Maintenance is a key element in smooth functioning of a variety of industries and encompasses a wide range of activities, ranging from preventive measures to repairs, inspections and replacements. Maintenance improves performance, minimizes downtime and helps reduce costs while ensuring efficiency, reliability and longevity of the infrastructure, assets and equipment.
Effective maintenance management is crucial for reliable operations, cost optimization, and safety, and facilitates data-driven decision making. This post focuses on how SaaS CMMS solutions can help businesses leverage modern technologies to their advantage and streamline their maintenance operations.
What is a CMMS?
Equipment, assets and infrastructure that are used regularly go through wear and tear, which calls for regular maintenance and upkeep for a smooth flow of operations. Things are easier to handle when only a few pieces of equipment are involved, but a comprehensive system is needed when dealing with thousands of individual parts and physical assets. Keeping record of repairs, locating materials or parts and tracking workflows require a centralized system that helps reduce downtime and improve productivity.
Computerized Maintenance Management Systems are designed to automate and streamline maintenance management tasks and processes, including planning, execution and tracking. They provide organizations with better control over their assets, resources and work orders. It serves as a centralized platform and a single source of truth, helping businesses optimize their maintenance processes. Key aspects of a modern CMMS include the following:
Asset and Equipment Management
Being a comprehensive asset and equipment management system, CMMSs serve as a centralized database for tracking and managing equipment, assets, infrastructure, machinery and more. The database provides up-to-date and accurate information about maintenance history, asset details, documentation, machinery, warranties and other important information. It enables teams to access asset information, carry out timely repairs and schedule preventive maintenance, which minimizes downtime and maximizes lifespan of the equipment and the infrastructure.
Preventive and Predictive Maintenance
A CMMS allows setting up maintenance schedules on a proactive basis, which helps plan and schedule routine inspections, calibration and other preventive and predictive tasks. Modern CMMSs leverage latest technologies, monitoring sensors and advanced data analytics to prevent equipment failures and breakdowns from occurring. They trigger maintenance actions and help identify potential issues before they become something serious.
Work Order Management
Automation and digitization of work order management tasks including generation of orders, order assignment and order tracking ensure a smooth flow of operations. CMMSs makes it easier to submit maintenance requests and prioritize work orders based on the level of resource availability or urgency, acting like a bridge between stakeholders, technicians and supervisors.
Reporting and Analytics
Advanced analytics and insightful reports generated by a CMMS system provide actionable information based on which team members can effectively manage equipment performance, view work order history, and manage maintenance costs. Data analytics help identify trends, effectively allocate resources, optimize maintenance strategies and make informed decisions based on real-time data.
Managing inventory and spare parts using traditional methods can be a time-consuming task, which is also prone to errors. A modern CMMS allows businesses to maintain a centralized inventory and includes the necessary features to optimally manage inventory and spare parts by ensuring supplies/parts are readily available when needed.
Facilities management involves maintenance and repair of organizational assets and facilities, including spaces, buildings and people. Instead of occasionally inspecting structures and assets, a better approach is to monitor them on a regular basis to ensure all facilities are in optimal shape, which is made easier by using a CMMS.
Most modern CMMSs include document management functionality, which allows attaching images, drawings, manuals and other documents to maintenance tasks. This ensures that everyone has access to the essential and up-to-date information and documentation, which facilitates compliance, effective troubleshooting and knowledge sharing.
Integration and Mobile Access
Integration with other systems such as ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) help streamline processes and data exchange. SaaS CMMS can be accessed from anywhere, using almost any device, while many vendors also offer native mobile apps, allowing team members to collaborate in real-time and stay productive on the go.
SaaS vs. On-premises CMMS
The benefits and challenges of using SaaS CMMS are similar to other SaaS solutions, which we have covered in detail in the linked post. The following is a summary of some of the key benefits of using a SaaS CMMS over a locally-installed CMMS.
High initial costs and maintenance costs are among the main reasons that hold businesses back from using a CMMS. SaaS CMMSs minimize barriers to entry and save users from having to heavily invest in setting up the infrastructure, buying hardware and software, and spending on maintenance. Businesses can simply sign up for a subscription and get started instantly.
They also get plenty of payment options to choose from, including usage-based, based on the number of seats and various other pricing models. In most cases, the vendor is also responsible for backups, security, updates and feature enhancements, freeing up valuable organizational resources and helping them focus on value-generating tasks.
Scalability, Flexibility and Accessibility
SaaS solutions are highly scalable and flexible and can accommodate seasonal spikes and seamlessly adjust according to increase/decrease in demand, resulting in optimal spending. SaaS apps can be accessed through the internet, allowing users to access the system from anywhere, using almost any device. The vendor is responsible for maintaining a robust and scalable infrastructure that can dynamically allocate resources and saves businesses from having to worry about infrastructure constraints.
Automatic Updates, Rapid Deployment
There are no complex installation procedures involved when deploying a SaaS CMMS. The software as well as the latest features are accessible instantly, eliminating the need for manual updates, which minimizes downtime. Security fixes, feature enhancements and other critical updates are all managed by the vendor, so all the users get access to the same up-to-date software. In addition to automatic updates, the vendor also ensures compliance, data availability, disaster recovery, security, and data backup.
Integration with other solutions including ERP, CRMs, project management and accounting systems ensure seamless exchange of data and efficient collaboration. This creates an efficient and unified ecosystem where everyone is on the same page and has access to accurate and up-to-date information.
Benefits of Using a SaaS CMMS
Although the primary benefits of using a SaaS CMMS include minimizing downtime and reducing costs, there are various other reasons as well to consider a modern CMMS. A CMMS allows the management to effortlessly track maintenance activities and processes and make data-driven decisions, which might not be possible without using a centralized system. The key benefits of using a modern SaaS CMMS solution include:
Improved Safety and Health
Maintenance tasks not only have to be completed timely and correctly, but also safely. Safety has to be part of the planning process, which can be done by adding a few extra steps. A CMMS allows businesses to incorporate safety into their work orders through checklists, safety procedures, safety data sheets and mandatory PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment), ensuring that the job is carried out while avoiding all possible risks.
Safety violations can cause businesses millions in fines and are often a result of missing information and ineffective communication between team members. Accessible and clearly visible safety procedures ensure that employees don’t miss important information when carrying out maintenance tasks and don’t do anything that leads to a violation of the safety rules.
Data-driven Forecasting, Inventory Management
Inefficient inventory management and overspending is the root cause of many problems. Failing to have or find the right parts at the right time can cause a company time and money. A CMMS can help manage these issues and allows companies to purchase, organize and track inventory using tools including automated inventory reporting, automated purchasing, and reporting. AI-powered advanced forecasting tools enable the management to make data-driven decisions and avoid under or over stocking.
Helps Conserve Energy
A SaaS CMMS automatically keeps track of information related to work orders, including parts and expenses. Well maintained assets and equipment are efficient and help prevent wastage of energy. Reactive maintenance can not only lead to downtimes and breakdowns, but it also contributes to waste of energy due to inefficient scheduling, inventory issues and rework. Preventive maintenance can help reduce use of energy and energy bills.
Increases Asset Lifespan
Although age is not always the reason behind failure of equipment and assets, it’s a contributing factor. It might not be financially possible for all businesses to replace old equipment frequently, making preventive maintenance crucial. Keeping equipment and assets maintained before something actually breaks requires a modern solution able to integrate with different sensors that allow real-time tracking of equipment.
Minimizes Maintenance Backlog
Businesses have to keep their maintenance backlog at a reasonable level as too much of it can cause downtimes and interruptions. A CMMS helps companies keep their maintenance backlog in check by balancing maintenance costs and available resources. It records and tracks small fixes and prevents them from becoming something big that might get unnoticed and require costly repair down the road. Automatic identification, scheduling, prioritization and assigning of maintenance tasks ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.
Speeds Up Inspections and Repairs, Minimizes Downtime
Delay in inspections and repairs can cause or prolong downtimes and although downtimes are part of the game, inefficient processes can exacerbate the problem. These inefficiencies can cost a lot in terms of time and money. A CMMS is designed to reduce downtime to bare minimum by providing real-time information about assets and equipment, and helping team members spot and fix the issue in a timely manner.
Effective Preventive Maintenance
Preventive or proactive maintenance refers to timely catching defects in equipment, parts or assets before they become a bigger issue and cause a breakdown/downtime. Preventive maintenance is crucial to minimizing downtime. A CMMS allows setting automated work orders and preventive maintenance triggers based on predefined criteria including time based, usage based or based on specific conditions. Triggers can automatically activate, schedule and assign a predefined work order, leading to smooth flow of maintenance operations and less interruptions.
One of the main purposes of CMMS is to increase efficiency through effective and efficient maintenance schedules, anticipating different elements of maintenance and keeping track of asset’s performance. Automated work requests eliminate the inefficiencies associated with doing the same manually via phone calls and sticky notes.
By eliminating these manual and extra steps and automating work requests, a CMMS increases efficiency and ensures that no time is wasted. Access to a centralized database saves employees from having to manually track people, assets and parts, which saves a lot of time. Maintenance checklists, reporting templates and workflows standardize maintenance processes, allowing all team members to have access to the same, accurate and real-time information.
Real-time Updates, Helps Find Trends
Real-time updates about the progress of work orders help avoid difficult situations, limit the back log and provide a clear visibility. Information including to whom the task is assigned, its priority status and how long it will take to complete ensure optimal resource allocation, while automatic notifications help figure out if additional resources are required. Access to historical information provides a strong line of defense against issues such as high turnover and ensures that everyone has access to detailed records that include what has been done so far and what still needs to be done.
A CMMS translates numbers into actionable information and enables the management to measure maintenance performance while connecting cause with effect. This helps identify trends that otherwise might go unnoticed. Maintenance metrics help them fine-tune maintenance strategies and keep track of operational performance. A CMMS helps identify issues and benchmark against the standards, analyze trends, track costs and spot recurring issues by collecting data from various sources and turning it into comprehensive reports.
Passing audits is difficult without the right tools and failing them can have severe financial implications. A CMMS makes the job easier by facilitating inspection and effortlessly searching maintenance records, and takes care of document compliance. It makes it easier to quickly find the required information and turn it into comprehensive reports for auditing purposes while taking a lot less time than manual methods to prepare for audits.
Modern SaaS CMMSs are designed to optimize maintenance processes, which is why they are becoming a standard. It combines different maintenance processes including preventive maintenance, work order management, inventory management, scheduled maintenance and reporting into one system. A CMMS enables teams to increase asset lifespan, minimize backlogs, speed up inspections and repairs, make data-driven decisions, improve safety, reduce costs, conserve energy, and ultimately increase efficiency and boost revenues.