Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group Inc. Lachance has been developing and perfecting CMMS for more than 20 years. Lachance may be reached at email@example.com. For more information, visit bigfootcmms.com.
Efficient operations will always be crucial for the pump industry. However, when it comes to routine maintenance activities, many companies fail to leverage technologies like computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that promote efficiency as a corporate mindset and goal.
Take capturing operational asset data, for example. According to a recent survey of more than 100 small- to medium-sized U.S. manufacturers, 34 percent of respondents said they are not capturing operational asset data at all. Additionally, of the 60 percent that reported that they are capturing the data, two-thirds still do so manually.
This is surprising considering the many competitive advantages a cloud-based CMMS offers companies.
A well-designed CMMS moves beyond a reactive mindset to help maintenance professionals prevent failures and malfunctions, and its data-driven asset management capabilities make operations safer and more cost-effective.
For industries vested in pumps and systems, updating existing maintenance practices to a modern CMMS solution offers three key benefits.
1. Prediction & Prevention
Tracking assets digitally allows organizations to monitor and maintain machines in real time. With this level of insight into ongoing operations, maintenance professionals can better predict when assets require attention, as well as prevent business-critical errors and breakdowns.
For example, if a water treatment system is operating below optimum flow, CMMS can identify which pump is underperforming. Maintenance professionals can compare that asset’s current performance to its historical data and determine when it may need upgrading or if it should be replaced based on live readings. With all maintenance data integrated into one system, workers can make data-driven decisions, reduce downtime and improve operational efficiencies.
2. Cutting Costs While Making Money
Investing in proper maintenance technologies is not a necessary financial evil; improved asset management can actually save companies money over time.
With two-thirds of the surveyed manufacturers manually capturing operational data, basic day-to-day tasks have become a major roadblock to improving efficiencies and persist as financial drains. By automating day-to-day processes and implementing a predictive strategy with CMMS-driven efficiencies, maintenance professionals can handle more work orders faster and expend fewer resources to complete routine tasks.
A predictive maintenance strategy also dramatically decreases scheduled maintenance costs. Too many companies waste resources on unnecessary “just-in-case” checks, even when machines show no signs of needing maintenance. An estimated 18 to 30 percent of every dollar spent on maintenance is wasted, according to one report. The better solution is a predictive maintenance strategy that ensures technicians are only completing maintenance when necessary based on metrics.
3. Mobile Accessibility
With mobile CMMS apps, technicians can access core maintenance needs and functionalities on the go. As organizations expand operations around the globe, native CMMS apps for iOS or Android tablets and smartphones offer maintenance professionals unparalleled conveniences during routine activities.
While some companies may be hesitant to adopt mobile solutions, 62 percent of U.S. smartphone users actively use apps, according to a 2013 Nielsen report, and almost a quarter are already comfortable using smartphones for quick response (QR) code scanning purposes. Today’s maintenance professionals are simply ready for mobile capabilities.
Whether on- or off-site, maintenance professionals can log onto their CMMS mobile app to see maintenance requests, available spare parts and work orders at once. With features such as built-in camera integration and QR code scanning, maintenance teams can increase their transparency and productivity.
With geo-tagging capabilities that allow users to visually map out assets and work orders, maintenance professionals can route the best plan to tackle their daily responsibilities. Asset and equipment criticality attributes and work priorities can help team members determine which pump demands the most immediate attention and the optimal path to pursue the next priority.
The added bonus of a CMMS mobile app lies in its offline capabilities, through which staff can edit work orders when outside cellular range and sync the data when internet is again available.
Mobile is the right choice to recruit and retain a younger workforce. As maintenance professionals retire, a new generation of highly fluent millennial workers is taking their place. Workers between the ages of 18 and 34 use smartphones and tablets to complete about a quarter of their work on average, and these employees will only benefit from advanced CMMS mobile apps in the future.