What is a CMMS System and How Can it Improve Maintenance Scheduling?

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What is Preventive Maintenance?

Facility managers best know preventive maintenance as an essential tool for preventing equipment downtime. Routine maintenance, equipment inspection, and asset repairs are part of a comprehensive plan to keep machines functioning at their maximum potential for a long time to come.

Preventive Maintenance

Checklists are a mainstay in a traditional approach, tailored to each piece of equipment, but usually covering these key areas:

  • Scheduled routine inspections
  • Cleaning and lubricating at regular intervals
  • Repair or restoration of broken or malfunctioning parts

When Should Preventive Maintenance Be Performed?

Schedules can be developed based on elapsed time, or equipment usage – or even melding both approaches. What exactly are these?

Time-based Scheduling: This is a simple schedule at regular intervals, outlining which maintenance tasks must be performed and when regardless of how often the equipment is used.

Usage-based Scheduling: Instead of letting the calendar be the standard, the usage time sets the maintenance pace. Much like a vehicle (changing the oil every 3000 miles), this approach is especially good for equipment that has highs and lows in its usage, potentially reducing maintenance frequency.

What is a CMMS System, and How Can it Improve Maintenance Scheduling?

Paper checklists are easy to use but come with significant drawbacks. Cycles are difficult to track within a team, human error creeps in, and the increase in paper waste is damaging to the environment.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a modern solution for facility managers to automate the process, assign tasks to appropriate workers, track progress, and archive history and results for future reference. Here are some key advantages:

Create Digital Checklists with Ease

You can create the desired checklist with a built-in form builder and then customize maintenance intervals to your liking. Once implemented, the system automatically alerts the appropriate technician when maintenance is due so that it is completed in a timely fashion.

Complete Assignments and Compile Data On-Site

Mobile devices are ubiquitous in today's workplace, and leveraging them can provide significant advantages for both management and technicians. Items on the list can be checked off as they're done, and visual records can be compiled by attaching photos and video to the completed tasks.

Digital Sign-offs

Another important step is to receive supervisor approval. Rather than routing paper lists through interdepartmental mail, a CMMS solution will instantly notify supervisors of completed maintenance tasks ready for review and sign-off. The absence of physical documents also negates the need for delays induced by biosafety measures. All this eliminates bottlenecks and frees both sides of the team to continue uninterrupted in their workflow.

Calendars Promote Communication and Collaboration

Once the appropriate tasks are scheduled, calendar views can be shared with the rest of the team, allowing them to support the process by ensuring the equipment is not booked for use during these key periods.

Tracking and Verification

Digital Checklists impose greater order and discipline on the maintenance process. Once the checklist comes due, it requires action – either carrying out the tasks on the list or recording an explanation for why the maintenance was delayed or skipped. Even the amount of time the list spends in "pending" or "processing" can give management insight into the progress and productivity of the maintenance process.

Easy Historical Access for Audits

With everything archived in the system, there is no need to search for stray documents. Not only is it more orderly, but it is environmentally friendly as well. The needed information is available instantly – and as a bonus, more detailed, with visual records (photos and videos taken on-site.)

Data-Driven Asset Management

Paper documents can only be filed in one order. On the other hand, a digital system allows you to access your data from different perspectives. Not only can you see things from a schedule view, but you can also attach the completed checklists to the equipment they belong to, providing a comprehensive history of every piece of equipment in your shop. When was the asset last inspected? Were there any issues? Were these issues resolved? All the answers are at your fingertips.

Equipment replacement decisions can then be made based on facts and not guesses. If an asset has consistent issues over time, the value of repairs can be contrasted with the cost of replacement, and a solid business decision can be made.

Return on Investment

Especially in companies with large facilities, having hundreds or even thousands of assets, applying preventive maintenance can be quite challenging. Establishing a clear structure and schedule through software solutions can lower downtime, give your decision-making a firm basis, and increase productivity – all of which can translate to greater savings in the long term.

We are now in an era of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service Computerized Maintenance Management Systems, which brings us these advantages in a simplified, cost-effective form, making it easier to show a quick return on investment.

Are you still planning for maintenance on paper? Or have you yet to start a maintenance program? Contact us to learn more and let us help you get started.

Learn more about EAM/CMMS for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central - a free maintenance management system.

By Dynaway, www.dynaway.com

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