When Benjamin Franklin coined the now cliché phrase ‘time is money’ in his 1748 pamphlet, Advice to a Young Tradesman. Written by an Old One, he was illustrating the concept of opportunity costs for an American audience that was just becoming acquainted with the theories of labor relations and exchange that would become the founding principles of economics.
The concept is simple: the true cost of any given activity can only be determined when forgone opportunities to generate income or value are factored into the calculation. Franklin gives the example of a laborer who can earn 10 shillings (a couple hundred dollars) per day working, but chooses to spend half of the day on some unproductive diversion instead. While the laborer may only spend a small amount of money on their chosen diversion, the true cost of their decision must include the opportunity that was passed up to earn an extra five shillings working.
Today, opportunity costs remain a major concern for businesses in every industry, but the factors determining what those costs are, and even the concept of time itself, have undergone significant changes in the 266 years since Franklin coined his famous phrase. Cost calculations must include a complex range of factors, including equipment maintenance, regulatory compliance and inventory control, while time is increasingly measured in terms of the instantaneous availability of data in ‘real time.’
In other words, modern companies looking to use their time more efficiently need accurate, up to date information about all of their costs, and they need to be able to act on that data quickly. This is why computerized maintenance management solutions (CMMS) like ManagerPlus have become a necessity for companies in asset-intensive industries.
Scheduling in Real Time
Finding time to schedule preventive maintenance services and regulatory inspections, while also keeping track of inventory, labor, and other data can be a huge challenge for companies that rely on outdated tools such as spreadsheets and paper systems. Because these tools offer little to no automation, data must be input manually every step of the way, which can cause a major lag in information availability.
For example, if a maintenance shop enters log values for equipment utilization, such as hours and miles into paper log books, this information must usually be re-entered into a spreadsheet so that calculations can be made. In many cases, the task of re-entering the data is performed once a week at most, as it is difficult to consistently enter it on a daily basis–some shops only record these values when a piece of equipment comes in for service.
Because of this, it can be easy to fall behind on tracking this crucial data, which must be accurate in order to perform effective preventive maintenance and increase asset ROI. And even if this data is tracked consistently, it will still be outdated by the time it reaches the maintenance manager’s hands, as much of it was likely entered a week or more previously.
Best in class asset/equipment management solutions like ManagerPlus virtually eliminate this time lag by centralizing all critical data in an easy-to-access database, and by enabling workers to submit log values and other information using their phone or tablet from virtually any location.
With these solutions in place, a maintenance manager doesn’t have to waste time tracking down and consolidating data from far flung sources, and doesn’t have to worry that the information will be outdated by the time it reaches his or her hands. Maintenance and inspections schedules can thus be prioritized using real time data, and managers can see an accurate, up-to-date picture of their operations, which can help them eliminate bottlenecks and delays.
In Franklin’s calculation, companies that use paper or spreadsheet systems are wasting time, and therefore money, by waiting for actionable data on their equipment. Implementing a CMMS solution like ManagerPlus helps companies spend more time working to keep their equipment in optimum condition rather than the administrative burdens of tracking and consolidating their data manually.
Minimizing downtime is a mission critical objective for every asset-intensive industry. Yet many companies still respond to equipment failure with methods that aren’t all that far-removed from those that were available back in Franklin’s day.
When a piece of equipment goes down, causing work to come to a halt, it is crucial that the entire company be on the same page in order to act quickly and efficiently to get it back up and running. Playing phone/email tag with maintenance staff and workers in the field is not an efficient way to address these issues when they arise.
This is why it is important to have a centralized database to track equipment data. With ManagerPlus, a worker on the jobsite can submit a work request ticket the instant a machine goes down, which can include a description of the situation, pictures of any damage, and other information that will be helpful to the zero in on the problem and get it fixed fast.
The ManagerPlus system also offer the option to convert emergency requests into work orders, further cutting down on the lag between the discovery of an issue and mobilizing the resources necessary to resolve it. These work orders can automatically be assigned to the proper mechanic, along with information on all the parts and asset details necessary for them to act quickly.
With a system like ManagerPlus in place, companies are therefore able to dramatically reduce the opportunity costs associated with equipment downtime. Critical information can be accessed by everyone who needs it, and that information will be accurate in real time.
Automated tasks within ManagerPlus thus help connect the dots when emergencies crop up, which means that maintenance managers don’t have to scramble to do all of that work themselves. And by scheduling preventive maintenance and inspections in ManagerPlus, they’ll have far fewer emergencies to deal with in the first place.
Ultimately, systems like ManagerPlus help companies bring their maintenance and operational management back to the simple calculus that Franklin set forth over two centuries ago. More and more companies are using ManagerPlus to make better use of their time to save money.