The maintenance function in facility management often does not get the respect it deserves. Company leaders generally consider maintenance to be of low strategic importance. As long as everything functions, C-level – and the workforce in general – do not take much notice.

Moreover, we tend to recognize reactive efforts (fixing something broken) more than proactive ones (stopping a problem before it even happens). Granted: “firefighting” is more visible and may appear more “heroic”, but preventing the “fires” from starting in the first place delivers more value.

Fortunately, insight is growing that strategic asset management and proactive maintenance can make a significant contribution to a company’s success; that management should, therefore, include it in the corporate planning process; and that maintenance managers need the right software and technology tools to achieve the best results.

CMMS: integrating facilities maintenance

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) enables organizations to have all relevant data in one place, in a structured way. This includes asset type and condition, complete maintenance history and costs, location, and compliance documentation. It enables better planning and better data, which in turn helps to optimize asset life cycle and costs.

Integrating maintenance with real estate, facility and workplace management is a key ingredient of a proactive strategy. The technology to enable this is available. CMMS as a part of an advanced Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) offers an effective platform for sharing information across the organization and help maintenance focus on the right objectives.

Integration is the operative word here. Maintenance is linked in multiple ways to other processes and areas of activity. To name a few: help desk support, service delivery, workplace comfort and productivity, real estate management, and energy preservation. A siloed approach makes it impossible to see all these connections and to understand their impact.

Cost control (maintenance efficiency)

Maintenance managers handling considerable budgets (labour, parts, contractors) and competing priorities, need a modern asset management system to schedule and deliver cost-efficient maintenance.

By tracking assets and their condition, it is possible to optimize maintenance intervals. This ensures that small deficiencies are addressed before they can turn into more serious issues. The demise of an inexpensive component, for example, can cascade into the failure of other more expensive system components. Without preventive maintenance, repair costs can escalate quickly.

Unplanned maintenance,  done in a hurry when problems occur, is more expensive and of lesser quality. Making smaller repairs in due time reduces the need for complete overhauls and replacements, while costs can be logged and analysed. This helps to decide whether you can bring down costs by replacing an asset rather than keep fixing it.

Asset longevity (maintenance effectiveness)

Well-conceived and planned maintenance activities extend the useful life of assets, delaying the need for costly replacements or refurbishing. It also maximizes uptime, thereby supporting productivity and enhancing the workplace experience.

Proactive maintenance

Most maintenance without an effective CMMS system is carried out reactively (run to fail). CMMS software, however, enables proactive maintenance through asset tracking, inspections, and even sensor data. It also supports more effective communication between the facility team and technical service providers.

CMMS sends notifications and generates work orders for scheduled maintenance in an automated way: no risk of forgetting…  A good CMMS also offers dynamic scheduling tools that allow for skills-based resource allocation, making it easy to allocate jobs based on technicians’ location, availability and required skills, as well as the availability of parts needed to execute the work orders.

Furthermore, the software enables organizations to do multi-year budgeting & planning and anticipate the necessary capital investments.

Reactive maintenance

Not all repairs or replacements can or should be done proactively. The part of maintenance activities that is best done reactively can be improved through tight integration with the help desk and with the stock management of spare parts.

Easy-to-use help desk software, that centralizes all requests and provides best-practice templates per request type, can increase first-time fix rates and shorten ticket turnaround times considerably.

Secondly, a stock management module enables to centrally manage maintenance stock, track and maintain appropriate stock levels and give technicians easy access to the materials they need. You can even do this from a smartphone.

Finally, automated SLA tracking will keep you informed on whether contractors meet agreed performance parameters.

Using a CMMS to automate activities and streamline workflow

Using a CMMS to automate activities and streamline workflow

Productivity of field technicians

There are few areas where mobile tools can make a bigger difference than in maintenance management. Mobile apps integrated with the CMMS boost productivity by:

  • Providing direct access to all relevant information on the go, from a smartphone or tablet
  • Replacing manual “paper and pencil’ operations with digital capabilities for condition assessment, damage inspections, inventory taking, stock management, and more
  • Offering in-field functionality to create tickets and work orders, resulting in faster problem resolution
  • Providing guidance, wayfinding and standardized work procedures based on industry best practices
  • Enabling real-time data logging (e.g. time, costs), thereby improving accuracy and avoiding double work
  • Providing fast access to asset information (location, pictures, specifications, etc.) through QR code scanning
  • Improving quality control, e.g. through GPS coordinates and digital customer sign-off

Asset tracking and compliance

CMMS software provides the ability to locate and interact with assets through CAD or BIM, as well as allocating assets to locations, departments, events, etc. It enables you to track all asset related data in a ‘single source of truth’, provides easy access to results of audits and inspections, and streamlines compliance reporting.

Integration of BMS or IoT sensor data with CMMS

Organizations can now easily install wireless sensors in buildings and integrate them with the CMMS.  Such sensors provide real-time, micro-level data on ambient conditions and equipment status, that can trigger alerts and generate work orders. Over time, the collected data will show trends and patterns that help improve facility maintenance.

Reporting and continuous improvement 

CMMS lets you systematically capture data (e.g. activities, costs, time, consumptions, quality, uptime, …), turn this data into actionable information and use the resulting insights to optimize asset management.

Automated KPI monitoring facilitates the tracking of service level agreements and helps you implement a results-oriented (outcome-based) maintenance strategy. By embedding best practices and standards, CMMS reports and dashboards will allow you to gain visibility, benchmark and improve performance.

MCS helps organizations improve real estate performance through the synergy between expert advice and innovative software. Contact us if you would like to learn more.