CMMS keeps a watchful eye on outside contractors

All contracted work should be tracked by a CMMS database. Just as the maintenance manager assigns a job to a staff member and issues a work order, he should do the same for outside technicians.


Outside contractors come in many shapes and sizes. There’s your contractor technician who shows up regularly to service the elevators. These technicians make regular visits to the facility and are treated like employees. Other contractors elicit the same trust but come to the plant less often, although the appointed maintenance technician may remain the same. Finally, there’s the ad hoc repairman who could service an air conditioner in his sleep. He comes by way of an Internet search, or the phone book.

Other than this last category, all contracted work should be tracked by a CMMS database. Just as the maintenance manager assigns a job to a staff member and issues a work order, he should do the same for outside technicians. The CMMS database should associate the outsourced technician with a fixed asset and keep a log of all maintenance tasks completed per visit. Next time the same technician makes a scheduled call, the CMMS automatically creates a PM work order for that technician. Also by co-mingling contractor and staff work orders, managers can compare internal and external responsiveness and performance. More on this later…

PMs handled by outside contractors should trigger reminders in a CMMS so managers know which machines are scheduled for routine maintenance and by when. Even if the contractor is responsible for scheduling these visits, it is helpful to get that extra reminder from your CMMS. The CMMS should call up both short term and long term PM schedules, with inside and outside team resources assigned to each PM task. Maintenance managers should also be able to show overdue work orders assigned to contractors to help control backlogs, do predictive analysis, negotiate contract renewal rates or, if necessary, choose a better provider.

Most importantly, a CMMS should gather information about the vendor’s performance, quality of work, completion dates promised, etc. Did the technician show up on time? Did she fix the machine only to return a month later to make the same repair? Did she charge for the repeat visit? Did a replacement part get delayed in shipping and cut into production time?

The data stored in a work order should answer these questions and more, and help managers make decisions about renewing or negotiating contracts, or justifying new hires. Besides the usual equipment specs, schematics, operations manuals, etc. the work order should capture and quantify the vendor’s effectiveness; frequency, quality and rate of completion of repairs, response time, time and materials, contract renewal costs, etc.

By capturing key information, a CMMS helps managers keep an eye on outsourced contractors and shows them which ones have gained the top position on your “A” list of preferred providers.

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