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Published: Oct 30 2019

Using Mobile Solutions to Build a More Productive & Efficient Field Maintenance Team

Labor efficiency and productivity are essential components of successful maintenance programs.

Efficiency and productivity are often seen as one and the same, but when it comes to business strategy and instituting innovation and growth, leaders must view productivity and efficiency differently. According to Bain & Company partner and Harvard Business Review writer Michael Mankins, efficiency is about doing the same with less, whereas productivity is about doing more with the same.

You can improve both your efficiency and productivity by modernizing your maintenance processes using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or an enterprise asset management (EAM) solution. And by integrating mobile functionality, you can ensure constant connectivity and create a more efficient workforce — giving you back valuable time and bolstering your bottom line.

A mobile CMMS is quickly becoming a critical solution for companies looking for key competitive maintenance advantages. Using a CMMS software solution can enhance both labor productivity and efficiency, and ultimately improve your ROI.

Benefits of a mobile workforce include:

  • Reduced paper consumption supporting green initiatives.
  • Labor time savings.
  • Improved productivity.
  • Fast and easy access to critical documentation.

Seeing productivity and efficiency differently.

When your team does not have access to a mobile CMMS solution, valuable information can easily be lost between teammates the field and the CMMS workstation back in the office.

Disjointed processes for sharing information can lead to human error and incorrect data – or potentially no data at all – being shared those who need it. This is an example where productivity may still be high, even though efficiency is significantly impacted. And without greater efficiency, your field workers may end up putting forth more effort to deliver less.

Manufacturing companies have been working to improve the efficiency of their data sharing processes for decades, looking for ways to reduce waste and enhance profits. Companies have long battled the high productivity/low efficiency challenge with practices such as Lean management, Six Sigma and overarching process assessment projects. These continue to help manufacturers achieve reductions in waste while boosting efficiency.

To truly boost your field team productivity, you should consider implementing a mobile CMMS solution. Device-agnostic solutions can make communication instantaneous and allow work orders to be placed in the field without having to go back to the office. All leading to more work accomplished with less effort, thus, reducing time wasted for your company.

What are three areas that will have an immediate impact on your maintenance productivity?

Here are three areas where maintenance organizations can make swift changes and see an immediate impact on their field team’s productivity:

1. Digitize work orders to ensure they are complete and accurate.

Work orders that can only be processed in the office are slow to start and can take a long time to complete. Meanwhile, paper originals are often misplaced and do not reflect all tasks related to the job assigned. Additionally, the tracking of costs of labor and parts are typically not immediately available, and competitive alternatives are not always considered.

A CMMS system enables the digitization of work orders, alleviating the paper process. Accruent's Maintenance Connection is a CMMS with complete work order, inventory management, labor scheduling and project-based work order management capabilities. And with a robust mobile solution, maintenance technicians can use these functions in real-time in the field.

Aaron Green with the City of Orlando uses Maintenance Connection to run over 130 thousand assets with over 1,000 work orders per day. Watch this short video on how they have streamlined their processes using Accruent’s Maintenance Connection CMMS.

2. Digitize your inventory management to reduce costs and shorten downtime.

Poor inventory management can quickly rack up costs for your company. If you experience frequent challenges like managing storage for over-ordered parts or inability to find parts when they are needed for repairs, then it is likely that you spend more time managing your inventory than making repairs.

A CMMS provides a global view of your entire inventory. You can see what items are in stock or where they are located directly on screen. Maintenance Connection even takes it a step further with the ability to generate purchase orders with re-order triggers based on parts utilization.

By expanding inventory management and asset performance programs, Encore Wire integrated a CMMS system with mobile functionality for 140 technicians, allowing them to identify components, where they are located and if any alternate items are available. They instituted a preventive maintenance program to offset downtime and labor costs, and using the inventory features in MC Express, included the text fields and scanning barcodes.

3. Implement a CMMS to streamline processes and lower wrench time.

A CMMS system can be affordable and easy to use. It enables you to optimize wrench time with mobile devices that monitor maintenance activities, which immediately reduces labor costs. A mobile workforce can maximize this through web-based CMMS software abilities.

Accruent’s Maintenance Connection brings benefits such as API, device agnostic communication and mobility with the solution’s mobile functionality, MC Express.

In MC Express, when a task is assigned by a manager and opened in a work order by a technician, a timer can be started and stopped. These tasks are set to either pass or fail, and if they fail, another work order is immediately generated. Questions can also be answered in the field as to the asset history, parts and cost. When a task is complete, a technician can take pictures, leave notes or, if available, scan barcodes for tracking. These benefits lower wrench time and allow your skilled workers to get back to working with the assets, rather than filing paperwork and looking for parts.

Using Maintenance Connection to achieve increased mobility.

By using a CMMS solution, not only can you become Lean in terms of efficiency, but you can also improve your day-to-day productivity through maintenance process modernization. These solutions allow you to go mobile, empowering your workforce to work faster and more accurately, and ultimately increase your ROI.

Leveraging mobile functionality does not have to be complicated. Maintenance Connection’s MC Express is browser-based, making it multi-platform, so access is not restricted by location or device. It is known for its ease of use, and for allowing manufacturers and technicians to deliver more with fewer resources.

The real benefit a CMMS is increasing your productivity by doing more with the same processes that you have discovered through your existing efficient Lean manufacturing practices. Mobility is another critical factor in today’s manufacturing industry is necessary to keep your business competitive.

Accruent’s Maintenance Connection offers both a CMMS and mobile functionality in one affordable package, and is well-known for its ease of use, affordability, short time to benefit and configurability. Schedule a demo today!

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