Speed Of Communication, Quality Of Production: 6 Steps To Achieving Paperless Maintenance

achieving paperless maintenance

Many maintenance departments have tossed the old, paper preventative maintenance work orders into the recycle bin and stepped into the shiny, new maintenance tool of today, the CMMS. Although most businesses and facilities would prefer a paperless maintenance system, it can seem a very daunting task to undertake, and many businesses fear the loss of records would be far too probable to risk moving from a traditional paperwork order system to a paperless system, such as a CMMS.

In reality, the most frequent issues in going to a paperless maintenance system have already been identified, and in most cases, there are already documented solutions for the common mistakes, problems, and bugs. The chances are, if something does occur during the data transfer process, it isn’t a new glitch, and there is more than likely a quick solution to get your data where it needs to be without any further issues.

The benefits of moving into a paperless maintenance system are plentiful, and if you follow a clear and concise plan of action, it should be a nearly seamless transition that is beneficial to your entire facility, not just the maintenance department. An example of such a plan of action is to:

Set Facility Goals and KPI’s In Clear Terms

Without goals to achieve, it can become easy to settle for the current status quo as maximum efficiency. However, by setting and meeting goals, you can quickly see trends in the data that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. Key performance indicators, or KPI’s, can provide valuable insight into the production, repair, and preventative maintenance incidents and successes as they occur in your facility.

Find Your Administrator And Develop Their Tasks And Goals

In organizations with highly successful paperless maintenance systems, you’ll typically find they have a dedicated CMMS administrator. This is an individual who is tasked with being the resident guru on the CMMS software and is usually in charge of building and maintaining the information blocks that form the framework of the system.

By having all information updated, added, or deleted by one person, you avoid junk data files like duplicate or inactive entries. By keeping the CMMS data files clean, accurate, and current, you also ensure your reports are not skewed, and that your financial information agrees with the accounting system used by your company. This can also aid in matters like the 3 point match invoice payment system, and other in house accounting processes.

List Your Top 10 “Must Achieve” Tasks

We all want to get everything done Today. It is what makes us so good at our jobs, and so prepared for the next task. In reality, however, there are only so many hours in the workday, so it’s important to prioritize. As you prepare to unroll your paperless maintenance system, plan to achieve 10 major goals aided by the use of the CMMS, and work toward completing and reviewing those 10 goals before setting the next 10 goals for your facility. Don’t be afraid to build your goal list in small steps, so that it isn’t overwhelming, but is, instead, a tool to better your facility.

Review And Edit Your Existing Facility Processes

Not all of the processes that a company has in place are effective or current, that’s just the truth of the matter. Prior to going paperless, take this as your opportunity to review the existing facility processes and methods of completion, deleting old methods, and updating every process to the current and active process. Your facility is constantly evolving and growing, and it’s important to remember that the processes for completing work grow and change along with it.

Scan Documents And Archive All Paper Files

When moving to a paperless maintenance system, remember to physically remove the paper files. Although there are many reasons for this, topping the list is the fact that going paperless is pointless if you leave old and outdated paper copies of procedures and work orders floating around to keep everyone confused. Scan all documents that aren’t currently on the company drive, then file them away with the remainder of your paper file archives. The only maintenance documents available to anyone should be located on the CMMS itself.

Train Staff Using A Universal System Entry Format

By using a universal entry format for all entries into the CMMS, you ensure the data listed there can be interpreted by anyone looking at it. For example, if all operators of heavy equipment log their time as Operator ID, Equipment ID, Equipment Location, it allows every to understand the exact location of the specific piece of information in every entry, because every entry is written in the exact same format. This not only saves time in editing and reporting, but it also ensures only clean and detailed information is recorded in your CMMS.


Author Bio: By Talmage Wagstaff,co-Founder and CEO of REDLIST. Raised in a construction environment, Talmage has been involved in heavy equipment since he was a toddler. He has degrees and extensive experience in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering. Talmage worked for several years as a field engineer with ExxonMobil servicing many of the largest industrial production facilities in the Country.

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