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Overcome Resistance to Change in the Maintenance Business – part 2

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This is part 2.  So if you need to catch up, here is part 1.

Disruptive Change in Maintenance at Jeffboat

When implementing a maintenance management strategy, a critical component to most certainly deal with every time is the inevitable resistance to change.  Whether it is the introduction of new software or a complete overhaul of the maintenance function, the process of change usually represents the involvement of disruptive technology.  A “thought-path” of least resistance might tell us that most changes are really just improvements on something old and, thus, the old paradigms can be used as a starting point.  However, there are often changes that organizations need to make (whether they do or not is another story) that serve to disrupt the dominant paradigm, rather than sustaining it.  These types of shifts usually involve disruptive technologies and make the old things less important or obsolete.  The problem with these disruptive changes is that people will still attempt to apply the old paradigms to the new realities.  This is a mistake, which leads to resistance. When this mistake is being made, the person feeling feeling and thus spreading the resistance are, in a sense, trying to understand the car as nothing more than a carriage without horses.

History of Jeffboat

Jeffboat is a manufacturing company with a very long history.  Originally named the Howard Steamboat Company, Jeffboat is America’s largest inland ship builder and has been manufacturing ships for over 100 years.  This iconic shipbuilding business manufactured such famous ships as the Mississippi Queen, the General Jackson showboat and the Casino Aztar riverboat casino.

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Like many old line manufacturers, Jeffboat has undergone a number of corporate/ownership changes.  Most recently, in 2010 the company was bought by Platinum Equity, which is a global acquisition firm.

As you can imagine, the Jeffboat yard is a large open space sprawling over one mile long, and loaded with manufacturing equipment and materials.  Typical for many old-line manufacturing firms, on the Jeffboat property, you can find manufacturing lines, made up of equipment and operated or maintained by employees who have been there for several decades.

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Because of the size of the shipyard and age of the equipment, without much change over the years, Jeffboat’s maintenance process had been a reactive culture since as far back as anyone could remember.  There was no CMMS software in place and equipment was tracked using spreadsheets.  Because of this technology gap, it was often hit or miss as to whether the right parts were in the stores room.  So here was the first pocket of improvement opportunity.  With hundreds of repair jobs happening, and most of them starting with a maintenance technician struggling to find the correct parts for the targeted equipment, this was an obvious sink hole where labor time, and production time, drained over and over. There was also no Scheduler/Planner, and thus maintenance procedures, or instructions, were handled informally and based on need at that particular moment.

Disruptive Change

Because of a number of issues within Jeffboat that related to maintenance over the past few years, a decision was made by senior management to transform Jeffboat from a reactive-based maintenance department to a more preventive culture.  The following changes were planned:

  • Formalize all maintenance procedures through work orders
  • Institute a computerized CMMS program to issue and track work orders and measure inventory levels
  • Work together with Production in a new way as a partner instead of an annoyance
  • Move one of the technicians into the role of Maintenance Scheduler/Planner
  • Institute procedures and technology for materials management to allow for continuous tracking of equipment and manage parts in an efficient, time-sensitive manner
  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities for all maintenance and production personnel with regards to equipment

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All of these meant that disruptive change would have to take place both in the way people worked together but in many people’s jobs and in how things would be done.  However, recognizing the resistance that would occur, and having a plan to address that resistance was critical at this stage.  In other words, without shifting the mindset of the individuals affected and proactively creating ownership of the changes, all the improvements in technology and procedural changes would not be successful.  How do we address this resistance?  Can we proactively bring a wave of positive change through managing the mindset of a group to new, improved ideas and methods?

How to change mindset – moving from the horseless carriage to the car

 

modelofsustainableimprovement

Model for Sustainable Improvement

Common sense tells us that the first step for solving any problem is to analyze or assess.  This is no different for the model of sustainable improvement (above) needed to help achieve successful changes to improve Jeffboat maintenance.

Jeffboat brought in experts in maintenance process and maintenance change management, TRO Maintenance Solutions (TRO).  As the model (above) indicates, the foundation is analysis.  Richard Beer, representing TRO, conducted an assessment of the current overall maintenance process at Jeffboat.  This maintenance assessment served as the baseline analysis that would support any future initiative.  During the analysis stage, Richard Beer, having years of experience in maintenance best practices, identified and documented the main obstacles (already stated above) that were hurting the Jeffboat maintenance process.  TRO also recognized that, in order to be successful, the second part of this model was essential – the people most affected by the changes had to shift their thinking.  They needed to move from the ‘horseless carriage’ to the ‘car’, and take ownership of the changes.  It was from this analysis that Richard Beer created the strategy to implement change within the Jeffboat culture.  To help build that strategy, he brought in Mike Rosenberg, the developer of Flexible Thinker®.

Strategy

  1. Give stakeholders the tools for change and have them develop ideas for implementing change through a 1 day workshop;
  2. Review the ideas with management and then take the team’s ideas and management input and work with all of the stakeholders to turn the ideas into key performance indicators (KPIs) for review by management;
  3. Take the KPIs and work with the stakeholders to turn them into internal service level agreements (SLAs) that clearly define the roles and deliverables that each person or group is responsible for in order to implement the ideas.
  4. Take the SLAs and create a series of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which would form the basis of the new maintenance handbook and create the infrastructure needed to implement the procedure and technology changes.

Flexible Thinker®

In order to accomplish the goal of paradigm shift, TRO used the Flexible Thinker® learning program to help institute the change. The purpose of this approach was to achieve the following:

  • Create a paradigm shift about how people view both the issues they are facing and their jobs
  • Use language to create a culture where ideas flow and people are held accountable for helping to create solutions instead of act as an obstacle to them
  • Push people out of their comfort zone and expand their thinking
  • Create the ‘ahas’ that are necessary for sustainable change
  • Turn ideas into action by creating ‘quick hits’ or successes for people to buy-in to the changes and incorporate the learning into their daily work lives

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Key Measurement Opportunities – Is this project showing signs of success?

The ultimate goal of both the Flexible Thinker® program and the sustainable change model is to create the ownership and paradigm shift that is necessary to uphold implementation of new initiatives.  This was measured by the following milestones:

  • Once the SLAs were completed, was their going to be resistance to signing the agreements and/or execution of the agreements?
  • Would people perform well in their new positions or change the way they were working in their current positions to help execute the SLAs and achieve the KPIs?
  • The KPIs were the ultimate goal of the entire program.  Was the maintenance department moving toward hitting the KPIs?

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Implementing the learning strategy

An important element of creating sustainable change is to allow stakeholders to both learn and apply new knowledge and practices into the workplace.  Using a blended learning approach that utilized both formal (classroom) and informal (coaching and mentoring) learning modalities.  The role of the consultants was both to facilitate creation of the infrastructure that would allow for change, including creation of documentation and providing onsite support for coaching and mentoring as well as helping implement the changes.  Instead of executing the changes themselves, TRO acted more as a facilitator and allowed the stakeholders opportunities to implement the changes themselves.  By providing the coaching and follow up necessary, the structural changes needed to be made were implemented by the people who would have to “live” with them.

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Flexible Thinker® tools in the workplace

During the course of the consulting, the consultants asked stakeholders if they had applied the Flexible Thinker® tools in their work environment.  One stakeholder indicated that he was using the ‘clap focus’ game as a way to get his team engaged at the beginning of the shift and then was utilizing it to get them to ‘move faster’ during the day.  Another stakeholder indicated that he had taught his kids to ‘orange’ it and was using it with his guys when they came to him with a problem to engage them to help create solutions.  It was through this anecdotal evidence that we were able to see that the training was having the desired effect.

Lessons learned

In implementing the model, there were a number of lessons learned.

The Innovative Change/Ownership stage is critical to support implementation of any change

Most organizations try to skip this part of the model and move directly from analysis to implementation.  Usually this is done either totally by external consultants or through directives of senior management.  The problem with this approach is that the people actually responsible for implementation often times either do not understand the reason for the change, buy-in to the change or feel that the change is a direct threat to them and their job.  What happens in these conditions is that the implementation is either undermined or people simply wait until the next ‘flavor of the month’ is over so they can return to doing things the way they used to do them.  This means that the changes that are necessary to become more productive are undermined at the lower levels of the organization and the implementation eventually fails.

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Senior management must buy-in on the changes and the model

Senior management must buy into both the changes that are taking place and the process of allowing the stakeholders to drive the process of change.  Jeffboat provided excellent senior management support and leadership.  Because of that leadership, the stakeholders felt that they owned the changes and supported the execution of the ideas.  At every step, senior management was part of the process and reviewed the ideas created.  If they did not approve of them, a reason was given and brought back to the stakeholders with the necessary justification about why the idea could not be implemented.  This allowed for continuous communication between front-line staff and senior management and a sense of collaboration.  If senior management had undermined the process by imposing their ideas arbitrarily without explanation over the ideas generated by the stakeholders, the entire process would have been subverted because lower-level staff would feel that it was all a waste of their time and morale and productivity would have suffered significantly.

In addition, it is important for senior management to understand that there is always lower productivity in change.  This is best demonstrated by the Satir model for change:

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With any change, there is resistance and then chaos which creates lower productivity.  It only as people start to work through the changes that performance rises above the status quo before plateauing.  All change takes time and there is now shortcut.  It is essential that during that time of lower productivity, senior management does not undermine the process to go back to the old status quo.  They must provide stakeholders with support to work through the changes, learn them and incorporate them into their daily routine in order to achieve a higher level of performance in the long-term.  It needs to be understood by senior management that people will want to revert to ‘what they know’ as growth is created by confusion.  There will be times when people revert to old habits and they need to be coached and rewarded for implementing new changes that lead to long-term gain for the organization.

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Coaching is essential

As discussed earlier, with change come resistance and chaos which can easily lead to frustration.  The fact is the very essence of change is to take people out of their comfort zones.  Coaching sessions are essential in helping people to work through the changes and shorten the learning curve which in turns saves the organization money.  By providing coaching, people can work through their issues until they are comfortable enough to take over the new roles and responsibilities that come with implementation of the change.

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Clarity and specifics on expectations and measurement create empowerment

It is important to take the ideas and measurements and create very specific SMART plans and SLAs that detail what are the expectations and measurements of each area/person.  By having a say in the creation of the document (see Lessons Learned a), people need to know what they are expected to do and the signposts that outline how they will know if they are moving toward success.  By having input in the SLAs/SMART plan process, all stakeholders now have a clear idea what is expected of them and an objective measurement of how they are doing so that they can execute the plans.  This allows each stakeholder to become empowered to help meet the goals and measurements laid out in the agreements.

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Nothing is written in stone – set up review dates

Change is now the norm.  The idea of any agreement is that it will be reviewed and updated based on a number of factors – new technology, kinks that develop on the way and change in corporate direction.  It should be emphasized that nothing that is created within the new initiative is written in stone and that changes will be made to deal with new situations that arise.  This also gives people the opportunity feel more at ease about the agreements as they will be periodically reviewed.  As part of this, it should be put directly into the SLA/SMART plan a review date where the documents and processes will be reviewed to determine what changes (if any) need to be made.

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Conclusion

A number of changes have happened at Jeffboat.  Maintenance is being scheduled more regularly and there has started to be a shift from a ‘reactive’ maintenance culture to a more preventative one.  There is a clearer understanding of roles and responsibilities for both maintenance and production which has led to a more collaborative relationship with regards to maintenance.  Everything now has a work order attached and there has been a significant mindset shift in stores as people can no longer just try to ‘find’ the parts they need and all materials have work orders attached so that proper inventory levels are maintained and there is a significantly shorter lead time required to get the rights parts.

There is a now a more comprehensive maintenance strategy in place with ownership of the process by both maintenance and production supervisors and managers who created the change themselves.

The collaboration between maintenance and production has led to a comprehensive maintenance handbook and SOPs which means that overall the maintenance at Jeffboat has made significant and measurable strides forward and has become significantly more productive and preventative instead of reactive which means greater profitability for the company as equipment downtime decreases.

All change is ongoing and Jeffboat has begun to lay the foundation to move it towards the elusive goal of excellence as it introduces new software and continues to refine it process and procedures.

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This quote from Terry Wireman best sums up the new attitude that is developing at Jeffboat:

Yesterday’s excellence is today’s standard and tomorrow’s mediocrity.

Resistance to CHANGE in the maintenance business – part 1

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This is a two part success story about how an iconic American ship builder chose to take the courageous step into CHANGE.  This first part lays the foundation of why a ship builder would need to change, plus gives insight into the challenges associated with such a decision.  Part two will give more details on that change process experienced by the ship builder, and help relate their success to how other maintenance or engineering professionals can achieve the same success.

But first the ship building icon…

After many years in business, the maintenance management team realized they needed to change.  Why?  Because, although the ships were still being built as strong and true as ever, the maintenance process they were using to maintain the manufacturing infrastructure was sinking, so to speak.

Fast forward to the current day, and we know now that all it took for this to be a success story was some flexible thinking among it’s dedicated staff, and a little help from their friends at TRO Maintenance Solutions.

So why does it take so much courage to commit to change?  Well the answer is simple.  All of us have tried change something in the past.  Usually the first thing we encounter is resistance.  Whether that resistance comes from within us, or around us, it is the number one killer of change.

When implementing a maintenance management strategy, a critical component to most certainly deal with every time is the inevitable resistance to change.  Whether it is the introduction of new software or a complete overhaul of the maintenance function, the process of change usually represents the involvement of disruptive technology.  A “thought-path” of least resistance might tell us that most changes are really just improvements on something old and, thus, the old paradigms can be used as a starting point.  However, there are often changes that organizations need to make (whether they do or not is another story) that serve to disrupt the dominant paradigm, rather than sustaining it.  These types of shifts usually involve disruptive technologies and make the old things less important or obsolete.  The problem with these disruptive changes is that people will still attempt to apply the old paradigms to the new realities.  This is a mistake, which leads to resistance. When this mistake is being made, the person feeling feeling and thus spreading the resistance are, in a sense, trying to understand the car as nothing more than a carriage without horses.

In part 2 of this story, we will learn how the following elements played out at the ship building business in manner that resulted in a very successful change for the better:

  • Disruptive Change
  • How to change mindset – moving from the horseless carriage to the car
    • Model for Sustainable Improvement
  • Using the Flexible Thinker®
  • Implementing the learning strategy
  • Lessons learned

Enterprise Asset Management Systems

Enterprise asset management (EAM) systems are fully integrated and customized to the requirements of businesses. An EAM system has four significant support components: software, business processes, users and operating systems.

Software is at the core of EAM systems. It can be tailored to your organization’s unique data requirements and business processes. It has the capacity to operate on multiple platforms and heterogeneous operating systems. It is easy to implement and spreads quickly across your network. It works without disrupting other existing activities.

The common business processes include strategic planning, management control and operational control. The EAM systems are greatly advantageous in planning for decision-making procedures and preparing to solve potential problems.

Management of resources is the main objective of EAM, for an effective management leads to effective operations. Constant changes in processes may affect EAM systems’ ability to adapt, so the systems need yearly evaluations and refurbishment.

EAM systems are useful for management and operational controls, and employees at all levels of planning, management, and operations are also users of the systems.

Implementing EAM systems may entail modifying some of your business processes and may serve as an additional workload to your employees. This may result in resistance to new systems and processes that can be managed through training and orientation.

EAM systems run on various operating systems, such as Windows 98/NT/2000, Sun Solaris, Linux, Oracle, MS SQL, DB2, Informix and Sybase. Running EAM systems require security, stability and standards.

EAM systems begin with an assessment of needs, defining expectations, planning and implementation. It ends with checking actual performance against objectives, along with necessary improvements.

The success or failure of an EAM project lies on the four components of EAM systems. These vital components have to interact with each other toward achieving a common goal — to improve your organization’s business processes.

Enterprise Asset Management provides detailed information on Enterprise Asset Management, Enterprise Asset Management Software, Enterprise Asset Management Systems, Enterprise End-To-End Asset Management and more. Enterprise Asset Management is affiliated with BPM Consulting.

Author: Josh Riverside
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

The Best CMMS For Your Business

Failing to take advantage of the latest technology to improve your business is like having a car and taking the subway to work- it simply doesn’t qualify as practical. Computer Maintenance Management Software is not exactly next generation, but when it comes to improving your maintenance management, it is your best companion. It’s agreeable that the importance of a CMMS is beyond question, but what’s a good CMMS? On a company scale, you have to think about everyone, and how easy a time they will have operating it.

Usability is the first major characteristic that you need to look for in a CMMS program. Not everyone majored or studied IT. For a database that may have high levels of sophistication, a CMMS may take some time to register with your employees, especially those that are directly going to make use of it, and probably on a daily basis. Try to get software that will be easy to understand and operate. True, some intrinsic parts like settings adjustment and may require someone with IT knowledge, but all in all it should be easy to operate and run. The shorter time it takes to understand it, the better. Some CMMS systems offer a wide variety of features, but this usually comes at the expense of increased sophistication. If it’s too hard to learn, your employees won’t be too happy using it- and that is the undesired outcome. The simpler, the better- questions of whether it offers many features not withstanding.

Choose a CMMS program that you can easily customize to your liking. If you purchase pre-manufactured EAM Software, it may not exactly be tailor-made for your kind of company. Some features you get might not apply while other important ones might be missing. It is well to study the CMMS tools a system has to offer before taking it in. If at all possible, get one made with your predefined specifications. If you need it to emphasize on the inventory part and the scheduling, make the request. The other option is to get one that is made to be customized. It will be easier to marble it to its most workable form as far as your company is concerned.

Decide the kind of CMMS system that works best for your business- as far as network preference is concerned. If your business is centered, within a specific geographical location, then a LAN-based CMMS might be best. If one the other hand you work on a regional scale, where the same CMMS is in employment, then web-based is best.

Budget well for your EAM software- it does not come cheap. Saying that your company will hardly be affected financially is a misstatement, especially if it is a small enterprise. A good CMMS Program with an abundance of features might set you back a couple of thousand dollars. True, it is worth every dollar when it is in full operation, but make sure that you can afford it, without running into financial hurdles down that fiscal year.

Asset Management – Key Part of Business Management

Most manufacturing companies have recently discovered that fixed asset management should be a key part of the success of the business enterprise. It is now realised that fixed asset management leads to economy of production and operation. This in turn can to increase in profits of 10 to 15 per cent, which cannot be ignored as it makes a significant contribution to the bottom line of the business.

There is no doubt that inventory and production management deserves the main focus of the management for effective functioning in a manufacturing enterprise. If asset management was neglected, then fixed assets were not being effectively and efficiently managed. But in recent years it has been realised efficient management of fixed assets like plant and machinery and other movable and immovable fixed assets can lead to economies of scale. Thus proper monitoring and regular maintenance of productive fixed assets will give a longer productive life. The net effect of this is more profits for the business.

Naturally in fixed asset management, the assets responsible for production, research and development etc., which have direct bearing on the productivity of the business, need to be managed more closely. There must be constant monitoring on the maintenance aspect to prolong the useful life of the asset. Even a movable asset like a vehicle needs proper maintenance. Otherwise without regular running and maintenance the vehicle can soon become corroded and useless.

Every category of assets needs a different focus of management. Fixed assets need regular maintenance to ensure normal life of the assets depending on the wear and tear on the asset. Adequate planning is also necessary for building up financial reserves over the life of the asset for replacing the fixed asset at the end of its useful life. Thus the new plant and machinery can be ordered well in time to replace the old one.

Management also has to weigh the advantage of replacing the plant and machinery and other production assets or continuing to maintain the present production assets. They also must consider from time to time whether the asset has become obsolete owing to new technological advances. In recent times, technology has advanced at a rapid pace and management has to be vigilant on this issue to avoid being left behind by competitors. Asset management also includes adequate insurance to cover any extraordinary losses due to fire and natural disasters.

A type of awakening has taken place in major industries during the past decade on the role of asset management. It has become attractive due to decreasing margins and competition growing day by day. To avoid major capital spending, companies are now developing strategies to get optimum performance from available fixed assets thereby getting increased returns. This involves proper schedule of maintenance to minimise breakdowns and consequent loss of production.

In order to have reliability in scheduling, regular planning in conjunction with various departments, at least on a monthly basis is absolutely necessary. Standards must be set as well comparative analysis within industry standards must be evaluated to determine whether the company is achieving optimum production in line with the industry. If not, then suitable targets and best practices must be set up within a reasonable time frame to reach those targets.

Logistical performance must also be evaluated to consider whether transportation costs are economical and advantages of location are met. The management tools for evaluation can be in form of comparison studies, which can set up in form of graphs and bar charts for easy visual comparison. If fixed asset performance is seen to be below par, then priorities can be fixed for the focus on improvement.

Asset management tracking is vital in large manufacturing plant and utilities. Integration of asset management with raw material and maintenance procurement systems as well as financial systems and their cost versus savings benefits must be monitored on a day-by-day basis. Senior financial officers must therefore be involved in asset management.

Depending on nature of assets in different businesses. For example, utility companies, mineral companies, oil and natural gas are having large properties as part of their assets. These have to be effectively managed and timely decisions have to be taken whether to buy or sell properties for the health of the business. Depending on their values and necessity to the running of the company, the assets can be categorized for better management.

To assist company management, there are a number of established consultant companies having qualified manpower whose help will be beneficial for asset management. They can be very effective to audit present practices and suggest best practices, problem solving and action plans. It may be well worth the expense to hire established consultants to improve performance.

Asset management data can be computerised to enable management to chalk out strategies on an overall basis. Integration of asset management systems with other financial systems would give better picture of whole operation of the enterprise. This will enable various key officials to give their timely input to top management in order to devise suitable plans. For example, government may come out with special tax incentives for certain industries to invest in fixed assets. In a scenario where management is monitoring and managing fixed assets, the Finance Manager may quickly recommend purchase of new fixed assets to take advantage of the government’s tax incentive for that business.

Lastly, it is the assets of a business which enable the production and delivery of its goods and services. So when fixed assets are being purchased or replaced a few important questions arise. What is the cost and cost benefit for the business. What funds are available? Should the asset be purchased new or secondhand or should it be leased and how will it benefit the business? Questions relating to the use of the asset could be. What are the operating costs? How much skilled and unskilled manpower would be required for operation? What are the training costs involved? What are the installation costs? What is the useful life of the asset? Is it the latest technology? These and many more questions need to be asked and answered. This will ultimately factor into the long-term strategy of the business.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Asset Management [http://asset-management-guided.com]

Author: Michael Russell
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Web-Based CMMS Versus Network Based CMMS

There are basically two different type of scenarios for CMMS and companies must decide which works the best for them as what might be the best option for one company may not be the best choice for another company. So lets briefly introduce the two options and then briefly discuss each one.

For starters, those who are not familiar with CMMS perhaps an introduction is in order. CMMS or Computer Maintenance Management System is in essence a record or database of an organizations maintenance operations. This allows those in charge to have a record of maintenance, spare parts, repairs, etc. Once a company decides to employ CMMS they need to decide will they be taking a web based approach or a network based approach to CMMS.

A web-based approach to CMMS means that the software the runs CMMS is housed on computers that your company typically don’t own. It is common for the software to be running off of a server or running on servers that make up what is called a server farm. It is important to point out that when using a web based approach the physical location of the servers running the CMMS software could theoretically be anywhere in the world. However, typically these servers will reside in the United States. You might ask what is the benefit of using a web based solution. One of the biggest advantages to a web-based CMMS is that you can access your CMMS from anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection and you are ready to connect. Another benefit this approach provides is that you don’t have to worry about the maintenance and repair of the powerful servers that are required to run the CMMS software. If there is a hardware failure, that is not your problem.

The second CMMS approach is the network approach. This typically means that instead of your software running on a server outside of your company the CMMS software will be running on a server that is running somewhere within your company and your IT staff would be responsible for the upkeep and the maintenance of not only the CMMS software, but also the server hardware. So if there is a failure, your company is responsible for the repair. One popular benefit of this approach is you usually have a faster response due to you not having to contend for traffic over the internet.

That is the two basic methods of implementing CMMS. After weighing the pros and cons you can decide which CMMS solution fits best with your needs.

Stuart Smith writes about Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) Solutions for Mintek Mobile Data Solutions. Learn more about EAM/CMMS features that can help your business navigate through tough economic times.

Author: S W Smith
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Strategic Asset Management and Facility Management Software

All companies have a number of critical assets that have a direct impact on business activity and performance. Assets allow companies to compete and generate profits in an increasingly complex economic environment.

A solution that provides effective enterprise asset management, used to control and manage the development, performance and maintenance of the assets within a company, may be the most important tool to prevent operational changes and discovering hidden benefits.

Facility management software enables manufacturers, distributors and service organizations to save time and money by optimizing maintenance resources, improving equipment and staff productivity. Effective management of inventory increases income possibilities.

Improving the management of assets

Effectively managing production equipment, facilities, fleets, technology assets or any combination of them – throughout their life cycle, achieves greater efficiency in operations which raises return on investment and increases the availability of capital.

With detailed information on assets, costs, resources, operations and relates to its operation and maintenance addresses the specific needs of each sector. Facility management software’s internal logic is designed to facilitate the search and introduction of information and generation of analysis.

CMMS Benefits

Most CMMS programs include basic modules for work orders, planning and scheduling, preventive maintenance, equipment history, management and procurement. These basic modules can be considered the foundation for a maintenance management system.

The CMMS is an integral tool in the quest to achieve a comprehensive strategic plan and optimal running of the plant. The successful operation of the plant is the goal that produces long-term profit and real tangible results.

This article was written by Chance Hogan from Facility Management Software

Author: Chance Hogan
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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The Advantages of Enterprise Asset Management Software

Many companies that depend heavily on the performance of their assets are opting for upgraded Enterprise Asset Management systems to deal with the changes in the global economy. These systems enable them to reduce the costs that have been brought on by the use of the assets. While all companies have to depend on their utilities, some organizations are more dependent. For example, institutions in the field of healthcare, IT, and manufacturing industry cannot function if all their assets do not perform properly.

These new systems provides new insights into the way in which equipment should be designed, constructed, installed, used, and the maintained so that the costs are kept to a minimum. When some equipment does not function properly, the system enables the management to decide whether they should acquire new equipment or repair the existing one. The term enterprise is used because these systems take into the account the requirements of all the departments and areas of operation of organizations.

As newer methods of managing assets are developed for the benefit of the companies that can barely function without uninterrupted function of their facilities, people are switching to Enterprise Asset Management Software because there are several advantages of doing so.

The first advantage is that complex tasks like whole life planning, life cycle costing, and preventive maintenance schedules of the assets are prepared by the software without much intervention from the employers. The employers have to merely make sure that they provide the Enterprise Asset Management Software with the required facts and figures.

This software makes life easier of the managers because the data that is presented by the program is processed. Hence, the mangers do not have to go through all the minute details and then arrive at decisions.

Most importantly, these programs provide the mangers with frameworks that they can use to determine how to adapt to changes in the production pattern of the organization. For example, if the customer base of a company expands, the compilation of the data by the software will enable the management to choose the most feasible mode of expansion to ensure that too much is not invested.

The software also eases the burden of the employees by performing the routine tasks like preparing schedules, maintaining inventory records, assigning material, and providing alerts when new material is required.

So when are you opting for Enterprise Asset Management Software?

Facilligence provides a complete Enterprise Asset Management Software designed specifically to meet your organization’s needs. Visit us at: http://www.facilligence.com/

Author: Winston Jenkins
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Pressure cooker

Maintenance and PM Optimization

Optimizing preventive maintenance tasks performed is an effective way to streamline maintenance and help reduce the likelihood of failures. Simple changes in process and a little more planning are all that is needed.

Marshall Institute

Marshall Institute is an asset management consulting and training company dedicated to helping companies improve the maintenance contribution to their organizational performance. Their president, Greg Folts spoke at our Users Conference this past year and gave some helpful tips for optimizing PMs.

  1. Compare failure to current maintenance strategy
  2. Consider the effectiveness and efficiency of the current strategy
  3. Use the experience of the shop floor
  4. Consider the consequence of the failure
  5. Consider what type of PM can be utilized

Knowing the different failure modes of assets is also vital to planning PMs. The graphic below illustrates the types of failure and how to best plan for them.

Maintenance Options for Evident Failure Modes

To read the full list of PM Optimization tips and other information, visit the Marshall Institute to get the presentation (name and email required).  Also, look forward to guest blog posts from the industry experts at Marshall Institute in the coming year.

Asset Management System – Getting Started

Setting up a professional asset management system is actually quite easy.

  1. Determine the scope: requirements, budget, available resources
  2. Research and purchase software application
  3. Acquire asset tags and optional bar code readers
  4. Affix asset tags, scan and enter critical asset data

First of all, determine the scope of the system. Are assets simply being tagged with descriptive information? Name, description, location, specifications and to whom the asset is assigned are the most common fields. In such cases an in-house solution might be least expensive, leveraging existing personnel, resources and infrastructure. A web developer can configure a simple system built on a MySQL database and PHP-driven user interface, or use the more robust SQL Server and ASP.NET framework.

Any requirements beyond basic data interaction should necessitate a more professional software application. Most programs are easy to install and come with an array of existing and extra fields, categorization, automated calculations and asset history.

Consider a vehicle purchased at a certain date under specific financial terms. It is under warranty for a limited duration, is serviced regularly by named technicians and assigned to different drivers who increment the odometer daily. While in service this asset requires investment and helps generate revenue. At some point the vehicle is sold or otherwise disposed of. The life and times of this vehicle generate an extensive library of information which might be automatically compiled and utilized simply by scanning the vehicle’s asset tag at each juncture. The ultimate benefit is the asset’s optimal utility and the company’s maximum return on investment.

The asset management software reduces a vast load of work to a series of scan and entries. Many software applications will do this job competently. A simple search will reveal numerous options ranging from cheap or free to many thousands of dollars for the core program and optional modules.

On the relatively inexpensive end, RedBeam Fixed Asset Tracking starts at $695 (single user license) with the ability to track 500 or more assets, up to 15 additional user-defined fields, perform depreciation calculations, and take periodic physical inventories. The mobile version starts at $1795.

IntelliTrack DMS Fixed Asset Tracking doubles the amount of user-defined fields, includes more complex depreciation functions and a greater variety of reports. It starts at $1895 but has built-in mobile and wireless support. If mobility is essential this application should be a serious consideration.

Those two are healthy specimens of basic asset tracking software programs with comparable core feature sets. For larger companies with complicated needs and accommodating budgets an enterprise asset management software solution is recommended. These are feature-rich, modular and mighty scalable.

WiseTrack starts at just over two grand, with more for optional tech support. Its features are numerous and include unlimited fields, asset history, wireless and web-based data capture, broad PDA, PDC and mobile support, extensive reporting and generated forms, and much more.

And then there’s HardCat Asset Tracking. It is quite expensive and many modules cost whopping additional amounts, but the complete suite has just about everything a large organization should ever need.

You can review a comprehensive comparison of these four software applications. Compare prices for different licenses, mobile versions and additional modules on page three, and review a detailed table of features on page four.

Once the software is nailed, deciding on and purchasing a portable data collector, barcode reader or other mobile data collection device will be largely determined by the software and remaining budget.

And finally, laying the foundation for the entire asset management program begins with purchasing and applying asset tags. The best asset tags are aluminum or polyester. They should be affixed where the scanner can easily read the bar code or a human can read the number. Once scanned, the asset manager enters the data related to the asset and the whole system comes together.

Author: Kanoa Helms
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Unix inter-process communication (IPC)