Mobile Maintenance Software And Its Role In Building Efficient Workflows
If you had to guess 3 things people carry around at all times, what would it be? I bet you would say a wallet, keys, and a smartphone.
The fact that mobile devices have become, well, so mobile, is the reason why even the industrial sector is looking to take advantage of this powerful piece of machinery everyone has in their pocket.
In the maintenance sector, this is best reflected in the increased availability of mobile maintenance software. There are many practical benefits of having access to your maintenance data through a mobile CMMS.
However, in order to fully utilize those benefits, you need to successfully incorporate mobile maintenance software into your daily workflow. Explaining how to do this will be the focus of this article.
Let’s get started.
What qualifies as a mobile maintenance app?
Before we start dissecting the benefits, we first need to agree on the definition of a mobile maintenance app.
In the context of this article, having mobile CMMS software means you are using a maintenance solution that you can install on your mobile device as an app.
We are NOT counting solutions that just have an online interface you can log into and claim to be responsive.
The reason for that is simple. Even if you could create a fully responsive online solution, and that is a big if, you would still have a problem with navigation. People navigate differently using the mouse and keyboard versus using the touchscreen, which means that it is impossible to make one responsive version that would be user-friendly across all devices.
That is why you will often see that the interface and the workflow is a bit different when you open your mobile maintenance app via smartphone, compared to when you are logged in on a desktop computer – as it’s illustrated in the screenshots below.
Main screen for Limble CMMS mobile app users
Main screen for Limble CMMS desktop users
In addition to navigation issues, many pictures, graphs, and lists can’t always be scaled down for a smaller screen size – you will either lose readability or run into structural issues (as seen on the picture below).
The biggest benefits of using mobile maintenance software
If you’ve come here with a mindset that having any kind of CMMS is good enough, let me show you what you are missing out on if you do not have access to mobile maintenance software.
Increased level of automation, faster communication, and better organization all mean that your technicians need to spend less time on administrative tasks and can focus on doing the work that actually brings value to their organization. Additionally, the available data they can access at any time (like asset history) can noticeably speed up different parts of their daily workflow.
It only took, really, a week or so for the maintenance staff to get the hang of the software. Since then, I’ve seen an increase in productivity by about 20-30%.
– Joe Romero, Director of Facilities, Myriad Genetics
You have the ability to quickly send instant notifications to your whole maintenance team or chosen technicians. Additionally, technicians can use their mobile apps to collaborate on big projects and easily exchange valuable information related to specific tasks they are working on.
We have been utilizing Limble for over 4 months now, resulting in a much more efficiently run maintenance program as well as much stronger communication between equipment users, technicians, and management.
– Ted Rawlings, Ground Operations Manager, PJ Helicopters
With a mobile CMMS, technicians have no excuse not to track things like the work they have been doing and spare parts they’ve used. This gives the maintenance manager a more accurate overview of the workload that was assigned to each individual and how well they’ve performed overall.
We are able to keep an eye on our maintenance globally with the ability to capture performance and provide reporting.
– Roger Beck, Global Facility Manager, IHG (Holiday Inn)
Having a preventive maintenance plan is great – if everyone sticks to it. The great thing about a mobile maintenance app is that it allows you to track and manage (work (re)scheduling and reassignments) the progress of ongoing work from anywhere with internet access.
On average, I save one to two hours a day, depending on the workload. The biggest thing for me is being able to do things on my phone, on the fly.
– Rob Siler, Maintenance Technician, Myriad Genetics
Increased data accuracy
By being able to log work, spare parts, and notes during or immediately after the completed work is a great way to ensure that the data entering the system is as accurate as possible. This is extremely important for generating accurate reports which are supposed to drive informed decisions.
I will also try to attach some statements from our users to show you that these are the benefits people do actually experience, and it is not something that just sounds nice in theory.
With Limble, I can track all of our supplies that come in, how they are getting used, look at the usage rates, and then also be able to forecast budgets for next year. It has dropped my budget tremendously; I was actually able to hire another guy because of what we were able to save.
– Benjamin Scott, Facilities Supervisor, Intercontinental Hotels Group
Find out more about Limble’s mobile maintenance app here.
Now, let’s see how to realize these benefits in practice.
How to use mobile maintenance software to build efficient workflows
1. Reporting problems through a work request portal (a.k.a. ticketing)
One thing that is really important for an efficient maintenance department is to have an open line of communication with the rest of the organization. Be it a machine operator that is having a problem on the production line or an office worker that is dealing with a leaking HVAC, having a quick way to report a problem and reach the maintenance team is in everyone’s best interest.
We don’t know how other vendors have this implemented, so everything we are going to describe from now on is based on how we implemented it in Limble.
Example of a Work request portal
Work request portal itself is often implemented as a standalone feature which basically means you do not have to have a maintenance app installed, you can just visit a specific URL and fill out the report form.
If you are using Limble CMMS, there is no additional cost attached to the work request portal as it does not require a user license to be used.
What happens after that is where the benefits of having a mobile maintenance app kick in.
First of all, once submitted, Work requests are automatically synced across all of your devices (computer, mobile phone, tablet). Based on your pre configurations, the system can be set up so that the work is automatically assigned to a specific maintenance technician.
This means that requesters can submit problems from anywhere, and technicians can see them immediately, wherever they are. The requesters can also leave their email address so they can be kept in the loop about the progress of their ticket.
All of this leads to less duplicated tickets, less distracting follow-up calls, and less time spent scheduling work.
2. Increasing productivity through a more efficient workflow
As a maintenance manager, being tied to your desk the whole day is a punishment you do not deserve.
However, if you have a bigger maintenance team and want to ensure that the necessary work is done on time, you don’t have any other option – you have to use your desktop computer to track and manage all maintenance work.
A mobile maintenance app allows you to do everything on the go. It doesn’t matter if you want to check if everything is on track with a planned downtime or have to quickly assign someone to tend to a critical breakdown, both can be done with a few taps on your mobile device.
Using mobile maintenance software brings even more day-to-day productivity improvements to maintenance technicians by:
- being able to quickly check their schedule (assigned Work orders and PMs)
- log their work as they are doing it (which also significantly improves data accuracy)
- receive instant notifications via push notifications
- respond to and log potential additional problems while fixing the issue at hand
- quickly lookup asset information while diagnosing the problem (more on that in the next section)
3. Using asset history to improve mean time to repair
If you really think about it, the main reason why mobile phones are so popular is because they give us instant access to information.
The same perk can be very useful to maintenance technicians. For example, when they are performing any kind of repair, they can just open their maintenance app and find any information they need:
- general asset information
- completed WOs and PMs
- detailed equipment maintenance logs
- OEM guides and manuals
- instructions on how to complete a certain repair
- list of identified failure patterns
Having access to this data means that they will need less time to diagnose the problem and perform corrective actions.
Doing a better job in less time? It is an offer that is hard to refuse.
4. Speeding up the workflow with QR codes
There are a few ways in which you can combine QR codes and maintenance software for some nice productivity gains:
- quickly lookup asset information by scanning its barcode
- submit a work request by scanning the asset’s barcode and describing the problem
- track inventory with barcode lookup
- reduce errors with less manual documentation
For additional information, check this quick guide on using barcodes with your CMMS.
5. Using mobile CMMS for remote collaboration and communication
For any bigger organization, off-site visits and maintenance work that spans multiple shifts is something that happens fairly often. In these situations, a quick exchange of information between technicians can be the difference between a three-hour downtime and a five-hour downtime.
One way a mobile maintenance software can facilitate communication is through real-time Work order commenting.
Imagine you have a maintenance technician that is new to the firm. He gets a notification to deal with a work request – let’s say there is a specific problem with a production line. He performs the inspection but has a problem identifying what is causing the malfunction. In this situation, if the maintenance team is using a mobile maintenance app, the technician could start a comment thread on that Work order asking for advice. A senior technician that knows the asset inside and out (and has probably dealt with this exact problem before) can jump into the conversation and explain the most likely cause of failure.
Sometimes, the problem at hand might be so specific it takes a long time to describe. This is why, if you are using Limble CMMS, you also have the option to take pictures and attach it to comments, equipment maintenance logs, PM instructions and more.
With all of these options at your disposal, transferring important information between shifts or remote workers has never been faster or easier.
Are there any special requirements for using a mobile maintenance app?
If you are worried about hardware requirements, you can be at ease. If your mobile phone can run Facebook or Netflix, it should have no problem running a properly optimized mobile maintenance app.
To give you a better idea of the exact numbers, here are the basic requirements to run Limble CMMS on your mobile device:
- 2GB of RAM recommended (but can run with 1GB)
- Android 4.1. and up
- iOS 9.3 or later (compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
Off course, you also need to be connected to the internet to fully utilize all capabilities of your mobile maintenance software. The good news is that the software has low bandwidth requirements so it is not the end of the world if you have to use your data traffic when you are off-site.
If you are looking to implement maintenance software at your organization or looking to replace your old CMMS solution, you should definitely concentrate on vendors who can provide mobile solutions.
The reason why we created a mobile CMMS is because it gives you a whole new level of flexibility. If nothing else, the sheer volume of time you can save on many day-to-day activities alone make it a worthwhile investment.
If you are interested in finding out more about our mobile solution, don’t hesitate to reach out or leave a comment below the article.