July 24, 2014 – Early adopters of Smartware Group, Inc.’s major upgrade of Bigfoot Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) commended the company on its newly-designed user interface, which further simplifies the way maintenance professionals manage asset and equipment maintenance for their organizations, while building on existing functionality.
June 13, 2014 - MRO spares can represent up to 20 per cent of the total enterprise spend and account for more than half of all indirect purchasing transactions. Because the annual cost of maintaining an inventory storeroom is about 20-30 per cent of the inventory dollar value, reducing inventory can dramatically reduce the cost of doing business. However, the savings generated from reducing inventory should not be at the detriment of equipment availability.
While there are any number of reasons why facilities have differing approaches to developing a maintenance budget, a new white paper developed by Management Resources Group, Inc. reports that maintenance managers can take better control of their budgets if they enhance their efforts on specific practices that impact the business in a positive or negative way.
May 15, 2014 – CMMS Data Group (CDG), supplier of maintenance and facilities management software, launched the MVP Capture application for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. MVP Capture is the company’s wireless barcode solution that tracks work orders, parts inventory, equipment, meters and much more. Personnel scan the barcode label they need to enter, eliminating data collection and entry errors while saving a tremendous amount of time and money.
Updated March 7, 2014 - The advantages of CMMS software are well documented in thousands maintenance books and Internet articles, however, the benefits of cloud-based CMMS over traditional on premise CMMS are less well known. Cloud or hosted software means the software is available over the Internet whereas on premises is downloaded and installed on local computers or servers.
April 16, 2013 - Quebec-based Cogep—a player in computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) solutions—launched Guide Ti Mobile, calling it the world’s first CMMS/EAM application developed specifically for the Windows 8 operating system and the Surface Windows RT tablet. (If you’re attending the Plant Management & Design Engineering Show [PMDS] in Montreal next week, visit Cogep’s at Booth #233.) Guide Ti Mobile is as simple to use and as intuitive as the PC-based version, says Cogep, yet offers the advantages of a touchscreen and mobility. Guide Ti Mobile allows workers to access data already on the tablet while they are working in buildings in which the internet is not available; they can even create new work orders and close them while at these locations.
The ARC Advisory Group released its new Global Service Provider (GSP) Supplier Selection Guide, which includes both selection criteria and guided workflow steps for choosing a services company. The scope of the criteria cover the needs of corporate IT and manufacturing IT, including communications with control systems. The guide has attributes tailored for industrial organizations, and allows those involved in a GSP selection process to make quicker and improved decisions. Ralph Rio, research director, stated, “The pace of technology evolution continues to accelerate. Now, cloud, mobile, social, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D are impacting industrial concerns for improved business processes and enhanced business models. “Technology adoption is not an option. Each of these major technology groupings involve multiple specific technical skills. GSPs have access to a diverse set of skills, and can map them into a project as needed for lower cost, less risk, and faster time to benefit.” GSP selection has become mission critical. The needed services include application and IT infrastructure development, roll-out, and maintenance. The companies have become complex and decision making involves a range of capabilities from specific technologies to managing major programs. Suppliers have specific domain expertise, geographical presence, and knowledge of certain industry dynamics. The ARC STAR Supplier Evaluation and Selection Service guides users through a step-by-step process of selecting and evaluating suppliers against specific technology, application and industry requirements. The process guides the user through the project and team definition, reviewing and editing ARC-provided selection criteria and supplier questions, weighing selection criteria, developing a supplier Request for Information (RFI) list, evaluating supplier responses, and developing a final ranking of RFI results. ARC STAR then fully documents the process and results for management review and approval.
CMMS provider DPSI has a new website that highlights cloud-based and mobile products, details market segments and provides social media access, available at www.dpsi.com. According to Carol Owens, president, “Our new site highlights DPSI’s mobile and cloud-based offerings, as well as our expertise in the manufacturing, facilities and fleet markets. We also offer improved navigation, in-depth information on our products and easy-to-find downloads, all wrapped in a more contemporary design. We have streamlined the information gathering process for visitors, even as we provide them access to more information about DPSI, our products and markets.” www.dpsi.com
Cloudruge Ltd. has released the alpha version of its free online computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), known as cloudruge, today. The use of the software is by invitation only, but users can visit cloudruge.com and request to be added to the invite list. cloudruge is a cloud-based (think dropbox) CMMS, so the application runs on cloudruge servers and users need only a browser to access it. The company says this results in important cost savings as there is no need to employ specialized IT staff. Up-time on remote servers is also generally much higher than if the servers are kept in-house (availability is usually in the order of 99.8 per cent, excluding scheduled server maintenance). The main features of the alpha version are: Developed with the most secure, efficient and advanced web application framework. Asset organization tree. Manual Work Request/ Work Order assigned to asset. Multi-user. Upload of documents assigned to assets. Upload of documents assigned to work orders. Use it anywhere with its native mobile version. cloudruge detects the client type and adjusts its display on the fly to suit smaller mobile screens. User avatar implemented through the gravatar service. Other functionality to be available very soon on the alpha version: Work-order scheduling. Asset list import using an excel file. User level implementation. Cloudruge Ltd. is a software company based in Macau SAR and in Hong Kong founded by a team of professionals with experience in industrial maintenance and web software development. Cloudruge's goal is to become the most popular cloud-based CMMS solution in the market for small to medium-sized companies and will include modules for: inventory control, labour and spare parts costs and advanced maintenance reporting among others. www.cloudruge.com
Experts may argue over the probability of a successful CMMS implementation, but few, if any, would estimate more than a 50-per-cent success rate. In fact, what percentage of companies even adequately define what success looks like? Once companies have properly defined “success,” they must then define user requirements that support improved processes, and evaluate vendor offerings that best satisfy user needs. All too often, packages are selected on the basis of which vendor has the most impressive sales pitch. As a result, vendors have invested heavily in perfecting their dog-and-pony shows. Although many large companies with significantly large maintenance budgets usually do conduct a more thorough evaluation process, they do not necessarily apply the same level rigor on other fronts. For example, the bulk of the process engineering work, which in my view should drive the definition of user specifications, is often left until implementation of the CMMS or later. Another alarming trend is exhibited by senior management determined to implement the perfect, fully integrated, enterprise-wide system that does it all, from shop floor to the executive suite. A huge software package with so much functionality does not necessarily fit the needs of a given maintenance shop in a given industry. Perhaps it does, but without going through a process design, needs analysis and vendor selection process, how do you know you are getting a tool that fits your requirements? Even if it is the best solution for maintenance, processes need to be optimized to get the most out of the software. As well, without due process, buy-in from maintainers, planners and their supervisors may be weak or non-existent, which will make it difficult if not impossible to realize any benefits from the system. Whether big or small, most companies can learn a few tricks from those organizations that have conducted an effective vendor evaluation process. To be successful, these companies have made the following changes to the typical evaluation process: 1. More detailed specifications based on process engineering: Companies have taken a more proactive approach to evaluating CMMS options. Rather than jumping immediately to the exploration of software options, most of the energy is expended on first determining the specific needs of the users based on rigorous examination of process change requirements. Users will take the time to sort out what is important versus what is simply nice to have, providing vendors with weightings for each specification criteria. For large companies, a very formal request for proposal (RFP) document is sent to an appropriate number of CMMS vendors, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) packages with a fully integrated CMMS module. The RFP contains such things as your objectives in implementing a new CMMS, critical success factors, background on your company including the technical and business environment, and procurement terms and conditions. In the appendix of the RFP, technical and user specifications are provided in the form of hundreds or even thousands of user criteria related to the vendor, its products and services. The vendors are expected to respond directly to the RFP by stating whether or not each specification can be met, how, and at what cost. When the vendor responses are received by the users, they are evaluated based on a number of pre-determined criteria. The scoring of vendor options is then used to determine a short-list of one to three candidates. A more detailed evaluation of the short-listed packages is conducted face to face with each vendor and their package in order to select a winner. For smaller companies, a formal RFP may be overkill. Vendors may be reluctant to respond because the profit margin on a smaller installation is not enough to adequately cover the cost of responding properly to the RFP. In realizing how expensive it is to buy and implement the “wrong” package, some companies are quite willing to pay the vendors to respond. Regardless of whether or not a formal RFP is issued, the specifications document can still be used as a guide in judging any of the vendor options, including status quo or upgrading your existing CMMS. 2. More meaningful vendor demos: CMMS vendors are seeing a trend to more meticulous testing of their software by prospective customers during the final selection stage. Increasingly, companies will send detailed test scripts to short-listed CMMS vendors ahead of a vendor demonstration, so that the software is evaluated based on real data and relevant procedures. For example, test data and procedures can be compiled for entering sample equipment, suppliers, parts and trades; simulating the creation and completion of corrective work requests and purchase requisitions; and reporting on equipment and supplier history. Test scripts can be prepared during the writing of the specifications. 3. Greater cross-company involvement: Ten years ago, the selection of CMMS packages was considered the sole responsibility of the information systems and/or maintenance departments. Today, it’s a family affair. Operations for one, has seen the value in participating in the development of performance standards, as it relates directly to the service level agreements with the maintenance department. As well, the CMMS can be used to directly monitor the condition of assets, operating conditions or even production levels. Accounting and finance departments have an interest in the writing of the CMMS specifications in order to ensure viable interfaces with modules such as accounts payable, activity-based costing, project tracking, fixed asset management, and so on. Purchasing and Stores need to be involved in integrating with the purchasing and materials management modules. Engineering is concerned about change control on engineering drawings, project tracking, reliability engineering, etc. The human resources department needs to understand the relevant features and functions related to payroll, resource scheduling, skills inventory, and others. 4. Improved reference checking: In the past, companies have typically asked vendors for a list of references. However, these references were not pursued that aggressively, if at all. Over the years, companies have learned the ease and importance of phoning and visiting reference sites for benchmarking purposes. Much information can be gleaned at all levels in the reference company as to the strengths and weaknesses of the CMMS vendor and package. Critical success factors can be discussed regarding software and hardware implementation, managing the vendor relationship, ensuring proper process design to fit the package and many other areas. 5. Greater emphasis on vendor partnership: After more than a decade of three-letter acronyms such as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Reliability-Centred Maintenance (RCM) and so on, forming supplier partnerships or strategic alliances has become a natural part of the vendor selection process. Companies have realized that they are not just buying the CMMS package that best meets technical specifications. They are entering a relationship with a supplier/partner that can add value over an extended period of time. This explains why companies are interested in such services as implementation, training, Internet and telephone support, consulting, and user groups.
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