Costly equipment downtime, slow production and a lack of asset data are just some issues that will point manufacturing managers and plant owners in the direction of a specifically targeted CMMS for manufacturing maintenance. But, before jumping ahead with any CMMS solution, it’s important to understand the depth of maintenance challenges you face within your current setup.
With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to identify the gaps in your manufacturing maintenance activities, understand the benefits of a manufacturing CMMS tool, and learn how to choose the right solution for your operations.
A computerised maintenance management system (CMMS software) is used to help organisations plan, track, analyse and enhance their maintenance process. The ability to reduce maintenance costs and prolong the usable life of business-critical assets is essential for a number of companies and markets, including oil and gas. But, one industry that benefits the most is manufacturing.
Whether managing an entire plant or leading a production line, carrying out your responsibilities for the efficient production of tangible goods can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re using paper-based methods or spreadsheets to track and manage your maintenance processes.
As well as making sure all equipment is compliant and in optimal working condition through scheduled maintenance and repairs, it is your job to keep the production line in operation. That includes maintaining heavy machinery and equipment, organising inventory, placing orders for spare parts, and collecting asset management and performance data.
Without the use of a digital maintenance solution, you’ll run into a vast array of challenges. The one common issue facing manufacturing companies is the unplanned downtime of critical equipment. In fact, manufacturers face an unprecedented loss of up to $260,000 per hour through unplanned downtime. With 82% of companies experiencing at least one case of unplanned downtime between 2015 and 2018.
Other challenges that manufacturing plant owners will face include:
Overstocked/understocked inventory of spare parts
Lack of essential equipment and performance data
Delayed or missed work orders
Expensive equipment and machinery replacements
But, with a CMMS solution that is dedicated to improving manufacturing maintenance processes, these issues can be a thing of the past.
Operating from an accessible centralised system, you’re able to utilise tools and get a better hand on your maintenance activities. By supporting a preventive maintenance program, a CMMS will increase uptime and life of machinery, reduce downtime during working hours, and efficiently handle work orders. All this, among other benefits that can help keep your manufacturing plant running smoothly and enhance your overall manufacturing operations.
The benefits reaped by using a CMMS for manufacturing maintenance activities are vast. Overall, the right tool will help you control costs and increase efficiency throughout the production line. There are many key benefits that will help you get to this overall stage, including:
Aside from further employee training and lengthy risk audits, the most effective way to overcome costly equipment outages is through a preventive maintenance approach. Also referred to as preventative maintenance, this approach is the process of regularly performing checks while your equipment is still in working order. The aim of a preventive maintenance program is to build a maintenance schedule that reduces the likelihood of equipment failure to prevent downtime before it happens.
You’re also able to log all past service reports and collect real-time operational data. As well as scheduled equipment maintenance based on automated triggers for running time, usage, and condition. All with the intention to build the most efficient maintenance program for keeping your productional line in optimal working order and extending the usable life of your equipment.
With manufacturing CMMS software, you can build, track, review and prioritise your maintenance work orders. Although targeted at production line managers, this feature can also be available to your operators and technicians. Each professional is able to submit maintenance and repair requests, input notes and documentation, mark a job as complete, and change equipment statuses.
A CMMS will also have the capacity to store all work order data, allowing you to view past data and plan for future reports. This data can include repair history, user manuals, documentation, and operational checklists.
Included with most manufacturing CMMS packages is a form of asset management. With this, you’re able to analyse, access, and collect data in real-time to enhance the productivity of business-essential assets. This data is then stored into your system and used to help build a preventive maintenance program and identify trends.
Specific asset performance data that a CMMS can collect includes:
Usage (hours, mileage, gauge readings, etc.)
A useful part of a CMMS tool is its ability to manage and track your inventory usage. Not only does this give you a definitive figure as to how much inventory you have, but it also helps save money on needless procurement. By knowing how many spare parts and inventory you have in store, you’ll instantly know if you’re understocked or overstocked. This is also helped with a CMMS’s automation feature, which can be programmed to order inventory when it is needed – just in case you forget to.
You’ll also be able to label, store and assign the right spare parts for the right equipment. This means when an asset needs repairing, technicians will know which part is available and where to find it.
With a mobile-capable manufacturing CMMS solution, you can access, edit, and upload data from anywhere at any time from a mobile device. This allows field workers and technicians to use laptops, smartphones, and tablets to analyse important maintenance data. It also leads to a reduction in waiting time and delays to work orders, as information is available instantly without having to wait for an email or phone call.
The process of finding the right CMMS solution for your manufacturing maintenance activities can be broken down into 4 stages:
Highlight challenges in your current maintenance processes
Map out the features you need from a CMMS to meet your core requirements
Consider the factors of implementing maintenance software into your manufacturing plant
Shortlist, compare and evaluate CMMS options against one another
As you’ve already specified the need for a digital platform in your manufacturing maintenance activities, you’ll be aware of the gaps in your current processes. Now you’ll want to identify what your core requirements are and the features needed to match them.
A useful method for identifying the core requirements you need from a CMMS solution for your manufacturing maintenance needs is to create two groups; Essential features and Non-essential features.
Essential features: These are made up of the core requirements needed to close the gaps in your current maintenance activities.
Non-essential features: These are features that are nice to have, but do not directly affect your current maintenance issues.
Having an understanding of which features are essential and which aren’t will allow for a more focused approach when it comes to enhancing your manufacturing maintenance processes.
When choosing the right CMMS, there are a number of factors that may affect your decision and approach. Common factors that a manufacturing manager should consider include:
The type of CMMS (e.g., cloud-based, web-based, on-premise or open-source)
Pricing models (e.g., one-off, subscription or monthly)
What support and training is needed to run the system
The timescale of implementation across the production line
Migrating existing asset management and performance data from current systems
The need for additional maintenance hardware such as energy-usage and GPS trackers
Once you’ve scanned the market and shortlisted suitable vendors offering a CMMS for manufacturing companies, you’ll want to compare them against one another while also considering your core requirements.
By doing so, you can attain a more focused approach as to which vendor, and product, will offer a better approach to improve your maintenance activities and enhance your production output. There are a number of factors you’ll want to look out for when comparing manufacturing CMMS solutions, including:
Do they offer the features needed to match your core requirements?
Do they offer a free trial or demo to try-before-you-buy?
Is the program easy-to-use and familiar (not just for yourself, but also for operators and technicians)?
Can it be integrated with other software and tools?
Does the vendor have past experiences dealing with manufacturing companies?
Once you’ve chosen a suitable CMMS vendor and product that matches your needs, there are a few final steps to take before presenting your option to the company’s decision-makers and getting buy-in:
Have a calculated ROI
Assemble an evaluation team to test the program (if you’re a smaller company, the evaluation team may only consist of yourself)
Ensure that everyone is happy with your choice (the tool will be used by most employees including technicians and the financial department)
Once your computerised maintenance management system is up and running, you’ll be on your way to figuring out the optimal running times for your equipment and building preventive maintenance schedules. You can begin to monitor the true cost of your maintenance and get detailed insights into your manufacturing operations. Eventually saving you thousands of pounds.
For a more detailed look in choosing the right CMMS software, check out our CMMS Buyer’s Guide.