Workflow Automation Software – Increasing Enterprise Efficiency

Automation in silos is not enough. If you are looking for ways to handle multiple disjointed applications, drive contextual engagement, meet changing business demands, and provide an omnichannel customer experience, workflow automation software would be the perfect fit.

Workflow automation software helps you develop applications rapidly, automate end-to-end customer journeys without losing context across all digital touchpoints, and drive continuous process development. The software provides various tools and technologies to simplify your business processes, increase productivity, reduce operational costs, and improve customer experience.

What are the typical Enterprise Challenges?

Overcoming Obstacles

Given below is how workflow automation software can help overcome enterprise-wide challenges and overcome process inefficiencies.

Simplifying Application Development

Workflow automation tools like point-and-click and drag-and-drop simplify the processes of designing, developing, and delivering responsive, enterprise-grade applications for web and mobile. It automates your simple departmental functions to complex business-wide operations, bringing agility to the business workflow. Workflow automation software provides user interface-designing and low-code application development to meet changing business requirements.

Per Gartner, “by 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies, up from less than 25% in 2020.”

Automating Intelligent Business Processes

Workflow leverages robotic process automation (RPA) to manage and streamline end-to-end complex and content-centric business processes. It automates repetitive and mundane tasks allowing your skilled employees to perform more critical tasks. Workflow automation software empowers your employees with dynamic case management capabilities to collaborate and respond to real-time as well as unanticipated situations.

Creating Contextual Engagement

Workflow automation captures, manages, and derives context from information generated across various sources. Based on context derived from data and information, your employees deliver personalized communications to customers across multiple user-interface. It also increases the conversion rate.

Facilitating Continuous Improvement

Improvement is an ongoing process. Workflow software uses artificial intelligence and multi-experience applications to evaluate historical data, analyze the trends, predict the impact of strategic changes. It uncovers business risks makes intelligent recommendations to improve employee productivity and reduce operational costs.

In conclusion

In a nutshell, workflow automation helps you with low code application development, business rules management, dynamic case management, and process insights across your organization. It brings in cost benefits, enhances employees’ productivity, minimizes human-prone errors, ensures continuous process improvement, reduces turnaround times, and enhances customer satisfaction.

Source: https://newgensoft.com/blog/workflow-automation-software-increasing-enterprise-efficiency/

Why Collaboration Keeps Growing in the Remote Work World

For years, experts have been saying that telecommuting—otherwise known as working from home—would be the “wave of the future.” However, few predicted the wave would rapidly crash into the real world so quickly to become the “new normal.”

A recent study showed about 20% of people said they worked from home prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. As of late 2021, 71% of workers were reportedly working from home. Another 54% said they would prefer to continue to work remotely after the pandemic recedes to an endemic. For most companies, this paradigm shift represents a challenge in terms of building a new tech infrastructure that evenly facilitates at least three modes of work—in-office, hybrid, and remote.

Of key importance is the role of information management platforms that leverage a new-normal sense of collaboration and communication—especially in companies with workers spread across far-flung nations and time zones. Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” But, to do “great things,” an organization requires “greater” communication and collaboration tools.

Facing the “anywhere/anytime” challenge

As American workers continue to spread out into remote teams, the importance and value of project collaboration can’t be overstated. Knowledge workers must be able to work together anywhere, anytime, and from virtually any device. A 2021 Gartner study estimated nearly 80% of workers used collaboration tools—an increase of more than 40% since Q1, 2020.

Along with this shift came new and daunting challenges. For example, workers reported being unable to access key documents due to a lack of collaborative, accessible document management systems. Not only were workers scattered, so were their documents and data. Or worse, workers were using the wrong versions of documents that could often be lost in a swamp of email attachments.

Addressing collaboration frustration

So, how do forward-facing companies address these challenges and get the best out of their remote and in-office workers? The answer begins with a superior information management platform.

Workers must be empowered to share information easily and securely, as well as to work together more productively. They can’t do that if crucial information is still trapped in data silos or sitting on a hard drive in an office somewhere.

The good news? Document management solutions like M-Files face and defeats new-normal challenges for remote workers. No matter where or what your team focuses their resources and time, all crucial data is stored in one centralized repository, so everyone has access to exactly what they need. The result? Improved communication with clients and each other.

Keeping clients in the know

The digital-first experience has long presented an opportunity for organizations to create more personalized client experiences. For example, if a client needs a document, your team must have a streamlined system in place to make retrieval simple and secure. Solutions like M-Files mitigate issues in these areas by making content available internally and externally—but only to those who need access.   Advances like these are ultimately why collaboration has continued to rise over the previous two years, despite the massive disruption brought on by COVID-19. When you give people the resources they need to perform at their best, they will.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/resources/en-hub/rt-main-blog-en/why-collaboration-keeps-growing-in-the-remote-work-world

Extracting Intelligent Insights Using Information Capture Software

Your enterprise’s critical information may exist in different forms, such as paper, digital formats, office documents, and across multiple locations. Gathering and capturing the sheer volumes of information effectively and accurately from the deluge of organizational content is a tedious process, especially when it is done manually. To overcome these challenges, it is important for business leaders, like you, to streamline the process of data acquisition and information capture.

What Is Information Capture?

It is the process of capturing unstructured information from paper-based or digital documents and translating the same into structured data, readable by a digital device.

The first step in an organization’s digital transition starts with digitizing its paper-based processes. With the help of information capture software, you can streamline data management while replacing traditional paper-based forms.

information capture

Understanding with a Use Case

A financial institution can leverage an information capture tool to extract relevant details from a supporting document provided by the customer, such as identity proof. The software will automatically retrieve information, including name, address, contact details, etc. from the document. This helps minimize manual errors, boost employee productivity, and drastically reduce the time for account opening.

Business Benefits of Leveraging Information Capture Software

In the above example, it is evident that enterprises can maximize their organizational efficiency by using information capture software. Let us dive deep into some of the other business benefits of the software:

  • Reduction of operating costs through automation of document-intensive business processes, such as document handling, storage, and manual data entry
  • Resource optimization through automating time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks, including document classification, data separation, and data indexing
  • Faster document processing through concurrently performing bulk scans, classifications, image enhancements, and extractions

Furthermore, the information capture software can be advanced to the next level by combining data capture functionalities with content management, process automation, and workflow capabilities. It can unlock new avenues for enhanced data capture, efficient content management, smarter decision-making, and improved workforce productivity.

Source: https://newgensoft.com/blog/extracting-intelligent-insights-using-information-capture-software/

Building a TPM program: Where to start?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “TPM” (or total productive maintenance) many times throughout your maintenance career. As Greg Folts noted during his appearance on the Rooted in Reliability podcast, people may refer to TPM as shorthand for a number of different things. Often, people are referring only to autonomous maintenance when they mention it. In reality, developing an autonomous maintenance plan is just one pillar (and the most common starting point) of building a full TPM program for a facility.

TPM refers to putting processes and training in place so that everyone in a facility—from operations to plant maintenance to engineering—is contributing to maintenance. But what are the necessary steps for building an effective TPM program? Let’s look at each piece of the puzzle individually.

Total Productive Maintenance Pillars: Laying the foundation with 5S

Developed in the early 50s, Total Productive Maintenance is a program for increasing the efficiency of machines and processes, standing on eight TPM pillars with 5S as its foundation.

Before any of the eight pillars of TPM can be put in place, a “5S” foundation must be built. The purpose of laying this foundation is to introduce standardization and continuous improvement processes into every TPM activity.

Sort

Determine which items are used frequently and which are not. The ones used frequently should be kept close by, others should be stored further away.

Systemize

Each item should have one place—and one place only—to be stored.

Shine

The workplace needs to be clean. Without it, problems will be more difficult to identify, and quality maintenance will be more difficult to perform.

Standardize

The workplace should be standardized and labelled. This often means creating processes where none existed previously.

Sustain

Efforts should be made to continually perform each of the other steps at all times.

Once each of the 5S actions has been established and is part of the facility culture, it’s time to move on to the eight pillars of TPM.

TPM Methodology: Building the TPM pillars

TPM_pyramid

Pillar 1: Autonomous maintenance

Autonomous maintenance (also known as Jishu Hozen) refers to “the restoration and prevention of accelerated deterioration,” which involves cleaning equipment while inspecting it for deterioration or abnormalities, identifying and eliminating factors that contribute to deterioration, and establishing standards to clean, inspect, and lubricate an asset properly. The ultimate goal of autonomous maintenance is to make it part of the operators’ day-to-day job to properly care for their assets as a form of maintenance. This pillar allows maintenance teams to address the larger maintenance issues that deserve their full attention.

Pillar 2: Planned maintenance

Planned maintenance refers to setting up preventive maintenance activities based on metrics such as failure rates and time-based triggers. Planning these activities in advance allows a facility to care for an asset at a time that will not impact production so that uptime is maintained.

Pillar 3: Quality integration

This pillar involves integrating manufacturing performance, quality assurance, design error detection and prevention into the production process. The purpose of this pillar is to improve quality management by removing the root causes of defects and understanding why they occur.

Pillar 4: Focused improvement

The idea of focused improvement involves assembling cross-functional teams to address specific issues that are occurring with equipment maintenance and coming up with solutions that consider each team that interacts with that asset. Since the TPM process dictates that everyone in a facility should contribute to routine maintenance activities, it’s important to involve each functional area in problem-solving maintenance tasks so that everyone’s unique point of view is considered.

Pillar 5: New equipment management

This pillar uses the knowledge that is gained through each interaction maintenance personnel has with facility equipment to improve the design of new equipment and equipment reliability. This allows new equipment to perform better with fewer issues due to employee involvement that’s based on cross-functional knowledge. Overall equipment effectiveness is a common metric used to measure how well the facility is utilizing its equipment compared to its full potential.

Pillar 6: Training and education

The training and education pillar of TPM principles focuses on making sure the maintenance team has the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out TPM across an entire facility. As Greg Folts commented on the Rooted in Reliability podcast, TPM must be both cross-functionally and vertically integrated in order to be successful. Training and education place importance on managers understanding why a successful TPM program is important and filtering that knowledge down correctly.

Pillar 7: Safety, health, environment

Simply put, this pillar refers to building a safe and healthy facility environment and eliminating any conditions that could be risky or harmful to facility workers’ well-being. The goal of this pillar is to provide an accident-free workplace.

Pillar 8: Administrative TPM

This pillar involves encouraging people in administrative or supportive roles (such as purchasing) to apply TPM learnings and principles in their own work processes so that TPM implementation is truly cross-functional.

Implementing the foundation and pillars of TPM is a great start to early management, but an important reality of any successful TPM program is that it must be a continuous effort. Every level of employee, from personnel on the shop floor to upper management, must remain dedicated to the activities that make TPM possible.

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/building-a-tpm-program-where-to-start/

How to use data to answer five big questions about your maintenance team’s performance

Maintenance involves a lot of moving parts, which means more chances for something to go wrong. And when problems arise, you want to tackle them with as much information as possible. In other words, you want problem-solving to be predictable. Data is a key ingredient in achieving this goal.

We look at 5 ways to use data to solve common maintenance issues and lead your team to success.

Future of analytics and data

This article walks you through what data to use and how to use it. While you can follow along if your data is in spreadsheets or file cabinets, we’re using the Fiix analytics tool to illustrate the process. Fiix analytics is visual and interactive so you can get a clear view of how to drill into your data and find the answers to your biggest questions.

1. How do I make sure the right maintenance is being done at the right time?

The average facility manages 45 work orders a week. With so much to do (and so little time to do it in), you know how important it is to focus your team’s efforts in the right place. So, this question really has three sub-questions—am I doing too much maintenance, not enough maintenance, or the right amount of maintenance on an asset?

The first step to answering these questions is to identify the assets with lots of work orders associated with them. Then, filter these work orders by asset and maintenance type.

First, look for assets with few or no corrective work orders associated with them. This means you’re probably doing PMs too frequently on these assets and can cut the frequency of scheduled maintenance.

Active work orders by type

Assets with not enough preventive maintenance will have lots of emergency work associated with them. Also, look for assets with lower maintenance costs compared to assets of a similar type as that is often a sign that they aren’t getting enough maintenance. Increase the frequency of PMs on these assets.

The right amount of maintenance shows frequent and corrective work orders associated with assets.

2. How is maintenance affecting the performance of equipment?

To get a picture of how maintenance is impacting equipment performance, start by collecting information on assets with associated downtime. Next, filter those assets into two categories – planned and unplanned downtime. Rank those assets by unplanned downtime. Assets with more unplanned downtime are the ones you want to tackle first as they have the biggest negative impact on your company and the most opportunity for improvement. You can further filter those assets by maintenance costs associated with them. The assets with the most downtime and highest costs are where to begin adjusting your strategy.

The next step is to dive into the notes on the emergency work orders attached to those assets. Find out what the most common problems and causes were, and make changes to address them. For example, has a bearing continually failed because of improper lubrication? A simple change might be to increase the frequency of lubrication and specify the proper amount of lubrication needed in each instance.

Revisit this report to see if your adjustments have made a difference. If unplanned downtime and maintenance costs drop across 30, 60, and 90 days, you now have data to support your decisions and show how they impact production.

Filter visualization

3. How can my facility organize our storeroom so parts are easily accessible?

An unorganized storeroom can pose more problems than just being messy. It makes it hard for technicians to access parts when they need them most leading to delays and potential breakdowns.

To tackle this problem head-on, collect data on assets with the most emergency work orders attached to them.

Take note of what parts are associated most with that emergency work and the equipment they’re needed for. Once that has been determined, you can kit those parts together. Parts kitting makes getting parts easier and more accessible when emergency work is triggered.

For this to work in the first place, this data needs to be tracked and updated frequently. Each time a tech reaches for a spare part, that data should be updated. It gives you an accurate sign of which parts are used frequently and how often they are attached to reactive work.

4. Where should I be allocating my maintenance budget?

Figuring out where to spend your maintenance budget can be a headache and can be even harder to justify that spending.

Let’s say that increasing your team’s headcount would help clear some of the facility’s backlogged maintenance. That decision comes down to two factors— do I hire more in-house employees or more contractors? That big budget consideration is hard to justify without proof.

To begin making your case, collect all the information you can about work done in the last quarter to a year. Was it done mostly by internal employees or contractors?

By looking at each category, add up the total spend associated with each. Take into account costs like employee salary and benefits, contractor’s hourly pay, and training. Each has its cost benefits and disadvantages.

Based on those costs, you can make a pretty clear case to your department, based on dollar value, if it’s more cost-effective to hire internal employees or more contractors. Those stats can help justify why spending on additional hires is necessary.

5. What obstacles are our technicians facing?

It’s easy for technicians to get caught up in their workload when things get busy. Completion notes aren’t updated or information is missed on work orders. It may not seem like a big deal the first time, but once it becomes a habit, it can become an obstacle for other technicians.

As a maintenance manager, you can help enforce the importance of having complete information. One of the ways you can tackle this obstacle is by conducting bi-weekly checks to find work orders with missing information or incomplete notes.

Look for trends in those work orders. Was it done by the same technician? Is it the same type of information being missed? Consider looking at the type of maintenance associated with these work orders. Consider having a department-wide info session on the importance and benefit of filling out work order completion notes.

If it’s the same technician, take a look at their logged hours. If they are doing more hours than the average, it might mean they are simply logging too many hours and might be overworked.

Trend visualization

Making it a habit to check for these inconsistencies on a regular basis might make a big difference in the performance of your employees and your facility.

Seeing the bigger picture leads to bigger gains

Your facility has lots of moving parts and keeping track of them all manually can be time-consuming. Using an analytics reporting tool provides a visual representation of your facility’s moving parts. In addition, it gives the power back to the maintenance department, allowing them to tackle problems as they arise and lead their team to solution-oriented work culture.

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/5-ways-data-help-answer-maintenance-questions/

Equipment maintenance logs: The unsung hero of data-driven maintenance

There aren’t many things in maintenance that are predictable. One of them is equipment maintenance logs. You know the drill: Work gets done, a log gets updated. It’s a routine you can count on.

This article is all about how to use that predictability to your advantage by taking the information you’re collecting anyway and turning it into the asset data you’ve been looking for.

What is the importance of a maintenance log?


Having logs that track maintenance activities are important for several reasons. The proper maintenance and tracking of machinery maintenance logs help you conduct preventive maintenance to ensure your equipment is in good condition, doesn’t experience unplanned repairs, and runs as efficiently as possible throughout its lifetime.

A maintenance record is also useful to reference when deciding if you should replace your assets with updated versions and the best time to replace them. The data recorded over time unveils patterns of failure, expenditure, and repair. This can be used to make better decisions that will save on costs and time.

How to create a great equipment maintenance log?


Getting accurate, reliable data from an equipment maintenance log starts with how you build it. The way you structure your maintenance logs is going to depend on a variety of factors that are specific to your team and facility, but any log should keep three key questions in mind:

Generally, this breaks down into two sections: Information about the asset and information about maintenance work.

Best practice is to start with asset information at the top. This can include:

  • Equipment name
  • Location within your facility
  • Manufacturer details (name, part number, contact details, manufacture date)
  • Purchase date
  • Date in service


Then describe the work that was done on the equipment:

  • Date of maintenance task
  • Brief description of the task
  • Name of the person who performed the work
  • Date of the next scheduled maintenance
  • Additional observations, notes, or comments

Simplicity is your best friend here. Don’t make it hard for technicians to complete the log.

“It’s best to keep your descriptions short and have all the key details laid out plainly,” says Jason Afara, a solutions engineer at Fiix.

“My rule of thumb is to put the same amount of effort into your logs that you’d want if you were trying to fix an asset and reading the log for the first time.”

Above all, make sure you have a process that ensures accuracy. There are three simple rules that will help you keep the data in your logs are as accurate as possible:

  • Use a standard template for every asset. Equipment should be tracked and measured from the same baseline to avoid errors and make data analysis easier.
  • Keep your logs in a designated location. Bonus points for making them available on a digital platform for quick access and a lower risk of damaging or losing them.
  • Create a routine for exchanging logs between shift changes. Keep everyone in the loop on completed or outstanding work, problems, safety risks, and other useful information.

How do you maintain maintenance logs?


How you maintain a maintenance log depends on if you’re doing it by hand or using maintenance log software. If you’re manually maintaining maintenance logs like in a spreadsheet, here are three tips:

  • Create a standardized template for each asset you want to track. Ideally, you want to try to keep these templates as consistent as possible to streamline your process.
  • Designate a single place to keep the records, so they are easy to find by all maintenance workers.
  • Define the process for how equipment maintenance logs should be exchanged and communicated between workers during shift changes.


If you’re using software to create a maintenance schedule, maintenance workers need to know how the tool works and who they should go to if they have questions. The best way to maintain logs, in this case, is to create a standard process for entering data to ensure it is entered consistently and in the same format.

Equipment maintenance log template


The template below is similar to the one Jason used during his time managing a maintenance team.

“We wanted a log that gave us everything we needed to know to get a historical base for our decision-making, but was simple enough to fill out and read,” says Jason, “If it felt like the effort of filling it in or reading it was not worth the result, it wasn’t going to be used appropriately.” Make your team’s log its own. Customize it as much as you want as long as it captures the most important information is a way that’s easy to interpret.

Six ways to use the data in equipment maintenance logs

Well-kept equipment maintenance logs are great for looking into the past, but they can also help you create a better future for assets, the maintenance team, and the organization as a whole.

Six ways to use the data in equipment maintenance logs

#1 Maximize equipment ROI

Equipment maintenance logs allow you to compare the record of equipment from different suppliers and see which one is more reliable. Choosing the more reliable vendor for future equipment purchases reduces the frequency of breakdowns, which means less spending on maintenance and more production.

Logs can also be the first indicator that equipment should be replaced rather than repaired. It’s possible to see if an asset is breaking down more often and compare the cost of the extra maintenance to the cost of a new asset.

A log is also proof that an asset has been maintained properly, which increases its resale value.

#2 Optimize preventive maintenance schedules and tasks

Well-kept logs tell you if a piece of equipment is breaking down right after scheduled maintenance or before its next scheduled maintenance date. If this becomes a pattern, it’s time to rethink how you’re performing preventive maintenance on that asset and tweak it to prevent breakdowns. Equipment maintenance logs also provide the information needed to make PMs quick, easy, and effective. For example, it tells technicians how past issues were resolved or if changes were made and how they impacted equipment.

#3 Track preventive maintenance compliance

You can plan as much maintenance as you want, but an equipment maintenance log can tell you if the work is actually being done. Logs clearly show when maintenance is scheduled and if any action was taken on that day. There’s no guessing and no searching. Logs are an early warning system for poor preventive maintenance compliance. It’s easier to solve the problem and avoid unplanned downtime when you can see the red flags from a mile away.

Create a routine for exchanging logs between shift changes. Keep everyone in the loop on completed or outstanding work, problems, safety risks, and other useful information.

#4 Identify opportunities to upgrade your maintenance strategy

You probably have a maintenance strategy for every piece of equipment. Maybe you settled on it after a lot of thought or perhaps that’s just the way it’s always been done. Whatever the case, equipment maintenance logs can help you find opportunities to improve this strategy. For example, are you using preventive maintenance when run-to-fail could be just as effective with lower costs? Is the asset a good candidate for condition-based maintenance? Looking for patterns in equipment maintenance logs is a way to answer those questions with data instead of hunches.

#5 Improve accountability and communication

Equipment maintenance logs bolster accountability and communication, two of the most important elements in a successful maintenance program.

“Logs are an additional form of communication and accountability for the maintenance team,” says Jason.

“They put people’s names beside the work and allow for the necessary communication between staff working different shifts.”

#6 Make training and onboarding easier

Detailed and well-organized maintenance logs help new technicians get up to speed quickly. Working with unfamiliar machines usually means a lot of time shadowing an experienced worker and a fair bit of trial and error. Not only is this unproductive, but it can also lead to more mistakes and breakdowns. Equipment maintenance logs provide new technicians with critical information about an asset, like age, common problems, and where to go if they need more details. They can learn faster, make decisions with confidence, and stay safe in the process

How to get data from an equipment maintenance log


There’s a lot of data in equipment maintenance logs, but that doesn’t mean all that data is useful. The most valuable information is accurate, quickly accessible, and laid out in a way that’s easy to understand. Using CMMS software is one way to check all those boxes.

  • A CMMS, especially a mobile CMMS, allows you to access equipment maintenance logs on any internet-connected device at any time, from anywhere
  • The software records and syncs data with other systems automatically so the information is always accurate and up-to-date
  • The CMMS connects to the maintenance calendar, which makes it easier to track who did what and how efficient the job was
  • Information from equipment maintenance logs are searchable on a CMMS, which means you can filter work by asset, tasks, date, technicians, and more
  • Data is securely stored in the cloud, so there’s no chance it’ll be lost or damaged, unlike paper records
  • You can attach pictures or videos to the maintenance log on a CMMS, making information more clear than just a written description

There’s more than meets the eye with equipment maintenance logs

Yes, equipment maintenance logs can be boring and repetitive. But with a small shift in thinking, they can also be used to unlock key insights and lead to higher asset performance through data-driven maintenance. It all starts with a well-built template, strong processes, an understanding of what is possible, and the tools to act on your plan. When all those ingredients come together, equipment maintenance logs offer a way to use the past to create a better future for your facility and its assets.

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/how-to-use-an-equipment-maintenance-log/