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Maximising manufacturing efficiency: how maintenance management systems revolutionise maintenance workflows

According to industry reports, manufacturing plants can save up to 20% in costs by optimising maintenance processes and reducing downtime. By utilising a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) and mobile work management applications, manufacturers can: 

  • improve equipment reliability 
  • minimise downtime 
  • optimise maintenance processes and reduce costs associated with maintenance labour, unscheduled repairs, equipment replacement and lost production. 

Efficient operations can improve product quality, increase customer satisfaction and drive revenue growth. 

Efficient operations can also reduce energy consumption, minimise waste and improve environmental sustainability, resulting in lower operating costs and improved public perception. 

Why use a maintenance work order system? 

Apart from the benefits already mentioned, the primary goal of a maintenance work order system is to ensure that maintenance work is planned, scheduled and executed efficiently. This system helps prioritise work, assign tasks to appropriate personnel, and track progress. A well-managed work order system also provides historical data for future maintenance planning and optimisation. When optimally used, the asset register, which forms the basis of your work order creation, becomes your equipment’s digital twin. 

How does a CMMS help manage maintenance work? 

CMMSs, or enterprise asset management systems (EAMs), have revolutionised maintenance management and are fundamental in streamlining the end-to-end work management process. Although many an engineer may be clinging to their (impressive) paper-based processes, these can’t compete with the features that a best-of-breed system offers. These include: 

Asset register: The asset register or system of record is used to create a detailed register with hierarchical and list-based asset and component structures. The On Key CMMS has a unique Asset Type Register that allows assets to be linked to asset types from where commonality can be defined and configuration inherited. Where a central asset register is compiled for several plants or large fleets of similar assets with sub-components, this specific feature saves a significant amount of time. 

Work order creation: The system streamlines the process by providing a simple interface for creating and assigning work orders. The workflow between different trades is also set up and requirements for special tools, spares, estimated time frames or special conditions to do the task are included. Work orders can be created based on preventive maintenance schedules, reactive maintenance requests, or inspections.  

Prioritisation and scheduling: The system can help you prioritise work orders based on the urgency of the task, the availability of resources, and the impact on production. Where machine learning is enabled, the system will go one step further in prioritising work. Work orders can be scheduled based on the availability of personnel and equipment, reducing downtime and improving efficiency. The criticality of equipment that is linked to asset care plans further guides prioritisation. When correctly set up, equipment that is IIoT enabled can trigger its own work orders based on specific alarms and thresholds. 

Tracking and documentation: The progress of each work order can be tracked, providing real-time updates on the status of the task. All work performed can be documented, including maintenance history, repairs and replacements. Some systems can also store purchase agreements and perform warranty tracking to ensure the correct process is followed based on warranty requirements.  

Inventory management: Certain systems can track inventory levels of spare parts and equipment, helping to ensure that necessary spares are on hand when needed. This can reduce downtime caused by equipment failure and improve overall maintenance efficiency. A CMMS also enables you to manage your inventory by tracking spares and supplies used during maintenance work. This feature helps you optimise inventory levels, reduce excess inventory, and ensure that you have the correct spares on hand when they are needed. Serial number tracking and tracking of rotable movement are added features. 

Reporting and analytics: A CMMS can provide detailed reports and analytics on maintenance work, including costs, downtime and labour hours. This can help identify areas where improvements can be made, such as optimising preventive maintenance schedules or identifying recurring maintenance issues. Access to real-time data adds enormous value to decision makers who can make quick and informed decisions on the spot. 

What are the benefits of mobile work management applications 

In today’s world, mobile devices are ubiquitous. They have become an essential tool for managing work in the manufacturing sector, and they provide significant benefits to maintenance teams.  

With speed as the essence of all activities in a factory, workers can update work orders and maintenance tasks in real time, making the status of maintenance work instantly visible. Signing off completed work can take place at the point of work, and supervisors and managers can make informed decisions and respond quickly to changing situations. The asset register can be updated in real time with photos displaying the equipment’s condition attached to work orders.  

These applications can improve the efficiency of maintenance workers by allowing them to access work orders, instructions and equipment manuals directly on their mobile devices. In the On Key work manager application, tradespersons only see work that is applicable to them, reducing the risk of work duplicated or not performed. Contractors can also be set up to use these applications, which ensures that all work is recorded on the same system. This saves time and reduces errors by eliminating the need for workers to search for information or return to a computer to complete tasks. 

Mobile work management applications can help improve safety by providing access to safety procedures, hazard warnings and emergency protocols. Workers can also use mobile devices to report safety issues, accidents or incidents immediately. 

Better collaboration is enabled between workers and supervisors by allowing them to communicate in real time. Workers can also use mobile devices to share photos and videos of maintenance issues, which can help supervisors diagnose problems more accurately.  

Mobile work management applications can simplify reporting by allowing workers to submit reports, log work, and update maintenance records directly from their mobile devices. This can help reduce paperwork and administrative burdens, saving time and reducing errors. 

What are the cost benefit of using a CMMS for work management? 

A major benefit of a CMMS is the reduction of maintenance costs by optimising maintenance schedules, improving equipment performance, and reducing downtime. The system is geared to schedule preventive maintenance tasks, which can reduce the likelihood of unexpected equipment breakdowns and downtime. This can help reduce repair and replacement costs associated with reactive maintenance. Furthermore, automating multiple maintenance tasks saves time and reduces labour costs.  

By scheduling preventive maintenance tasks and tracking maintenance history, a CMMS can help extend the lifespan of factory equipment. This can help reduce the need for premature equipment replacement and associated costs. 

A CMMS also helps you optimise inventory levels, reducing excess inventory and the associated carrying costs. This helps reduce storage and maintenance costs. 

Costs associated with safety incidents are reduced as compliance with safety regulations can be actively managed and tracked. 

Implementing and using a maintenance management system is imperative for sustainable business operations. Equipment manufacturers are leveraging technology to create intelligent assets that require matching intelligence to plan and schedule maintenance and track their performance. We see using a best-of-breed enterprise asset management system, such as On Key, as a competitive advantage. You should too. 

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