All posts by Maintenance Connection

Why Your Maintenance Management Needs a Mobile App

Mobile has surged as our channel of choice—and apps our new currency.

Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report illustrates a few ways the workforce is getting more tech-savvy with mobile:

  • We’re using personal devices for work: 45% of millennials and 18% of older generations.
  • We’re likely to download applications for work: 41% millennials and 24% older generations.
  • Connectivity is up 830%+ since 1995 (from 9% to 84%).

And connectivity via mobile devices is up 255%+ since 2009 (from 18% to 64%).

In the U.S., we’re spending an average of 151 minutes looking at our smartphone screen. Any time we want a status update or notification, we check our phone. Last year, we checked them an average of 85 times a day! It’s an obvious and preferred mode of connection, research and productivity. So why do so many maintenance organizations and maintenance managers fall back to Excel, printouts, or handwritten notes when there’s likely an app for that?

For maintenance managers and planners specifically, it’s essential to know the current status of all jobs in the backlog. This type of data (and more) has traditionally been stored in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Now, all of that valuable information is available in the pockets of maintenance planners and technicians alike, with mobile CMMS applications. As CMMS goes mobile, keeping a pulse on your organization’s truly current job status is possible. Mobile CMMS brings opportunities for better, real-time insights; improved department-wide productivity; and a connected on-the-go workforce.

3 Reasons to Take Your CMMS Mobile

Companies that integrate mobile for CMMS surge ahead of the competition, and future-proof facility operations. They save time, have better access to information, leave a kinder environmental footprint—and at the end of the day, are more productive because of it.

1. Save time. When it comes to building a world-class organization, uptime is a top priority. Think in terms of operations and employees—and making the most of each moment.

With mobile, managers and techs spend less time receiving instructions, gathering tools or materials, traveling to and from the site, etc., and more time completing maintenance tasks. How does mobile make a difference? Techs now have in-app access to mobile work order signatures, can log wrench time with a stop-start timer, and can upload images or video using the device’s camera. Technicians can receive alerts about new work assignments instantly, and work requesters can obtain minute-by-minute status updates.

2. Gain insights, access to critical information. From on-the-go techs to management, one of the biggest advantages of mobile is immediate access to real-time information. For example, technicians can access critical documents from the field. Or, do a global database search from the field should a complexity pop up (when it’s often most needed). With an asset’s complete work history at your fingertips, mobile CMMS becomes an incredibly useful tool. And the ability for techs to update job progress gives organizations access to critical metrics, such as average response times, average completion times, and total downtime. Overall, access to information fosters an organization-wide culture of productivity and collaboration.

3. Go green. Think of the cabinets full of asset records, work histories, and more (who knows what you’ll find if you dig deep). A new job pops up on the calendar, and it’s status quo to find documentation, print copies for a tech, then re-file new paperwork once the work order is completed. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that limits scalable growth.

A mobile platform is essential if you’re committed to going paperless. Rather than copies and printouts, disseminate job information with the click of a button. Files are stored direct to a tech’s device—convenient and eco-friendly. These digital documents, attached to work requests, can be accessed from anywhere. The entire process saves time, supports growth and enables a mobile team. At then end of the day, paperless processes makes the job easier and soften an organizational footprint.

Are you ready to get started with a top-notch mobile CMMS? Test drive Maintenance Connection with a free trial today!

CMMS Training – Not Just for Implementations

Whether an organization is putting a new CMMS system into place or has been utilizing a tool for years, training should be a considered a critical component to successful usage. Training is necessary to keep up with new features in the software, enhance the skillsets of employees, and improve efficiency. Training sessions should be held for each person in an organization who will be using a CMMS on a day-to-day basis including technicians, maintenance supervisors, and administrators.

A recent article in Reliable Plant Magazine reinforces this concept by adding the following advice “Keep in mind that training is an ongoing process throughout the lifetime of the CMMS. Send your maintenance team to refresher webinars and knowledge-transfer workshops to help reinforce best practices. During training workshops, attendees may become aware of certain modules and features that could be deployed in their organizations to make their workflow more efficient.”

How Much Could You Save by Using a Mobile CMMS?


If you haven’t upgraded to a mobile CMMS yet, what are you waiting for?

These days mobile technology is more stable and cost effective than ever before. Organizations that had been reluctant to equip their maintenance technicians with mobile devices are now moving forward and deploying them due to their low cost and ease of use in the field.

The reasons to use a mobile CMMS tool outweigh the small upfront costs of purchasing the technology needed to use one.

The benefits of a CMMS tool as outlined in a recent article by FMandBeyond are as follows:

Asset management and QR codes: Having an asset’s entire maintenance history available instantly helps with assigning jobs, or assessing potential issues. Quick Response or QR codes provide a tool to scan an asset’s code, bringing up its entire history–including preventive maintenance, malfunctions, reactive maintenance, etc.
In a recent article by Facility Maintenance Decisions one organization calculated the cost savings of going mobilesavingswith a mobile CMMS to equal as much as $125,000/year due the their minimized paperwork processing and lessened travel related costs. How much could your organization save? Contact our sales team today about Maintenance Connection’s mobile CMMS tool,  MC Express.

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Giving Back in 2014 – A Preview

MC Gives Back

At  Maintenance Connection we care about our impact on the world as much as we do about our products and services. That’s why our MC Gives Back initiative is so important to everyone here at Maintenance Connection. Our staff are committed to making a positive impact on the community and have donated hundreds of volunteer hours over the years either in their local communities or on a global scale.

We’ve tackled quite a lot on our international annual MC Gives Back trips in the last few years. In 2011 we travelled to Cambodia and built computer labs in classrooms, in 2012 we went to Costa Rica and helped rebuild portions of the homes of needy local families, and in 2013 we travelled to Mexico to make structural improvements at a school in need of significant repair. This year our preparations are underway for our 2014 MC Gives Back overseas trip to Estonia in August.

While in Estonia, our staff will spend a portion of their time renovating a Youth Center. Our team will be installing new drywall and building a kitchen and an office. We will also be cleaning and painting a few facilities in Tallinn and South Estonia and then setting them up as new computer labs for use throughout the year. We’re assembling our team of MC staff for this trip and are eagerly anticipating these many ways that we can make a positive impact in the community in Estonia. For those of you who are not familiar with Estonia, it is Post-communist country that borders Russia. The country has been rebuilding since 1991 when they declared their independence.  While their strong economy has made recent headline news around the world, there is a lack of vision for caring for their homeless and orphan populations. To read more about one MC staffer’s ongoing dedication to give back in Estonia click here.

In addition to our annual trips abroad, we also participate in our local communities to give back. May is our MC Gives Back local month so stay tuned to see where our staff in various parts of the U.S. are going to be contributing their time next month.





What is 1% Improvement Worth?


I recently attended the National Facilities Management Technology show, and was able to visit a few of the educational seminars. There was an interesting presentation by a CMMS consultant who shared some information which I would like to share with you. A 2010 Aberdeen Group study showed that implementing a CMMS can have incredible benefits, especially when there is no formal “system” in place to help manage the maintenance processes.

Results from CMMS implementations

(2010, Aberdeen Group)

There’s no question that implementing a CMMS like Maintenance Connection can produce incredible results. In addition to these metrics, think about some of the gains that can be made in these areas:

What is 1% improvement worth?

  • Energy (what do we spend on utilities?)
  • Asset availability (are we operating 24/7?)
  • Operator/trades utilization (are we labor intensive?)
  • Asset life (are we capital intensive?)
  • Response time (how spread out are our facilities?)
  • Safety (what do we pay in works comp?)
  • Production line speed/output (can we push through more volume with better asset performance?)
  • Spare parts inventory level/turns (are we inventorying the right spares to avoid catastrophic downtime?)
  • Inventory service level (are parts there when we need them?)
  • Quality of output, i.e. rejects, rework, loss, giveaway, shrinkage, yield, and waste (what is the cost of poor quality?)

Ready to Give Back

MC Gives Back

About 15 of our employees are heading out Today on our annual MC Gives Back trip. Our plan this year is to once again work with Young Life to help with a few construction projects as well as spend time at an orphanage. The trip will take place from October 4 – October 12 in Chiapas, Mexico.


You can follow our progress and receive updates at our MC Gives Back website. You can subscribe to receive automatic updates on the right hand side about half way down the page.

We hope to not only help the people we come in contact with in Chiapas, but also look forward to the change this will bring to all of us involved in the trip.

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Behind the Scenes – 2 of 2 – CMMS Implementation

For this second post in the interview series, we caught up with Paul Klein and gained some insight on an entirely different type of integration. In this situation, the customer had an extended roll-out to multiple sites.

Can you share some information about a larger implementation you worked on this past year?

“Sure. Firestone Building Products is a good example as they had eleven plants using different systems and wanted to unify them on a central platform. They started their implementation in early 2012, and phased in their implementation to all eleven plants over a one year span. “


What strategies did you employ that were unique to an implementation of this magnitude?

“First off, we ensured that the project had both a Project Manager and Technical Lead. Chris Frayer, the Project Manager, established the timetable and ensured the project remained on track. The Technical Resource, Terry Gurley, became a very active participant from the beginning. This type of resource, with such strong knowledge of their business process and internal systems, was integral to keeping the project moving forward. We also deployed a phased approach, starting with a smaller plant and working our way up to the largest. This proved to be quite helpful in getting everything important in place prior to the larger roll-out.”

Did they phase in functionality as well?

“Not really. They pretty much rolled out full functionality including Work Order Process, PM Management, and Inventory Control at each site. The only exception was the parts integration to their Tiny Term system. They implemented a system integration that exports part usage and reconciles on-hand quantity; this was not in place until some of the smaller plants had gone live.”

What were some efficiency measures put in place to keep a project of this size on budget and on-time?

“To allow us to roll-out more expediently, we ran training sessions at multiple sites simultaneously. While I was holding a training session at one plant, Terry Gurley would be onsite at another, using desktop sharing software to allow participants to follow along. Having Terry onsite and available for questions made this approach especially effective and proved to be both time-saving and cost effective .”

Did you come across any difficulties or special challenges?

“The Building Products Division was set up in a single database with each plant established as a separate Repair Center. This allowed them to use repair center access restrictions to ensure that each user only saw data applicable to their plant. However, once parts were integrated, they realized they wanted the ability to see if out-of-stock parts were available from another plant. With the repair center restrictions in place, they didn’t have access to this data. To solve this, they set up a special user account that had access to all repair centers, but could only see parts data. Staff in the stock rooms use this special login to take a peek at stock room inventory at other sites.”

Were there economies of scale with each plant go-live?

“Once the basic structure and process were defined, it was much easier to phase in additional plants. In fact, as Terry continued to gain expertise, he was able to independently handle much of the data importing, allowing me to focus more on the training aspect of the go-live. We brought up the first plant in Beech Grove, Indiana in June of 2012 with a handful of technicians. By the time we rolled-out at their largest plant in Prescott, Arkansas in April of this year, we had a pretty smooth process and were ready for the 70 folks in attendance. All in all, it was a very successful implementation.”

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Behind the Scenes – 1 of 2 – CMMS Implementation

In this two part interview series, we will chat with two Implementation Consultants from Maintenance Connection, sharing insights about customer implementations. MC IC’s maintain a pretty busy travel schedule, but we tracked down Steve Gustafson between flights and got him to share a story with us about a unique customer implementation.

MC Implementations always present challenges, but can you think of one that was especially unique?

“Yes, time is always of the essence to customers, but Kent Power approached their implementation with a very aggressive strategy, indicating they needed to be up and running in four weeks. After searching for the right Computerized Maintenance Management Solution for almost a year, the Kent Power management team was under the gun to make their CMMS dreams a reality. Based in Kent City, Michigan, Kent Power is recognized as a premier constructor of large electrical utility projects across the country. This translates to thousands of mobile assets spread across multiple job sites and locations, all requiring management and regular maintenance. The timeframe was especially challenging since they were basically setting up from scratch and had a pretty extensive infrastructure to bring online. Not to mention they had just hired their CMMS project manager one week before our initial implementation meeting.”

What was their hurry and what were they trying to achieve?

“After working with business strategy consultants from Total Process Reliability (TPR), Kent Power identified a number of areas where they were falling short such as the effective management of maintenance time and lack of preventative measures to ensure that equipment would not fail. Their maintenance process was almost entirely reactive. Their business consultants helped them to understand where they were falling short and what needed to be done to take Kent Power from “great” to “world class”. This involved getting a better handle on the work being performed on assets. They had a fairly manual process, using spreadsheets and emailed work order forms, and were in great need of a more formalized process. I am all too familiar with having to appropriately set customers’ expectations as it relates to the overall project implementation timeline, but with Kent Power there was little room for negotiation and I found it difficult to argue with their reasoning. They indicated that with the structure that they had in place at the time, there was not a good reason why they should not be up and running with Maintenance Connection in four weeks. I found myself becoming motivated by their ambition.”

How did you structure the implementation to meet this challenge?

“Right off the bat I made sure that they understood the importance of having a site champion or project manager that would take an active role in the initiative from beginning to end. We then reset the traditional implementation timeline to break things down into manageable deliverables, ensuring that all key activities required for work order roll out fit the four week timetable. We realized pretty quickly that to deliver a real solution in this short timeframe, some resources and plans had to be shifted. For example, additional funds and resources needed to be directed into early training to ensure that everyone had the skills and information they needed to make this work.”

How much were you able to get up and running in the four weeks?

“First, we defined the asset hierarchy structure and then did an import of some rudimentary spreadsheet data, followed by careful set up of classifications and a few rounds of asset updates to get the asset tree in shape. We then set up the work order process flow and configuration including preferences, ECC setup and SR Configuration. Once labor records were imported and permissions and access groups were established, we tackled setting up PM Schedules on their critical equipment, even importing tasks from available spreadsheets. And we made it; they had a fully functioning work order system on the go-live date.”

Were there any blips or problems encountered?

“Randy Lavoie, the Project Manager, was a rather frequent visitor to our support services during this period. The support team received so many calls that they were initially concerned that I was falling down on the job – throwing Randy to the wolves without sufficient training. Randy was passionate about making this work and kept support on their toes; he felt like part of the MC family he spoke to them so often. But persistence paid off, as he became an expert in his own right.”

What happened at the end of the initial go-live?

“Over the next six months, they continued to refine their process flow and extended their implementation with additional PM processes and Inventory management. They even put in place an automated integration to their fuel management system, Wright Express.”

What would you say was the key to their success?

“That’s an easy one – I attribute their success to Randy, the Project Manager. He was very proactive in making sure each deliverable was DONE and on schedule. This kind of site champion is always key to a successful integration, but with this kind of ambitious schedule it was essential.”

Randy Lavoi Speaking at Checkpoint

MC Gives Back – Costa Rica 2012

A team of MC staff spent the week in Costa Rica last week giving back to a family in the community of Granadilla by helping to rebuild the roof on their home. Visit the MC Gives Back blog to see photos and read the story from the trip.

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NFMT – Vegas October 2-3

If you happen to be attending this year’s NFMT show in Las Vegas, or live in the Vegas area, stop by and say hi. We will be showing off Maintenance Connection and hopefully meeting many future success stories. The show is at the Mirage Event Center and we will be at booth 406

Check out more details about the show: NFMT -VEGAS

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