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Bearing in Mind the Importance of Metal

 

Metal image

Guest blog by Barton Henderson, Manager at Statewide Bearings

All machine elements are subject to damage and malfunction. To minimize these damages, choosing the right part for the right job is essential. Every metal has its own specific properties and comes in many different grades of quality. Leaving out the difference between one type of material and another can lead to significant damages to both the material and the machine in which it functions.

Manufactured for a Function

It’s obvious that if you intend to use structural components and mechanisms in strenuous conditions, the part must be constructed with the capacity to endure these conditions. Working in high temperatures is very different than with high speeds. A machine built to handle heavy loads needs very different components than a machine built to run underwater.

Some bearings, for instance, are specifically shaped to handle the severe vibrations of high speeds. On the other hand, others are built to resist softening and deformation under high temperatures. If you are using a component for a task it is not adequately suited for, the consequences can be dangerous and awfully costly. Even components made out of other materials, such as plastics and different grades of rubber must be used for their specific purpose. For example, a flat belt meant specifically for durability in extremely low temperatures will not work well when used in a normal temperature and high tension environment.
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Can Pay-for-Performance Increase Equipment ROI?

Check

On the surface, pay-for-performance programs seem to offer a straightforward way to boost output and other performance metrics. After all, nobody is going to pass up an opportunity to make more money, right?

After years of pay-for-performance experiments in a wide range of industries, the answer has come back: it depends. Some companies claim to have seen improvements, while others insist that performance incentives not only have no impact, but can actually undermine company harmony by fostering a climate of cutthroat competition.

Whether they’re for or against pay-for-performance schemes, however, most companies do share at least one thing in common: they often lack concrete metrics for defining rewards, and therefore often have difficulty determining whether productivity has, in fact, increased.

Outside of manufacturing, where output is relatively straightforward, many companies struggle to find basic measures of productivity that reliably reflect changes in employee performance. This is where maintenance software systems come in.

Output at the employee level can be difficult to ascertain, but the performance of a company’s assets is relatively easy to track with the right tools.  Since asset performance is linked closely to overall company performance, it can serve as a solid baseline for measuring improvement, and create a work environment in which it is the shared responsibility of all employees to take good care of equipment, report problems early, and evaluate the performance of maintenance personnel.

A recent article in IndustryWeek tackles the pay-for-performance debate (also referred to as P4P in the article) with a series of questions that managers should ask when considering such a program. A closer look at a few of these key questions reveals the specific ways in which maintenance software could be used to address them:

+ “Have you been on the continuous improvement journey for at least five years?” Continue reading

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How CMMS Helps Manufacturers Win Business

Factory

What started as a slow turnaround in manufacturing has lately started to look more like a full-fledged revival. July marked the 14th straight month of expansion for the sector, and the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index reached its highest level in over three years.

Industry analysts have offered a number of explanations for this growth: more manufacturing jobs are returning to the U.S. from China in a process that has been dubbed “re-shoring;” domestic energy production, particularly in areas such as shale, continues to grow steadily; businesses have become more lean and efficient in response to unpredictable market conditions.

Beyond the particular causes, however, there is only one thing that matters to manufacturing businesses: the time is ripe for growth and expansion. The question is, how can companies position themselves to take maximum advantage?

A recent article from IMPO on the 11 questions that manufacturers should ask before partnering with another company provides a key part of the answer. Their first three questions, in particular, highlight a single, critical theme that will help manufacturing companies attract more business: organizational efficiency.

A closer look at each of these three questions reveals why organizational efficiency is important, as well as specific ways that CMMS systems can help enhance it.

+ “Is the contract manufacturer operating with an open book?”

Transparency is integral to trust, which is the foundation of any business arrangement. A company that invests proper time and effort into data tracking and analysis will therefore be at a large advantage when it comes to landing new contracts and partnerships.

Elite manufacturers track asset data using CMMS because it is the most accurate and reliable way to get a true handle on equipment ROI, downtime, operational efficiency, etc. Detailed reports can be run on these metrics and shared with prospective clients and vendors, providing insight into the company’s operations.

This is why CMMS systems are a prerequisite for my many large manufacturing contracts and partnerships. Companies need assurance that the production processes of their contractors and partners conform to independent standards. CMMS systems provide the insight necessary to provide that assurance.

+ “Does the contract manufacturer have a quality program?”

Compliance with quality management standards, such as ISO 9001:2008, is a central requirement in many manufacturing contracts and partnerships. These demands underscore the need for transparency and quality assurance raised in the previous question. Continue reading

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2 Ways to Spot Problem Employees with Maintenance Software

trouble employee

Mistakes happen, but every company has to draw the line somewhere. How many mistakes have to be made—and how costly do those mistakes have to be—before a company must take disciplinary action, hire a new employee, or switch vendors?

Like many of the most vexing problems that businesses face, the process of identifying a problem employee or vendor is a matter of identifying overall trends. The trouble is, many companies lack a system to track the data necessary to do so, or they rely on inefficient, outdated methods like paper systems or basic spreadsheets.

This is where leading maintenance management solutions like ManagerPlus come in handy. Companies that track their assets and manage their workflow in a centralized, digital format can use that information to spot wasteful or inefficient employees and/or vendors in several critical ways.

+ Estimated versus actual hours. Within ManagerPlus, estimated hours can be entered directly onto work orders, making it easy to run a variance report to see exactly what the difference is between how long an employee or vendor is claiming a job will take, and how long they’re actually spending on it. Continue reading

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Reducing Regulatory Costs: 5 Reasons to Ditch Paper Systems for Maintenance Software

Paper nightmare

Debates over the effectiveness and necessity of government regulations have long been a fixture of political debates. The question is usually whether, or to what extent, government agencies should intervene in the economy to protect citizens from the costs or “externalities” associated with commercial enterprise.

Aside from the question of whether regulations are necessary, however, there is little debate over their cost: most measures, including those taken by the government itself, paint a striking picture. Regulations cost billions, if not trillions of dollars every year—and they continue to grow.

Businesses have limited means at their disposal to cope with these demands. Litigation and political lobbying are options, but are only viable for companies large enough to absorb the costs.

What, then, can companies do to combat these soaring costs? There is one key way in which businesses, both large and small, continue to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to regulatory compliance: continued reliance on paper-based systems.

According to studies, companies are effectively magnifying their regulatory costs by billions of dollars every year by relying on paper systems for compliance. Once physical storage, disposal, postage, administrative labor, and other variables are factored in, the actual cost of paper can be up to 31 times the price of the paper itself.

Fortunately, companies that use maintenance software systems with inspections functionality can easily reduce their reliance on paper by moving key regulatory processes to a secure, centralized digital format.

Here are 5 key ways that maintenance software solutions can help companies make this transition: Continue reading

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6 Tips for Earthmoving Equipment Maintenance

earthmoving equipment

Earthmoving equipment is expensive and complex. Because of this, there are many things you must do to keep it safe and functioning properly. Equipment and tools that function correctly have a lower chance of causing injuries or deaths. This is especially important since thousands of workers are injured annually by earthmoving equipment. Follow these six tips to keep your equipment, tools, and workers safe.

1. Clean Your Earthmoving Machinery Properly

A great way to keep earthmoving equipment and tools safe is to clean it thoroughly. This type of equipment has to do difficult and dirty work which can alter the performance of the machine. Because of this, earthmoving machinery and all its parts should be cleaned regularly.  Continue reading

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The Elk River Chemical Spill: A Preventive Maintenance Cautionary Tale

Drinking Water Contaminated, a Company Bankrupted, a Federal Emergency Declared: All Because of One Leaky Tank

Last January, when it was discovered that a single leaky tank had poured some 10,000 gallons of an industrial chemical into the Elk River in West Virginia, contaminating the drinking water of 300,000 residents, Freedom Industries, the company responsible, filed for bankruptcy within eight days.

But they weren’t the only business affected. In the aftermath of the incident, which was declared a federal emergency by president Obama, representatives from a range of industries, including tourism, hospitality, and food services, signed a letter to West Virginia’s government calling for increased regulation and stronger enforcement.

For a state known for its opposition to all forms of government intervention, the letter signaled a remarkable shift in sentiment. But when considered in light of recent history, the reaction among businesses becomes less surprising: the spill was the third such incident in the past five years, and Freedom Industries’ facilities had not been inspected since 1991.

Thus far, these efforts have helped strengthen regulations pertaining to above-ground chemical storage tanks, but it remains to be seen whether more sweeping changes are in store. Thus far, no additional legislation has been proposed, and lawmakers remain wary of provoking backlash from the state’s powerful coal industry. Continue reading

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Could This Year’s NBA Championship be Determined by Electrical Maintenance?

LeBron James is, by almost all accounts, the most formidable player in the NBA. But Thursday night, during game 1 of this year’s NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, he proved that even a player of his stature and athleticism is no match for…faulty air conditioning.

Temperatures at the AT&T Center in San Antonio reached 90 degrees after the building’s air conditioning went down. At the tail end of four quarters of high-intensity competition, James was felled by leg cramps so severe that the 6’8″ 250 lb forward had to be carried off the court.

The impact on the Heat was immediate: a close game quickly became a late route for the Spurs, who went on a 21-7 run to put away the defending champs. All James could do was watch from the sideline.

Unpredictable circumstances are a part of every sport, but it isn’t often that a maintenance problem takes the sport’s most famous player off the court at a pivotal point in the game. So the question is, was the AC failure preventable?

+ Electrical Preventive Maintenance

Various news reports attribute the AC failure to a problem with the electrical system, but don’t generally offer much detail. In trying to determine whether the problem was preventable, however, the specifics may not be all that important.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), electrical components that do not receive regular preventive maintenance are three times likelier to fail. Given these odds, it may be possible that the maintenance professionals at the AT&T Center performed regular preventive maintenance on the facility’s electrical systems, but probably more likely that they didn’t.

This doesn’t necessarily imply gross negligence on the part of AT&T Center staff–preventive maintenance on electrical systems is often poorly understood or neglected. One thing that is clear, however, is that these preventive maintenance practices should be more widely adopted.

+ Basic checks

Two of the most common causes of electrical outages are loose parts and connections, and exposure to moisture. Both can be easily addressed through regularly scheduled checks.

Multimeters can be used to check voltage levels and spot issues early before they develop into bigger problems. Annual inspections of wiring can also identify early signs of damage and wear.

These are just a few examples, but they are relatively simple and easy to perform. Not every electrical failure will be as high-profile as the one that affected the outcome of last night’s game, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less damaging.

Be sure to check back here regularly for all the latest maintenance tips, news and insights from ManagerPlus.

 

 

 

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What Companies Want in CMMS Software: Key Lessons from the Software Advice Survey

Thousands of interviews with company owners and managers conducted by Software Advice, a preventive maintenance software evaluation company, on the topic of maintenance management have revealed a puzzling fact: the need for tools like CMMS to streamline maintenance operations and asset tracking is as strong as ever, yet a striking number of companies remain reluctant to transition away from familiar paper or spreadsheet-based manual systems.

According to a recent Software Advice survey, some 48% of the companies interviewed still rely on these outdated methods to track their maintenance, and a further 19% said that they weren’t tracking maintenance at all. Together, they account for a whopping 67% of the companies surveyed.

So what’s holding these companies back? The survey was conducted among companies interested in implementing a CMMS system, with some 62% citing the need to improve operational efficiency—so it’s clear that they see the value in these solutions. And fully 80% of the companies surveyed said they plan on implementing a system within the next six months, so there’s also a strong sense of urgency to get something in place.

The persistent reluctance to implement a system must therefore involve some other factor. One explanation of these puzzling results comes from John Rimer, owner of FM360 Consulting and a 15-year veteran of the facilities management industries, who suggests that many of these companies consider the process of transferring data to a new system “laborious and risky.”

Among the 22% of companies surveyed who already use a CMMS system but are looking to upgrade, increasing efficiency and moving to a more modern solution were two of the most common motivating factors.

With 20 years of experience providing CMMS solutions, ManagerPlus brings understanding and expertise to these issues. Here are three key lessons from the Software Advice survey and how ManagerPlus products and solutions are specifically designed to address them:

+ Data Transfer and Product Implementation. Companies are wise to be cautious when it comes to transitioning to a new system. Errors made during the initial setup can doom it to failure, wasting substantial time and money.

This is why it is crucial that companies do their homework and learn about the implementation and training services offered by CMMS providers. Feature sets and functionality matter little if the system isn’t set up properly, and companies need to ask detailed questions about how the transition will be handled before making a purchase.

The best way to ensure that the transition process is minimally “laborious and risky,” is to entrust it to implementation and training experts who know what they’re doing.  ManagerPlus consistently ranks among the most popular CMMS providers in large part because of our best-in-class implementation and training solutions.

The idea that our performance is measured by our clients’ success is central to our company philosophy, which is why we invest substantially in implementation and training and always treat these services as a priority—we’ve even published thought pieces in industry leading journals on the subject.

The bottom line: the extent to which a CMMS provider understands the implementation/transition process is a measure of how effective their products are likely to be.

+ The need for modern software. Among the companies looking to replace their existing CMMS system, 24% cited the need for a more modern solution. According to the report, some of the companies were still using DOS-based systems that have been outdated for well over a decade.

In CMMS, it is common to find companies that offer a basic software package that they do not regularly update or improve. And in many cases, if improvements are made, they tend to be more maintenance oriented, addressing compatibility issues rather than introducing new functionality.

This is why ManagerPlus has embraced the role of a solutions provider: we realize that our clients’ ongoing success depends on our ability to stay ahead of the curve technologically by expanding our functionality and developing on new platforms such as mobile and SaaS.

+ Perfecting core functionality.  Preventive maintenance, asset management, and work order management remain the key needs driving CMMS adoption, but you wouldn’t know it to look at some CMMS vendors.

Many CMMS providers have not improved their core functionality for years, while others have been purchased by larger companies that offer more broad-based solutions. In the latter case, the maintenance management piece is often neglected as a small part of a huge, complex system.

Even as our products have expanded and improved, ManagerPlus has remained committed to perfecting the core functionality that our clients need most. In virtually every new release and update of our products, we introduce tweaks and changes that improve our clients’ experience and make their jobs easier.

+ Conclusion. Companies who are on the fence over whether to implement a CMMS system have a lot of factors to consider. Fortunately, as we’ve seen, a simple review of ManagerPlus products and services can make the decision simple.

 

 

 

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ManagerPlus Receives High Ranking In CMMS Popularity Report

capterra-featured-top20-maintenance-badge (2)

ManagerPlus has issued a press release announcing that it has received one of the highest rankings in a recent report on CMMS provider popularity. Rapid customer base growth, strong customer retention, and a concerted effort to expand ManagerPlus’ presence across all major social media channels have combined to make ManagerPlus a leader in the CMMS industry.

Check out the full press release here: htttp://www.managerplus.com/press/articles/ManagerPlus_Receives_High_Ranking_In_CMMS_Popularity_Report

 

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