It’s about time you started taking care of your equipment. It’s not just about whether or not you’re working with the latest and greatest, it’s about making sure that what you have is up and running as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to find out that your equipment needs repair in the middle of a critical operation, or worse: when it breaks down completely. That can lead to lost time, money, and even injury.
But why does this happen?
A lot of facilities and maintenance managers find it challenging to manage their preventive maintenance programs without using spreadsheets—but spreadsheets can be time-consuming, get lost among other paperwork, or be downright frustrating.
Preventive maintenance (sometimes called preventative) software enables managers to schedule maintenance, send alerts to the right people when a job is due, and increase resource access and allocation. It also keeps equipment operating efficiently, increases the safety of employees, and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road. In this article, we will discuss preventive maintenance software, why its used, examples, and some important things to consider when implementing it at your organization.
What is preventive maintenance software (and who uses it)?
Preventive maintenance software is used to help schedule ongoing preventive maintenance work. It allows companies to be proactive about their maintenance, rather than reactive. It’s often used by maintenance and plant managers and other industrial and maintenance personnel. It’s used because it’s one of the best solutions to avoid unexpected repairs. By planning your preventive maintenance schedule, you can be proactive about the regular checkups that keep your equipment running smoothly.
Three steps to consider when choosing a preventive maintenance software
1. Understand at what level your organization manages preventive maintenance
Before choosing your preventive maintenance software it’s important to first understand at what level your organization manages preventive maintenance. If you have a large company with many different sites, it would be beneficial for you to use something like a CMMS. This will allow your sites and teams access to the same information and data.
Whereas, a good fit for a smaller organization may be a single-site solution. The next step to consider is how much money you want to spend or can spend on a solution. While there are programs that are low cost, and sometimes free, others may need more funding to run properly and improve your processes.
2. Assess your needs vs. your wants
When choosing the right preventive maintenance software, it’s important to first assess your wants and needs. This means reviewing your processes and seeing how they can be improved with the software. Think about what features the software has that can improve efficiencies for your team and maintenance process, and ask yourself:
- What are my goals?
- How much time do I have to dedicate to a project? (Consider if there’s already a system that needs improving)
- What kind of data do I want to track? (Think about how many assets you have, and how many technicians and managers you employ)
3. Stick to the financial budget
Every maintenance team needs to stick to its financial budget, and choosing preventive maintenance software can be costly. When you’re making a decision consider the budget you have available and the structure of the business. This will help you determine the best solution. In addition, it’s important to keep future scenarios in mind, and financial forecast and plan for things like: business growth, new facilities, and economic downturns.
Types of preventive maintenance software
Preventive maintenance software comes in all shapes and sizes, from extremely specialized systems to giant platforms connecting maintenance to other business units. Below are the most common types of preventive maintenance software.
1. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS)
CMMS software and maintenance apps help maintenance teams keep detailed and centralized records of all assets, equipment, and completed work. A CMMS allows facilities to plan, track, and optimize work orders, inventory, and everything associated with maintenance.
The primary duties of a CMMS include:
- Automating work orders
- Creating a preventive maintenance schedule
- Creating reports and auditing records
- Resourcing and routing
- Workflow process and management
- Providing operating and repair guidance
A CMMS manages all the maintenance activities that take place during the operational part of an asset’s life. At the same time, this type of preventive maintenance software works as a productive part of a facility.
All CMMS preventive maintenance software can be divided into two groups: Cloud-based CMMS software and on-premise CMMS software.
2. Enterprise asset management (EAM)
EAM software provides a holistic view of an organization’s physical assets and infrastructure throughout its entire lifecycle, from design and procurement to operation, maintenance, disposal, and replacement. EAM systems record asset information, manage work orders, coordinate inventory purchasing and usage, organize labor, track contracts, measure costs, and spending, and calculate KPIs.
3. Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
Here’s how ERP software works: every company has different business units that make it function, like accounting, human resources, and maintenance. ERP software takes everything these different departments do and connects them, so the entire organization has the same processes and information.
Because there is one central place for all data, it means an accountant, a salesperson, a maintenance technician, and a CEO can all use the system for their day-to-day activities while relying on the same information to plan, assess, and complete those activities. By collecting transactional data from multiple sources, ERP systems eliminate data duplication, offer data integrity, and provide a single source of truth.
While it’s not exactly maintenance software, ERP systems are part of the larger maintenance technology ecosystem. It’s important for maintenance technology to be able to integrate with an ERP system to help keep accurate inventory levels and keep your finance team in the loop. Many other preventive maintenance technologies are used in asset-heavy production and manufacturing facilities.
Steps to take when integrating preventive maintenance software at your organization
Integrating any type of new technology or software into an existing workplace can be challenging, but taking the right steps will make the process much easier for everyone involved in using the new technology. Here are the steps to follow when implementing a new preventive maintenance software:
- Recognize that integration is a process, not an event. Integrating preventive maintenance software involves a lot of planning, and preparation, as well as addressing technical challenges that may occur prior to the implementation and cause risk, and a plan of action for when and if those challenges occur.
- Plan at the right level. You will inevitably ask yourself if it makes sense to integrate this software with the existing systems or processes, but you need to plan ahead for the future as well. For example, if you’re integrating a CMMS for multiple facilities and warehouses, you can easily integrate them together from day one—rather than having two separate systems talking to each other through other means (like an email).
- Recognize that acceptance of the new software won’t always be smooth. Read that again. It’s hard for managers to recognize that their team may not embrace the new software with open arms. You may face challenges and questions about the software, why it’s being used, and how exactly it’s going to save time and money. Be prepared to address these concerns and work with your team to get into the new processes. With time, your team will recognize how valuable software like a CMMS or ERP really is.
The right maintenance software can help your company save money and reduce downtime
By implementing preventive maintenance software your team can become more proactive about your maintenance. The first step is to assess where preventive maintenance occurs in your organization, and next, you need to review your current needs and wants so that when you find the right software for your organization there are no surprises.