At 2,086 meters above sea level, Mt Hutt is home to the largest alpine ski area on the south island of New Zealand. Darren Vedder is head of the maintenance department and together with his team of six, they manage everything from ski lifts, magic carpets, snow making equipment, pumps, compressors, grooming fleet, winches, busses, troopers, the day lodge, to the water and waste systems. “We’re like a little town up here,” says Darren. “We manage the whole shebang. It’s a seasonal holiday resort but the maintenance team is onsite most of the year round.”
Burdened by inefficiencies
“When hired for this position, I was mandated to implement a new CMMS system in the organization”, explains Darren. Like many small to medium organizations, they used a combination of systems to manage their maintenance operations. Work requests were submitted through an online notice board that was checked throughout the day. Those requests were then manually converted into paper work orders. Completed work order forms were then filed away in a binder for each asset. Preventive maintenance was tracked using an Excel based spreadsheet but the previous date had to be plugged in to show the next due date. “Whenever the guys had to check the records to see what work was complete in the past, it was a manual process of rifling through reams of paper or excel spreadsheets”, says Darren. “The old process involved separate systems run by different people so it was very challenging. Most of the time, the team relied on memory to try to figure out where to look.” It was time to integrate our maintenance processes into one system. “A central CMMS system ensures continuity of information beyond seasonal contracts.”
“In my previous job, management spent thousands of dollars on a custom CMMS that didn’t work and had no tech support”, recalls Darren. “We tried to make it work for the organization but it simply wasn’t flexible enough.” It was designed for a particular workflow that just couldn’t serve their needs. Eventually NZSki abandoned it and started using Fiix, which worked very well. “So, when I took up my role at NZSki, I knew Fiix would be ideal solution,” explains Darren. “Based on my positive recommendation, everyone was open to change and keen to get it up and running without delay.” NZSki signed up for an annual subscription and Darren got to work immediately.
A difference like night and day
18 months after implementing Fiix as their ski resort maintenance management system, the difference is like night and day. “All the PM’s are in the CMMS so the system triggers when the work is due”, explains Darren. “We can check the work order tab and see what work has been done and what needs to be done.” Task lists are used to populate PM’s and work orders with standard operating procedures. “It brings reactive and preventive maintenance into one central location, which is the beauty of it. We have permanent records for each asset in the CMMS so it’s much easier to log in and see a full history. Undoubtedly, it’s made the work order system more efficient,we’re seeing more PM’s getting done on time and overall, maintenance is much more thorough. While we’re not there yet, we’re definitely moving toward the ideal 80/20 proactive/reactive situation.”
Before Fiix, preparing maintenance metrics meant gathering related information from numerous sources, manipulating the data, compiling it in excel and then creating graphs. “Now we can just run a report and pull the data straight away per asset, category or whatever I need”, says Darren. “Reports are one of the biggest time savers. We can measure progress and see exactly how we’re performing. I’ve saved at least one day of manual data processing when I have to prepare our annual metrics at the end of the season.”
“There are so many benefits to using Fiix”, explains Darren. “Not only is it simple and easy to use, its cloud based so it can be used on any Internet device including mobile. I’m regularly logging on with my smartphone to update work orders. We’ll be introducing QR codes soon, which will speed everything up further. You are leading the way with technology”, says Darren. “I read your blogs regularly and even though Google Glass is a few years away, its great to see Fiix is thinking big. I can’t wait to see what is coming next.”
Like many organizations, NZSki are using Fiix for their ski resort maintenance management to help increase equipment reliability, reduce emergency repairs and extend asset life while driving down the cost of ownership…all without bloating their maintenance budget. One central maintenance database also helps keep everything organized so nothing gets missed. “The welfare of our visitors is paramount here at Mount Hutt so using Fiix ensures preventive maintenance and safety inspections are performed on time and on schedule”, explains Darren. “Having the correct CMMS system in place to manage that reinforces NZSki’s commitment to the highest safety and quality standards.