DigitalThinker

Managing EAM Software & Services With Budget Constraints On Maintenance Departments

One of the biggest hurdles some of our customers face is a budget constraint when it comes to services and project costs for their maintenance software. It’s no secret that maintenance departments often have small budgets anyway, which makes it difficult to get a lot of projects approved. Projects and services for Maintenance software is especially low on the budgeting priority list for most companies and can be even more difficult to get approved.

Strategies for staying within a budget

Some of our clients have come to understand the significant importance of maintenance and will budget for whatever is necessary. However, most companies we deal with have a lot of software service needs, but have only a very limited budget to pay for it. Luckily, there are numerous ways we can assist with budgetary restrictions.

DigitalThinker understands the financial hurdles most companies face and we will work with you in whatever way we can. That is why we have developed a number of different strategies to help companies overcome these obstacles.

Here are a few of the many ways we help companies with a restrictive budget:

  • Work with a specific number of hours and set up a project plan to work within these hours. We will discuss business processes to find the pain points that need immediate attention. Then, we prioritize them so we can work on the most important issues first.
  • We can train a system administrator at your company to help solve future issues if possible. If not, one of our consultants can act as a system administrator on an as needed basis.
  • Split up training hours or consulting work over a longer period of time. A small number of companies have come to us for an hour or two here and there, then will wait until their budget allows for more. We can schedule in advance to continue training and fixing the issues they are having with EAM all together.

We are here to help

At DigitalThinker, we are flexible and will work with you to get your EAM Project completed successfully. Regardless of the budget constraints, we can develop a strategy that helps you get things completed in a cost effective manner. Please feel free to contact us and let us know how we can help you.

How Manufacturing Companies Can Maintain a Competitive Advantage With New Technology.

Our world could not survive without the manufacturing industry. The continuous increase in demand for products and goods will always be our way of life and the manufacturing industry will have to be able to keep up with technology to survive.

Unfortunately, some manufacturing companies who were once thriving leaders of the market will eventually give way to others who have anticipated these advancements. In addition, other companies who are experiencing tremendous growth may not have the resources that are designed to grow with them and will eventually fall behind. So how do these manufacturing companies maintain a competitive advantage?

Here Is The Good News

Successful companies know the importance of keeping up with technology. Not only have they been able to change their mindset, but they have also taken the necessary steps to transform the way they do business. As a result, they have been able to maintain a healthy competitive advantage in their particular market. For others, they either don’t know where to start or they just don’t know how to get there.

To those companies who have fallen behind in their industry, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late. There is still hope for climbing the ladder of success and reclaiming the crown as leader of your industry. For the companies who are still climbing that ladder but are growing faster than what their resources can handle, congratulations! This solution is perfect for you too!

There are many different ways to make your company great again and maintain a competitive advantage. However, the information I am about to share with you could possibly be the single most important step you could take. It’s certainly one of the first things successful companies are already doing.

Take Care of Your Assets

Proper asset management allows a company to plan responsibly and make more informed decisions about proactively managing aging assets on a continual basis to ensure the long-term sustainability of the entire system. In simplistic terms, if your companies assets are not properly managed and maintained, you could be faced with excessive costs when they falter or fail altogether.

If I were to ask how your company’s assets are being managed, what would you say? Do you know where they are? Are you aware of their condition? Do you have a good maintenance plan in place? Is it reactive or proactive? Is maintenance saving money or is it seen as insignificant or lowest priority on the budget? Do you have a software solution in place to effectively track it all? How well is that software providing what’s needed?

These are all questions that every manager or CEO should have a good answer for. Your assets are the “pumping heart” for any manufacturing company. Not keeping them properly maintained can lead to a significant financial disaster. There is a little-known standard called the 80/20 rule. It basically means that to have optimal efficiency with your assets, 80 percent of maintenance activities should be proactive (planned), while 20 percent reactive (unplanned).

How to Transform Your Maintenance Operations

How EAM Is Transforming Manufacturing

Far too many companies are only performing maintenance when something breaks because of the old “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This destructive mindset leads to spending more money to fix breakdowns instead of spending less over time to prevent it. Furthermore, stopping production unexpectedly and not being prepared for it will significantly increase downtime and result in a tremendous loss in revenue.

New research has proven that by giving more attention to your maintenance operations and investing in preventive maintenance, companies can significantly increase revenue. Top level executives need to realize that focusing on the long term and making an investment now is far more beneficial financially than trying to save a few dollars as you go.

Today’s technology is quickly advancing. Successful companies know that in order to meet industry standards and prevail with a competitive advantage, they have to stay ahead of the game. By implementing an intelligent software solution with the capabilities to provide cognitive analysis and insight into daily operations, companies are now able to make smarter decisions within their  maintenance department. As a result, overall costs are reduced, better ROI is achieved, and more revenue is generated.

Increasing sales is no longer the single most important method to generate profit.

Enterprise Asset Management Software (EAM) provides the solutions necessary for companies all around the globe to better track and manage their assets while establishing an effective predictive maintenance program to maintain them.

What is Enterprise Asset Management?

What is EAM Software

Otherwise known as “EAM”, Enterprise Asset Management Software allows organizations to manage the life-cycle of their physical assets while combining all aspects of maintenance and production into one system.

 

Other common names for EAM include:

  • CMMS Software
  • Maintenance Management Software
  • Work Order Management Software
  • PM Software
  • Facilities Maintenance Software

Why Your Company Needs It?

Why you need EAMFor companies involved in the manufacturing of products, EAM software is the smartest, easiest way to manage the complexities involved in operations and production. Tracking your assets, managing inventory & purchasing, creating preventive maintenance plans, and optimizing your work order processes can be a daunting task. Not to mention all the other aspects that fall into each of those categories.

 

Manufacturers can now optimize all of this by using Infor’s Enterprise Asset Management Software combined with DigitalThinker’s world class consulting services.

 

Core Features of Asset Management Software


Asset Tracking/Management

Asset Tracking

Successful companies know the value in being able to track where their assets are, their status, what’s going on with it, and who has responsibility for it. Furthermore, having the ability to create and store records for each one allows for better decision making and strategic planning.

Implementing EAM Software makes it possible for companies to monitor, maintain and improve the performance and life-cycle of each asset. With a system that manages records and stores critical information on each asset, companies can save millions of dollars each year in maintenance costs, labor, and asset replacement.

Work Order Management and Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance EAM

Work order management is one of the most important processes for any Asset Management system. Having a good system in place helps to eliminate higher maintenance/labor costs that are often associated with not knowing what work needs to be done, when work is complete, or how much it’s costing to do it.

With Infor EAM Software, you can assign work orders to individuals or teams, issue specific parts for the work that needs to be done, and do it in a manner that is fast and efficient. In addition, you can receive notifications when work is complete, schedule maintenance based on asset condition, and model scenarios to determine optimal preventive maintenance.

Inventory Control

Inventory Control

With pressures companies face to deliver results while saving money in the process, better managing your inventory and purchasing can have a drastic effect on a company’s ROI. Keeping too much inventory is just as bad as not having an adequate supply of frequently used or critical spare parts.

Using EAM Software to manage inventory prevents prolonged downtime because of not having the right parts in stock. Adjust inventory levels accordingly by monitoring what parts are being used the more than others. Set specific parameters for certain parts and receive notifications when it’s time to order. You can also store vendor information so you can place an order quickly and easily with just a few clicks.

 Other Features of EAM

Other EAM Features

In conjunction with the core features, Infor EAM Software comes with a variety of other features for other specific needs.

Other important features include:

  • Customized dashboard with real-time information.
  • Mobile Application for access to EAM from the field.
  • Customizable Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to help with benchmarking, trends, and other factors.
  • Reliability and Risk Management to help predict problems and prevent them from happening.
  • Regulatory compliance management.
  • Purchasing control and monitoring.

These are only a few more examples. Infor EAM Software has TONS of customizable features for virtually any need you may have.

In Short

Infor EAM Software is a revolutionary technology that helps companies increase the life-cycle of their assets. It does this by optimizing their preventive maintenance program, work order process, and workflow. EAM allows you to become proactive instead of reactive which significantly reduces breakdowns and keeps production running at optimal efficiency. Furthermore, Infor EAM can help your technicians better perform their jobs with less confusion as well as decrease wrench time.

EAM Software provides organizations with the tools and information necessary for better decision making and strategic planning. As a result, you gain greater efficiency, lower maintenance and labor costs, higher ROI, and increased quality and quantity of your product. Best of all, EAM grows with you, so as future needs arise, Infor EAM Software is ready to take on whatever new challenges you may face.

Join thousands of other companies implementing this new technology so your company can maintain a competitive advantage in the manufacturing industry! DigitalThinker can help you get started!

Custom vs User Defined Fields – Which is better?

Is it better to use custom fields or user defined fields? And really what is the difference? Can I create a lookup for a user defined field? Will they both show up on mobile? These are questions I often hear when users need a field to enter/collect data on Equipment, Parts, Work Orders, etc.. Unfortunately, the field is not offered in EAM. Really, the availability of both types of fields is great in EAM and there are some significant differences – which is why you need to know the difference before you choose which one to use.

Here is what you should know:

  • What you need to know about User Defined Fields:

    • You can have user defined character, number, or date fields. There are also user defined checkboxes and buttons.
    • You can define a default value or create a list of values for a lookup.
    • You can make the user defined fields available on mobile devices.
    • You can select if the field prints on work orders.
    • You can create them specific to one or multiple user groups of your choosing.
    • You can search based on the values in a user defined field.
    • User defined fields will only show on the screen it is created for. For example, if you create a UDF on the asset record view, you will not see that same UDF on a system, position, or location field.
  • What you need to know about Custom Fields:

    • You must create them for a specific entity (Equipment, Events (work orders, work requests), etc.)
    • You can create them for a specific class within that entity. For example, you can create a custom field that will only show up when someone looks up or creates an asset record for an asset with the class of motor or pump.
    • You can specify if the field is character, numeric, date, date/time, code+description, or entity.  Furthermore, you can require a specific minimum/maximum length and have it included on the grids (or list view).
    • You can define the lookup type and list of values of the lookup.
    • You can select if you print the custom field.
    • You can choose if users can update the field.

We are here if you need us!

I hope this quick list helps you understand and decide which field is best to use. However, if you still have questions please feel free to reach out and email me. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Should you send your EAM users to DigitalThinker for training?

I am often asked if it is really that much more beneficial to send a team to our office for team training vs having us come on site. For me the answer is very simple – YES!!! Send your team to our office in Simpsonville, South Carolina to train.

Why It’s Beneficial

Most successful people know that it is so much more beneficial to train in a quieter, less chaotic environment, rather than trying to learn in a hectic and typically noisy environment. Most importantly, it ensures no one can be interrupted by someone running in or calling over the radio for a maintenance issue. Traveling to our facility to train simply allows for everyone to focus better on learning EAM.

Team Training Experience

I bring this topic up because I just did a training class for a group of 7 maintenance managers and supervisors. They came ready to learn and with questions on how to make EAM better. Not only for all of their sites, but for the company as a whole as well. Because most of them work in different states, it gave them a chance to meet up with each other to discuss problems within their organization and share ideas. Most importantly, we were able to train users from multiple sites together at one time which saved them money. This also gave everyone a chance to share solutions or brainstorm ideas on how to fix their problems together.

These guys only spent 2 days at our office but we covered a lot of ground. I’m sure the customers who traveled to our office would say that it will benefit you much more to come to DigitalThinker.

In Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, having us come to your site can also be important. We love to travel on site when necessary and we will continue to do so anytime you need us. However, when it comes to core team training, I feel that getting your employees into our training room allows them to be more relaxed. As a result, they can focus better and learn more so they can be the Champion of EAM for your company.

For more about training, please visit our training page by clicking here, or call us at 864-520-1115.

The Impact of Maintenance and Company Success:

5 Things you should know about the importance of maintenance

In the ever-evolving world of manufacturing, companies all over the world are trying to find new and creative ways to save money. For many organizations, finding a solution that helps them increase revenue or even simply maintain company success can be challenging to say the least.

However, with so many advancements in technology, solutions are now available to help you meet your financial goals and business objectives. Some solutions even help you do this by simply modifying your existing processes so you can start getting a better return on your existing investments.

Before we get to the Nitty Gritty, I first want to address a couple of common patterns that effect overall company success.

Change. It’s necessary

Many older companies today seem to be “stuck in their ways” and are reluctant to change how they do things. This is because some of them fail to see how their financial goals can be more easily achieved while others simply just think “it will just cost too much”. Therefore, they continue doing the same things every year in hopes something will magically change. Consequently for most, things only become worse.

Some company executives may just see that things are going well and profits are being made which can lead them to believe change is not necessary. As a result, most of them fail to see that utilizing new technology and better strategies can not only increase their revenue even more, but can save massive amounts of cost while decreasing the risk of future failures.

Benefit of change

Companies that were willing to step outside of their comfort zone have seen a substantial increase in revenue. Most importantly, they have also experienced greater efficiency, increased productivity, higher product quality, and a better working environment for employees.

Among many important factors, one major thing that has been found to help more than most is simply investing in existing processes and implementing proper maintenance practices in their day to day operations.

One of the most highly overlooked or disregarded processes for most companies is Maintenance.

Extensive research over the course of the last 15 years has proven that maintenance, or the lack thereof, has a tremendous impact on a company’s profitability. The effectiveness of proper maintenance is essential in attaining proficiency in production systems to meet long-term objectives. For most manufacturing companies, a production system in which maintenance is not given the proper attention and/or preventive maintenance is neglected, may easily lead to increased production downtime. Furthermore, it can lead to defective products, machinery damage, and decreased life span on critical assets, just to name a few.

Lack of proper maintenance or preventive maintenance can result in a quality and profitability nightmare!

As revenue decreases and maintenance costs increase, maintenance level technicians are then held accountable. They are then placed under a tremendous amount of pressure to quickly “fix the problem” while eliminating the cost to do so. With a poorly structured maintenance program, neither may not be possible.

Pressure begins to mound as goals are not met due to the lack of maintenance structure and the resources necessary for an effective maintenance program. Tension and stress begins to rise among key technicians and managers which then leads to poor work performance or loss of a valuable and knowledgeable employee. What comes next is nothing more than disastrous.

What can be done?

For starters, implementing a well-oiled and finely tuned maintenance program will have a tremendous positive impact. Research has shown that focusing on asset management, preventive maintenance, work order processing, and effective communication between all employees involved is essential in preventing most problems from happening in the first place.

Based on that research, I have come up with 5 things you should know about the importance of maintenance and how they contribute to success.

  1. Effective maintenance can improve profits and decrease cost:

Yes, maintenance CAN generate profit and IS an important activity that should never be ignored. With today’s technology, maintenance programs are now being recognized as being one of the highest contributing factors in attaining a company’s goals and objectives. Not only financially, but with production efficiency and product quality as well.

Maintaining the availability and efficient operation of production equipment is essential to sustaining production capacity and the quality of your product. Capacity and quality creates profit. Effective Maintenance allows for both.

  1. Efficient maintenance adds value through better utilization of resources:

When maintenance is focused more on being proactive vs reactive, asset performance is optimized and significant value is increased on the product that is being produced. The results of proper maintenance and preventive maintenance is; higher output, enhanced quality, and reduction in rework and scrap.

It also significantly increases the life span on costly equipment which ensures the longest possible utilization of key assets while maintaining regulatory compliance and warranty guidelines. In simplicity terms, “get more bang for your buck”.

  1. Maintenance and production MUST have an integrated relationship:

This is a big one! Maintenance should be considered as an organizational function that functions in parallel with production. Read that again.

For some, the long-held view has been that production produces product, product produces profit, and maintenance produces loss and interferes with production. Therefore, maintenance is a limiting constraint. Without an efficient maintenance program in place, that view is most likely accurate.

But what if your production process could be optimized to run more efficiently? What if your assets could produce the product at a higher capacity, with better quality, and for a longer period? When the mindset changes, you will come to the realization that better maintenance is the best way to do that.

Implementing an effective and proactive maintenance program will have a drastic positive effect on output quantity and quality. When integrated WITH production operations, your assets will be running at optimal performance with less downtime for maintenance. This will also allow for better scheduling of maintenance tasks, decreased wrench time, and ultimately increases the life-span of the asset.

  1. Maintenance significantly effects multiple aspects of production costs:

When considering the assets specifically, the costs associated with purchase, transportation, installations, depreciation, and disposal are huge. Wouldn’t it make sense to increase the life-span of the assets to get the most out of them as possible?

Production assets and the process of implementing them into your production environment is extremely expensive. We are talking about hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to replace just one piece of equipment. Not to mention the costs of maintaining and operating backup equipment so you can continue production during replacement.

When considering the costs during an assets production cycle, wouldn’t it also make sense to ensure they run at optimal efficiency? When calculating the costs of utilities, machine stoppages, parts, maintenance, energy consumption, and material usage during the life span, it adds up quickly. Research shows that effective maintenance strategies are a key factor in reducing these costs.

Simply put, when maintenance is not utilized effectively and is more of a reactive process, you end up replacing your equipment more often. Furthermore, your downtime is increased and your operating costs increase because your equipment is working less efficiently. Most importantly, the cost of maintenance is higher when having to fix a problem more often rather than having the ability to predict the problem and prevent it before it happens.

  1. Implementing effective maintenance into production is an investment. Not a limiting constraint.

We can all agree that maintenance costs are high regardless. With the costs of labor, spare parts, overhead, as well as the cost of production downtime for maintenance can be overwhelming. In a company where maintenance has always been viewed as a separate function from production, those costs will most likely persist and/or increase.

With that said, maintenance is also inevitable for every manufacturing company and cannot be avoided. Wouldn’t changing your focus and allowing maintenance to work FOR you instead of against you be the smartest option? Change your focus because it’s possible!

Ensuring that your products are produced fast, delivered at the right time with the right quality, and produced with the lowest possible cost requires optimum availability. This can be attained by an efficient maintenance policy integrated within production.

Here is the bottom line!

Extensive research has proven that within the manufacturing industry, an effective maintenance program is one of the most significant factors in overall company success. What should also be recognized is that maintenance is not just about ensuring proper function of your assets. It is an essential support function that is indispensable.

Whether your mindset is on maintenance being a limiting constraint, too costly, or you think it’s the one thing that drags your company down, there is still one thing for certain; If you don’t have maintenance you can’t continue production. Without production, your company fails.

Either way, maintenance is necessary. So why not have a proactive mindset and let your maintenance program start working for you rather than against you? After all, having a proactive mindset is the first step to success in any capacity.

How do you get there?

To establish a solution that works, you must first change your mindset and make a choice to let maintenance start working for you. Second, you need to find a software solution that streamlines all your processes while helping you keep track of everything. Third, you need a company with the right tools and the expertise in knowing how to use them.

We have what you need!

At DigitalThinker, we understand the importance of maintenance and company success. We help guide companies in the right direction every day. It’s what we do best. To us, it’s more than just providing a service. It’s about helping companies who are stuck in the cycle of endless increasing costs and production constraints that keep them from growing. Our company is built on helping to keep the manufacturing industry alive and thriving better than ever before.

As an Infor Associate Channel Partner, we have the tools and resources you need to start your transformation. As EAM consultants, we have the experience and expertise needed to develop and implement your solutions while guiding you in the right direction along the way.

Click Here to talk to one of our expert consultants for a free evaluation and demonstration or visit our website at http://digitalthinker.com/