A large concern when it comes to maintaining a business’s facilities and assets is the cost. Maintenance is a large expense. Managing the costs of repairs, new parts, and personnel can present a challenge.
While maintenance can be costly, it is important to see it as an investment that prolongs equipment lifespan, enhances productivity, and improves employee safety. Plus, when innovative maintenance technologies enter the mix, it can result in significant cost savings for any maintenance program. Let’s see how!
To dive deeper into maintenance costs, check out this article: Maintenance Costs: How to Manage and Minimize Them
Understanding maintenance technologies
Historically, companies often relied on manual approaches to organizing their maintenance. Spreadsheets and handwritten work orders were the norm. Many companies still use these methods. Unfortunately, manual tracking and coordination often leads to mistakes and can be difficult and time consuming to keep organized.
Maintenance technologies bring new life to maintenance programs. They help companies schedule, automate, and access the information they need from anywhere on regular maintenance tasks.
Let’s discuss some technologies that are revolutionizing maintenance strategies for companies of all kinds and industries.
Cloud-based computerized maintenance management systems
- Asset management, like parts identification, asset details, and reminders about regular maintenance
- Work order management, providing a hub for submitting, approving, and scheduling work order requests
- Task management and prioritization to assign activities to ensure essential work is completed promptly
- Streamlined communication with team members via text, email, and mobile app notifications
- Reporting and dashboards to measure maintenance KPIs like time to repair, planned vs unplanned tasks, and more
- Centrally located standard operating procedures (SOPs), maintenance checklists, and historical data
- Integration with other operational software like ERP systems, IoT solutions, and AI
Machine Learning & AI
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) provide endless opportunities for improving maintenance efficiency and therefore costs, particularly as these technologies continue to evolve.
Currently, maintenance teams use ML and AI largely for predicting when maintenance is needed and automating repetitive or dangerous maintenance tasks.
By utilizing algorithms that interpret historical data and machine condition measurements, AI more accurately predicts when equipment maintenance is needed. When a company employs AI and ML within its maintenance system (like a CMMS), it can create more efficient workflows and improve productivity.
Internet of Things (IoT) integration
IoT is a network of tools and sensors embedded within assets and integrated with other technologies to share data and enable maintenance activities.
This is extremely beneficial for asset management, as it allows companies to more accurately track data from their equipment, like run time, downtime, productivity, and condition.
IoT technologies complement other maintenance management systems like CMMS and AI by integrating with them to provide the asset data they need to trigger and automate tasks, predict maintenance, and manage spare parts inventory.
Augmented reality (AR)
AR technology creates an interactive experience that combines computer-generated resources with real-world data. Many industries use AR for asset maintenance and repair.
With AR, a maintenance tech can point a camera at the equipment, wiring, or plumbing in question, and the software will provide notes and kay information on each part of the asset. This allows maintenance teams to quickly identify potential problems and schedule them for repair.
Ways Technology Contributes to Reduced Maintenance Costs
It’s clear that advancements in technology provide increasing methods for managing maintenance activities and reducing costs. Let’s dive further into how the various maintenance technologies can save companies money.
1. Real-time monitoring & data collection
Each of these technologies contributes to real-time monitoring and data collection of assets. This prevents employees from having to repeatedly check assets to monitor meter readings, usage, and wear and tear that may indicate the need for inspection and maintenance.
Real-time monitoring helps maintenance teams have the asset information they need to predict and respond to maintenance needs without spending the labor hours on manual machine monitoring. This ultimately prevents machine failure, reducing downtime while also reducing the time investment from the maintenance team.
Through real-time monitoring, maintenance technologies can calculate important maintenance KPIs (like MTBF and MTTR), allowing businesses to better manage their assets and save on costly repairs, manual machine checks, or replacements.
2. Automate maintenance scheduling and workflows
Human error is a real thing. When tasks become repetitive or employees are overwhelmed with a demanding workload, mistakes happen and important steps are missed.
Maintenance technologies can help automate repetitive tasks such as scheduling regular maintenance, triggering work order requests, and even initiating orders for replacement parts. By automating workflows, tasks, and approvals, companies create less room for operator error, more time for employees to spend on higher priority tasks, and ultimately improve revenue through a more productive operation.
3. Mobile access for team members
CMMSs and similar technologies provide a mobile platform that serves as a central hub for all maintenance activities and information. Maintenance teams can access real-time communications on their tasks and easily update work orders, schedule new tasks, and find the information they need for any asset within the a mobile app.
An online platform where everyone can access the same information is a game-changer in maintenance planning. Team members have access to all the information they need from wherever they are. It speeds up the process of repairing an asset, improving productivity and saving costs.
4. Reduced energy consumption
It’s always a plus when a company can reduce energy consumption. Not only is it great for the environment, but it creates huge cost savings for the business.
Automating tasks through AI and CMMS software helps companies perform more efficient and effective maintenance, keeping assets running at peak efficiency. Predictive algorithms prevent energy inefficiencies caused by avoidable maintenance malfunctions
5. Improved asset performance and lifespan
Maintenance technologies significantly contribute to improving asset reliability and prolonging equipment lifespan. AI and predictive algorithms can predict maintenance failure and prevent unplanned outages, increasing productivity and revenue.
Regular preventive maintenance along with identifying problems and fixing them before an outage occurs also extends the life of an asset. This lowers maintenance costs over the asset’s lifespan, and increases the asset’s value.
6. Improved employee performance
Every business should aim to provide continuous training and improvement opportunities for its employees. Through CMMS solutions and online platforms that offer SOPs and interactive checklists, organizations can ensure consistency in all maintenance tasks and less rework overall.
This sets employees up for success in their work and it also helps maintenance workers easily manage their tasks. In addition, regular reporting on workload and performance helps high performers get the recognition they deserve, and highlights areas where training and skills development can be helpful.
7. Improved safety
Perhaps most importantly, maintenance technologies improve employee safety. By automating repetitive and dangerous tasks, and baking important steps like LOTO procedures into checklists, organizations can remove the potential for human error and ensure their employees’ safety comes first. Creating a safer workplace is a huge benefit, but it also comes with cost savings – lower insurance costs, fewer worker’s compensation claims, and lower employee turnover.
Planning for the future
Maintenance technologies are not going away. They are only getting better. Embracing these revolutionary technologies reduces maintenance costs, streamlines maintenance workflows, improves efficiencies, and creates a better environment for employees. For organizations that want to reduce maintenance costs, incorporating the right technologies is a great place to start.
To learn more about a powerful CMMS that can improve maintenance costs for your company, give the team at Limble CMMS a call today, or start for free today.