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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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Case Study Details Benefits of ManagerPlus in the Oil and Gas Industry


ManagerPlus has released a new case study on Gas Field Specialists, Inc. (GFS) that explores the ways that this fast-growing oil and gas company utilizes our best-in-class products.

Learn how GFS uses ManagerPlus solutions to streamline their maintenance and inspection scheduling to ensure that everything is done on time, and also well documented for clients and regulators.

Check out the full case study to learn more: http://www.managerplus.com/case_studies/show/gasfields

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(Real) Time is Money

Time is money pic

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. Continue reading

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