Preventative Maintenance Program Software
A PM program can only be as effective as is the management of its data. The amount of data managed, including accuracy, record keeping, and reporting, determines if the data management system can be paper based (manual) or electronic (software). The key question, is a Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) software program required for your PM program to be successful? For sites with approximately 50 or less units, it is possible to operate effectively on a basic paper system; for some smaller communities, software may not be the right investment. Sites between approximately 51 and 120 units can see a real return on investment in some form of computerization; increases in productivity, efficiency and satisfaction. For those communities above 120 units, it is very difficult, especially in the long term, to manage effectively without some level of CMMS software.
With all of the computer programs available (from managing the fire system, building temperatures, and even the phone system), it is important to identify which options are crucial. These can have a huge impact on your PM program, providing a tool to manage and organize the maintenance departments; it is fundamental to expect productivity gains and reduce turnaround time on work orders, and experience longer asset lives while increasing staff and resident satisfaction.
If CMMS software is something to consider, keep in mind software on its own is never an answer in and of itself. A successful deployment requires training, implementation, and teamwork. Time should be allotted for the setup of the program, and staff and residents should be educated in what is being done, why, and how it affects them individually. This will help ensure a successful deployment for years to come.
Various CMMS software programs come with varying levels of features and functions. The key to a successful deployment is to decide what tasks and benefits are fundamental, and focus on those functions first. A typical software package can include:
- Work Request Functions – ability for front line staff and residents to submit requests for work
- Work Order Management – allowing maintenance to accept, prioritize, assign and manage requests
- Preventative Maintenance – providing pop up reminders for required tasks as well as procedures and time estimates
- Quality Assurance Dashboards and Reporting – provide snapshot details on key metrics like overdue work orders, inventory reorder, contracts terms, etc.
- Asset Management – tracking historical repairs and asset details such as identification, warranties, estimated life spans, cost, vendors, etc.
- Contractor and Staff Management – who’s doing what work for how long
- Reporting – using the data collected to report to maintenance and management
- Inventory & Purchase Order Tracking – where supplies go and inventory management
- Resident Billings – for special/additional maintenance work
- Maintenance Staff Handhelds – for completing work, adding work in the field, etc.
Many of the CMMS software packages on the market have been designed for the industrial or manufacturing sectors; these products are generally complex and do not address the resident-focused nature of the senior living field. The good news is there are packages designed for senior living organizations with features, functions, training, implementation, and templates specific to the field.
Look for a CMMS software and vendor that:
- Is easy to use
- Can be customized to your site – can your buildings be called what you already call them?
- Uses language and acronyms unique to the field and familiar to your staff
- Features built-in reports designed to your real business needs – the vendor should know your business model and reporting needs
- Comes with an implementation plan including setup and training
- Provides ongoing support and training programs – personnel changes may require more training and support
- Has a proven history of successful deployments in your field
Keep in mind, you should feel comfortable working with your CMMS software vendor as a partner in the deployment and ongoing management of the software. The complete success of your PM program may depend on this relationship.
About the Author:
John zumBrunnen is Founder and CEO of zumBrunnen, Inc., an independent construction and building consulting firm founded in 1989. zumBrunnen has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of North Dakota, completed the US Army Corps of Engineers Training Program in 1972, and is a member of LeadingAge and Community Associations Institute on national and state levels. zumBrunnen has 40+ years of experience in construction, property assessment, development, and reserve budgeting. He is the inventor of the FacilityForecast® software system and a respected author and speaker in the industry.