By Keith Craig, Better Buys

What is CMMS?

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems target equipment maintenance and facility operations. The purpose behind CMMS is to improve maintenance and management of company assets through automation.

At the granular level, CMMS are highly sophisticated software packages that mobilize thousands of data points, rendering an overview of a facility’s operations as easily as the status of an individual piece of equipment at any given time.

Work order schedules, inventory forecasts and other reports generate immediate insights into maintenance needs. These analytics facilitate better and faster decisions for your business and proffer solutions in real-time.

CMMS automation creates various schedules based on prior equipment maintenance history, maintenance standards for individual assets, inspection times, technician availability, equipment locations and production downtimes. By reviewing operational data, modifications can be made to preventive maintenance plans that will further improve efficiency while reducing costs.

With the help of CMMS, a facilities manager can easily track, monitor and predict which assets will require preventive maintenance, streamlining the organization of a business while reducing its costs and increasing profits. CMMS automation further aids in regulatory compliance, safety management, inventory control and overall asset management.

Why Mobile?

Mobile means taking it with you wherever and whenever you go. It was a characteristic to which CMMS did not historically lend itself, even as other B2B solutions embraced smartphone technology.

Today, however, it is possible to view a CMMS system dashboard from tablets and smartphones. This is a small step for a facilities manager, but a huge leap for facilities management. Consider that multitasking maintenance duties often require technicians to move both inside and outside the facility. Mobility lets facility managers and technicians access a CMMS from wherever they may be: in a facility, in the field or on the go.

Mobility has become an obvious fit for CMMS applications. No matter where technicians are, they can access equipment maintenance history, request parts for repairs, complete work orders and view/generate reports from a handheld device.

Having data immediately available profoundly increases wrench time. Less time is spent during the day at a terminal inputting statuses of each addressed task. Mobile CMMS also increases maintenance inventory accuracy. It gives real-time access to emergent work orders and can record signals from condition monitoring tools and asset inspections via NFC technology.

Mobility is popular. In a recent facilities management poll, 64.2 percent responded positively to whether a mobile device would be embraced at their facility. And once embraced, mobility should be deployed. Several studies show that maintenance efficiency and cost reduction result when maintenance staff are equipped with mobile devices and digital workflow software.

The six common maintenance functions that are improved most by a mobile platform are distribution of work instructions, planning and scheduling of maintenance duties, general reporting, route management, system alerts and repairs.

What Are the Benefits of Going Mobile with CMMS?

Each of these six functions can be further enhanced through the three compelling advantages of “going mobile.” These advantages are: image transmission, paperwork reduction and simplified data entry.

1. Image Transmission

The ability to incorporate multimedia into CMMS files is a critical advantage in facilities management. Through a smartphone, a technician can record (or retrieve) picture, video and/or audio files in seconds to vividly supplement intervention reports. Visuals become invaluable when documenting damage found on machines or in a facility.

In addition to supplementing reports, any sort of digital visualization or recording can be attached to a work order so that proper repairs can be planned. The obvious result? A more effective and swifter repair process, less downtime and a quicker return to normal production levels.

2. Paperwork Reduction

Going mobile with CMMS fosters paperless operations. Work orders, preventative maintenance schedules, supply requests, building floorplans, etc., can be stored, retrieved and distributed to technicians as they make their rounds throughout a shift.

In addition, going paperless eliminates the need for both a printer and a means to store that paperwork. Files saved to disk and retrieved through a CMMS also eliminates the time and staff needed to find, duplicate and distribute hardcopy. Going paperless frees staff to address more constructive duties.

3. Simplified Data Entry

Barcode scanning – automatically generating and reading bar/QR codes for all equipment and assets – gives roving technicians immediate, real-time access to critical equipment data, open work orders, equipment maintenance history, photos, manuals, etc. just about anything that can be designated by a barcode will be more readily available. Issues are addressed that much more quickly.

Barcode scanning can streamline work order submission, equipment details input and taking an asset offline for repair. Mobile-access barcode scanning even one-ups the desktop version:  Databases no longer need to be searched with specific keywords and filters to find a manual or create work orders. Simply, scan an appropriate barcode and the resource appears on the screen, without risk of errant typing retrieving the wrong file. Fast. Simple. Accurate. Effective.

A mobile CMMS can also read a QR code on a failing machine. Then combined with a keyword search, it can produce and present a solution for any maintenance issue, supplemented with abundant and relevant documentation.

The bonus of this simplified, real-time data entry is a reduction of data input errors, swift clarification of misunderstandings and even faster resolution to any maintenance issue.

Mobile CMMS saves time, effort and money. When images can supplement work and parts orders on the go, piles of paperwork can be eliminated, input errors can be minimized or wholly eradicated immediately, and equipment repair can be accurately identified and addressed in real time, you’ll see a steady boost to the bottom line.