May 30, 2014
Does Your Small Business Need Inventory Software?
If you are responsible for maintaining equipment or facilities (or both), you have no doubt heard about inventory software. If you run a small shop, you may ask yourself if you really need a good computerized maintenance management system - after all, isn't that fancy software just for large corporations with money to burn? The truth of the matter is that a CMMS will do wonders, not only for your maintenance system and preventative maintenance (PM) plan but for your department and business as well - no matter what size your company is.
There are so many benefits inventory software can offer a small business that is hard to know exactly where to begin. For starters, maintenance management systems offer the same exact benefits to a small company that they do to mid-size or large businesses. Sure, the scale might be smaller, but it's all about perspective. After all, a thousand dollars may be a lot of money for a small mom and pop, but to a Fortune 500, it's petty cash.
That being said, at the end of the day, inventory software is all about one thing: saving you money.
The key to your maintenance program is asset management. This term covers a wide scope of areas: It includes tracking your assets" location (especially in settings where equipment moves from place to place), keeping track of spare parts, storing documentation and procedures on how each piece of machinery works, keeping receipts and warranties for every item in the event of a breakdown - the list goes on and on. The bottom line is this: If you do not know what equipment you own, where that machinery is located, and the details about each piece, how can you expect to create (much less follow) a maintenance schedule?
Inventory software makes asset management a breeze. Instead of relying on an old Excel spreadsheet or (worse) a paper and file system, all of your information is stored in one convenient location. No more having to scrounge around for that warranty information or the vendor"s number when one of your machines breaks down and the business grinds to a halt. It is all stored right there in your trusty CMMS.
In addition to tracking all of the information about your assets, your maintenance software allows you to issue work orders and follow up to ensure that the work was performed, keeping track of every step that was taken. This has so many benefits. Aside from providing accountability in the event something goes wrong or breaks down (vendors will want proof that you properly maintained your equipment), it also helps you plan your staffing needs and budget your department. By looking at past maintenance records, you can also estimate how long a piece of machinery is likely to last and prepare for its end of service.
Finally, inventory software saves you money. It prevents you from over-ordering assets or spare parts, helps increase the life span of machines through proper preventative maintenance scheduling, and even cuts operating and energy costs - well-maintained machines are less likely to become energy hogs, gobbling up electricity. Poor maintenance can lead to faulty equipment - keep the equipment running smoothly and you can save up to 35% in energy bills alone.
The above are just a few of the many benefits a CMMS brings to the table for small businesses. So if you have not tried a maintenance program yet, heed my advice: Go get yourself some computerized maintenance management software. Your future self will thank me!