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How CMMS Can Increase Profit Margins in the Waste Management Industry, Pt. 1

 Garbage truck

If the housing and construction industries were “ground zero” of the Great Recession, the waste management industry was right there with them, enduring the worst consequences as building and production virtually came to a halt and the volume of waste materials fell precipitously.

And like the housing and construction industries, the path to recovery for waste management companies has been slow and painful. Profit margins still haven’t fully recovered, and companies must find ways to ramp up capacity to respond to recovering demand, without further eroding margins.

These challenges are playing out over a competitive landscape that has been undergoing a major shift toward privatization since the early 90s. This means that there’s more business to be won for private companies, and more pressure on public waste management organizations to run lean, innovative operations.

This is why CMMS solutions can be particularly beneficial for waste management companies: they help keep equipment running in top condition to minimize downtime, streamline workflow, and provide management with the hard operational data they need to make smart decisions about equipment life cycles and upgrades.

+ Minimize Downtime. In an environment where margins are thin, it is vitally important to reduce costs associated with sudden equipment/vehicle failures. Maintenance costs have been a key focus for the industry for the past several years, but it can be difficult to bring these costs down without an accurate, reliable scheduling and workflow management system in place.

Without such a system, companies may be tempted to reduce maintenance overall by cutting back on preventive maintenance tasks. This strategy can prove disastrous down the road, however, as machines and vehicles are operated until total failure occurs and major repairs and replacements must be made.

Instead, companies should focus on making their maintenance smarter, rather than haphazardly cutting back and waiting for disaster to strike. The best way to accomplish this is to create a centralized database of all equipment and vehicles and automate schedules based on time intervals and log values.

+ Streamline Workflow. The effort to streamline maintenance costs can easily become dominated by the maintenance work itself, with little or no consideration for how it is scheduled and handled on the administrative side.

Companies that still rely on paper scheduling and asset tracking systems provide a perfect example of this. Any time a preventive maintenance task comes due, an administrator or maintenance manager must spend time hunting down information to determine what needs to be done, who the work needs to be assigned to, and then try to track down the necessary parts, instructions, and other information necessary to get the job done right.

The purpose of CMMS systems is to put all of this information in a centralized place that can be accessed easily by everyone who needs it. Maintenance staff can download an app to their phone where they can find open work orders with all of the information they need and complete them on the spot, avoiding the tangle of administrative email chains and phone tag that can prolong turnaround time.

Work orders can be set to trigger automatically at specific intervals and log values, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks and all necessary maintenance is being performed in a consistent, timely manner.

+ Make smart decisions about equipment lifecycles. Keeping track of historical maintenance costs makes it easy to determine which assets should be replaced, and which should be kept. Yet many companies make these decisions without any supporting data.

In cases where companies pursue the run to failure approach described above, a lack of historical data can be particularly damaging. It can be difficult to establish a sense of what is normal in terms of repair costs if there is no historical data to use to establish an average.

Certain assets could be failing at a much higher rate than others, and management could be unaware because they’re using nothing other than their own intuition to analyze the situation. Given the huge number of issues that they must deal with on a daily basis, it would be next to impossible to expect them to be able to make an accurate assessment.

CMMS solutions like ManagerPlus remove the guesswork and replace it with easy-to-generate reports. No time needs to be wasted tracking down information in paper or spreadsheet systems that tend to be inaccurate.

These are just a few of the ways that CMMS solutions like ManagerPlus can dramatically improve operational efficiency and profit margins for waste management companies. Stay tuned for part two where we will be exploring the ways that CMMS can help manage regulatory compliance and implement new technologies.




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