Many organizations use Excel spreadsheets to track their maintenance for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s essentially a free way of tracking work orders, scheduling needs, inventory, and more. But, more importantly, spreadsheets can hold large amounts of data, which allows you to track all of your maintenance in one location.
However, an Excel-based system presents a few critical issues that you should be mindful of. Even if you think your system is working perfectly for you, there may be some improvements that you don’t even know could be made! Please consider the following 7 capabilities that a CMMS can provide your organization.
1. Automatically send tasks to technicians
One of the main drawbacks of spreadsheets is their need to be managed. Someone has to consistently fill out the spreadsheet whenever a new request is made or completed. This usually means that a phone call, paper work order, fax, or conversation in the hallway takes place, and then you have to manually enter this information into the system. Not only does it waste your time, but it often leads to missed or forgotten information.
A CMMS eliminates the need for you to continuously work in the spreadsheet because users have the ability to submit requests on their own. In addition, the software sends out notifications to the appropriate technicians when a request is submitted, allowing you to spend more time on other important tasks.
2. Communicate effectively in one system
Typically, only one person is in charge of maintaining an Excel document, which limits the amount of communication between the requesting user and the technician working on the request.
Communicating in a CMMS is an entirely different story. Requesting users are able to document all of the details regarding their request, and even attach pictures or videos if necessary. Once the request is submitted, technicians can respond with updates or questions that alert the requesting user. Once the task is closed out, the requesting user will be notified in real time that it has been resolved. All of these interactions will be archived in the system so that you can refer back to them whenever you need to.
3. Provide actionable insight with real-time data
Have you ever wanted to pull up equipment downtime, total labor hours, or costs associated with each equipment item? If you have, you’ll know that it’s not too easy with an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you are able to produce these reports, they cannot be saved. So, when you go back to run the same report, you will need to recreate it entirely.
In a CMMS, the reports and dashboards produce this information automatically, in real time. So, you can reference it at your convenience and even pull the information directly from the system into a downloadable format. You can use these reports to make data-driven decisions about your team, equipment, and other facility needs.
4. Maintain and organize all past, present, and future work orders
While Excel spreadsheets are capable of holding tons of information, that information is sometimes incorrect. In fact, close to 90% of spreadsheets have errors, and with a collection of hundreds of work orders, there’s bound to be a least one mistake hidden in there.
While a CMMS is not immune to errors, there will be fewer than with a spreadsheet. Copy and paste mistakes, validation errors, and the potential to completely delete an entry are all eliminated with a CMMS. Instead, all requests are kept in the system and can be maintained and organized with robust filter options. If you have more work orders than you know what to do with, a CMMS will clean up your system immensely.
5. Pull up work orders from anywhere
Accessing a spreadsheet on a mobile device is not exactly easy. So, looking up details for a work order on-the-go becomes nearly impossible. What this means for you is added back-and-forth trips or constant phone calls with your technicians explaining what needs to get done. This wastes loads of time, which could all be avoided with a CMMS.
You can use a CMMS on any mobile device or tablet, which makes accessing requests in the field easy like Sunday morning.
6. Provide detailed information pertaining to a request
Because you are entering in other users’ requests, there is probably pertinent information that is being lost in translation. By allowing the user to enter their request themselves, you can be sure that they are providing all the necessary details.
With a CMMS, you can require users to input certain information (Ex: air temperature if the request is an HVAC issue) or even attach pictures. This ensures that your team is receiving all necessary details to move forward and work efficiently on the request.
7. Create reports and analyses right from the system
While possible, generating a report in Excel is not always the easiest. The filtering can be cumbersome and writing formulas to produce the information you want is not the best use of your time.
With a CMMS, you can create custom reports for your specific needs. Once you create these reports, you never have to create them again and can reference them anytime . You can even export the information from these reports and use it to justify additional staff or capital improvements with upper management.
Excel is a powerful solution for many tasks, but a CMMS can improve how your organization operates every day to bring a new level of efficiency everywhere you and your teams work. Think of all you can do, the time you can save, and the headaches you can eliminate, and consider a CMMS today.
Alayna is the Manager of Brand & Content at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not drafting up content for the blog or social media, she is most likely traveling the world or trying new foods in Columbus!