MAPCON Maintenance Software Article Series

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4 Ways a CMMS Can Assist with Business Intelligence Decisions

Heather Wilkerson, Marketing Coordinator, Mapcon Technologies, Inc

Ethanol plants all over the world are becoming more and more concerned with improving their bottom line. One way this is done is by analyzing Business Intelligence information. Business Intelligence (BI) is the use of software and other tools to analyze a company’s raw data. This information helps plant staff make important decisions.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), can be a helpful tool in gathering necessary information for analysis. Many systems allow users to create custom reports which will display everything they need to make critical decisions. What specifically can a CMMS help with?

Human Resource Decisions. It’s important for any ethanol plant to know what their employees are getting done throughout the day. If the plant uses a CMMS, determining this can be as simple as running a report. Reports can also help determine employee schedules, and prevent unnecessary overtime expenses. For example, an Open Work Order by Shift or Crew report can be run. This will show how much work a specific shift or crew has for the selected timeframe. If a manager knows ahead of time how much work needs to get done by shift or crew, they can either reschedule some of the work if there’s too much, thus avoiding overtime, or change employee schedules if there isn’t enough work at to keep everyone busy. A CMMS can also track which machine was repaired by which employee. This information can be important if work is done improperly.

Inventory Control. One of the easiest ways for ethanol plants to overspend is by not controlling their inventory. A CMMS allows users to track what assets they have, how many, and where they are. Having this information readily available reduces the risk of duplicates being ordered. An inventory usage report can be run and used to help determine how many of each part or tool is required to keep the plant running. Additionally, systems can also include automatic reordering of parts, which helps ensure necessary items are always available. This can save money by minimizing machine downtime. Furthermore, a CMMS can be used to find out which parts are not being used as frequently and make sure they are not overstocked.

A report that shows which parts aren’t used very often can also be beneficial in decision making. If it is decided a part hasn’t been used in years, it can be moved or discarded. This will free up space for additional parts, which can save time and money, as new buildings or shelves will not be required.

Predictive and Failure Analysis. Many systems are able to run reports that can be used to figure out when a machine is most likely to break down, simply by using historical data. Knowing this ahead of time can be a huge time and money saver. For instance, a report might indicate that a machine is likely to break a belt after running for 500 hours. A preventive maintenance (PM) task can be scheduled to replace the belt every 490 hours, thus preventing any unexpected downtime. Also, repairing machines before they completely break down helps prevent other items from breaking down as a result.

Reports can be analyzed to see if there is a pattern of when equipment breaks down, such as the time of year. For example, a report might show that a piece of equipment is more likely to break down during colder months. Employees can prepare for this ahead of time by making sure the area where that piece of equipment is stored is adequately heated during that time.

Information on-the-go. The majority of maintenance software programs now offer mobile applications. A mobile app can give employees the ability to run numerous reports directly from their smartphone or tablet, making vital business intelligence information available virtually anywhere. This feature can be helpful when conducting meetings offsite. Moreover, techs can use the mobile app to add information to the CMMS right from the floor, increasing the accuracy of the reports.

It’s more important now than ever for ethanol plants to know exactly where every dollar is going. That’s why having accurate and detailed Business Intelligence reports for analysis is so important. A robust CMMS system can be a critical part of this analysis, since it can show human resource information, and holds detailed history related to equipment repairs and reorders. These days many CMMS providers also offer mobile applications, meaning important information can be accessed virtually anywhere.


4 Ways a CMMS Can Assist with Business Intelligence Decisions © was also published in Ethanol Producer Magazine, under the title, CMMS for Business Intelligence on June 25, 2018 with the author's permission without remuneration of any kind.

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