Every business leader wants to provide their employees with an environment that promotes productivity and seamless operations—no one wants to make the work lives of others more complicated than they have to be. This is especially true in the world of enterprise asset management (EAM) systems and its impact on engineering and maintenance operations.   In this post, the team at DigitalThinker will take a look at how the best businesses are breaking free from paper operations and using tools that allow their field and plant floor technicians to work smarter—not harder.

Re-Thinking Business as Usual

In the past, it has been common for technicians to receive their instructions via hard copy work orders. From there, they have used paper to record their activity and provided that information to a clerk whose job it was to retype whatever had been logged.  At the same time, if shop manuals or schematics were required, it was accessed via printed copies.

At the end of the day, the entire process was cumbersome and slow.  Information didn’t flow naturally, and it was also hard to find and access.   What this resulted in were significant challenges when a business needed to plan for the future—such as with expense planning and other forms of forecasting.

However, times are changing.  Today, business leaders are seeking to eliminate their reliance on hard copy records through the use of mobile access within EAM systems.  There is a great focus on allowing technicians to easily access information when they need it while also offering leadership the opportunity to realize immediate visibility on where bottlenecks might lie and gain new insight into work processes.

Mobile EAM is a Game Changer

There is a proven process in how to make sure Mobile EAM works for your business and its technicians.  We have compiled a list of steps to take right now in order to successfully shift your operations from paper focused to paper free!

  1. Plan your paperless transformation by devising your vision. This is a big step and in order to make sure it is implemented correctly you must decide on what you want to achieve and why it’s important. Work out what you want the end goal to be and then begin working backwards to where you are at right now.
  2. Establish what each step of the process looks like and the goals that are associated with it. Then, determine how you measure those goals and gauge performance.
  3. Ensure that each and every member of the executive leadership team is on board. Change cannot be realized if initial consensus is not achieved.
  4. Analyze your existing operations and document accordingly. This will allow you to get a sense of how a mobile system (such as Infor EAM) will enhance your current operations and allow workflows to be made more efficient.
  5. Execute upon a pilot test on a micro level to see if this idea has macro-level legs to stand on. Identify a work group that is most in sync with the idea of what you are trying to implement or a group that has requested that improvements be made. Allow them to be the “test bunnies” if you will and see how this idea works in a practical setting.
  6. Keep track of your successes as well as where you have failed. Ultimately, this is a big job and not everything is going to go according to plan all of the time. Log where you have succeeded as well as what you have learned. This will help when driving to realize an enterprise-wide roll out or when planning a gradual, phase-based roll out.  Chart this course based on what it best for your organization as well as its overall size.
  7. Once Mobile EAM is adopted, start measuring against the original goals that you established for the transition. Then, seek to create benchmarks of individual departments or business units and use this information when conducting a comparative analysis of what is working and what is not.
  8. Finally, realize that this is not a “one and done” process. By working to improve your business and go from a paper-focused system to a Mobile EAM system you must realize that technology and innovation are in a state of constant flux, and there might be other opportunities to reduce costs or increase productivity.  This, in particular, is why you must commit to creating a culture focused on continuous improvement.

Additional Points to Consider

Some other key points to note when transitioning from a paper to a Mobile EAM system include keeping dropdowns and checklists simple and also get rid of screens or fields that aren’t important or necessary.  After all, if the point of this is to make information easily accessible on a mobile platform, then you must ensure the platform works well on a mobile device like a tablet! Furthermore, realize too that the integrity and intellectual property of your company must be protected.  Therefore, it’s a must to use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool to track tablets as they are used in the plant or while technicians are in the field.

Also, word on the street says that Mobile EAM is making users happy. Our team has been hearing that the Mobile EAM app offered by Infor allows technicians to remain at the plant fixing things—instead of having to return to an office and key in data on a computer. Instead, with the Mobile EAM app, these individuals are able to create and/or complete work orders while present on the scene. The app also enables the technicians to take before and after pictures, which are then attached to the work order for posterity purposes.

And finally, there is another important point to consider and implement when transitioning to a Mobile EAM system and that is training.  Your system will not be any good for your business if your plant floor and field technicians don’t know how to use it. Invest in training for your staff so they are comfortable, confident, and eager to ensure this platform benefits your business.  Luckily, that’s where DigitalThinker can help.  Contact our team today and learn about our on-site and off-site training options.  We are happy to come to you or host you in our facility.  Our team is committed to helping your employees develop the skills they need to truly make the most of your new Mobile EAM technology.