Businesses in the manufacturing and industrial industries rely on their equipment like a life raft. Without proper equipment, efficiency and productivity would drop or possibly grind to a halt. Even if you have the necessary equipment, you need to make sure every asset is operating at peak performance. Enter equipment maintenance software (better known as CMMS software) — business software which makes managing and scheduling equipment maintenance a breeze.
What Is Equipment Maintenance Software?
The name is fairly self-explanatory, but there are some complexities to equipment management software that are important to understand. Equipment maintenance tracking software assists facility managers in the maintenance of their equipment. Users can schedule maintenance, submit work orders, log equipment history and much more in order to track the health of their equipment.
What makes heavy equipment maintenance management software especially powerful is its automation capabilities. From managing inventory to scheduling preventive maintenance to tracking work orders, equipment maintenance software greatly eases the burden of tracking maintenance manually. Facilities managers simply need to look in the system to see when maintenance was last performed, when it will be performed next and how much part inventory they have left to perform repairs.
What’s the Difference Between CMMS and Equipment Maintenance Software?
You may have heard another acronym for the management of maintenance: computerized maintenance management software or CMMS. Facilities managers use CMMS as a preventive maintenance scheduling software that schedules and tracks maintenance, managing work orders and tracking inventory. It is very similar to both equipment management, computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) and enterprise asset management software (EAM) — the differences are mostly in scope and semantics.
CMMS manages more than just equipment. It can be used for maintenance of the entire facility, including property, vehicle fleets and all of the equipment. In addition, most CMMS systems come with a robust collection of features that might be more than you need. Some of the most common CMMS features include project management, labor availability, document management and compliance requirement management.
Equipment maintenance software is basically a type of CMMS specialized for equipment management. There are many areas where the two overlap, as most CMMS systems offer equipment maintenance management programs.
How Do You Use Equipment Maintenance Software?
So how exactly do facilities managers utilize their equipment maintenance software? Let’s explore:
Equipment Maintenance Scheduling
Unscheduled equipment downtime can lead to skyrocketing repair costs, and the price of replacing equipment that breaks down early can be astronomical. These are unnecessary expenses that hinder the performance of the entire business, not just the facility holding the equipment.
Preventive maintenance is a key step for any organization that owns facilities, maintains assets or uses machinery. According to a survey performed by UpKeep, planned maintenance is the most important key performance indicator for most facility managers. Preventive maintenance is defined as proactive or preventive action in taking care of equipment before issues arise. Preventive maintenance software for heavy equipment provides scheduling features that allow managers to schedule regular maintenance on each piece of equipment the facility owns, ensuring a productive facility.
These schedules are digital, which means they can be instructed to send out alerts when certain periods of time have passed and it’s time to perform more routine maintenance, or they can alert users if important maintenance events have been missed. This not only helps maintain a timely routine of maintenance based on set timelines, but it also makes it much harder for human error (i.e., forgetting to reschedule routine maintenance tasks) to result in equipment damage.
Another powerful aspect of regularly scheduled maintenance isn’t only the scheduling itself, but also the access it provides. Anybody who has access to the maintenance software can view maintenance schedules, which helps keep everyone in the loop on tasks and work order completion. Tasks can be assigned to specific technicians and can be set to only allow closure by managers. This keeps everyone accountable for their portion of the work, in addition to streamlining the process.
Equipment Maintenance Tracking
Tracking maintenance history of equipment is equally as important as scheduling preventive maintenance, especially for heavy equipment repair. It’s important to note all of the repairs that were done to a piece of equipment for a plethora of reasons.
One key argument for heavy equipment maintenance tracking software is that you may find a pattern in small issues, leading to the discovery of a bigger one. For example, if certain parts continuously need replacing, you may find that someone isn’t using the equipment properly, or that a system is malfunctioning internally in a way that might not matter in the short term, but causes long-term wear and tear.
Another benefit of maintenance tracking is to get more accurate mean-time-between-failure data. This helps managers have a better idea of the profitability of their assets and determine whether they are reaching their estimated lifespan. It can also help them forecast when new pieces of equipment will need to be purchased based on previous asset lifespans. This way, your organization can ensure they are prepared ahead of time with the funds to replace assets reaching the end of their usability.
Plus, it’s always helpful to know when certain maintenance tasks are done so that you have a complete maintenance history of all of your equipment. If a machine fails despite being properly maintained, users can access these maintenance logs to prove warranty claims and prevent other potential legal action that can come from faulty records.
Work Order Management
Lots of facility managers have a love-hate relationship with work orders. They love them when they’re organized and hate them when they’re not. Regardless of how you feel about them, they’re a necessary part of facility and equipment management. That’s why equipment maintenance software tries to make work orders as painless as possible.
With equipment maintenance management software, all work orders are kept organized in a single place within the system so that users know exactly where to look for them. It makes it easy to check on orders old and new, and see the status of current tasks. This can make a huge difference in your productivity. According to a study by Transcendent, administrative professionals waste half an hour every day looking for information. You can cut that number down significantly with the easy search function of an equipment maintenance management system.
Digitizing your work orders has numerous benefits for productivity and security as well. The whole maintenance team can view work orders and see when they are marked complete and, like I mentioned before, users can choose whether to allow technicians to mark their own work orders as finished or set role-based access so only managers can sign off on work order completion. This streamlines workflows, ensures accountability and improves the collaboration of the work order process. Plus, digital work orders can’t be destroyed in a fire or flood like paper records can. This added level of security helps ensure the longevity of your records.
One of the worst experiences for a facility is when an important piece of equipment breaks down, and you don’t have the right parts to fix it. You then have to wait for the part to ship, during which you lose valuable time and money. And in order to get the part faster and reduce downtime, you’ll probably have to pay for expedited shipping, too. These extra costs are easily avoidable when using equipment maintenance software.
Another crucial aspect of any business is properly controlling your inventory. From your largest assets to the smallest of parts, a good inventory management program translates to a huge reduction in costs.
Equipment maintenance tools specifically controls the parts inventory for your equipment. Using the system, you can check on how much of each spare part you have left in stock. When you realize you’re getting low on a part, you can order that part early so you don’t have to wait to make a repair.
Users can also find patterns in part use — this helps procurement order the right number of items at the right frequency, reducing the chances of overstocking or running out of parts. These insights help managers create more accurate financial predictions and other long-term plans.
How to Choose Equipment Management Software
Now that you know how to use industrial equipment maintenance software, you might be wondering how to go about selecting it. Here’s a quick rundown for how to find the best heavy equipment management software for your business:
To ensure your equipment maintenance solution fits your unique needs, you must identify those needs. Different equipment maintenance management platforms specialize in different features, so choosing a platform that excels in the features you need most is a great way to make sure your needs match up. This downloadable requirements template can help guide you through the requirements gathering process.
Remember, just because a software offers more features doesn’t mean it will be a better fit for your business. Overbuying features you won’t use is one of the main ways organizations end up with a CMMS solution that is too sprawling or expensive. Focus on the key features you identify through the template and build conservatively from there.
Once you’ve identified the most important features for your organization, you can begin comparing vendors that create CMMS and equipment maintenance software. We recommend comparing platforms based on how well they deliver the features you identified in the last step. This comparison report is a great way to get started and compare industry leaders. For those in the manufacturing industry, we suggest focusing on platforms that have industrial or heavy machinery specialization.
Create Shortlist and Request Trials
You should be able to create a shortlist of five to seven solutions that meet your requirements using this comparison method. Now it’s time to compare their prices and interface. This industry pricing guide can help give you a ballpark idea of how much certain solutions cost, but a price quote is key to an accurate estimate. Because every business’s requirements are unique, vendors charge based on the number of user licenses and the different combination of features or modules you want to use.
When you’ve discounted any systems too far out of your price range, you should ask the remaining shortlisted vendors for a free trial or demo. This will allow you to get a feel for the user interface of the system — one of the most important aspects of business software. It’s also an aspect you can’t really understand simply from reading reviews, so this trial is a crucial step.
No matter what type of equipment your business uses, you can benefit from implementing equipment maintenance tools. It makes managing your equipment preventive maintenance, work orders and inventory simple and streamlined. You can boost your productivity, improve equipment lifespan and increase profits through methodical equipment maintenance.
Do you still have questions about how to use equipment maintenance software? Let us know in the comments!