Equipment management software tracks an organization’s mechanical equipment, ensuring that upkeep and repairs are done on schedule and on budget.
Maintenance professionals constantly strive to reduce costs while increasing machine availability. Software helps organizations drive toward this goal by optimizing the preventive maintenance and work order process, as well as offering a way to break down historical data to uncover operational trends.
But with hundreds of products on the market, it can be a tall order to identify which ones meet your company’s needs. With that in mind, we’ve written this buyer’s guide to support managers in assessing their options as they navigate the landscape.
Here are the topics we'll cover:
Preventive maintenance is crucial to the success of any organization. Offline equipment produces nothing, slows project completion and can even result in a complete operational shutdown. Even worse, equipment malfunctions can be dangerous, leading to time-wasting (at best) or harmful (at worst) accidents.
Equipment tracking software is designed to optimize asset performance, ensuring that preventive tasks happens on schedule and that work orders are handled with maximum efficiency. Critical functions include:
More advanced maintenance management products like Bigfoot CMMS, Sprocket CMMS, eMaint X3 and Maintenance Connection may have a predictive maintenance feature, as well. This application predicts, based on past errors and physical symptoms (e.g., noise, vibration, temperature, corrosion, pressure) that a malfunction may be about to occur and alerts the user to the potential problem. This feature actually saved one company a million dollars in one day. Though most results aren’t quite this dramatic, almost all users can attest that properly implemented equipment and machine maintenance software will improve asset performance, reduce costs and extend the lifetime of equipment.
Equipment maintenance tracking software are commonly used for fleets of vehicles (e.g., in the transportation, agriculture, landscaping and field service industries), as well as in manufacturing sites with heavy factory equipment.
Equipment maintenance software includes features designed to keep assets performing at peak capacity for as long as possible. These features include:
|Asset tracking||To maintain equipment, organizations must be able to track them efficiently. Asset tracking features store important information, such as location, condition, costs, depreciation data, images and associated documentation. Users can quickly retrieve data by scanning barcodes or QR codes with a mobile device.|
|Work orders||The software also offers the ability to create, assign and edit work orders for planned or emergency maintenance tasks. These work orders can be viewed on a mobile device so that technicians can address them wherever they are.|
|Preventive maintenance||Preventive maintenance tasks often make up the majority of an organization’s maintenance processes. Software can assist in scheduling these recurring tasks based on a calendar, and users can set up notifications when a PM is almost due. Over time, companies can reduce PMs to save money while also keeping assets healthy.|
|Predictive maintenance||Predictive maintenance goes a step further to help eliminate the need for emergency maintenance by monitoring the real-time condition of an asset and automatically generating a work order when readings indicate a potential failure. This reduces maintenance costs and prevents expensive machine downtime.|
|Inventory management||These maintenance tasks typically require the use of spare parts from a company’s inventory. Software can track inventory volumes and help determine the optimal reorder levels so that parts are always available but carrying costs are kept to a minimum.|
|Reporting||Over time, the software will build up a wealth of historical maintenance data. Using reporting features, these data can reveal trends in downtime or costs. Maintenance managers can then determine the cause of the issue and make adjustments to improve asset availability.|
Most buyers fall into one of the following categories:
Full-suite buyers. These buyers want seamless integration across systems. For example, a cable company may want a system that allows them to send the same information between their equipment management, field service, helpdesk and accounting departments. These buyers will want an enterprise asset management (EAM) system that simultaneously fills all these needs without re-entry or corruption of data. Products to consider include Infor EAM, Axxerion and Proteus.
Best-of-breed buyers. These buyers generally have more specific needs and want deeper functionality rather than full integration. A specialist will likely deliver a better solution than an EAM product in this instance. Consider collectiveFleet or Maintenance Connection.
Small business software buyers. Small business buyers usually go for products that are easy to use and implement and have lower up-front costs. They’ll usually find their answer in cloud-based solutions that are less robust but still address all their primary needs. Web Work by Tero Counseling and TMT Fleet Maintenance provide solutions that are high quality without breaking the bank.
Mobile applications. Buyers working with fleets of vehicles will want to pay special attention to this one. Mobile apps can add value to a solution, since they enable users in the field to access orders, generate new work orders, track labor and inventory use and perform any number of other important tasks, all from their mobile device. It’s becoming more common for floor managers in a factory setting to use tablet devices in this way, too.
Software as a Service (SaaS). Web-based software is becoming more popular. Especially given the growth of the mobile market, maintenance supervisors are beginning to appreciate the ease of use that comes with web-based systems, allowing them to be accessed from anywhere and requiring very little in the way of installation.
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