TPM and mobile CMMS connect all parts of a plant

The benefits of total predictive maintenance (TPM) and mobile CMMS can enhance a plant's efficiency and optimize the use of existing labor such as labor, capital, and materials.

By Paul Lachance, Smartware Group September 23, 2016

Preventive maintenance is the industry standard for digital maintenance management. However, once preventive maintenance becomes the norm, plants can push further and enhance their operations by instituting maintenance as a company-wide responsibility. This extends a plant’s workforce far beyond the handful of dedicated maintenance workers to other departmental staff.

No department sits outside of maintenance needs as an enterprise goal. From engineering to IT to supply chain, all the way up to the C-suite, all employees play an integral part in progressing work orders and positioning proactive and preventive maintenance as a top company priority.

The benefits of a total productive maintenance (TPM) strategy are many. When companies work together, they can increase equipment readiness, reduce costs and unplanned events, boost value-added time and optimize the use of existing resources such as labor, capital and materials.

Increased participation in company-wide maintenance efforts encourages many personal payoffs as well. When all employees see maintenance as a communal responsibility, companies can improve moral and the quality of workmanship by helping all workers take pride in their day-to-day activities.

TPM and mobile in action

In order to secure these benefits and institutionalize TPM from top to bottom, companies must get their teams connected. This is where mobile apps can help. With a cloud-based maintenance solution and native mobile app, maintenance sits in the pocket of each and every employee.

For example, a mobile app can empower operators to be part of the maintenance solution throughout a shift. If, when using equipment to make a widget, an operator notices grease leaking from a machine, he or she can document the mess, create a corresponding request and submit the issue for approval in real time using a smartphone or tablet. Mobile apps give that operator the ability to fulfill a maintenance plan within the CMMS, after which the work order can easily cascade to the necessary parties to ensure that maintenance is quickly scheduled, executed and available for reporting.

Similarly, when giving a customer tour of a facility, someone from the sales team can become part of the maintenance process. If a sales representative notices a machine is out of order, he or she can trigger an email alert through the submittal of a maintenance request. This ensures that the appropriate technicians, planners, engineers, etc. can get involved sooner than would otherwise have been possible, perhaps avoiding potential safety incidents, costly downtime or similar issues.

Thanks to leading mobile CMMS apps that allow companies to create specialized user profiles, employees across departments have access to only the information and capabilities they need. Directors or those within the C-suite can establish any number of specialized users to keep asset-related actions within one system of record. By pairing specialized user profiles with a CMMS employee directory, companies can simplify the login and credential verification process for all users while easily maintaining access to complete activities within a TPM strategy.

As plants and warehouses embrace mobile solutions, they will quickly find that a company wide interest in maintenance keeps equipment running more efficiently and effectively. With an intuitive mobile app, any employee can assist in maintenance with relative ease. More importantly, they can do so in real time and from anywhere—even when internet connectivity is scarce. This can add up to a quick and strong return on investment (ROI) for a maintenance solution.

As manufacturers invest in mobile solutions, it is important to think beyond capabilities and partner with CMMS providers equipped with an existing mobile app strategy. Mobile can help propel manufacturers into the future, but it takes partnering with a top-notch CMMS provider to sustain and scale growth, both at the individual and company level.

Paul Lachance is president of Smartware Group, which produces Bigfoot CMMS. Lachance has been developing and perfecting CMMS for the maintenance professional for more than 20 years. Contact Paul at Smartware Group is a CFE Media content partner.