime occurs, it costs the company time because production is halted while reactive repairs are performed. It costs the company money because product is not being manufactured. Ultimately, it creates an unsafe, unstable and stressful environment for employees.

An effective preventative maintenance program is a systematic approach to reducing downtime and addresses each of the aforementioned issues. Typically, preventative maintenance is performed through scheduled routine inspections and processes that ensure and preserve the functionality of an asset. Reducing downtime isn’t the only benefit of preventative maintenance; here’s a few more for consideration.

Cost Savings & Improved Efficiency

One of the common knocks on preventative maintenance is that it takes time out of day-to day operations to implement. While there may be an initial investment of time during implementation, the payoff in the future more than makes up for it. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, an organization using preventative maintenance can expect a 12 – 18% cost savings over reactive maintenance*. That’s no small potatoes.

Along with the incredible amount of money that can be saved from preventing downtime, it can also provide your maintenance team with a surplus of hours that can be utilized in more effective ways. Instead of spending hours or days performing unexpected repairs on a malfunctioning asset, they now perform routine maintenance for a few minutes in a scheduled routine.

Employee Safety & Well-Being

Besides preventing downtime, preventative maintenance can also extend the life of your valuable assets. Just like car owners perform regular maintenance (such as an oil change to extend the life of a vehicle) so should manufacturers perform regular maintenance to extend the life of their machines.

Besides the obvious cost savings and improved time utilization, preventative maintenance is also beneficial to your employees.  Properly maintained and functioning equipment creates a much more stable and safe working environment, which at the end of the day, should be your top priority.

This applies to mental health as well as physical. A malfunctioning machine may cause bodily harm, but a regularly malfunctioning asset will create a stressful environment for even the staunchest of maintenance teams.

With preventative maintenance, your workers now enjoy the peace of mind that comes with operating in an environment with properly functioning equipment, a surplus of hours to perform their duties, and less stress on their mental well-being.

So, when we consider all the benefits of preventative maintenance; saving money, saving time, safer and more harmonious work environments, happier employees, and more efficient production, it’s hard to think of any reason not to adopt a preventative maintenance strategy. Maybe it’s time to retire the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and adopt something less catchy but more practical like, “If it ain’t broke, just make sure.”

 

Written by Steven Garcia

* Statistics provided by Department of Energy

4 Things to Consider When Implementing a CMMS

Written by Steven Garcia

The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and more and more organizations are adopting data-driven solutions by combining the physical elements of manufacturing with the digital elements of the Internet of Things (IoT).

This advanced approach to industry further encourages integration across all “cyber-physical” systems. Companies use the information that digital systems gather (e.g. CMMS) about their physical systems (e.g. manufacturing equipment) to make decisions that are best for the organization as a whole.

But as the IoT grows so does the number of systems that have to be able to speak to one another. This means if you work for an organization on the cutting edge of facility management, it may take a dedicated team willing to lay the necessary groundwork to spearhead a successful CMMS implementation.

Alternatively, if you work for a smaller organization you may not need to focus on the perils of integrating a CMMS into a larger enterprise system. Smaller organizations should be more focused on making sure their workforce is prepared to be trained on new software and how it will affect their day-to-day operations.

The team here at Ashcom Technologies wants you to be prepared to implement your CMMS no matter the size of organization or business. So, whether it’s a maintenance team of one or a corporation of 4,000 here are 4 things to consider before you implement a CMMS.

1. Evaluate Infrastructure

Well designed CMMS software becomes pervasive in an organization and often acts as a central communication hub for your maintenance team. So in order to properly implement CMMS software an organization has to identify the number of physical locations and the number of maintenance technicians that will be utilizing the system. This not only includes maintenance techs that complete work orders but any employees that would need access to a CMMS to request a work order.

Like we said above, companies are much more than just a collection of facilities and workers. In Industry 4.0, with integrated systems and data coursing throughout, organizations are much more akin to a living, breathing organism.

2. Hosting On-Site or in the Cloud

One of the biggest decisions you may face when implementing a CMMS is whether to host on-site or “in the cloud”. Hosting a CMMS on-site may be preferable for companies or organizations that have secure and stable server infrastructure and an on-site IT team. On-site hosting is the preferred method for certain data-sensitive industries.

That’s not necessarily true for most organizations; if your company is smaller in scale and doesn’t have its own server system or employs a smaller maintenance team then cloud-based hosting may be right for you.

With cloud hosting, smaller businesses don’t have to worry about server maintenance, IT hours, or anything else that may pull resources away from actual maintenance work. With a cloud-based CMMS, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), all you will need is a computer capable of accessing an internet browser and a CMMS license.

3. Time Allocation & Training

Implementing a CMMS is an investment not only in money but also in time, one that will undoubtedly return dividends. But, when you’re incorporating a new system into a pre-established workforce, it’s likely that some of your day-to-day operations may have to take a back seat.

In order to squeeze the most juice out of your CMMS, you’ll have to make sure the users are using the system properly and efficiently, which requires training. As an organization, be prepared to get creative with your team’s work hours so you can allow for CMMS training time.

Luckily, most CMMS companies offer a few ways to become certified by offering on-site training, online training, and off-site training.
There are advantages to each and the right choice depends on your organization. On-site training is valuable for larger organizations because it allows the CMMS experts conducting the training a direct look into facilities and overall operations so they can determine best practices on a case by case basis.

Off-site training, where users learn the ins and outs of a CMMS at a remote training facility, may be better suited for companies that already understand how a CMMS will be incorporated into their facilities and simply want their workers to be proficient users of the CMMS software.

Online training allows users to learn at their convenience but may not be as in-depth or expansive as the other two options. No matter your preferred method of training, it is absolutely necessary that your maintenance team is trained on their CMMS software.

4. Data Migration

Necessity is the mother of invention. If your organization is considering implementing a CMMS, it’s most likely that the need has arisen from your current system not providing enough data or your organization producing more data than can be handled via traditional methods.

If so, the next step in preparing your organization for CMMS implementation is gathering the current data on your organization’s equipment, assets, tools, employees, inventory and anything else that may be useful down the road. The more data the better – not only will your CMMS be able to operate more efficiently, it’ll allow your company to make smarter decisions for the future and that, at the end of the day, is what makes a CMMS a great tool for any organization.

So now that you’ve gathered your data, allocated time for training, decided how your CMMS should be hosted, and evaluated your existing infrastructure you’re ready to implement your CMMS. This is exciting! For a lot of organizations, progressing from traditional pen and paper to a CMMS system is the maintenance equivalent of going from a flip phone to a smartphone, and we’re glad that Ashcom Technologies could be a part of that very cool journey.

 

What is a CMMS?

A CMMS, short for Computerized Maintenance Management System, manages and automates the daily tasks necessary to operate a maintenance department. A CMMS is also sometimes referred to as EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) because one of the primary features of a CMMS is the ability to track and record data on assets including the location, repair history, and operating status of those assets.

Today, CMMSs are implemented in organizations all over the world but they were first introduced in the 1960’s. Like most computer systems at the time they were based on a punch card system. Nowadays, CMMSs are hosted via an internet connection and are typically utilized in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS allows a CMMS to be accessed from any device with an internet connection. An on-site maintenance technician has all the data he needs, right at his fingertips.

As we move into Industry 4.0, organizations are better equipped to understand the value of preventative maintenance and data-driven decisions but the value of a Computerized Maintenance Management System goes much deeper than that. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of a CMMS, follow the link.

Big Picture Benefits of a CMMS

Written by Steven Garcia

A CMMS is the ultimate tool in a maintenance technician’s tool belt – a cure for the tedious tasks and daily issues of a maintenance department. While a maintenance technician will see immediate value in a CMMS, the decision to implement is oftentimes determined by business owners or managers.

In most organizations, management isn’t likely to use a CMMS in their daily tasks; they may not think the system is a necessity. But, as our more cunning readers may have deduced from the title, a CMMS provides much more value outside of just assisting the maintenance team, it improves the entire organization! Without further ado, here are our Top Four Big Picture Benefits of a CMMS.

1. Improved Employee Morale

Let’s walk through a day in the life of Marty the maintenance tech. Marty spends most of his day repairing machinery. In order to start his work day, Marty must find his first work order. He searches through the maintenance desk but no luck; someone must’ve misplaced today’s work orders. Now, poor Marty has to locate his supervisor. After searching the sprawling facility for quite some time and then calling over the P.A., Marty finally finds him.

Now, with a work order in hand, he can start his work day. Marty heads to the stock room to find the part he needs to begin his work order, but he’s not able to locate it because the stock room is loosely organized. He finds the proper place for the part but alas, it’s empty. He talks to the stock room attendant, “Yeah, that part should’ve been ordered a while ago, we didn’t know we were out,” says Dave, the stock room attendant. Marty is getting frustrated, with these constant delays he’ll have to stay late tonight.

This feeling of having more issues to address than time can leave even the staunchest of technicians, like Marty, feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. A CMMS eliminates that overwhelming feeling, data is organized, problems are identified and technicians feel in control. Their tasks are scheduled in the most efficient order and their resources are easily located. This leaves employees with the assurance that they’ll be able to complete their job in a timely and satisfactory manner. It’s not rocket science that a happy employee works better; it’s just smart business. With a CMMS implemented, Marty can leave work on time.

2. Cost Savings

Speaking of smart business, implementing a CMMS can increase a maintenance department’s efficiency which, in turn, promotes cost savings. According to ReliabilityWeb.com, “maintenance management generally makes up 40 percent to 50 percent of operational budgets; the savings made possible from increased efficiency and reduction of waste is staggering.”

So how does a CMMS reduce waste? A CMMS will allow the user to schedule preventative maintenance. Now, Marty’s maintenance tasks become proactive instead of reactive. Just like an oil change extends the life of your car, preventative maintenance extends the life of your businesses’ assets. This means you replace fewer machines and you waste fewer parts attempting to put band-aid solutions over faulty machinery.

Preventative maintenance also leads to less downtime. When you maintain a machine properly it’s less likely to break down. It’s pretty simple – decreased downtime equals more uptime. More uptime means more productivity. Producing more in less time equals cost savings.

Downtime Infographic copy

 

3. Improved Workflow & Productivity

Our buddy, Marty, can speak extensively on workflows as his workday was not particularly efficient. Implementing a CMMS would alleviate him of his aforementioned daily issues. It eliminates the need to find physical work orders, that information is stored in a CMMS. It eliminates the need to search for inventory because a CMMS can provide a map of your stock room, and it can even order parts when they’re out of stock. It doesn’t just help Marty either, now Dave, our cavalier stockroom attendant, knows when he should order parts.

Good communication is incredibly important to a maintenance team’s success and a CMMS will often act as a communication hub. All important maintenance information whether it be repairs, preventative maintenance, inventory, inventory location, or purchase orders can be managed and recorded within a CMMS. With that wealth of information now readily available, team workflows are executed in a more efficient manner.

4. Maintain Compliance & Track Trends

With all maintenance data stored in one place, management can now easily identify trends and issues occurring in the workplace. The machines causing the most downtime can be isolated and either repaired or replaced. They can identify the parts most commonly used and where employees work most efficiently. A CMMS can also record the historical data of your equipment. If your organization is required to comply with industry standards or is placed into an audit, they’ll have documentation to support compliance.

The ability to look at your organization’s operations through an analytical lens like a CMMS is incredibly valuable. As we head towards Industry 4.0 companies will make more efficient and data-driven decisions, which makes a simple and prudent solution like a CMMS the baseline
for industry 4.0 competency.

There you have it, our 4 Big Picture Benefits of a CMMS; improved employee morale, less costly operations, improved workflows and productivity, and more data to make decisions with. It’s truly incredible the amount of value a CMMS can provide, not only to the employees who use it but the organization as a whole. If you’re a company that wants to reexamine how it can better position itself in a changing business landscape, look no further than a CMMS. Marty will send his thanks.

About Ashcom Technologies, Inc.

Ashcom Technologies has been providing innovative CMMS (Computerized Management Maintenance Software) solutions since 1985. Ashcom was one of the first CMMS providers to develop a completely web-based “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model for more rapid implementation at a lower total cost of ownership.

Our growing client base consists of over 13,000 users worldwide across multiple sites ranging from small & medium-sized organizations to Fortune 500 corporations including manufacturers, service providers, fleet operators, energy and utility companies, health care facilities, universities, municipalities, and facility and property managers, among others.

The Essential Features of a CMMS

Shopping for a CMMS can be intimidating. You have to navigate the many features and services a CMMS offers while considering your businesses’ needs. Luckily, Ashcom Technologies prides itself on keeping things simple and easy to understand. We’re here to be your Sherpa, guiding you through the vast and intimidating mountainside of maintenance software. Read below for a list of absolute must-have features in a CMMS.

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Work Order

The Work Order module in a CMMS grants the user the ability to schedule maintenance or repairs on equipment and then assign them to employees.

Work Orders make for a better organized business; they provide records of assigned tasks, are easily located by an assigned code, and also provide relevant information to the assigned employee.

Preventative Maintenance

Speaking of scheduling, to ensure you get the most coin out of your incredibly valuable assets you’ll want to make sure your CMMS has a Preventative Maintenance feature. Preventative Maintenance allows you to register assets, say for example a rocket ship, create maintenance schedules for your rocket ship, and then also track the cost of maintaining your rocket ship.

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Inventory Management

If you’re building rocket ships maintaining those valuable assets can save your company an incredible amount of money. The same goes for tracking your inventory.

It also saves you from an incredible number of headaches as it’ll allow you to track parts, equipment, and tools including the quantity, location, and cost.

 

Vendor/Purchase Order

A good CMMS will undoubtedly save your organization a lot of cash. The Purchase Order feature will help you spend it! This module allows you to keep track of vendors, invoices, issue and automate purchase orders, authorize shipping, and keep track of all past purchase orders.

A huge component of maintenance is being well prepared with tools, equipment, and parts. The Purchase Order feature allows you to do just that.

Timecard

You’ve kept tabs on your equipment, tools, parts, purchase orders, vendors, and just about everything else in your maintenance department. Now you need a way to schedule your most important asset, the people!

A Timecard feature allows you to create schedules for your employees and track where labor hours are spent.

There you have it; the must-have features in a CMMS that’ll have the biggest impact on your maintenance department. We told you we’d keep it simple! Once you have these features implemented into your organization, you’ll be building rocket ships in no time.

9 Ways to Achieve Best Practices in Factory Maintenance

We recently found a great article about best practices in Factory Maintenance, check it out at EET-Asia:

It is possible to establish best practices in production factory maintenance but to achieve this requires the great effort from electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). What makes this goal so difficult and why are manufacturers still running at a reactive model? Read more

Maintenance vs Operations

The maintenance department and the operation side of a business are often disconnected. While both groups significantly impact an organization and its success, more often than not the two departments act like opponents rather than members of the same team. This prompts questions including, why is it common for these two groups to bump heads? And what can you do to foster a better working relationship and improve the overall operation?

Read more

How Does Culture Impact Your Maintenance Department?

“A culture is made — or destroyed — by its articulate voices.” —Ayn Rand.

The above quote holds true in any environment, including maintenance departments. Creating a positive culture encourages involvement and a higher level of performance. Negative culture can harm efficiency and progress by creating a depressing atmosphere, with pessimistic and unenthusiastic employees.

Read more

Zero Equipment Failure —Fact or Fiction?

Is zero equipment failure fact or fiction?  Although it is the ultimate goal in many maintenance departments, many question if it is really an achievable goal. After discussing the topic with several maintenance professionals at different organizations, the majority agree, it is NOT possible to execute zero equipment failure, however it is a good goal. There are certainly several actions that maintenance departments can take to avoid the majority of equipment breakdowns and come closer to zero equipment failure.

Read more

Is Your Maintenance Strategy Based on Criticality?

Picture this: your maintenance team has a full schedule of preventive maintenance tasks to complete this week. Unfortunately, almost half the team is out sick with a nasty flu bug, and you expect those effected to be out for at least two days. How do you decide which PM tasks really need to be completed this week and which can wait?

Read more

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