A typical Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) has at a minimum software features that will help you and your organisation track assets and their spares, schedule preventative and reactive maintenance, manage documentation and produce reports in a systematic way.
If you work in maintenance at the moment, then no doubt you will be involved in doing these activities. Ask yourself, is your organisation really doing these things as systematically and efficiently as possible? If you think there is room for improvement then a CMMS might be for you.
Benefits of efficient and effective Maintenance Management
We don’t want to teach you to suck eggs. You’ll know better than anybody that in an asset intensive organisation – those concerned with production, building and infrastructure management for example – the greatest opportunity for reduction in operating cost and risk is in the area of maintenance.
Broadly speaking best practice approaches yield huge advantages such as:
- Reduced costs – 10%, 20% or even 30%
- Increased regulatory compliance
- Boosting equipment availability
- Ensuring people safety and reduction of other risks
- Keeping up with ever-changing customer demands
And an internationally recognised best approach to maintenance management is to have a CMMS.
Defined, systematic approaches
A well set-up and user-friendly CMMS helps you and everybody else in your organisation follow defined, systematic processes. Half the battle of implementing best practice is often in finding ways to get people to do things consistently – a CMMS does that for you.
You need time to be an engineer and not just an information manager
Maintenance management that truly focuses on the needs of the business is about 90% information management and 10% engineering. If you’re spending less time on information management because your CMMS is doing that for you, then you and your team can spend more time on fixing problems or better yet preventing them before they start.
A good CMMS takes the drudgery out of information management by providing a simple and powerful means to store and manage vital information about how your assets work, what spare parts can help you fix problems and what needs doing when. Production of reports is also greatly simplified.
What size organisation does a CMMS suit?
A CMMS is put in place to help organisations manage their assets. How many maintainable items can an organisation have before a CMMS becomes a practical necessity?
Sorry if you were hoping that answer is 42, it isn’t! There’s no precise answer, it’s a judgement call. And it’s not just the number of assets that come into play, consider also:
- The frequency that new assets come online
- Overall organisation complexity – number of staff, contractors and locations
- What degree of low productivity, waste and risk your management will tolerate
- Changing customer demands
For smaller organisations based in one location with a handful of assets and people, paper based systems and spreadsheets will probably suffice. But as an organisation grows in complexity, paper and spreadsheets are unlikely to cut the mustard. You will need a CMMS.
A CMMS isn’t a magic bullet
You may be thinking, a CMMS is going to solve all the productivity problems we have in the maintenance department! It’s true that a new CMMS is likely to benefit you greatly straight out of the box, but if you really want the big gains your organisation will need to find time to:
- Configure the system
- Train staff
- Consider adjusting your maintenance management activities and processes
There’s a plethora of CMMS’s available and all claim to have the features you need. Take the time to demo a few with some team members, including Shire’s Pirana. Think about what features will easily fit into your existing practices and what will require a programme of business change to take advantage of. Remember a good CMMS should be for life, not just Christmas.