Technology

The 6 Most Important Features Your Next CMMS Should Have

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) are supposed to make life easier for maintenance managers and operational leaders. 

CMMS can improve operational efficiency, organize asset management, streamline preventive maintenance, and improve cash flow. These are the reasons why time-strapped operational managers turn to CMMS providers in the first place. 

Unfortunately, an alarming number of purchases are written off as “sunk costs” within months. As reported by Reliable Plant, up to 80 percent of all computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) implementations have failed. Yikes! 

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While it’s doubtful the statistic is that high for industries across the board, it wouldn’t be surprising if a significant percentage of maintenance programs result in failures. Why? 

Because most CMMS providers haven’t updated their software to meet modern engineering stands. It’s the year 2020. A technological era where one can easily arrange to have their dog walked, their dinner delivered, and their electronic devices turned off within five minutes from the convenience of their smartphone. 

Today’s most popular commercial apps are intuitive, sleek, and robust in capabilities. So, shouldn’t our operational maintenance platforms deliver a comparable level of functionality?  

Here are six key factors worth prioritizing when selecting your organization’s next CMMS solution: 

Team Chat and Work Order Comments

Preventive maintenance programs succeed when technicians know exactly what to do and when to do it. The best work orders include detailed instructions that leave no room for confusion. 

With that said, there will always be situations where team members need additional information to complete their tasks: Step three of PM 132 isn’t read the way management intended. A technician notices an unrelated part malfunction. New information of relevance arises.

Regardless of the situation, maintenance teams need foolproof systems for quick communication. Modern CMMS platforms include chat capabilities that allow technicians and managers to discuss projects in real time, directly within work orders. Not only is work order text messaging convenient, but it also provides an organized record of task instructions that won’t get forgotten like a phone conversation or lost like an email thread. 

Asset History 

A good CMMS platform handles more than just scheduling; it allows users to catalog information on a variety of assets. Serial numbers, locations, service dates, and more should be organized to keep preventive maintenance programs on track.

The more information you gather about equipment behavior, the more effective you will become in making cost-effective maintenance decisions. Prioritize CMMS providers that offer unlimited asset uploads, customizable category creation, and speedy excel exports. 

Audit Trails

Operational managers should always know who completed what PM and when. The best CMMS platforms provide digital timestamps that let managers know when technicians open and close work orders. They also allow users to generate visual reports that provide a birds eye view of organizational work order statuses. 

Repeatable Work Orders

Every manager knows that falling behind on too many PM work orders backlogs productivity. However, not every manager realizes that completing PMs too early can also negatively impact productivity.

For example, say a manufacturer recommends inspecting a particular asset every 30 days. You begin inspecting the asset on the 30th of the month for simplicity’s sake. However, a technician checks off the inspection 10 days earlier the second month, and a few days later the month after that. Pretty soon, you will have completed a mixture of several cycles too short and several cycles too long! 

A CMMS platform with repeatable work order functionality can prevent such schedule irregularities from happening. 

Photo Uploading

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of a faulty piece of equipment is worth a dozen time-consuming email explanations! Prioritize CMMS platforms that provide the option for uploading photos directly into work orders for faster troubleshooting, more accurate problem resolution, and simpler communication processes. 

Designed for Mobile

The majority of CMMS products on the market were designed for desktop computer usage before later being adapted for mobile devices (some aren’t available on mobile at all). For this reason, they aren’t as intuitive as CMMS designed specifically for smartphones. 

Choosing a mobile-first product means getting a user-friendly app that won’t require a huge learning curve to use. Unlike legacy CMMS that require hours of expensive training to gain comfortability of use, mobile-first platforms can be mastered within minutes with a bit of curiosity and self-directed learning.

All CMMS are not created equal and it’s important to remember – they are only valuable if you and your team use them consistently. Be sure to carefully consider how likely it will be that your team actually enjoys using the app otherwise you won’t enjoy any of the benefits. 

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