Tag Archives: maintenance process

Can Maintenance People be "Happy"?

I’ve been working in the maintenance industry for the past 22 years.  My first foray into this mechanized world of grease, wrenches, and safety shutoffs happened immediately after graduating as a mechanical engineer in the late 1980’s.

Since then I have migrated into the world of maintenance management consulting.  This journey succeeded due to my learning maintenance software early on (DOS, remember that?), applying its power to my real world surroundings, and showing results to upper management with pretty pie charts and numbers that made them smile.

So when the creators of this CMMS blog asked me for advice on how it should look, I advised them to somehow show people that maintenance professionals can also smile, and be  happy, just like those upper management people who are easily dazzled by pie charts and excellent numbers.

So they took my advice and made the first blog branding logo a “dancing maintenance guy”.

You can watch this happy dude dancing all day long at the top right corner of this blog.  Sure, it can be puzzling to see him rockin’ that tool belt.  Does such a creature actually exist?  Is there anything besides the lunch buzzer or breaking away from work that really makes a maintenance technician happy?  And what about their supervisors and managers?  Ever see them smile (let alone dance)?

By our nature, maintenance people are motivated by a challenge to solve technical, mechanical, electrical issues.  Fix things.  And fix them well.

Motivation, of course, is to feel that rush of accomplishment (which can lead to a smile, and when it happens repeatedly, will certainly lead to a quick jig).

Here is how it can work:

The maintenance team will many times need to troubleshoot an issue to find the root cause.  Other times, the cause is pretty obvious.  In either case, the maintenance team will only need a few simple things to achieve  that goal to “fix it well”.

  • We need spare parts.
  • We need authority to make decisions that help speed the process.
  • We need efficient access to information to help define the problem clearly (equipment specifications, repair history, backup plans, safety plans, troubleshooting guides).

So, I hate to state the obvious, but knowing that all we need are these (and possibly a few other simple items) to help us stay on track and be motivated, wouldn’t you think that the answer is yes, happiness can be achieved, and maintained.  All we need is a simple process that is understood and followed by the whole team.

However, companies tend to under-support their maintenance staff, which is not only a problem with less dancing, but also lower productivity overall.

  1. Start with looking at managing all your maintenance data with a maintenance software system.
  2. Next, go through every single minute of a typical day and determine how you can reach the perfect world of all issues getting fixed, and less issues coming up (preventive maintenance).
  3. Then give the technicians the chance to take ownership of success and failure.

Next time you see a frowning maintenance person, realize that turning that frown upside down, and possibly even seeing them dance, is achievable and probably desirable.  Find out what’s missing.

If you feel that seeing your people dance is unachievable, here is another place to learn about resources available to you: EAM University

Take a Virtual Tour of Plant Efficiency

Companies are realizing that it’s no longer enough just to monitor assets. The time has come to proactively detect problems and drive corrective actions, as well as factor energy into maintenance plans, in order to stay competitive and grow. But how does an enterprise asset management (EAM) solution actually work on the shop floor to help reduce energy consumption and costs and keep your plant operating at its maximum efficiency?  

Take this interactive tour of Tricon Manufacturing, a virtual manufacturing plant, to see how EAM can help you:

  • Manage energy consumption.
  • Operate more efficiently.
  • Predict your assets’ health.

Once you’re in the plant, you’ll see six hotspots representing Infor EAM and Infor ERP solutions’ strengths. Click on +signs to open a pop-up box and access key EAM assets, including customer videos, demos, papers, case studies, and more.

How do you envision asset management working in your plant? Share your thoughts and ideas by leaving a comment to this post.

The Evolution of EAM: From a Preventive Maintenance to a Reliability Strategy

Guest post by Sylvelie Franke, Director Marketing, Strategic Solutions, Infor EAM

Asset management has been around for decades and is now considered a mature industry. But, that’s all changing with the evolution—transition, if you like—of the technology and the inclusion of energy, automation, and business intelligence (BI) to really have an impact on your operational, financial, and energy efficiency performance.

Infor’s John Murphy, director of Solutions Management, sat down with the editor from Manufacturing Business Technology in this interview to discuss the latest tools, technologies, and strategies that companies are implementing to get a holistic view of all of their assets and how they’re using this real-time information to manage their assets more efficiently.

“More and more of our customers are moving toward incorporating advanced reliability and risk management techniques,” said Murphy. “They are trying to make better use of real-time information, including energy usage, to help them understand the health and financial performance of equipment. Turning the wealth of real-time information into intelligence is not easy, but when done right provides companies with an accurate perspective on when the equipment performance is starting to degrade, so that they can respond at the right time.”

John also touches on asset management in the cloud, reliability, and mobile technology, and where maintenance management practices are heading in the future.

Read the entire article, “QA: The Latest Asset Management Strategies And Tools,” (Manufacturing Business Technology).

Maintenance KPI’s – An easy way to define yours

I’ve worked in the plant maintenance industry for years.  How did KPI’s look in those days? Here is an example KPI in 1988: “Keep the machines running”.

Fresh out of engineering school and thrown into the corporate engine, my life was all about keeping the conveyor belts running.  That was the priority (and still is, but said differently) at United Parcel Service so that little Jimmy would get his red wagon in time for Christmas.   Although we had no clue that they had a name (KPIs), here was our mission during the UPS days:

  • Keep the belts running
  • Get your PM’s done
  • Anything stopped for 15 minutes was a breakdown
  • Make sure mechanics knew how to make a repair the UPS way
  • That is..because every action that a mechanic took was measured using a DOS program built by UPS (called PEMMS)

Now UPS was way ahead of their time with work measurement, starting, of course, among the fleet delivery drivers.  They moved that successful approach to every aspect of the business, including maintenance.

Now the world is catching up to such great role models like UPS.  However, the aspect of defining KPI’s has still been somewhat behind the curve.  KPIs can be a mystery unless you happen to be a maintenance professional with enough hours available in the day for reading all the great maintenance measurement books available.  Show me one of those people and I will immediately tell you that that person is a consultant.  (No offense to the great consultants.  I am guilty as charged)

Once again the Internet is bailing us out by saving a ton of time and making KPI definitions easier to grasp and define (without having to read a novel then construct a maintenance business plan, etc).

Here is example KPI where you can see the industry baseline then work your own numbers by taking a survey: Preventative maintenance hours as a percentage of total maintenance hours

CMMS = Could Mean My Salary

I recently spent some time helping a well-known yogurt manufacturer improve their visibility into their daily maintenance process.  Their CMMS product is 10 years old, not updated with the correct patches, and the reporting software is equally as ancient.

The manager in charge of maintenance performance seemed less stressed this time as compared to last.  During my first visit he was newly appointed as the person who would take their CMMS and revamp the plant maintenance performance within a few months.  I’ve seen that type of pressure placed on people before.  So many times, in fact, that I have a name for it….CMMS (could mean my salary).  Because if this guy fails, he is probably out of a job.

So of course their is a wonderful transference of that same pressure onto the consultant who the plant was so kind as to bring in and help the guy with a CMMS on his forehead.  “Could Mean My Salary”, in case you forgot.

Well this yogurt man had actually taken that old CMMS and incorporated the changes we had identified during the first visit.  So needless to say he was much more relaxed, knowing that his upper management team believed in him (and me…through transference).

To make a long story short, and then sum up my point, this latest visit proved to be successful as we took old reporting software and used it to improve maintenance processes weaved throughout an equally rickety CMMS product.  More specifically, we eliminated 8 labor hours per week that were previously “empty” labor hours spent transferring data from the CMMS to Excel then comparing to a production schedule, etc.

We took a single report and with prompts made it variable enough to manage all scenarios.  So the 8 hours transferring data was replaced with a single report that could be launched at any time to pull the required information LIVE.

The Point?  CMMS either “could” mean your salary, or it can also “justify” your salary and make it grow.  And having the latest, greatest CMMS system is not a guarantee or precursor to success.  It’s more about the basic concepts of “minimal touch” information gathering and maintenance process efficiency.  If you want to learn more, email me directly: publish@eamuniversity.com

Take Small CMMS Bites

As our training staff combs through North America teaching folks how to use MP2 CMMS Software I can’t help but notice a pattern of success we are teaching that I feel will benefit folks using any type of CMMS Software.

The advice I have to share is succinctly stated in the title of this post:  Take Small CMMS Bites.  And that means don’t try to pull off a CMMS project where everything is included at the outset.

In fact, make a small manageable plan, such as scoping out the entry of all PM’s into the CMMS system using your equipment manuals.  Identify the equipment, locate the manuals, identify your resources for data entry, THEN cut all that way down again.  Instead of entering PM’s for ALL your equipment, just choose 5 pieces of equipment for your first go-round.  Take all your air compressors, for example, plus two HVAC units, and enter the PM details as recommended by the manufacturer of each.

The result will be a manageable scope of work whereby you will identify all the hurdles on a smaller scale, find solutions to get past those hurdles, and find your team succeeding at this first…small…bite, before taking the next.

Managing IT Assets with CMMS

I’ve talked with more than one client recently who had this idea, which prompted me to ask around and see if there is a trend going recently that might warrant some exposure:  The burden of tracking IT assets (computers, servers, hardware and related serial numbers, peripherals, components, etc) is being handled at some companies using CMMS.  Sure, there are specific products designed for this IT asset management process, yet CMMS was not originally intended for that use.  My questions are where do systems fall down when compared to say, the IBM version specifically made for IT Asset Management?  If the fallbacks are few, it seems the dollar savings might be large if one can utilize an existing CMMS compared to obtaining a new, separate ITAM system.

2 Huge Reasons to Invest in CMMS Software during a Recession

These days many companies are scaling back on expenditures of any kind. And, why not? It just makes sense. Obviously, the severe economic downturn has impacted organizations across the United States and the Globe. Capital conservation has become the rule and cutbacks are inevitable. Yet, this is the just the kind of environment that completely justifies investment in Computerized Maintenance Management Software for organizations seeking to lower costs and protect vital plant and equipment assets. That’s your responsibility, right? 

1 – Immediately Lower Operational Costs – Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) Software provides an essential tool for managers working aggressively working to decrease downtime, inventory, material and contractor costs. Here’s how: 

Less DowntimeSimple: Decreased downtime means increased production.  A 1% improvement in productivity has 10 times the positive impact than a 1% reduction in costs. Imagine the gain in a production facility running 24 hours per day:  A conservative estimated gain of 24 hours of production per year pours thousands of dollars to the bottom line.  Savings estimate: Downtime cost of $2,500/Hour x 24 Hours = $60,000 annual profit increase. 

Reduced Inventory Elementary: Asset maintenance management allows you purchase inventory and parts when you need them instead of relying on guesswork. Without CMMS Software, managers might not know what is in their stockroom, can’t find what they need and, frequently end up buying parts they already have. Of course, CMMS Software allows you to lookup parts, check stock and order only as needed. Savings estimate: Reducing an $800,000 inventory just 10% with a 10% interest rate results in an annual savings of over $8,000 in an annual profit increase. 

Eliminate Contractor CostsSmart: Managed maintenance keeps repairs in-house using a more efficient work crew. CMMS Software focuses crew time on work orders designed to keep the plant moving. Result? No maintenance logjams requiring expensive contractor time. This outcome creates not only a savings on labor but also a savings on parts! Savings estimate: Using a realistic 10% annual reduction in labor and material costs on a budget of $680,000 you return another $68,000 to the bottom line.

2 – Increase Maintenance Productivity Right Now – Better work planning and scheduling maximizes crew efficiency while focusing crew time on work orders designed to keep the plant moving.  Productivity increases of 10% to 20% using modern CMMS Software are standard. Maintenance managers know that saving just 60 minutes (12.5%) per day for each worker in a six-person crew at a $30/hr labor rate for 250 days/year can preserve $45,000 annually for the organization. 

When implemented properly, a Computerized Maintenance Management System using CMMS Software can be a huge cost and time saving addition to your organization’s bottom line. Isn’t that what your objective is?  

Sure, CMMS Software costs money.

Our company, MAPCON Technologies, Inc. can get you started for $495. In fact, you can download and evaluate MAPCON’s CMMS Software free for 30 days.

Realistically, though most sizable organizations invest several thousand dollars to get properly setup and have authorized personnel trained up.

But, with a prudently estimated return-on-investment (ROI) of over 1000% (yes, one thousand percent!), your CMMS Software investment is intelligent, wise and – urgent!

   Author: 

Mapcon Technologies, Inc.
8665 Harbach Blvd., Suite B
Clive, Iowa 50325
Tel  1.800.922.4336
Email sales@mapcon.com
Website: http://www.mapcon.com/US-EN/CMMS-Software-Products

CMMS is only a "piece" of Maintenance Process Improvements

I do quite a bit of training on MP2 CMMS across North America.  As I visit sites and work with maintenance teams, there are some similaritieis worth sharing.  Regardless of whether the maintenance business I am working with is tasked to maintain assets within either Manufacturing or Facilities, the underlying challenges remain similar.

My point today is to stress that maintenance improvements can be realized WAY before CMMS is installed and configured.  In fact, without some diligent planning before a CMMS is purchased and implemented, there is a pretty good chance you won’t have a clue HOW to configure the CMMS system you just dropped hard-earned budget dollars into.

Here are some simple steps to maintenance improvements (at a high level):

  • Define current maintenance processes
  • Brainstorm ideas on how to improve current maintenance processes
  • Draw up a plan for future maintenance processes
  • Evaluate and purchase a CMMS that will serve as a tool with all the bells and whistles required to meet your future maintenance processes
  • Configure the new CMMS to match your new maintenance processes
  • Set a timetable to transition into the new maintenance processes

These steps are simplified and presented at a high level to highlight my point that CMMS is only part of the required process.

If you would like to learn more, please feel free to visit us at www.mp2training.com