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Gas Storage Tank Maintenance: Quick Tips and Fixes

gas pump

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere (and maybe even then) you’ve undoubtedly heard the good news: gas prices are nearly 50 percent lower than they were a year ago.

Fleet companies, heavy equipment contractors, and other companies, apart from those working directly in the oil and gas industry, have seen their costs fall substantially as a result. Some are even making plans to expand into new, far flung territories that high gas prices had once rendered out of reach.

According to some estimates, the low prices represent the equivalent of a $60 billion economic stimulus. Even if your company isn’t planning a major project or expansion, now is the time to stock up on gas—prices are already starting to rebound around the country, so take advantage while you can.

In most cases, this means you’ll need to fill your Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST) to capacity. And while you’re at it, you might also want to take this opportunity to inspect these tanks to ensure that they’re safe and environment-friendly.

Purdue University has a free in-depth guide for AST inspections and safety that we highly recommend reading in full. Here are a few of their suggestions, along with tips on how to implement them with your maintenance management software. Continue reading

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The Power of Focus + Intent

MPlus high fives

ManagerPlus employees high-fiving each other at the 2014 Annual Award Luncheon

In this week’s blog, ManagerPlus Marketing Assistant Nimo Abdulle examines some of our company’s guiding precepts and encourages other companies to seek ways to adopt them.

How focus + intent led ManagerPlus to unity + success

ManagerPlus had a phenomenal year of growth and development in 2014. We celebrated the year’s achievements during the company’s Annual Award Luncheon and with almost 50+ employees in attendance it was easy to forget ManagerPlus’ small beginnings in 1992.  Over the past 22 years, M+ has grown into one of the top leading CMMS software providers, servicing over 10,000 businesses located all over the globe. So the natural questions then are: how has this come to be and how can you replicate this in your own organization?

Identify Your Focus

The first-century Roman Philosopher, Seneca, once related this poignant piece of advice to a friend who had trouble getting centered in his studies, “To be everywhere is to be nowhere,” he said. What Seneca was relaying was that it’s simply better to extend focus and efforts in one area instead of being all over the map and losing perspective altogether. A more common expression is the reference to someone being a “Jack of all trades, but master of none.”

In today’s day and age we see plenty of businesses that are unwilling or incapable in identifying their core message or goals. They diversify their services so much in an attempt to cater to a wide range of palates yet wind up inadequately servicing them all. This is where the issue lies: quality suffers when organizations try to diversify prematurely. There’s nothing wrong with diversification, in fact it’s a pretty good indicator of a company’s growth (look at Google); however, it carries great risk for businesses that have not adequately developed their core product or service.

Since 1992 M+ had the singular focus of creating the very best asset maintenance management software on the market. We have been relentless in this pursuit for 22 years now and this consistency has clearly paid off as we enjoy a satisfied customer base due to a reliable product.

Now, what ensures the continued improvement and relevance of our product? It’s due to our intent.

What Is Your Intent?

At ManagerPlus we realized it was one thing to build CMMS software, but what would have our software stand apart? That’s where the power of intent comes into play. Our intent, every day, is to provide a maintenance management solution that is both simple and powerful to our customer base.  This intent is what drives us to continue to improve our product. We listen carefully to our customers, take notes, and then go back to the drawing board to continue developing our software so it always remains impactful on how our clients do business without sacrificing its simplicity in use. Clearly defined intent gives a business obvious benchmarks to measure their success and effectiveness. Finally, intent may also serve as the grounding factor when business demands get so hectic and perspective seems to have been lost.

The End Goal: Unity and Success

Like all other businesses and organizations, ManagerPlus’ growth has been driven by its employees. There is a genuine desire among our employees to keep the company healthy and thriving.

This is what sets high performing companies apart from the average performers; employees are engaged and invested in delivering the best services and products, and gain great personal satisfaction from doing so.

Why do some companies achieve this and others do not? This brings us back to our first point, the need for focus and consistency in what a business wants to deliver. It’s impossible to gain the support of one’s employees without having these clear messages and goals in place.

Once you have successfully identified what your focus and intent are, it will become significantly easier to share your vision for growth and progress and have these become idealized goals for all.

Finally, the unity and focus we enjoy here at ManagerPlus would be impossible without the practice of transparency. From very early on we’ve subscribed to a culture of transparency in our operations. One of the descriptions listed for transparency in the Webster-Merriam dictionary is: a condition characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices. Seriously ask yourself how “open-door” the open-door policy at your company is—is it conditional, does it encourage even the least outspoken of your employees to ask questions and express concern about how business is doing? These are important questions to ask in the process of building trust and a sense of community within your workplace.

Identify what you value and want to focus on, clarify your intent, and watch how these principles permeate your organization and lead to unity and success.


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How to Reduce Inventory Waste

Spare parts inventory room

Inventory waste is one of those age old problems that appears simple at first, but becomes vexingly complex upon closer analysis.

Maintenance and inventory managers generally agree that inventory waste should be eliminated to the greatest extent possible. Beyond that, there is broad disagreement, beginning with the definition of ‘waste’ itself.

For some companies, any inventory that sits on the shelf for more than a year or two represents an unacceptable expense. In a recent IMPO feature, consultants from Grainger, an industrial supply company, suggested that, on average, as much as half of the inventory that companies keep in stock is never used.

Other companies may struggle with the opposite problem: parts are coming off the shelves so quickly they can’t keep up the pace. As a result, they’re frequently left short-handed when equipment breaks down, which causes prolonged downtime, excess costs, and damage to customer relationships. In these cases, the waste comes in the form of higher prices paid for emergency part orders, lost business, and operational inefficiency.

Which scenario best characterizes your company? What is your inventory really costing you? If you’re not totally sure, you’re not alone. Many of our clients come to us looking to do a better job of tracking their inventory data for the purpose of answering questions like these.

Here are some steps you can take to find the answers you need and finally start to make inroads into the inventory waste problem. Continue reading

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ABCs of Advanced Maintenance: Facility Sustainability

Green facility

If you’ve been considering implementing sustainability initiatives at your facility, but don’t know where to start amid the complex tangle of “green” standards, practices, and technologies, you’re not alone.

Over the past decade, sustainability has gone from a fringe ivory tower concept to a full-blown mainstream movement. Take the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for example. The rating system, introduced in 1994 as a single standard applying strictly to new construction projects, has grown into a complex framework encompassing interior design, neighborhood development, building operations and maintenance, and industry-specific standards for schools, healthcare facilities, and retail stores among others.

This growth in complexity might help explain why just 7,000 projects worldwide have earned LEED certification—leaving the impression that only high-profile projects with major funding and resources are capable of joining the ranks of the “green” elite.

Unfortunately, this impression has helped turn sustainability into an all-or-nothing proposition for many facility managers, when in reality, there are numerous inexpensive, easy to implement measures that can lower costs, improve health, and minimize environmental impacts in any facility.

The key is to use tools like ManagerPlus CMMS to maximize the efficiency of existing resources, implement sustainable best practices, and upgrade parts and equipment with new eco-friendly versions.

+ Make the most of what you have. Conservation is one of the core tenets of the sustainability movement. Facilities that proactively maintain their assets not only prevent costly emergency breakdowns—they also catch minor problems early, before they cause major inefficiencies and waste. Continue reading

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How DeFoe Corp Cut Downtime by 50% with ManagerPlus


For over five years now, DeFoe Corp, a heavy highway contractor specializing in bridges and architectural concrete, has used ManagerPlus Enterprise to streamline their maintenance operations and regulatory compliance. Our best-in-class solutions have enabled them to zero in on common causes of equipment failure, which in turn has helped them cut downtime by 50%.

In a new case study, we take an in-depth look at how DeFoe has accomplished this and other mission-critical objectives using our leading CMMS solutions, check it out here.


Posted in CMMS ROI and Best Practices, Construction, Safety and Regulations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

ManagerPlus Releases New Invoicing Module

Invoicing 2

ManagerPlus is excited to announce the official release of the new Invoicing Module, a powerful new tool for converting work orders into invoices and estimates that can be sent directly to your customers from the system. The module includes the ability to track customers and is available in the 2015 edition of our Corporate and Enterprise products.

Many of our clients need an easy way to bill out their maintenance services, so we created a fast, simple way for them to convert all of the labor, parts, and services on their work orders into a quote/estimate or invoice without having to manually re-enter this information in a separate billing system. Markups and standard tax and labor rates can be configured for each customer, and individual line items can be added to invoices and estimates on the fly, making the Invoicing Module a versatile, flexible tool for streamlining the billing process.

The module can also be configured so that work orders associated with customers will automatically generate an invoice when they’re completed, thus making it possible to automate more of the process. As a result, invoices will go out in a timely manner, and the work of manually re-entering this information can be reduced or eliminated, which will minimize errors and increase accuracy.

For maintenance shops, companies that manage equipment for clients, and others that need to bill out their maintenance work, the Invoicing Module is the perfect complement to the maintenance scheduling and automatic notification functionality already built into ManagerPlus. A maintenance shop can create schedules for recurring maintenance on their customer’s equipment, fleet, machinery, tools, etc., and configure automatic notifications to be sent directly to those customers when something is coming due. These alerts can be followed up with estimates, which can then be converted directly into work orders once they’re approved.

In maintenance, timing is everything. Running your operations with this level of efficiency and organization will help you stay on top of your work and eliminate delays, making your customers happy and helping you attract more business. Talk to our experts about how this tool can help revolutionize your customer relationships and streamline your operations!

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Introducing: The ABCs of Advanced Maintenance


Lately, we’ve been looking at the central role CMMS solutions like ManagerPlus play in optimized maintenance programs like Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Condition Based Maintenance (CBM). In particular, we have focused on how CMMS functionality can be aligned with the objectives of these advanced forms of maintenance, and can thus serve as a platform for companies to take their maintenance operations to the next level.

So far we haven’t focused as much on why a company would choose to implement an optimized maintenance program in the first place, or provided specific steps on how to use CMMS to achieve these objectives.

That’s why we’re launching a new blog series: The ABCs of Advanced Maintenance. In this series, we will take a look at companies that are setting the standard for excellence in advanced maintenance methodologies, and provide some specific guidelines on how you can achieve similar results with CMMS.

For our first installment, we look at Ensco plc, a multinational oil and gas services company that generated $995,400 in revenue by implementing RCM. By utilizing the same highly organized approach they bring to safety, the company was able to achieve a 63% overall return on investment.

The assessment process

Ensco structured their RCM implementation around seven key questions (this list is adapted from the one found at drillingcontractor.org):

  1. What is the purpose of the system?
  2. How can the system break?
  3. Why do these breaks occur? (failure mode analysis)
  4. How does failure/downtime in this system impact other systems?
  5. What is the broad impact on the company as a whole?
  6. How can failure be prevented?
  7. What is the procedure if a failure does occur?

To find the best answers to these questions, Ensco drew on the expertise of machine operators, maintenance personnel, engineers, and OEM and reliability consultants. Based on their feedback, Ensco identified 72 action items and used them to revise 8 maintenance routines and create 15 new ones.

So how does CMMS fit into the mix? Continue reading

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ManagerPlus Featured in IMPO

ManagerPlus has contributed an article to IMPO magazine on the uses of CMMS technologies in Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). Don’t miss it!



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CMMS: A Powerful Tool for Operational Risk Management

Risk pic

At first glance, Operational Risk Management (ORM) seems to be an overwhelming process. The risks that companies must contend with are varied and complex, and putting systems into place to prioritize and manage them effectively can place strains on even the most organized and efficient companies.

A look at the research on risk, however, reveals that just a few factors tend to be at the source of most issues: people, processes, and assets. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, the companies considered best-in-class when it comes to managing risk are “more likely to understand that unplanned downtime, inability to maintain planned production rates, safety, and environmental incidences are all problems that can be traced directly to recurring equipment failure, mismatches in production capacities, and human interactions when facing these situations. For them, information such as asset reliability, spare parts availability, cost of maintenance, safety index, energy consumption, corrective actions status, and lost time accident rate are all critical information for making decisions.”

In other words, proper equipment/maintenance management is deeply interconnected with risk. It’s easy to see why: ORM and equipment maintenance both require a high level of organization, transparency, and communication.

This is why CMMS solutions provide the perfect backbone for ORM initiatives.

Data for Proper Risk Analysis

According to the Aberdeen Group, failure of critical assets is the risk companies most often cite as the biggest threat to their company. How companies respond to this risk is therefore a strong predictor of their overall success in ORM.
Continue reading

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6 Maintenance Troubleshooting Techniques Made Simple with CMMS

Magnifying glass

The biggest step a company can take toward minimizing unexpected equipment failure is to implement a thorough preventive maintenance routine using a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) like ManagerPlus. A proactive approach to routine maintenance tasks and inspections is the best way to catch problems when they’re small and take corrective action early, before full-blown breakdowns occur on the shop floor or jobsite.

But what about causes of equipment failure that can’t be easily prevented, like operator error and extreme weather? What can be done to limit the impact of these random causes of downtime?

CMMS solutions can help in these cases too. By centralizing critical equipment data, CMMS solutions make it easy to implement troubleshooting protocols that can help identify the cause of sudden failures, and mobilize the resources necessary to get equipment up and running quickly.

All you need is a solid framework to organize your troubleshooting. The Marshall Institute has established six key elements of maintenance troubleshooting that provide a good start. Here are some tips on how to implement them with a CMMS system.

1. Understand the system

It’s important that maintenance personnel have a solid understanding of the machinery that they’re working on in order to troubleshoot issues effectively. This means that operators must take detailed notes on what happened at the time of a breakdown—what sounds they heard, what they saw, what were they doing when the failure occurred, etc. Continue reading

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