Running a manufacturing company successfully depends on how efficient equipment stays. So if we want operations that run smoothly like a well-oiled machine, we need to be sure that our machinery stays in top shape.

Unplanned downtimes cost manufacturing companies close to $50 billion every single year. And many of these downtimes could be avoided if maintenance managers had a better way of tracking maintenance. That’s where technology plays a crucial part.

For manufacturing companies, there need to be automated systems in place to replace manual processes and clunky spreadsheets. The best solution for the job is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

What is CMMS and How Does it Help Manufacturing Companies?

So what are computerized maintenance management systems or CMMS for short? It helps machinery and maintenance managers keep better track of company equipment by monitoring maintenance and efficiently scheduling downtimes without affecting operations too much.

Maintenance software is used by facility and maintenance management, asset planners and maintenance staff to help the company keep better track of planned, unplanned, reactive, and proactive maintenance activities. A CMMS provides a virtual dashboard for work orders, schedules, reports, and any other relevant data to help manufacturing companies remain optimized and lower downtimes.

Nowadays, the pressure to maximize production continues to go up, causing tension amongst maintenance teams. By using a CMMS to help schedule, organize, track, and audit maintenance activities in one place, maintenance managers and personnel get a tool that can help them deal with problems more proactively and help the company stay as optimized as possible to keep the conveyor belt going.

Top Features of a CMMS software

It shows that having a CMMS helped increase productivity at manufacturing sites and companies by up to 15%. But before companies can get to that level, they must first be aware of the basic features of a CMMS software to know what tools they can use to maximize machinery maintenance and upkeep. Here are the top features that CMMS software must have and how they can help your business.

Machine upkeep management

Using a CMMS provides manufacturing companies or departments with a singular dashboard for all assets and their specifications and data, including years operational, usage reports, manufacturer information, maintenance logs, and so on. With a machinery maintenance system, managers can create asset hierarchies, create more detailed asset profiles, get reports on asset costs and health, add a preventive maintenance procedure sample, and many more. This repository of logs and information machinery profiles provides the right stakeholders with the knowledge to better steward equipment.

Task management

A CMMS also gives manufacturers and their managers a way to manage the people aspect of maintenance. Using a cloud-based system, managers can assign tasks to maintenance personnel to perform system checks, diagnostics, and fixes and track progress, budget requests for needed parts purchases, and plans for preventive maintenance.

Having a dashboard for fixes also helps with maintenance triages by giving supervisors and their staff a better idea of which tasks to prioritize based on the urgency and importance. The system can also enable automated and manual notifications to alert concerned personnel. Additionally, managers can add a preventive maintenance checklist, manual, standard operating procedures, and contextualized notes to work orders.

Data and reports

Using a computerized system for maintenance also allows the maintenance crew to collect, analyze, and act on data as it comes and create dashboards to view KPIs across multiple sites. Having an audit log also allows manufacturing departments and companies to assess the ROI of maintenance and decide when the best time to fix or buy is.

With an automated and organized dashboard for data, companies save time and energy from having to crunch numbers manually. This, in turn, allows all staff, whether a technician or director, to pinpoint issues and create downtime reduction strategies to fix or avoid them.


Steps to Successfully Launch a CMMS Workflow

There’s one glaring number that all manufacturing companies need to know — up to 80% of CMMS implementations aren’t sustainable. To experience the amazing benefits of having a digital system to help with maintenance, we need to plan for long-term usage.

Here are steps to take to implement a CMMS successfully and run them seamlessly within your company’s operations.

1. Perform an audit of all machinery and manpower

Maintenance departments should first perform an audit of all their machinery and manpower. Get details such as manufacturing information, all preventive maintenance procedures, systems logs, job descriptions of each maintenance employee, and all relevant information. Documenting and compiling this information will save time and energy when you set up the CMMS once you’ve selected the right one.

2. Determine your maintenance pain points

Before choosing the facility management software, your team first needs to know what the system will be used for. Think of it this way — each tool has a function they do best. Hammers operate differently than screwdrivers because they solve different problems. Likewise, determining issues you want to address in maintenance is the best place to start when choosing the right system. CMMS software systems all have their own unique edges, which are directly correlated with what problems they solve best.

When shopping for the right CMMS tool, look for their unique value propositions and select the solution that best solves your problems. If data gathering is your company’s pain point, choose the tool that performs data gathering and analysis best. If task management is your challenge, choose the solution that provides the best features in that category.

3. Get the help of an IT department or consultant

When you’ve selected the best tool for your context, you might need help setting the system up. Manufacturing managers might not always have the IT background to get a system up accurately so collaborate with the IT department to get this system up. If you don’t have an IT department or personnel or if your current one has no background in CMMS, consider hiring a consultant with an automotive technology degree to help you through the setup process.

4. Roll out in phases

One maintenance best practice when rolling out new software is to do it in phases to allow for troubleshooting along the way. Slowing rolling out software allows for smoother transitions and helps launch committees determine possible hiccups that could cause problems once the system goes up. On top of technical issues, look out for use-case issues that could make it difficult for your staff to use a program and find workarounds.

5. Train all involved personnel

Before officially launching a computerized system for maintenance, provide the necessary technical training. It’s always safe to assume that some of your staff might not be up to speed when it comes to knowledge on using digital software, so be rigid when training all your staff. Provide as much grace time to allow staff to get used to the system as learning curves should be expected when rolling out a new system.

6. Perform audits

There will always be room for improvement, so it pays to perform regular audits to a CMMS system. These audits might have to happen more frequently in the beginning, possibly on a monthly or even bi-weekly basis. As the system becomes smoother and personnel get used to the workflow, you can start spreading the audits out more and do them quarterly, then twice or once a year.

Manufacturing in the Digital Age

The digital age is upon us whether we like it or not. So it’s on management to start pivoting if they want to remain relevant and competent. The day will come that technology will allow businesses to go faster than ever before. When that happens, companies that adapted early will be at the forefront of their respective industries.