Why a CMMS is Foundational to Manufacturing Maintenance Program Success
A comprehensive computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is crucial to solving many of the primary challenges faced in manufacturing maintenance. Additionally, these systems also enhance overall maintenance performance and reduce maintenance costs.
When we look at the goals shown in Figure 1, downtime reduction is the highest priority for many manufacturing companies. Unplanned downtime has a high associated cost and directly impedes delivering quality product to customers. A recent study indicated that unplanned downtime costs manufacturers $50 billion dollars annually.¹ This is a staggering number, and even small gains reducing downtime can have huge impacts on a company’s bottom line.
While downtime reduction is a critical goal, there are other goals that are just as important.
The foundation of maintenance program efficiency focuses on accelerating the service request process and minimizing the time from request to repair completion, along with improving planning and productivity. As technicians become more efficient, the ability to make real progress in shifting toward proactive—preventive and predictive—maintenance strategies becomes more achievable.
Another key goal is gaining asset and maintenance intelligence so that metrics can be put in place and performance can be managed. Establishing metrics and managing to those metrics requires a library of asset and maintenance history that can be extremely difficult to develop with paper-based systems, spreadsheets and other older approaches to maintenance management.
There are many reasons why a CMMS is critical to companies reaching their maintenance goals, but two stand out: asset and maintenance intelligence and efficiency gains.
Asset and Maintenance Intelligence
Collecting asset and maintenance data that manufacturers can convert to intelligence is where improvement begins. The need for historical and real-time information that is readily available and easily searchable is fundamental to maintenance improvement. Searching within paper-based systems to identify trends regarding equipment failures, etc. is a very labor-intensive task that few have time for. As data is collected in a CMMS, it can be easily analyzed to identify improvement opportunities.
For example, if data reflects that a pump is failing every 200 hours of service, it can be put on a preventive maintenance (PM) program. The right PMs can help manufacturers avoid the unplanned downtime event altogether. In a CMMS, it is easy to call up failure data on the pump, look at service hours, etc. The same effort in a paper-based system requires a lot of manual effort to gather the data and even then, it can be difficult to analyze and draw meaningful conclusions.
A CMMS is not just about the collection and analysis of the asset and maintenance intelligence. It also enables configurable reports and KPIs that can be automatically distributed to the right employees to make better informed business decisions—extending the value of the CMMS.
The second core element that makes a CMMS so critical to maintenance improvement is efficiency gains. A CMMS simplifies the maintenance planning process, streamlines workflow and increases labor efficiency.
For maintenance planning, consider the drag-and-drop calendar function and the capability to see a calendar with all employee tasks and availability from one view in a CMMS. The same planning task with paper-based systems and spreadsheets is much more complex, particularly when it comes to resolving any assignment conflicts or making resource changes at the last minute.
In addition to planning efficiency, overall workflow efficiency is another key area that has a significant impact on maintenance performance. It starts with the maintenance request process. With a good CMMS, this request process should be simple, straightforward and fast. The work request is immediately auto-routed to the right individual for review. In a paper-based approach, the requester must find, complete and submit the form. The paper document is then reviewed, and either approved or altered.
The post-request work order workflow is also simplified with a CMMS. For those using mobile CMMS functions, the work order can be sent to the technician in the field so that they never have to come back to the shop prior to beginning a repair. In the same scenario, a paper-based system would require receiving the work order and getting approval signatures wherever the appropriate individuals are located, etc. Technicians can end up spending their time walking work orders around, limiting their wrench time and prolonging the time it takes from request to repair.
A CMMS can be the difference between a manufacturer succeeding or failing in achieving their maintenance goals. The ROI on CMMS systems is a proven commodity. The 2018 State of CMMS Survey Report indicates that of facilities that have substantially implemented CMMS, 88% report significant cost savings, ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.2
There are many additional benefits that come from a CMMS implementation. In operations, the application of digital technologies to functions such as maintenance is already improving plant and network performance and minimizing downtime, reducing operating costs by 2% to 10%.3
Improving maintenance performance is achievable and CMMS technology is an essential tool to help manufacturing companies meet their maintenance goals.
See how Accruent’s Maintenance Connection helped Masters Gallery Foods improve their maintenance performance.
1. Aberdeen Group, Asset Performance Management: Blazing a Better Path to Operational Excellence
2. 2018 State of the CMMS Survey, Maintenance Connection
3. 2017 Chemical Trends