Webinar recap: Top tips for remote site management

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Maintenance professional and Fiix user, Tom Dufton, shares tips for remote site management

The Fiix user community is a diverse mix of maintenance experts across a broad range of industries with remarkably shared experiences. Through our “In Conversation With” webinar series, guests share lessons from their own CMMS experience and highlight how they are making an impact.

During our March 24 webinar, maintenance professional and Fiix user, Tom Dufton shared how, due to developing events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, he is remotely managing his plant from his home to ensure egg-based products are still making it to our grocery shelves.

We are deemed an essential service so it’s important that we continue to run as we do manufacture for food processing, dried ingredients for human grade and pet food as well.

Here is a quick summary of Tom’s top tips for successful remote site management during this unprecedented time:

1. Create an essential work order list

Tom created an essential work order list by searching and tagging open work orders that were the highest priority. He shared this list with senior leaders, which allowed him to assist in decision-making around critical resources and staffing requirements.

2. Use online tools to decrease the number of staff required on site

Enabling technicians to document work through mobile devices allowed coordinators, managers, and leaders to keep their finger on the pulse from afar and make changes as necessary, decreasing the overall number of staff required on site.

3. Save manuals, safety procedures, and required PPE on every work order

Ensuring important information is easily accessible on the work order reinforces a culture of safety, allows management to communicate necessary updates, and enables Tom to review work orders with technicians from his home for training and troubleshooting purposes.

4. Use the parts & supplies module

This module allows Tom to keep track of the number and location of all parts and supplies remotely and direct workers and contractors to the right part in the storeroom without having to be on site.

5. Establish daily lines of communication with staff

Getting everyone comfortable with mobile communication systems, like WhatsApp, to connect with staff daily has become essential to help staff manage their workload and prevent burn-out.

Right now is a hard time for everyone, it’s an unknown time, so the big thing is communication. Connecting with the guys daily and assisting remotely with managing their workload. The last thing we want is to really burden anyone down, especially maintenance.

Tom also shared a lot of other useful information about his journey from reactive to proactive maintenance that prepared him and his team to work through this crisis. We encourage you to watch the full webinar recording above, but if you’re pressed for time, you can also skip ahead to the following timecodes to hear Tom talk about:

  • 5:00: The specific impacts of COVID-19 for him and his team
  • 8:00: The impact it has had on production at his facility
  • 9:38: More about Tom’s essential work order list
  • 11:40: What Tom already had in place that supported his team with this transition
  • 14:58: What he’s is doing differently to ensure his team’s physical and mental health
  • 18:29: How Tom communicated wins to his leadership team to get CMMS buy-in
  • 20:26: How he used his backlog report to justify adding a new staff member to his team
  • 22:15: How the joint health and safety team uses Fiix at Tom’s site
  • 23:02: How Tom got buy-in for the CMMS from his own team
  • 25:34: What Tom has learned about the digital journey from implementing Fiix at several facilities

At our plant everybody uses it, production uses it, QC (quality) uses it, HR uses it, even the plant manager, he uses Fiix. We use it for purchasing…It’s easy to roll out, it’s easy to implement, you have very easy buy-in.

Q&A from the audience

  • 28:40: Tom discusses the new COVID-19 safety procedures implemented at his site
  • 29:50: How Tom convinced his management to install WiFi throughout his facility
  • 31:05: Tom provides advice for those struggling with team adoption of the mobile app
  • 32:45: How Tom integrated health and safety procedures into the CMMS
  • 34:40: Connecting Fiix to the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • 37:00: Tom provides advice for starting small when implementing a CMMS
  • 38:36: How to assign work to contractors
  • 40:32: Tom talks about standardizing the use of Fiix across all sites and facilitating audits with the CMMS
  • 42:57: How Fiix helps Tom’s team be more flexible
  • 44:28: Quick review of the new Fiix work request portal rollout
headshot of Tom Dufton

Tom Dufton
Maintenance / Project Manager, Perth County Ingredients and Maintenance Improvement Manager / Continuous Improvement Initiator, L.H. Gray & Son Ltd.

A Licenced red seal 309 electrician, Tom has been practicing the trade since 2000, primarily in the Food & Beverage industry, with a speciality in automation. He joined L.H. Gray & Son Ltd. as the Maintenance Manager for their Perth County Ingredients facility in 2017 and has accelerated his career by rolling out CMMS installations across several L.H. Gray facilities.

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