October 16, 2023
The Human Factor - III
Over the last two weeks, I've shown how the human factor plays a major role in the failure or breakdown of products, especially assets and equipment in a company. This week, the focus will be on a computerized maintenance management system and how the human factor problems can be reduced, and how it also relates to the software company as well as the system itself.
The quick list review for the previous two weeks' points is: Development, Sales, Training, Planning, Customer Service, Important Skills, Proper Usage, Proper maintenance, Follow-Up/Through, and Preparation.
One of the aspects of any product and company that shows success is longevity. Ford Motor Company is an example. I'm not here to debate the merits of Ford with other automakers but only to point out that the development of their vehicles keeps them popular with customer loyalty. Every year, they seek to improve their products.
So too should a CMMS company. Just as we're not still driving Model Ts, businesses aren't still using the first version of a CMMS. When considering a system, look for longevity, customer loyalty, and if that CMMS has improved throughout the years. Are more options and features being offered? Does the look of the system change for the better or offer options for how you want to view the menus and menu items? Can you 'personalize' it so it looks and works better for your needs?
I won't get into the minutia of sales for a CMMS. However, I'll repeat what I wrote two weeks ago. No matter what product is sold, it should fit the needs of the customer. The sales representative needs to know those needs to offer the best product. With a CMMS, look for a system that has a lot of modules and features but is scalable. This means your business may need Assets and Inventory management along with Maintenance. Discuss with the salesperson and decide from there. Most likely, after investing, you'll find more uses for the software.
Of course, as with any new product, you'll need training. The CMMS company should offer In-House training where you come to a classroom to learn; onsite training where the trainer comes to your business and sees first-hand the operations and be able to tailor the session(s); and online sessions to save travel expenses.
Training can be used to initially learn the system or for updates.
As mentioned in the first of this series, planning should be before sales because before you talk with a CMMS rep, you should plan what you're looking for in the system. What features are needed? Are you interested in a better way to purchase inventory or to process barcoding? Where does maintenance need assistance? Help the sales team help you with as much information about your company as possible. Number of assets, inventory items, and potential system users are some facts to have on hand.
I mentioned customer service as a very important part of the human factor. You'll have questions about the CMMS after using it. That's okay. Look for friendly customer service reps who will take whatever steps necessary to find answers, even remoting into your system to get a direct look at the issue.
Communication is another important aspect of product success. Here, I'm referring to feedback on CMMS usage and work orders. Also, have a supervisor design and detail those work orders for better efficiency. Are there checklists and a bill of material included? Think of the increased productivity with better communications.
The other skills accompanying this were determination and discipline. Here, I'm sure those who are using the CMMS are wanting it to be beneficial, so they'll do what's needed to make it work, including, uh, communicating system 'shortcuts' and 'tricks' to better their jobs.
In the proper use point, in regard to a CMMS, I'm thinking about admin responsibilities when setting parameters. Creating user and group profiles and their security levels and allowances. Also, to be established is a standardized naming and description system for assets, inventory, and preventive maintenance lists. Also, what codes and abbreviations will be used for general understanding? One of the great aspects of a quality CMMS is setting parameters to fit your operations.
I mentioned preventive maintenance and that's near the heart of a CMMS. One purpose of using a system is to get maintenance and management away from a reactive mindset, where you're only repairing assets when they fail. Create a list of PMs, detail them, and schedule them based on cycles. Extend asset life with proper maintenance.
In addition to the comments and feedback is that follow-through discussion. Not every suggestion will be accepted, but everyone should be open to discussion.
other aspect of a CMMS follow-through is a feature of after-the-fact work orders, those jobs that were done without an initial work order, but added to the system for an official record after the job was completed.
You also can use follow-up work orders on certain assets for a technician to check later to make sure a potential problem doesn't become worse.
Preparation is key to all of the above. The planning beforehand, using a determined mindset to receive proper training, discussions with the maintenance team, and preparing the maintenance schedule.
Last week, I mentioned other failures besides the human factor. One was equipment age. Look for depreciation tracking in a CMMS. It's invaluable.
To help avoid mishaps in maintenance, use those checklists in the work order. Also, attach safety regulations for better worker preparation.
The human factor is so important in a CMMS, for humans develop and use it. It will assist maintenance to keep assets healthy and stave off breakdowns and failure.
Mapcon Technologies has that longevity mentioned at the beginning. The company has been developing a world-class CMMS for over forty years. All programming and innovations are done in-house, never farmed out. Customer service is enthusiastic to assist. The system is scalable and easy to use. Trainers offer those three options to learn. Visit Mapcon today.