How a CMMS Simplifies Regulatory Audits

Maintaining compliance can feel like navigating a maze with its intricate twists and turns. And while regulations are a significant and complex consideration for many industries, proving compliance doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this article, we’ll explore how Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) can simplify time-consuming and documentation-intensive regulatory audits, making your job a little easier. 

What is regulatory compliance?

Regulatory compliance is the process of adhering to specific laws and rules set by the government and other regulatory or certifying bodies. 

In industrial settings, compliance often involves following federal and local laws and regulations designed to protect the environment or the safety of workers and consumers. Regulations and rules will vary based on your industry, whether that’s medical, aerospace, defense, automotive, manufacturing, or something else entirely. 

If companies don’t follow the regulations that apply to their industry, they may face a wide range of consequences, such as fines, correction orders, or forced shutdown of operations. So, it is important to ensure that your organization has a systematic approach to remaining compliant.

Common regulatory agencies

As organizations seek to maintain compliance, they first look at the regulatory agencies that oversee their industry. These are the entities that often conduct regulatory audits or require compliance or incident reports. 

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA is the regulatory agency responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety of medical and health products, food, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. 
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC enforces consumer protection laws to prevent unfair business practices, fraud, and deception. 
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA is responsible for protecting the environment and people from significant health risks, and they enforce environmental regulations. 
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA enforces standards to ensure that employees work in a safe and healthy environment. Companies may need to provide training and other educational resources to their employees in order to maintain compliance.
  • State and local government agencies: While the above are US federal agencies, your organization must also comply with applicable regulations imposed by state and local government entities such as departments of health, environmental protection, or pollution control. 
  • Voluntary certifying or accrediting bodies: Depending on your industry, your organization may choose to obtain an additional certification or accreditation, proving to consumers that your operations meet established standards and best practices.  Examples of this include The Joint Commission for healthcare providers, hospitals, and clinics, or the Six Sigma Certification for industrial production. 

The role of maintenance in regulatory compliance

Maintenance plays a significant role in adhering to regulatory compliance. If certain systems, assets, and equipment are not maintained, they can present health and safety concerns to people and the environment. 

Most regulations include provisions to require proper maintenance of facilities and handling of equipment. Any organization working with potentially hazardous materials or equipment must maintain its facilities regularly and keep accurate records of maintenance activities. That’s where enlisting CMMS technology can help. 

CMMS features that support compliance

Computerized maintenance management systems offer several features that support and simplify regulatory compliance. Let’s take a look at some of the many capabilities a CMMS can offer your organization: 

Checklists and tools that streamline real-time documentation

Modern CMMS software offers several functions that streamline real-time documentation using checklists that guide technicians through the most critical steps in a maintenance task. This feature allows employees to create, manage, and automate checklists, ensuring that no important – or required – steps in your maintenance process get missed.

Most CMMS solutions also allow you to customize these checklists, ensuring they are tailored to your organization’s unique regulatory needs. 

Centralized access to critical information

Centralized access to documentation within a CMMS allows personnel to easily access and update maintenance records. It also provides a record-keeping hub, ensuring your team always has access to critical information such as team alerts, equipment history, and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

This not only streamlines the auditing process (more on that later) but also makes it easier to track changes to SOPs and maintenance procedures, providing a comprehensive audit trail of training, team member acknowledgments, and compliance-related activities.

Better adherence to regulatory standards 

A CMMS helps organizations more effectively adhere to regulatory standards by allowing them to create and manage maintenance schedules, set reminders for maintenance activities, and run detailed reports. 

With these automated processes, CMMS platforms help companies perform critical tasks on time and in accordance with regulatory requirements. This ability to track and analyze maintenance data also enables organizations to continuously improve their compliance strategies by identifying trends and proactively addressing compliance concerns. 

Streamlined workflows, approvals, and oversight

CMMS solutions streamline workflows, making it quick and simple to get the necessary approvals and prove appropriate oversight on compliance-related tasks. They eliminate manual paperwork, reduce administrative overhead, and improve communication and collaboration within maintenance teams. 

Plus, CMMS platforms include capabilities like role-based access, user authentication, and electronic signatures for better accountability and proper authorization. 

Integration with IoT sensors

For companies with that utilize Internet of Things (IoT) technology for asset management activities, a CMMS integrates with these systems to provide more accurate data. Having this integration allows maintenance teams to proactively monitor equipment to trigger maintenance only when needed, helping use resources more efficiently and follow established best practices. 

Leveraging this technology can also help organizations quickly identify potential compliance issues and implement the right measures to mitigate any associated risks. 

Document control and versioning

Document control and versioning are essential aspects of regulatory compliance. A CMMS utilizes document control features to help staff track revisions, manage version history, and ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the specific versions. 

Audit trail and compliance reporting

During an audit, companies must have an extensive audit trail of maintenance and compliance-related activities. CMMS platforms can maintain audit trails to ensure a transparent and easy-to-access record of compliance efforts. 

A CMMS also includes robust maintenance reporting to generate compliance reports and access any maintenance performance metrics and analyses. 

Simplify audits with Limble CMMS

CMMS solutions streamline compliance audits and contribute to asset reliability, employee safety, and operational efficiency across organizations. 

Limble CMMS provides the capabilities to take your compliance management to the next level. Get started today with our free demo, or contact us to learn more.

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