Maintenance Management: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

One of my recent posts about CMMS software upgrades sparked an interesting conversation at a business group meeting last week.

Here at MPulse, we often talk about how maintenance management software helps with data-driven management and how CMMS data reveals where your operations are working well… and where they aren’t.

But sometimes we don’t acknowledge that doing nothing is also a choice… and it has consequences. Because in the maintenance field, what you don’t know will hurt you.

It’s likely you’ve experienced this issue too. The folks in my business group work in different industries—manufacturing, technology, retail, utility, government, and more. Almost everyone had a story about a time where what they didn’t know became a big problem.

Ignorance is Not Bliss

A few of the stories I heard…

  • Ignoring inventory management resulted in a problem with an employee who took company parts for personal use
  • Not tracking key and lock use caused security issues that put people in danger
  • Overlooking rising labor costs put the maintenance department in the red and the financial viability of the organization in jeopardy
  • Not following a preventive maintenance plan meant a vehicle that should have lasted 10 years had to be replaced in less than five
  • Not upgrading software caused a shutdown that cost three days of productivity for 50 workers
  • Sloppy documentation resulted in a OSHA investigation

“We used to manage based on our perceptions of what was working and what needed to change,” said Jacob, a member of my group who works for a local utility. “Everyone did. Moving towards data-driven management wasn’t simple. But when we got there, we saw how much time and money we had wasted by concentrating on the wrong things.”

The Value of Maintenance Data

In all the cases above, the decision not to do something (track inventory, monitor costs, schedule preventive maintenance, etc.) ended up costing the organization time and money.

But they learned from their mistakes. Jacob shared his company’s four-part process for data-driven management…

  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Plan
  • Improve

Each part builds on the previous one. So, Jacob’s team takes measurements (via work orders), and then analyzes that data to understand their performance (via reports). That understanding helps them plan, and hopefully improve.

That’s what maintenance software does in a nutshell. When you measure the productivity of your operations, you get a deeper understanding of your maintenance processes and how to improve them where necessary.

What’s your experience? Leave a comment or contact us. We’re all learn from each other.