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10 ways to reduce company costs by automating your maintenance operations

Asset management can burden businesses if it’s not managed correctly. And in today’s economic climate, reducing that burden is critical to both survival and profitability. In a recent survey by McKinsey, 62% of company leaders reported above-inflation increases in their asset maintenance costs, without experiencing the same gains in productivity.

How can companies not only cap the cost of maintenance, but adapt their asset management strategy to lower their operational overheads? The answer lies in automation.

Here are ten ways in which automating your asset maintenance operations using CMMS/CAFM software can help to lower your overall company costs:

  1. Less unplanned downtime
  2. Faulty machinery is a huge cost drain. For example, in the UK manufacturing industry, equipment downtime through unplanned breakdowns and faulty parts costs companies over £180 billion annually.

    Automating maintenance operations through CMMS/CAFM software will give your company greater insight into how your assets are performing, how often they need servicing and when parts are due to be replaced.

    Tracking this information will allow your business to move from corrective maintenance to preventative maintenance, reducing the likelihood of unplanned downtime.

    Read more: why corrective maintenance could be costing you more than you think.

  3. Longer asset lifespans
  4. Optimised maintenance programmes do more than reduce equipment downtime: they also help you extend your critical assets’ lifespan.

    CMMS/CAFM software allows you to monitor the performance and availability of your machinery so that you can intelligently plan upgrades, servicing and repairs.

    Taking a preventative approach allows you to protect the performance of each asset. And it can shift the focus from complete machinery repairs to replacing individual components, which is a quicker and simpler process that requires fewer resources.

  5. More accurate asset management
  6. While preventative maintenance will help you to reduce unplanned downtime, there is a danger of being ‘too proactive’ and overservicing equipment, inflating your spending on resources and parts.

    Collecting data on the runtimes and failure rates of your equipment using CMMS software can help you to build a picture of how often each machine needs checking and upgrading.

    Increasing the accuracy of your asset management plans means you’re finding the ‘sweet spot’ for replacing components without overspending on spare parts and the resources needed to make changes to assets. Your software should also send automatic reminders to the maintenance team when each service is due.

  7. Lower energy consumption
  8. Sometimes critical assets seem fine, but they’re running under capacity. This can result in equipment using energy without delivering the required level of performance.

    Automating asset management enables you to improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), so you’re extracting maximum value from your machinery. If you’re working in a production environment, increasing OEE will also help you to cut back on overtime payments. It also means you’re not increasing energy consumption to maintain production volumes.

  9. Quicker responses to work orders
  10. It’s not just asset and energy costs that can compromise your budget. If you’re not optimising your workflows, operational overheads can spiral.

    Investing in CMMS/CAFM software digitalises and streamlines work order management to make planning, management and thus resource availability more efficient. Many of the tasks your maintenance planning team is currently completing manually can be automated. This will enable them to respond quicker to incoming requests, as they’ll know which resources and skills are readily available. Automation not only improves service levels; it helps to maximise asset availability and up-time.

    Deep dive: five key factors to consider when choosing a CMMS/CAFM solution.

  11. Less reliance on external maintenance services
  12. When work orders levels increase due to poor preventative maintenance, the related scheduling and rescheduling can impact resource availability. Many companies turn to external technicians to help them keep up with maintenance requirements, but contractors can be costly.

    Automating core maintenance processes using CMMS/CAFM software will help your in-house team to increase their efficiency, so you can get more done in a day. In addition, by upping your pace of work, you’re much less likely to need support from third-party contractors.

  13. No unnecessary new hires
  14. Finding skilled technicians isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap. Recruiting the right talent can cost companies from £3,000 – £12,000 per employee.

    Gaining a better understanding of which skills will be required to conduct your maintenance operations will help you plan the future resources you require. And CMMS/CAFM can help you work out this information based on strong plans and schedules. As a result, your business can grow its maintenance operation and increase asset efficiency without necessarily hiring new staff.

    Plus, for your planning team, the automation of repetitive tasks will be a welcome development – and happy, motivated staff are less likely to quit their job.

  15. Better inventory management
  16. While most companies recognise that machinery is a cost centre, fewer consider the impact of spare parts on overall spending.

    Poorly managed replacement component inventory can result in significant overspending. For example, duplicating parts already in stock, or paying for express deliveries on critical out-of-stock parts.

    CMMS/CAFM software reduces the cost of replacement parts by automating inventory management and integrating data with other purchasing systems that you have in place. You can then align stock levels and availability with planned preventative maintenance schedules, to ensure the necessary components are available whenever and wherever they are needed.

  17. No more paperwork!
  18. Historically, maintenance has been a paper-based operation, with planners reviewing and scheduling using calendars and spreadsheets. Many technicians also still rely on printouts to work through each job request. This is an inefficient way for planning and maintenance operations teams to work – and the printing bill can soon mount up!

    CMMS software automates maintenance planning to help organisations like yours become paper-free. In addition to lowering your stationery bill, you can send digital updates to your maintenance team so they can receive instructions and updates on the move, improving their pace of work as well as response times and thus service levels.

  19. Clearer cost metrics
  20. One of the best ways to track the cost-saving benefits of CMMS/CAFM software is to set up and measure maintenance KPIs.

    Several metrics can help your company to benchmark and reduce the cost of asset management. These include:

    • Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
    • Mean time to repair
    • Percentage of planned maintenance
    • Maintenance cost per asset
    • Percentage of completed work orders
    • Shift team efficiency comparisons
    • The data can be analysed to help you set and then compare KPIs, so all your team members can work towards the same performance goals in a culture of continuous improvement.

      A great example of KPIs driving tangible improvement is Ibstock Brick’s use of ShireSystem to set and track metrics such as PM completion rates and follow-on work orders. Within five months of deploying ShireSystem in its Leicester factory, Ibstock Brick increased OEE from 46%-56% and improved availability from 67%-81%.

      Read Ibstock Brick’s full story.

Automate your maintenance operation with ShireSystem

Automating asset management and maintenance operations can have a tangible impact on your overall profitability. A recent study by Bain & Company found that companies spending at least 20% of their IT budget on automation reduced the cost of their processes by 17% on average, compared to just 7% of companies spending less than 5% on automation.

Elecosoft has seen the positive impact of automation on maintenance operations through companies using ShireSystem, our CMMS/CAFM software.

For example, ADI Facilities Engineering has automated 90% of its maintenance work using ShireSystem. “It’s much quicker and simpler to manage incoming work because nobody on our side is having to capture and interpret information on behalf of the customer,” remarks ADI’s Facilities Manager, Michael Hepburn. “It’s all done centrally and automatically, and it gives each customer the power to manage their own job requests.”

ShireSystem has also empowered Chester Zoo to maintain all the assets across its 128-acre site centrally. For instance, staff automatically receive updates whenever the status of open jobs change. ShireSystem tracks metrics such as response times and first-fix rates to ensure the zoo’s maintenance work progresses at pace.

Automate your maintenance operation and reduce company costs: book your ShireSystem demo to learn more.

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