What is maintenance software?
Maintenance software is used to manage maintenance activities by organizing, planning, tracking and analyzing all the jobs you and your team do on a regular basis. It makes maintenance more connected, efficient, and visible to the rest of your organization.
There are several types of maintenance software, which run the gamut from simple to sophisticated. There are basic systems that focus only on managing work orders and work requests, and more complex solutions (like EAM or CMMS software), which are used to document and manage all aspects of maintenance operations, from inventory management to reporting.
What is maintenance software used for?
- Ensure equipment availability
- Boost production
- Cut waste and rework
- Extend asset life
Maintaining a safe and compliant workplace
- Establish SOPs for health and safety
- Manage and track incidents
- Record and verify compliance
- Manage permits and audit documents
- Reduce labour expenses
- Purchase fewer parts and spares
- Track and manage warranty costs
Managing people and processes
- Organize assets, documents and work orders
- Schedule maintenance and labour
- Waste less time on administrative tasks
- Get more insight into vendor relationships
- Customize and automate reporting
- Track maintenance KPIs and metrics
- Build detailed asset histories
Coordinating preventive maintenance (with icon)
- Create triggers for maintenance
- Use condition monitoring sensors
- Standardize preventive tasks
Types of maintenance software
Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)
A CMMS manages all maintenance during the operational part of an asset’s life. A CMMS’s duties include automation, scheduling, inventory management, and record keeping.
Enterprise asset management (EAM)
EAM software provides a view of a facility’s assets through their entire life-cycle, including design, construction, operation, maintenance and replacement.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
ERP software manages day-to-day business activities, such as accounting and manufacturing. ERP systems enable the flow of data between processes, including maintenance.
Asset performance management (APM)
An APM solution ties advanced software tools together to improve asset reliability and availability. It collects and analyzes real-time data to assess value and risk.
New and emerging technologies
Other technologies being used in maintenance include 3D printing, embedded sensors, and virtual reality. These technologies can be used with or without other solutions.
Who uses maintenance software?
Organizations of all sizes and in every industry are moving away from traditional methods of managing maintenance, such as paper and Excel, and adopting maintenance software to help them conquer maintenance chaos, increase efficiency, cut costs, and reduce downtime.
Maintenance software can have an impact on several roles within an organization. Here are a few key users and how they can take advantage of maintenance software.
- Schedule maintenance
- Assign work orders
- Create standardized task lists
- Organize resources (ie. SOPs, audit reports, etc.)
- View and complete work orders
- Record notes on asset condition
- Check if parts are available
- Create and use standard failure codes
- Submit work requests
- Document breakdowns
- View and complete scheduled tasks (ie. cleaning equipment)
- Build a digital database of inventory
- Set minimum quantities for parts
- Automate orders for spare parts
- Generate reports on inventory usage and cost
Reliability and plant managers
- Capture and analyze maintenance metrics
- Get insight into maintenance costs
- Measure productivity
- Coordinate audits
Executives (CEOs, CFOs, etc)
- Integrate maintenance with other business units
- Access reports on production, costs, and more
- Build more accurate, informed budgets
- Secure a company’s data and information
Advantages of maintenance management software
Work order management
Stop managing work orders with paper, whiteboards, and spreadsheets. Maintenance management software allows you to easily create, view, track, prioritize and complete work orders from anywhere, at any time. Access past work orders, attach images and documents, and create task lists for any work request or asset. Work order software can make your operation more efficient and ensure unplanned downtime becomes a thing of the past.
Detailed asset histories
An asset’s past can explain it’s performance in the present and the future. Maintenance software allows facilities to record previous issues, inspections, and solutions for individual assets using notes, images, and root cause analysis. Maintenance teams can use these tools to see how breakdowns were solved in the past so they can repair recurring problems quickly and effectively, and minimize downtime.
A few minutes of downtime can quickly turn into days or weeks of delayed production when you don’t have the parts you need. Maintenance management software gives you more control over your inventory to make sure that doesn’t happen. It tracks parts, connects you to suppliers and vendors, optimizes inventory levels, and notifies appropriate personnel when stock falls below minimum quantities, so you can control inventory costs and boost uptime.
The best decisions are driven by data. Maintenance software allows you to capture information on everything from asset performance to labour and organize these metrics into easy-to-read findings. Custom templates and automated reports make maintenance reporting easier than ever. You can spot trends, target inefficiencies, correct problems before they get out of hand, and identify areas to cut costs and downtime.
The days spent rushing around, putting out fires are over. Maintenance software provides a smoother path to preventive maintenance and an end to maintenance chaos. Preventive maintenance software gives you the ability to schedule maintenance, send alerts to technicians when a job is due, and increase access to resources that make planned tasks quicker and more effective. The result is a streamlined process that helps preventive maintenance flourish.
There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. Maintenance scheduling software can help you maximize the time you do have by wiping out inefficiencies and fine-tuning your routines. Maintenance software tools, like calendars, usage-based triggers, workflows, automated reports, mobile apps, and notifications, give your facility the edge it needs to save time, control costs and improve asset health.
Challenges of implementing maintenance software
Organizational culture and training
It’s near-impossible to get the most out of maintenance software unless your team is willing and able to use it. Getting buy-in starts when searching for software. It’s crucial to assemble everyone who is going to interact with the system, define their goals, get their feedback, and discuss the value of maintenance software. This way, everyone gets on the same page and has their voice heard. It’s also important to invest in proper training so users know how to do their jobs efficiently and effectively with maintenance software.
Maintenance processes and policies
Just like a house without a good foundation will collapse, so too will your maintenance software implementation without the proper processes and policies to support it. These resources can range from small, like a standard process for handling work orders, to large, such as creating an asset management policy or a formal preventive maintenance program. When you lay out clearly defined roles, expectations, and standard processes for approvals, purchasing, and other tasks, it is more likely that maintenance software can be used the way it was intended.
Cost and availability of technology
Implementing maintenance software comes with a price, not just for the system itself, but for training, upgrading equipment, and/or extra personnel or expertise. Adapting to maintenance software requires time, patience, and both human and financial capital, resources that aren’t always readily available. When facing this challenge, it’s important to move slowly, become familiar with new systems, and scale up gradually. Establish a pilot program to implement and scale maintenance software with less risk.
Data capture, analysis and security
The insights you get from maintenance software are only as good as the data you collect. If technicians are not using the system consistently, it will be impossible to get an accurate, holistic view of your maintenance operations. Similarly, if your data is not secure, everything you’ve worked towards can be gone in a split second. The key to overcoming this challenge is through great training, attaining buy-in, finding a system that is easy to use, and ensuring you are investing in data security and a solid process to deal with data loss and emergencies.