As a Facilities Manager, every day is full of challenges and you’ve got a lot on your plate — keeping your equipment and facilities running smoothly, responding to the endless influx of work orders, and holding your team accountable are just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at five different scenarios you might encounter on a day-to-day basis and see for yourself just how much a CMMS can help.
1. You're determining whether to repair or replace a piece of equipment
Are you constantly making repairs and ordering spare parts for a certain equipment item? You might be asking yourself why you still have that old AC unit and when it’s time to purchase a new one.
With a CMMS, you can take the guesswork out of these tricky decisions. Let’s take a look at our AC unit example — You could find the AC unit in your CMMS by either scanning the QR barcode located on the asset with your smartphone or searching for the unit in the CMMS. Then, you would be able to view all of the maintenance, and associated costs, ever performed on that specific AC unit. You can then compare these costs with the price of a new unit, and make an educated decision about whether it’s best to continue repairing it or to replace it. Some CMMS vendors, like FMX, will calculate the costs (labor and inventory) associated with each piece of equipment, so that you don’t even have to do it yourself.
2. You have lots of work orders to close out and your facilities are spread over a wide radius
This happens all too often, whether it’s inspection time or you just have work orders popping up all over town. Your team is either looking at a super long day with significant amounts of driving time between various locations, or you’ll need to spread the work over multiple days. Neither option seems very efficient.
But a CMMS turns days like these into productive ones! Most CMMS solutions, like FMX, have mobile functionality, which means you can manage your facilities anywhere from a smartphone or tablet. Without this capability, things can get a little messy. For instance, after every work order you might find yourself running back to the office to retrieve the next paper work order form or ask your boss what you’re supposed to work on next. Or maybe you just finished up a work order in Building A and are heading off to Building C without realizing two more work orders popped up in Building A. It might even be as simple as forgetting a spare part at Building B that you would have known you needed if you could bring the work order up on a mobile device.
A lot of disorganization, miscommunication, and wasted time can occur without the ability to access work orders at your fingertips, and a CMMS with mobile functionality can relieve these stressors. Take FMX customer, Primary Aim, for example. Within the first three months of using the software, they saved $33,000 on equipment costs and $9,100 in travel expenses because they had access to the information they needed from any place, and on any device. Technicians were able to spend significantly less time driving from restaurant to restaurant. So, hop on board the CMMS train and start saving time!
3. You're out of air filters and you can't get any shipped for another week
You’re about to repair a piece of equipment and discover that the spare parts you need aren’t in stock. Now you may be faced with equipment downtime until you can get the necessary parts, which means your facilities aren’t being utilized efficiently. What a headache!
If you aren’t convinced that a CMMS is the best thing to happen since sliced bread yet, maybe it’s because I haven’t mentioned how it can help you track inventory! Every time you use an inventory item, you can go into your CMMS and adjust the remaining quantity accordingly. Some CMMSs, like FMX, even associate inventory with work orders and PM tasks. So, when you close out a work order all you need to do is input the amount of inventory used on the ticket and it will update the inventory quantity in real time. With FMX, you can even set up your site to automatically send you a notification when an inventory item reaches its minimum quantity. So, kiss those days of wondering whether or not an inventory item needs to be restocked goodbye, and start using a CMMS!
4. Your team is working on the same project on different shifts
In some industries, like manufacturing, operating your facilities around the clock is often necessary. However, it can lead to problems of its own. If your entire team (comprised of first, second, and third shift employees) is working on a large maintenance project, sometimes it’s hard to see just where the previous shift left off. First shift employees don’t always have the opportunity to communicate their progress to second shift employees and a similar disconnect might occur between second and third shift employees. This makes determining where to begin and what to prioritize difficult for all three shifts.
One of the great things about utilizing a CMMS is that updating the progress of a work order within the software is a breeze! Each shift can outline what they accomplished and where the next shift needs to pick up the project. In FMX, it’s even easier to check the progress of a preventive maintenance (PM) task. When creating a PM task, you have the option to add a step-by-step instruction set for employees to follow. As each step is completed, employees simply check it off. This increases transparency amongst everyone in your department and lets employees know what was completed in the previous shift.
5. Your facilities are being audited
You know better than anyone just how time-consuming audit season can be. During the process you’re often asked to provide proof of employee certifications, records of all the maintenance performed on your equipment, data on all of your buildings and their infrastructure, proof of ADA compliance and occupant safety, and more. These requirements can turn an already stressful job into a complete nightmare if this information is not readily available.
While there are a few ways you can track this information, using a CMMS will allow you to keep all of this data in one location. For instance, during an audit, you can easily pull up complete maintenance histories, with time and date stamps, for any piece of equipment in your CMMS. In addition, you can store important documents in your CMMS that an auditor might request, such as employee certifications, ADA documents, contracts of any kind, etc. If there are any compliance concerns that are brought to your attention, you can even take notes in your CMMS to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Don’t let situations like the ones above get you down! Using a CMMS is a great way to monitor your work orders, track inventory, prepare for audits, and more.
Alayna is the marketing communications specialist at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not drafting up content for the blog or social media, she is most likely reading a good book or taking short weekend trips!