April 07, 2016
Smartphones and CMMS
The advent of smartphone use by maintenance personnel in facilities and industry has started off slowly but is expected to soar in coming months. It just makes sense after all. Smartphones, including iPhones® and Android® devices are everywhere. Every person, no matter the income demographic or even age group (including pre-teens to nonagenarians) uses the digital device.
Out in the field, there just isn't any member of the typical maintenance staff that doesn't carry a smartphone as a matter of course. Smartphones, of course, have replaced almost all UHF business radios since smartphone communication via free voice/video (such as Facetime or Skype), text applications and even social media accounts. The question for smart maintenance managers is, "why aren"t we making use of smartphones?"
Let's take a look at how smartphones might work in your operation:
- CMMS & Smartphones. Some CMMS developers have already created sophisticated two-way communication between Apple and Android OS smartphones and the company CMMS. The staff member in the field merely opens their mobile app and they"re talking to your CMMS software!
- Fast Response. Authorized personnel on the production line or moving through the facility campus may spot a maintenance issue and can immediately send a Work Request into the system! Whether it is a piece of equipment misbehaving or aircraft damage out on the flight line, the call for the cavalry is in the system right now!
- Barcode Scanning. CMMS-equipped smartphones can easily and accurately scan barcodes! Whether maintenance personnel are looking for a spare part in inventory or scanning the barcode from a misbehaving machine, the smartphone immediately identifies exactly where and what the issue is.
- Imagery. The smartphone, of course, takes pictures! And, with smartphone ready CMMS, an authorized staff member can take a picture of the problem or part and easily attach it to the Work Request. How smart is that?
- Vendor Access. After you dispatch a Work Order and maintenance team to the field, they may need to call the vendor, right? Their CMMS-enabled smartphone provides the vendor and manufacturer contacts: it's as easy as tapping on the phone number or email address.
- Attachments and Manuals. Lock out tag out safety notices? Equipment manual and schematics? Spreadsheets, PDFs, videos, and websites? All of these and more are available to your CMMS-equipped smartphones right now, in the field!
For now at least, smartphones are the primary means of communication for anyone under the age of 25. In fact, as I have said many times, most of today"s youth (including high school and college-age young adults) have completely forsaken home computers altogether and use smartphones almost exclusively to conduct their daily lives. It just makes sense. They can text, Snapchat, Skype, Facetime, kik, Instagram and much, much more – simply by reaching into their pocket. It's highly likely your entire staff has smartphones too, right? With a quality CMMS, every authorized smartphone could become part of your maintenance management efforts.
The good news on digital devices keeps on coming. Smartphone-enabled CMMS also works perfectly on Android and Apple tablets! The bad news is that not every CMMS developer is sophisticated enough to have a digital app capable of delivering the full capabilities of their CMMS to smartphones or tablets. The old adage, "You get what you pay for," applies here. Before you investigate an upgrade to your existing CMMS or if you are in the market for professional CMMS software, make sure it is smartphone capable!