Manufacturers must rely on well-maintained equipment, assets and facilities to ensure production needs are met. Preventing a machine breakdown before it happens is much more cost effective than reacting to an unplanned equipment failure. Learn the steps you can take to achieve manufacturing maintenance success.

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Maintenance departments have historically, at times, fallen victim to budget cuts. As the U.S. manufacturing industry experiences a surge in growth, many companies are investing in preventive and predictive maintenance strategies to reduce costs, increase production capacity and maximize return on investment. Manufacturing executives are realizing the value of computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software.

Implement Manufacturing Maintenance Software

Researching and selecting a manufacturing maintenance software like a CMMS or EAM solution should be a coordinated effort spanning all levels of an organization. Employees that will regularly use the software as well as any other relevant stakeholders should take on an active role in the project. You’ll likely need IT department staff to weigh in on the final decision, and to help with installation. Once your CMMS software is in place, the job’s not over. You’ll need a team of people to determine CMMS naming conventions, enter your assets and more. Fortunately, many computerized maintenance management software vendors offer services such as project planning, audits, data migration, software customization and training.

Invest in Training

Once a CMMS or EAM system is up and running, it’s important for employees to learn how to use the software efficiently. Investing in CMMS software training is a surefire way to help ensure manufacturing maintenance success. Software users should be familiar with all the features and modules needed to do their jobs as well as understand the overall benefit of using the system. It may not be necessary to train all maintenance staff in each software module, but each CMMS user should learn about its overall capabilities and how the information will be used. This will enhance their understanding of the software’s purpose as a whole, and how it affects the company’s bottom line.

Consider a CMMS Audit

After a manufacturing plant has had the opportunity to use CMMS software for a period of time, conducting an audit is a worthwhile endeavor. It’s possible that the software isn’t being utilized to its full potential, or there are significant problems with data entered. Whether a company is looking to upgrade or simply improve current performance, a CMMS software audit can reveal critical information. Following a CMMS audit, manufacturing maintenance departments typically have a good idea of where they are, where they want to be and how to get there.

Set (and Update) Goals

After looking at historical data and identifying areas for improvement or use of other features, you can begin the process of setting of goals for your maintenance department. It’s best to determine quantifiable opportunities that can be realistically achieved. In other words, assign values to your goals and make sure they’re attainable. For example, instead of “improving machine uptime,” your goal may be to decrease monthly machine downtime by 5%. If you quickly learn that you can’t achieve a 5% decrease, adjust your goal to something more appropriate. And if you’ve consistently met or surpassed an initial goal, update it accordingly so that you’re striving for continuous improvement.

Stay in Touch

As with any software solution, there may be times when you discover a missed opportunity. Or perhaps you identify a glitch or recurring issue. Whatever the case, you’ll likely want to maintain a relationship with your CMMS software provider. Software solutions are often updated and upgraded to higher versions in order to benefit their customers. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities such as learning events, webinars, customer surveys and more. Your feedback may lead to a specific improvement that helps you achieve your maintenance goals.

In today’s connected world, it’s possible for condition monitoring sensors to detect equipment abnormalities, send real-time data to CMMS or EAM software and, in turn, automatically initiate a work request. From there, a maintenance technician out in the field can be alerted of this work order via mobile CMMS, locate the asset using built-in GPS tracking capabilities and complete the request. The maintenance technician can mark the work order as complete, and this asset’s repair history will be automatically stored for future analysis.

This scenario isn’t far-reaching. In fact, it’s a reality for many modern manufacturing facilities. But advanced technology such as condition monitoring is only useful if you can utilize the information to create actionable plans to correct problems found. Contact DPSI today to learn more about using CMMS software to achieve manufacturing maintenance success.