By Talmage Wagstaff
Finding a perfect balance between tight production schedules and routine maintenance operations is an arduous undertaking. Concurrently, companies are angling for sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective operations across all their production facilities. Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) enables organizations to automate and streamline a series of maintenance operations, consequently lowering their environmental footprints and increasing their operational sustainability.
While the manufacturing sector advances, organizations are fighting for scarce production resources. These organizations are obliged to reduce wastes and eliminate bottlenecks that affect the quality of production. This has seen companies transition from reactive maintenance to sturdier, CMMS-based proactive maintenance strategies.
The implementation of CMMS enhances the sustainability of production facilities in various ways. CMMS programs are vital tools that enhance the reliability of production assets, improve maintenance workflows, and reduce production costs. Full implementation of these programs converts production facilities into lean, predictable, efficient, and sustainable units.
- Improved Compliance
Production facilities operate under a strictly regulated environment, with oversight from multiple government agencies such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The authorities establish statutory regulations and monitor their compliance to safeguard the health and safety of employees, consumers, and the environment.
A CMMS program is equipped with inbuilt tools that contain equipment safety information. The tools allow maintenance technicians to keep a detailed log of inspections and a list of all maintenance activities. These records are converted into detailed reports which can be inferred when conducting facility compliance audits.
Integrated CMMS programs keep detailed records of all assets within a production facility. These programs analyze past maintenance records and production schedules to automatically generate and allocate upcoming maintenance tasks. Maintenance activities are scheduled in a manner that offers minimal interruptions to production cycles.
CMMS programs are compatible with multiple mobile devices. Through these devices, maintenance personnel can remotely access operational safety information. The employees can refer to all technical information on production assets, allowing them to plan and execute maintenance operations.
- Efficient Energy Consumption
Production processes rely on a series of interdependent assets to convert raw materials into finished products. Most of these assets require external sources of energy for their operation. High energy consumption rates translate to higher energy bills, which hurts the profitability of production facilities. Companies are continuously tracking energy consumption by individual assets and are opting for energy supply from renewable resources. Other companies are developing smart grids, enabling them to access energy from multiple sources, depending on the production schedules.
CMMS programs work in collaboration with condition-monitoring sensors fitted on production assets. The sensors track the amount of energy consumed by an asset over diverse production cycles. Collected data is then analyzed on the CMMS platform against multiple energy-monitoring criteria. Analyzed information is used to evaluate the efficiency of energy utilization by assets based on their age, manufacturer, or operating cycles. The organization can thus opt to replace or modify energy-intensive assets.
Effective maintenance ensures that all production assets are operating at their optimally designed levels. Defects such as shaft misalignment, worn out bearings, or poor lubrication result in increased energy consumption. Implementing a CMMS-reliant predictive maintenance program enhances the sustainability of production facilities by generating timely maintenance alerts and suggesting appropriate maintenance activities.
- Elimination of Manufacturing Scrap and Rework
Manufacturing companies operate within tight schedules with no room for errors. All production processes must be streamlined and optimized to guarantee the quality of end products. Unnecessary breakdowns and emergency production stops cause unprecedented equipment damage, production backlogs, and escalate the need for rework.
Abrupt stops or equipment failure during a production cycle result in instant damage of materials already introduced to the production chain. As a result, there is a spike in maintenance operations as teams strive to restore normal operations. On the other hand, production teams are forced to restart processes, rework damaged products, or discard irreparable parts. Such occurrences cause disruptions, not only on the shop floors but to the entire supply chain.
To ensure the full availability and reliability of production assets, organizations must implement and exploit the powerful tools provided by CMMS programs. They ensure that individual assets are well maintained and are operating as per the designed standards. CMMS ensures that corrective measures are undertaken on equipment in advance and retains sufficient inventory for MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations). This converts conventional production facilities into lean, sustainable production units devoid of wastes.
- Extended Life of Manufacturing Equipment
Companies often part with huge amounts of money when setting up manufacturing facilities. It takes several years for the companies to realize a return on investments. In a complex production setup, several interconnected assets are needed. Over time, it may be necessary for facilities to discard obsolete equipment and replace them with modern, more efficient, and technologically advanced equipment.
A sturdy CMMS takes over the management of the multiple production assets in your organization. The program provides adequate tools to monitor, schedule, and execute maintenance activities on all fixed and movable assets within the production floor. Adequate maintenance on assets not only improves their reliability and availability but also extends their service life.
Scheduling and allocation of routine maintenance operations such as lubrication, vibration tests, cleaning, and oil tests are performed by the CMMS application. These activities identify and eliminate risks that may result in unplanned damage or premature retirement of production equipment. By extending the service life of equipment, companies can minimize the number of obsolete materials lying in their storage yards. Timely maintenance of assets eliminates emergency breakdowns which result in a spike in the number of unserviceable parts.
- Paperless Operations
CMMS programs have revolutionized collaboration and execution of maintenance operations. The electronic platforms have replaced the heavy paperwork that was previously the norm within manufacturing facilities. By going paperless, companies reduce budgets spent on the purchase of stationery and manual filing.
The electronic platforms have expedited decision-making processes as dispersed teams can communicate remotely and in real-time, with resources available at the click of a button. Maintenance teams can easily create work orders, validate inventory, and update maintenance logs.
Paperless operations ensure that companies reduce their carbon footprints. CMMS platforms ensure that minimal paper products are used to complement day-to-day maintenance operations. Remote collaboration over CMMS platforms minimizes the need for vehicular travel between dispersed production facilities, further reducing the emission of global warming gases.
Technology continues to drive change in the manufacturing sector. Companies are strategically adopting innovative solutions as they try to combat stiff competition and the scarcity of resources. Several companies are adopting CMMS programs as they seek to streamline operations and maintenance activities.
In the process of implementing CMMS, companies reduce their operational costs while improving the sustainability of their production processes.
Wagstaff is Co-Founder and CEO of Redlist. Raised in a construction environment, he has been involved in heavy equipment since he was a toddler. Wagstaff has degrees and extensive experience in civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering, and worked for several years as a field engineer with ExxonMobil, servicing many of the largest industrial production facilities in the country.