Many organizations are turning to computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Once thought to be an unnecessary expense that could be allocated elsewhere, this is no longer the case when it comes to facility management. Managers now realize the benefits that maintenance software systems offer:
- Extended longevity of assets from preventive maintenance
- Reduced labor costs
- Reduced equipment downtime
- Better inventory management
- Faster turnaround time for work orders
Twenty years ago, CMMSs were used primarily in the manufacturing sector. Today, they’re commonplace in hospitals, hotels and resorts, retailers, office buildings, colleges and more. With an increase in demand (CMMS attracts thousands of monthly Google searches in the US alone) for these tools vendors have been quick to respond with new products and features. Even older providers are investing in development initiatives respond to the needs of informed buyers.
Though CMMS solutions are equipped with all sorts of enticing bells and whistles, the reality is there are just a few core features that will have the most impact on your business. While researching different products, it’s important to focus on the core features rather than non-essential gimmicks that won’t necessarily satisfy your requirements — now, and in the future.
Here are five essential features to put at the top of your list:
1. A Simple Maintenance Request Portal
The number one reason employees don’t submit maintenance requests is the cumbersome process they require. A company without an efficient system in place to gather and respond to maintenance requests runs the risk of overlooking urgent issues. Over time, these unresolved issues can turn into real problems.
With top CMMS solutions, a simple maintenance request portal can save time and allow employees to effortlessly submit requests. A simple maintenance request protocol will ensure requests are not missed and expedite the time it takes to complete them.
Maintenance management is one just component of broader CMMS that helps organizations respond quickly to unplanned breakdowns, random equipment emergencies, and maintenance issues that facility staff may experience.
2. Preventive Maintenance
The need for preventative maintenance software is often overlooked in a company’s operations. With a maintenance management system in place, companies can get a bird’s-eye-view of all their facilities and locations to ensure that effective preventative care is scheduled in accordance with all standard operating procedures.
When small tasks are overlooked for long periods of time, problems get worse. Without careful tracking and maintenance, you run the risk of production errors, work injuries, and asset damage. Preventative maintenance tools like automatic triggers, email integration, reminders, equipment information, and auto-assigned tasks can streamline your entire process.
It’s no secret that preventative care is less expensive than paying for damaged equipment repair or replacement.
3. Equipment and Asset Management
Equipment and assets are the backbone of an efficient business. They help produce products, serve customers, and deliver value. Equipment failure can also diminish a business’s ability to function successfully. Misuse, misplacement, and theft all negatively affect the performance and value of a company’s assets. Being able to track these metrics can be the difference between success and failure.
Key features you want included in your equipment and asset management are:
- Repair history
- Work orders
- Access to images, warranty info, meter readings
- Floor plan management
These features let you do all that is necessary to make informed decisions about current equipment and assets.
Interactive floor plan management is one of the most convenient features of a good CMMS, as it lets you interact with assets and equipment in your current floor plan layout. With this capability, you’ll be able to see where your equipment is, when it needs to be serviced, and when it needs to be replaced.
4. Inventory Management
Inventory management is how companies remain stocked with all the essential items they need to serve customers and complete operations. In the past, companies commonly used Excel and other spreadsheet programs to track inventory. Though effective in some ways, spreadsheets lack the necessary features to comprehensively manage and track real-time inventory.
A robust CMMS can track inventory (including all parts and materials), auto-order parts and supplies, and generate inventory reports. Of course, having this information is of no value unless reaches the right people. Most CMMS solutions can automatically send important alerts and updates to relevant personnel in your organization.
5. Mobile Access
Most of the developed world is now mobile. The transition to mobile over the last decade has affected businesses just as much as consumers. A CMMS solution that doesn’t offer full mobile compatibility is not a competitive option for modern maintenance management.
Facility maintenance and inventory management issues occur in real-time, moment to moment. Having access to your data from a smartphone or tablet makes it possible to stay on top of issues at any time of day, from any location. A few minutes can be the difference between expensive problems and smooth maintenance resolution. Look for vendors that provide a responsive mobile web interface or (better yet) a native mobile app.
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If your company has grown to the point where you’re shopping for a CMMS, congratulations. In your research and evaluation process, make sure you look for solutions that include the five features above. Click here to compare solutions and get a free, custom recommendation.
Daniel Golub is the General Manager at Hippo CMMS. Hippo is a powerful, affordable and user-friendly web-based maintenance management system. Hippo maintenance management software is ideally suited for a variety industries including manufacturing, healthcare, education, hospitality and many more. You can find Daniel on Linkedin and Twitter.