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12 ways to implement a TPM strategy using your work orders

What happens when the maintenance team is the only one that cares about maintenance?

There might not be a more common, or truer, saying in the world of sports than, “Defense wins championships.” Although there are no championships to win in business, there are quotas to hit and money to make. And defence still matters. In this case, defence means maintenance. But when the maintenance team is the only one playing defence, they’re outnumbered and the losses pile up. A faulty part goes unnoticed and causes a breakdown. That’s a loss. A machine isn’t lubricated properly and results in waste. Loss. A PM is missed and an accident happens. Another loss. But a lot of these losses can be avoided with total productive maintenance. Total productive maintenance (TPM) is a defence-first mentality for business. The work order process is one of the cornerstones of this strategy. This article will explore how to create and optimize that process with TPM in mind.

What is total productive maintenance: A brief primer on TPM

Total productive maintenance is the idea that everyone has a part to play in improving the performance and quality of systems with maintenance. That includes the maintenance team, but also operations, production, finance, and other departments. When you have 100 eyes peeled for possible equipment failures or safety hazards instead of five or 10, they’re easier and more efficient to catch and fix. An example of TPM in action would be an operator doing routine maintenance, like basic lubrication, or a plant manager creating an asset management policy. Neither person is on the maintenance team, but both use maintenance to have a direct impact on the health and performance of equipment. There’s a lot more to TPM than we can fit in this article. If you want to read more, check out these articles on getting started with TPM and putting a TPM plan into action.

12 ways to use work orders to build a successful TPM program

How to get operations involved TPM

Work orders are the bread and butter of maintenance which also makes them essential for a good TPM program and getting operators involved in maintenance success.
  1. Find a starting line: Work out the wrinkles in your TPM program by starting small. Focus on one machine or area of your plant. Look for equipment with a low criticality that requires regularly scheduled maintenance. Split the responsibility of the PM between maintenance and operations.
  2. Designate a maintenance type for operators: This creates clear roles and responsibilities and allows you to track where extra training, information, or resources are needed to help operators be successful.
  3. Write bullet-proof work request templates: Be very clear about what information is needed to help technicians complete a job. Operators will gain a better understanding and appreciation for what goes into maintenance.
  4. Write a template for completion notes that leaves no room for error: Break this section of a work order into specific fields that helps you document exactly what happened on the job. Operators will be able to spot useful information in past work orders much easier. It will also make training requirements easier to create.
  5. Build solid task lists: Find a balance between being detailed in your tasks and overwhelming operators with too much. Adding pictures helps you avoid information overload. Providing estimated times for each task is an extra bit of guidance that operators will appreciate.
  6. Add as many visual aids to work orders as you can: In addition to pictures, add diagrams or videos if your operators are accessing the work order from a mobile device.
  7. Highlight success with work order data: There might be resistance to your TPM program at first. There’s a lot of data in your work orders that help you prove that it’s worth it. Even something as simple as having fewer reactive work orders tells a story. Fewer breakdowns mean more throughput and less waste from post-failure startups.

How to get the rest of your organization involved in your plan

  1. A true total productive maintenance strategy doesn’t stop at the edge of the production floor. It reaches into the offices of almost everyone at your company. Here are a few ways you can start bringing more and more people into the TPM fold.
  2. Assist in design and/or procurement: Use common maintenance types and failure codes, along with request and completion notes, to help reliability and purchasing personnel build or buy equipment that won’t repeat the failures of past assets.
  3. Advocate for more resources: Presenting a list of backlogged work orders, its labor hours, and the cost of not doing the work can help you highlight the scale of problems and convince your boss that you need some extra help.
  4. Make maintenance accessible: Integrate your work order request system with the systems that everyone in your business uses, like email or Slack.
  5. Identify inventory efficiencies: Use work order data to find out if the same parts cause breakdowns or failed inspections. Work with inventory personnel to find the root cause of the problem and solve it.
  6. Celebrate your success: If you want people to c`are about maintenance, you need to prove it’s worth their attention. Work orders are a great source of success stories. They can help you draw a link between scheduled maintenance and failure prevention or clean start ups and higher production.

Everything you just read in three sentences

  1. Talk with members of every group using work orders, from requesters in finance to operators, and find out how to make instructions and templates clear and accessible to each of them.
  2. Piloting your TPM strategy on a small area of your organization will help you identify where it needs to be improved and how to scale the project moving forward.
  3. Tracking good results from your work orders, no matter how small, will increase buy-in for your TPM program, or, in other words, bragging is the surest path to success.
Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/work-order-academy/how-to-implement-a-tpm-program-using-work-orders/

Why ‘Set It and Forget It’ Information Governance Matters More Than You Realize

Anyone who has ever spent an appreciable about of time working with business information knows full well that the sheer volume of content within their deployment is growing by the day. But at the same time, the variety of content is also on the rise — which can easily lead to governance issues before you know it.

This was always an issue for organizations in the process of scaling, but it has become increasingly difficult in the wake of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With more employees working from home than ever, information management solutions have become more than just tools to store important files in the cloud. They are literally the foundation of your workforce right now, allowing people to better communicate and collaborate with one another during a time when they’re not going to be able to get back in the same shared space for the foreseeable future.

This, in essence, is why ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is so important. Every minute that you spend trying to make sense of your infrastructure or trying to get third-party add-ons to work the way you want, is a minute that you’re not actually acting on the insight contained in your data and using it to propel your business forward. Thankfully, most IT leaders seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

The Power of ‘Set It and Forget It’ Governance: An Overview

M-Files intelligent information management solution helps achieve a ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance strategy. With workflow rules, organizations can maintain consistent records management policies. Documents in a governance workflow would be governed by a ruleset whereby any of the following would happen automatically:

  • Records would be disposed of or retained according to policy
  • Stakeholders would be notified to review batches of documents designated for a certain disposition

Files can automatically be added to this workflow, as well, through metadata. If, for instance, a file matches certain criteria — say, a type of contract — it would automatically be applied to a governance workflow.

Thanks to a lot of these features, information in all repositories across the organization are standardized with common ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance standards. Really, what this means is that there is now no longer a need to transfer important information like records or compliance documents to a totally separate repository. This approach to governance only ever worked with records that you didn’t need to use that often and created quite a significant challenge in terms of management for everything else. Active records obviously need to be available with their critical context intact — meaning in a way that allows you to retrieve all relevant documents and see all crucial tasks also quickly. Now, these types of records can be actively managed within the M-Files platform — which is really the most important advantage of all.

In the end, ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about breaking down yet another data silo so that information can move freely across your organization for the first time. Rather than forcing your employees to use a number of different tools just to get work done — thus increasing the time it takes them to complete those important tasks to begin with — they should have access to absolutely everything they need, all under one roof.

But you also shouldn’t have to work very hard to get to this point — which is really what ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about. It’s about making it easier to get the highest return from your IT spending and from your technological investment, not harder. You’ll still need to make sure that the business strategies that are driving your technology investments are carefully thought out, of course. You should never invest in a solution because you think you need to — it should be the right move to make given whatever you’re trying to accomplish at the moment.

Thankfully, “simple” has emerged as a recurring theme when it comes to businesses who are embracing cloud platforms and process standardization — and it absolutely could not have come at a better moment.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/why-set-it-and-forget-it-information-governance-matters-more-than-you-realize

How Maintenance Teams Can Make the Most of A Manufacturing Slowdown

It can be unsettling if production at your facility is slower than usual. You might even find yourself missing things you never thought you’d miss. The noise. The hustle and bustle. The routine.

But you can also find opportunity. With more time in your schedule, there’s no shortage of projects to start. The question is, where to begin? The tips below can offer some inspiration and guidance.

Tips for reducing maintenance backlog

A bit of maintenance backlog is a healthy thing (most of the time). Regardless, you might be looking forward to whittling down your list of deferred work. Building a plan for tackling backlog will help you dismantle your to-do list with surgical precision while staying safe.

1. Prioritize your maintenance backlog

If you have a long list of maintenance backlog, it’s tempting to choose a task and dive right in. But prioritizing tasks will help you make a bigger impact, and it can be done in just three steps:

  • Identify outstanding work on critical assets. Think about the equipment that’s most likely to be needed first when production starts to increase again.
  • Pick work orders you haven’t done in a while. If a PM was missed two weeks in a row, it’s more likely to need attention than one missed just once.
  • Compare the length of each job and if tasks can be done while the machine is running. Take advantage of extra time to do longer jobs or ones that require a break in production.

2. Assess your resources

Your prioritized list is a great start, but it’s what you’d be doing in an ideal world, which is rarely the reality.

Stuart Fergusson, Fiix’s solutions engineering lead, suggests evaluating your team as the next step, which includes asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do you still have your full team? Having fewer technicians might change the work you can do.
  • What kind of training does the staff have? The capabilities of your technicians will change what you do, the order you do it in, and how long it’ll take.
  • Are there any new health and safety measures that could keep technicians from operating like normal?

After you figure out your staff’s capabilities, it’s on to your parts and supplies, says Stuart. Make sure you have all the spares you need, as well as other resources like checklists and PPE.

3. Identify high-risk work orders

Stuart mentions three kinds of high-risk jobs that might be in your maintenance backlog: major rebuilds, time-consuming projects, and work your team hasn’t done in a while (or at all).

Highlight these tasks and make a plan to reduce the risk around them. That can include extra training, putting more technicians and labour hours towards the work, and making sure the right PPE is available.

4. Schedule frequent touchpoints with your team

Jason Afara, a solutions engineer at Fiix and a former maintenance manager, suggests asking a few standard questions in team meetings to bring any problems (and solutions) to the surface:

  • Is your team comfortable with the jobs they’ve been given?
  • Do they have everything they need to get the work done?
  • What’s working and what isn’t?
  • How can new processes be improved?

5. Plan for what happens after you tackle the backlog

What happens when you have enough time to wipe out your entire to-do list? Create a new one. Here are a few suggestions for building out that new list, courtesy of Stuart:

  • Do your annual planned shutdowns of critical assets now. Thoroughly inspect, clean, service, repair, rebuild, and stress-test the equipment.
  • Check and calibrate condition-based sensors, PLCs, SCADA, and other data systems.
  • Review all safety equipment and make sure it’s accessible and working.
Five steps for tackling your maintenance backlog

Updating and upgrading your maintenance operation

When you’re able to step outside the daily grind, it’s easier to see what needs to be updated, where you can upgrade, and what you’re doing really well so you can keep doing it.

1. Add sensors, barcodes, and/or QR codes to your assets

If you’ve been planning on taking steps toward condition-based maintenance and better data collection, now is the time. Test condition-based sensors on equipment to see what can be measured and how to use the information. If you use a CMMS, spend some time putting barcodes or QR codes on assets, and organize them in your software.

2. Audit your maintenance storeroom

Jason recommends focusing on a few key areas that can help improve inventory management:

  • Make sure your cycle counts are accurate
  • Check the condition of tools and spare parts“>parts
  • Streamline your inventory purchasing processes
  • Clean and reorganize your storeroom, and put extra security measures in place
  • Organize emergency parts kits
  • Identify parts you don’t need so you can put a hold on purchases
  • Check that your maintenance records match the records of your finance department

3. Check reports for accuracy

To borrow a quote from Jason from our recent article on building a predictive maintenance program, “If you have bad data…it’s like the weatherperson telling you it’s sunny out when it’s actually raining.” Double-checking your reports allows you to make sure the numbers are telling the truth and that your decision-making is right on target.

4. Fine-tune your preventive maintenance work orders and checklists

Put the frequency of your PMs under the microscope. Look at the mean time between fail rates for equipment to see which assets need more or less attention. You can even take this opportunity to transition from time-based PMs to throughput-based PMs or condition-based maintenance.

If you’re reworking preventive maintenance checklists, talk to technicians to see what they need to be safer, more efficient, and more effective, says Jason. Do checklists need to be more detailed? Are they missing information, like diagrams or a bill of materials? Are they too long?

5. Review and update your documentation

Talk to your team and find out what can be changed or updated to make policies more effective. The documents that Stuart suggests reviewing (and updating where necessary) include:

  • Equipment SOPs
  • Health and safety procedures (like lockout-tagout and PPE guidelines)
  • Emergency operating procedures.
Five ways to update your maintenance operation

Making a contingency plan for a shutdown

While it’s not something that anyone wants to think about, it’s important to have a plan for turning off equipment. This helps you complete a shutdown safely and quickly. A solid plan will also prepare you for a quality restart when production begins again.

We covered some best practices for shutting down and restarting equipment in a recent two-part webinar series. Check out part one on hot stops and part two on cold starts. Some tips covered in the webinars include:

  • Designating someone as a shutdown coordinator who is responsible for managing a shutdown.
  • Creating in-depth shutdown checklists to make sure you’re completing crucial tasks and doing so safely. Track these work orders by tagging them with a special code.
  • Making a note on incomplete PMs and SMs so you know what was missed and why. Use this information to identify assets with a higher risk of failure and prioritize work before a potential restart.
  • Create a list of the changes so tasks and schedules can be adjusted once you’re back in the plant. This also helps you calculate the costs associated with the shutdown.

Focus on yourself

We’ve talked a lot about improving your facility, but it’s also important to take some time to take care of yourself.

“Everyone deals with change and tough times differently,” says Jason. “The most important thing to remember is to step back and take care of yourself first.”

Stress, burnout, and anxiety all increase during times of uncertainty and change. Making sure you are physically and mentally healthy reduces the impact of some of those feelings and keeps you at your best when you’re at work.

Another way to focus on your well-being is to invest in personal development. There are a lot of ways to do that, but here are some of our favourites:

  • Read up on news, trends, and best practices for maintenance professionals
  • Take courses, watch webinars, and pursue certifications that help you develop and brush up on your skills
  • Join or create an online group to discuss issues, solutions, and ideas for improvement
Best practices for managing a facility shutdown

The most important takeaway: You got this

Facility slowdowns can be a big change and not always a good one. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably gone through a big, unexpected shift in your daily routine and that’s difficult. But armed with the right information, processes, and team, you have the tools to help you manage this change and come out on the other side with new skills and experiences.

We Need Consultants Now More than Ever: How the “New Normal” Offers Consulting Firms New Opportunities to Win and Retain Business

The pandemic has unsettled the world, leaving us all to navigate the uncertainty. I don’t need to elaborate. We all know and feel the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy, workplaces, and personal well-being.

However, at the time of writing this, restrictions around the world are starting to lift, little by little. And as the initial hurdle comes to a close, we are gradually shifting our attention from the panic of What now? and instead, shifting our focus to What’s next?

As a Product Marketing Manager for M-Files, I am in the game of figuring out what moves and shakes people to change, or more specifically what drives companies to invest in new technology. This pandemic has certainly offered a new driver to the mix.

COVID-19 has Forced Companies to Transform (and Transform Quickly)

Before this crisis, some common drivers across many industries included items like increasing efficiency in a competitive landscape, winning and retaining new business, and minimizing risk.

These drivers are still relevant. The pandemic, however, has presented a new driver — resilience. Namely, how can companies ensure and maintain operations in times of crisis? How can companies continue with business as usual in times when business is not usual?

While the initial hurdle of this pandemic seems to be coming to an end, there is no guarantee that the pandemic will not grow worse or that further restrictions will be enforced in the future (some news media portends the possibility of a second wave of cases globally). And as experts warned us of a possible pandemic before COVID-19, they are also insisting that we realize that other pandemics are just as possible in the future. We simply do not know. We used to operate with a false sense of certainty about the future, but this crisis has exposed just how uncertain things really are. Despite this, we are certain that the COVID-19 crisis has taught us that businesses need to transform. We can feel confident about that lesson. And when there’s need for great transformation, there’s need for great guidance.

Bring in the Consultants!

The reason I boldly claim that we need consultants now more than ever is because we’re in uncharted territory. Emotions are strong and it’s difficult, for both employees and business leaders, to wrap their minds over what to do next. Consultants, by and large, are transformation experts. We call on consultants to get us from one state to the next, because they have the expertise, experience, resources and know-how to pave a path to our objectives.

When it comes to the topic of resilience, businesses are plagued with questions around policy, leadership, technology, security, and change management while also grappling with the struggles of maintaining business today. This presents an interesting opportunity for people in the thinking industry.

The Driver: What’s driving or forcing companies to change?

The COVID-19 crisis has tested the resilience of the business world.

The Objective: What do companies need to do in response to this driver?

Companies have been forced to establish and maintain organizational resilience — to handle future crises.

Business Changes: What transformations must take place for companies to meet these objectives?

To establish and maintain organizational resilience, companies must:

  • Institute a flexible and secure work environment
  • Reduce costs to buffer current and potential decreases in revenue
  • Enable a remote, yet effective workforce that can work either from the office or at home
  • Establish policies and procedures for times of crisis and train staff on policies
  • Train leadership on managing and leading in times of crisis
  • Uphold excellent customer experiences in times of crisis

Business Value: What is the potential business value of these transformations?

When companies are resilient to crises, they:

  • Retain more business
  • Maintain business continuity in times when business is not usual
  • Have better buffers for sudden revenue decreases
  • Mitigate risks to security and quality — in areas like information security, safety, and compliance
  • Increase workforce satisfaction and trust

So, if you’re in the service of helping businesses transform, take a moment to consider if this new driver offers your firm new opportunities. And in doing so, consider the following:

  • What sort of products or services can you provide to help potential or existing clients manage this crisis?
  • What sort of training do you need to better help your clients manage crises and build resilience?
  • What sort of content can you develop to help your clients manage our current global predicament?

In times of global uncertainty, we need people in our corner to help us put one foot in front of the other. That’s why we need consultants now more than ever.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/blog/we-need-consultants-now-more-than-ever-how-the-new-normal-offers-consulting-firms-new-opportunities-to-win-and-retain-business/

When it Comes to Digital Transformation and Remote Work Enablement: Adapt or Perish

The following is a guest post from one of M-Files partner Iron Mountain Europe, authored by Andrie Neocleous.

As we try to assess the impact of the pandemic, our thinking inevitably revolves around how this epidemiological crisis will affect the work of each of us, but also what consequences it will have on the professional scene as a whole. This year, the world faced one of the worst public health crises, disrupting all aspects of our lives.

So, what are the implications for the business world?

What experiences and possibly lessons can we learn from this pandemic?

Undoubtedly, the professional scene will change drastically.

The current situation has already forced many organizations to adopt new work practices and shift to remote work. Concepts like efficiency and productivity, which have always been a priority for businesses are still as valid as ever, resulting in the urgent need of diversification of many aspects of business operation, particularly enhancing the need for digital transformation.

Without any warning, companies were faced with the challenge of finding ways to help their people work from home, while providing them with access to documents and systems regardless of where they are physically located. Of course, the practice of remote work has been around for a while now, but the unprecedented conditions we are experiencing have accelerated the need for either its implementation or its further development. But how is it ensured, in the midst of a lock down or an unexpected temporary closure of the business, that employees will remain productive?

Thanks to the smart technologies of intelligent information management (IIM) as well as scanning, several organizations can already manage, organize, and securely store large volumes of electronic and physical documents.

It’s faster to search and find documents through the IIM systems. It’s a more efficient use of employee time with less paper management and more digitization.

And it all has a positive effect on the operating costs and business continuity of a company.

At the same time, IIM systems have the potential to enhance the company’s business continuity readiness and help restore professional normalcy as quickly as possible. At the same time, with the digitization of documents, which is very important, the correct analysis of the needs that will be covered is also crucial. Specifically, by digitizing business processes, we ensure the upgrade and automation of existing processes and the planning of others.

Document scanning services are offered by Iron Mountain, either as a Backlog Project level or even as a continuous flow — an Ongoing Project — in conjunction with the electronic document management service, as a complete service. The best way to manage a handwritten process may not be to simply “translate” digital workflows into a modern information system. Perhaps the best way to manage this is to re-evaluate practices and how to manage them, as well as redesign them, which will optimize production and make better use of human resources.

Adopting an integrated electronic document management solution also offers the following:

  • Minimizing the distribution of printed material among employees
  • Automation of document handling — incoming and outgoing
  • Improving the speed of searching, sending, and receiving documents as well as minimizing any delays, taking into account the volume of documents
  • Safer storage and security of important document content
  • Reducing the required storage space
  • More efficient and flexible access to archived documents
  • Automation of the assignment and monitoring of task implementation

My ten-year experience at Iron Mountain, has taught me that business transformation and particularly digital transformation has not been as high a priority as it should be, although organizations have been researching options and solutions for some time. Market conditions, however, have revised these priorities due to the pandemic and their transformation has become imperative. Most companies have taken no precautionary measures, proving that they are not only unprepared to carry out their work remotely, but also face enormous challenges. Challenges like:

  • The difficulty of employees accessing documents and managing the volume of documents
  • The inability to maintain the security of their files
  • And, fatally, the inability to provide adequate services and support to their customers

A typical example is that of accounting documents and data. Invoices can be sent electronically to customers, while other documents, such as invoices, which are received in hard copy, can be digitized and processed electronically. Thus, an accounting department can easily process and evaluate the company’s finances, speeding up procedures. Same processes can be applied to email management, data of customer, staff and suppliers, contract management, quality management, project management, task management… the list goes on.

The implementation of the M-Files system in conjunction with document digitization, ensures not only the operational continuity of many companies but also the maintenance of a productive and efficient environment, even remotely. It is therefore imperative that companies realize how high the stakes really are. It’s not IF they will use the technology to transform but HOW, in what way, and how quickly they will do so. Organizations and businesses that insist on investing in digital modernization, while at the same time offsetting short-term strategies with long-term measures, have all the background to succeed and emerge from this crisis with significant competitive advantages.

In conclusion, perhaps what we have gained most in the current period is how crucial adaptability and flexibility are in relation to the survival of a business. As in all aspects of our lives, in its business aspect, those with quick reflexes — those that adapt, innovate and transform — will not only survive but also gain an advantage over the rest.

Now more than ever it is necessary to become innovative and creative! As the English writer H.G. Wells very poignantly said, “Adapt or perish.”

Source: https://www.m-files.com/blog/when-it-comes-to-digital-transformation-and-remote-work-enablement-adapt-or-perish/

How COVID-19 is Changing the Way Maintenance Teams Work

Like the rest of the world, most of the maintenance industry has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked to several maintenance professionals to find out what challenges they’re facing, how they’re meeting them head-on, and how they’re showing incredible resilience while helping provide essential services.

If you’re looking for more resources to help you and your team through these uncertain times, we’ve created a Resource Hub that includes some helpful articles and webinars.

When operations manager Juan Ruiz looks out at the floor of his facility, everything seems normal. A technician talks to an operator before fixing a machine. A critical asset is inspected during a rare break in use. A production line is adjusted to make sure it can fulfill a crucial order.

But this isn’t business as usual for Juan’s team.

The conversation is happening in a designated quiet place so the two employees can stand six feet apart. The critical asset is a sensor used to take the temperature of staff as they enter the building. The crucial order is for millions of boxes that will hold lifesaving N95 masks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Juan and his entire team to change the way they work.

“We are running to failure, and that’s changing our mentality right now,” says Juan.

“We’re surviving. We’re not improving.”

They are far from alone. Maintenance departments everywhere are feeling the impact of COVID-19.

“Maintenance teams are nervous right now,” says Terrence O’Hanlon, the CEO of ReliabilityWeb.

“Even before COVID, there weren’t too many maintenance departments who could say, ‘Yep, we’re fully staffed, fully budgeted, and we have all the resources we need.’…So if that’s the case when things are normal, it’s only going to get tougher in these times.”

Getting processes in place to support people is priority #1

For Tom Dufton, a maintenance and continuous improvement manager, these challenges aren’t just about business–they’re personal too.

“One of our maintenance team members, his wife is a nurse, so he’s taxed very heavily right now,” says Tom.

“He has two young kids. So we have to ask, ‘What can we do to help you out so things are better for you?…The last thing I want to do is to burden anyone down, especially maintenance.”

We’ve reached out to our competitors to get the crucial parts we need for our corrugator…And they’ve reached out to us for some of these consumables…We’re each making sure that we can get business done. We understand that we’re essential businesses and need to keep running.

The biggest hurdle for James Afara, the chief operating officer at a cannabis producer, is balancing the health of staff with the need to do critical maintenance.

“The biggest challenge is getting eyes on the plants to make sure they’re healthy and our process metrics…are being collected properly so we can make our decisions remotely,” says James.

“We have key individuals that go in during off-hours to collect the data, but you try to balance that because you never want to put people at risk.”

Juan’s facility has also struggled to do more with less. Most suppliers (90%) have stopped delivering key parts to the plant. But Juan has found an unlikely ally to help him solve this issue.

“We’ve reached out to our competitors to get the crucial parts we need for our corrugator,” says Juan.

“And they’ve reached out to us for some of these consumables…We’re each making sure that we can get business done. We understand that we’re essential businesses and need to keep running.”

Finding a way to get the job done isn’t the biggest worry for most maintenance teams. Instead, it’s ensuring staff health and safety. This has meant putting a lot of new processes in place.

For example, Tom and his team have increased their use of automation so his staff can run operations remotely.

“Our finger is always on the pulse of the facility,” says Tom, “Even without being there, you still know what’s happening.”

These measures have reduced after-hours call-ins by 42% over the last year, which means fewer risky trips to the plant.

Tom, along with James and Juan, have put several other precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They’ve started putting fewer technicians on each shift, taking the temperature of staff, sanitizing all incoming parts, and reducing production so staff can do frequent deep cleans of the facility.

Companies have even mobilized maintenance as a key weapon in the battle against the virus.

“It’s imperative that maintenance ensures the facility is running,” says James, “The last thing you want is staff sitting in the lunchroom and not social distancing because of a breakdown.”

This new way of working is essential, but it also has consequences.

“We are limited because if anyone has any sort of symptom, we are pulling them out of work,” explained James, who says his workforce has been reduced by 15% because of illness.

Juan’s team has had to sacrifice efficiency in the name of health and safety.

“Because the staff have to leave their machines and go to a separate area to discuss things, it creates more downtime,” says Juan.

Although their teams are stretched thin and dealing with more breakdowns, it’s all worth it to keep staff safe and healthy.

“Your employees and their health always comes first. You have to value people over profit,” says James.

“If you’re lowering your production, you still have to remember maintenance”

While increased production has led to challenges for some maintenance teams, others have faced a very different obstacle: Coming to terms with facility shutdowns.

Lines have gone silent at many plants in the face of both the pandemic and a struggling economy. That means an uncertain future for many maintenance teams. But there’s opportunity among the difficulties, says Rob Kalwarowsky, host of the Rob’s Reliability Project podcast.

“If you’re lowering your production, you still have to remember maintenance,” says Rob.

“This would be a great time to work through your backlog…or a great time to do those rebuilds you wanted to do. There’s opportunities here, you just have to look for them.”

Your employees and their health always comes first. You have to value people over profit.

While some maintenance personnel are learning to work remotely or with fewer resources, some are facing more dire circumstances.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about Brandon De Melo’s shift on March 13. Brandon, the CMMS coordinator at a major auto parts manufacturer, helped shut down the facility for the weekend and went home. By the next Friday, he had been laid off.

Although Brandon is temporarily without a job, it hasn’t stopped him from exploring new ways to improve maintenance at his facility for when business starts again.

His top priority is creating a list of crucial maintenance tasks for a successful cold start. He’s also working through several projects that have been on the backburner for his team, like organizing inventory records.

Brandon has also turned his home into a one-man manufacturing facility, where he’s been creating protective masks for healthcare workers with a 3D printer.

Left: Maintenance professional Brandon De Melo standing beside his 3D printer. Brandon has been using his printer to produce protective masks for healthcare workers at home.

Right: Pieces of the protective masks made by Brandon using his 3D printer.

Perseverance and hope are how maintenance teams are winning the day

Brandon’s story isn’t the only message of resilience among maintenance professionals. Hope was the word coming from everyone’s mouths when talking about the future, both on and off the shop floor.

“Don’t give up hope,” says Terrence.

“This is going to be a long battle…but I have huge faith not only in the people of this industry, but for all people to innovate and thrive even in this environment.”

Juan echoed this thought.

“The most important part about facing a situation like the one a lot of us are in now is to stay calm and to understand what is essential,” says Juan.

“What is essential is the safety of our employees. If we keep that in mind, everything else will be all right.”

Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/impact-of-covid-on-maintenance/

3 Ways Professional Services Firms Can Reap Dividends as we Move Beyond Digital Transformation

At its core, digital transformation is exactly what it sounds like:

“The process of integrating newer and more sophisticated examples of digital technology across all areas of your business, thus fundamentally changing how things operate for the better along the way.”

But at the same time, it’s also so much more than that. It’s a unique opportunity to not only streamline engagements but eliminate manual processes in favor of automated alternatives as well. It also helps to create the most important benefit of all: empowering you to create a better customer experience with a free flow of information on demand to customers, typically for the first time in your history.

Of course, getting to that point requires you to move beyond digital transformation itself. Once your technological evolution is complete, the next step involves sharpening the tools you’ve acquired to fully unlock all of those benefits outlined above. Getting to that point isn’t necessarily difficult — but it does require you to keep a few important things in mind.

Empowering Engagements, One Step at a Time

As you move beyond your digital transformation, maybe the most important area for you to focus on has to do with how you and your people are actually engaging with your customers. The tools are officially avAIlable for you to do this in a better way than ever before. Now, it’s up to you to actually put them to good use.

Your business will have a new level of mobile capability coming out of digital transformation, for example, which absolutely should be utilized to your advantage. Not only will it be easier to share information and insight between departments, but all of that data can also be accessed from any location on Earth with an active Internet connection. This includes via not only desktops and laptops but smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

This means that your employees now have the tools needed to better engage with customers on-the-go or at THEIR location, not yours. This type of purpose-driven technological shift doesn’t just create better engagements with your clients on a day-to-day basis. It also makes your professional services firm far more valuable to your client base as well.

The Power of Automation in the Modern Business Enterprise

One of the major reasons why enterprises go through a digital transformation in the first place often comes down to the idea of automation. Rather than paying high-value employees to focus on routine tasks like data entry or document management, you can turn those jobs over to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered solutions to handle everything on their behalf.

Think about it like this: every minute that one of your employees is focused on these everyday jobs is a minute they’re not supporting and empowering your business’ relationship with your customers. AI, on the other hand, is perfect for examining large sets of data and extracting the most meaningful insights in a way that humans could never match in the first place.

From that perspective, automation doesn’t just once again create an opportunity for you to provide a better and more personal level of care to your customers. It’s also an incredible chance to eliminate manual, repetitive and error-prone processes in a way that allows you to become more efficient as a business with far less overhead at the same time.

A Bold New Customer Experience Begins Now

Finally, we arrive at what is perhaps the most important driver behind digital transformation for many professional services firms: enhancing the quality of the customer experience they’re able to offer.

A rock-solid information management system can absolutely act as the foundation between your professional services firm and your customers — but that doesn’t mean that it won’t require a little additional work on your part after the transformation is complete.

Here, you’ll need to focus on two core areas, including:

  • Removing any and all obstacles that prevent personnel from serving the customers in the best way possible. This means making sure that information about customers is available to anyone who needs it, whenever and wherever they need it, no exceptions. This enables them to not only make better decisions in the heat of the moment, but to avoid the duplication of documents and requests as well.
  • Reducing friction (and costs) to focus on delivering your critical services. As outlined above, you should absolutely be using your digital transformation as an opportunity to digitize and automate as many of those menial administrative processes as possible, all so that your actual human employees can devote the majority of their attention to those tasks that truly need them.

If you’d like to find out more information about the many ways in which professional services firms can reap digital dividends as we collectively move beyond the concept of digital business transformation, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, set some time aside with us.

Source: https://www.m-files.com/blog/3-ways-professional-services-firms-can-reap-dividends-as-we-move-beyond-digital-transformation/

Helping Your Team Get Started with a Mobile CMMS App

So you bought a CMMS. Maybe you’ve been using the system for a while now, or maybe you only just stood it up — either way, you’re not taking full advantage of the system if your team isn’t using the mobile maintenance app that comes with most modern cloud solutions.

The majority of maintenance teams we work with at Fiix don’t spend their days in the office. Technicians, contractors, and tradespeople are generally out in the field or in far corners of the facility getting the job done. This is where mobile maintenance apps can really step up, but getting your team to download and use a new app isn’t always a walk in the park.

That’s why we specifically designed our mobile CMMS app for folks who are in the field, doing the work. This means 4 things:

  1. The app works offline: We know that WiFi doesn’t necessarily work everywhere you do, so our CMMS app seamlessly transitions from online to offline mode, automatically syncing your data once you’re back online. You can pull up asset information and log work without having to waste time waiting for data to load.
  2. It works intuitively and securely: The app takes advantage of built-in device features like QR code scanning, speech-to-text dictation, and capturing and uploading images. Not to mention, it also ensures your data is secure.
  3. It lets users personalize their data: The app lets users filter and view their own work order list to prioritize work better. Admins can also configure feature access for users, such as who gets to edit assets, who can view work requests, and more.
  4. It’s built with your feedback in mind: From new features such as the work request portal and inspection tasks, to custom fields and even e-signatures (coming soon!), we are always listening to the feedback and introducing new functionality to simplify and improve your experience.

Tips for getting your team to download and use a CMMS app

As you go through the process of getting your team up and running on the app, there are three major steps you should think about:

  1. Devices
  2. Training
  3. Continued adoption

1. Make sure you have the right devices

There are generally two scenarios here: either your company is providing devices for the team to use, or team members are using the app on their personal devices.

If your company is providing devices:

  • Make sure there are enough devices for the whole team. Does every team member require their own device, or do you just need enough devices for each shift?
  • Check with IT for any requirements from their side.
    • Will they set up the app for you? Make sure you set a date for the IT team to download the new app so that your team will know when to expect to start using it.
    • Do they use a mobile device management tool (MDM) on corporate devices? If they do, make sure that it is configured to work with the Fiix app.

If the team are using their own devices:

  • Our app is built for Android and iOS devices, so make sure your team is using those devices and they have the latest updates and operating system installed.
  • See if you can get one or two spare devices in case something happens to someone’s device and you need a spare.

2. Invest in training

When you introduce new technology to your team, it’s important to invest in training to make sure everyone uses the technology the same way. Even something as small as a mobile app requires training to ensure your team is aligned on which processes to follow.

There are two types of training you can run — group training or ‘train the trainer’. Both are equally effective, so choosing the right method is dependent on your team’s working style.

Remember: before you start training your team, make sure everyone has a device in hand to follow along.

Group training

We recommend training your team in a group if you can get everyone in the room at the same time. Group training is particularly helpful to use as a goalpost for everyone to start using the new app at the same time.

  • Get everyone together in a meeting room (pro tip: bring pizza and/or donuts to increase participation) and make sure everyone downloads the new app at the same time (if it’s not downloaded already).
  • Walk everyone through the app (you can sign up for a training session here or get some inspiration for topics from our Help Center).
    • Bonus: Assign a mock work order to each person attending the training and get them to all follow through the steps of updating the work order.
  • Make sure to provide hand-outs at the training session. One training session is generally not enough for anyone to fully learn a new system, so handouts will give your team something to refer to as they get used to working with the app. Feel free to use some of these handouts we’ve created:
    • How to download PDF
    • Quick start guide to mobile PDF

Train the trainer

This type of training is typically used when your maintenance team is running in shifts and you can’t get everyone in the same classroom for a training session.

  • Select one person from each shift or group to be the lead trainer (most often this will be the shift lead). This person is responsible for making sure everyone has downloaded and is trained on the new mobile app.
  • Train this trainer. You can sign them up for one of the Fiix training sessions, or get them familiarized with the mobile app through our Help Center topics. Make sure this trainer is familiar with the processes you want to follow as they use the app.
  • They will then do the training session with their group. Remind them to walk everyone through downloading the app and print those hand-outs for future reference. They can also create a mock work order and get them to follow steps of updating the work order.

3. Focus on continued adoption

The Fiix app is dynamic and we are constantly improving and adding new functionality based on feedback from our customers. On top of that, your team also changes, so we recommend doing a refresher every once in a while. This will help get new team members up and running and provide a helpful refresher for anyone else, which will ensure everyone is using the app in the same way, and taking advantage of updates as they come out.

  • We recommended doing a refresher at least every year, and maybe even every six months depending on your team.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for in-app messages and Fiix release notes for new functionality being added every month!

To sum it up

Start with a mobile app that actually works for your team, then focus on devices, setup and ongoing training for successful app adoption. And for more information on Fiix’s mobile app and how you can take advantage of it, join our mobile training webinar today.

Source:- https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/using-mobile-cmms-app/

How Better Document Workflow Management Will Improve Efficiency and Remove Headaches

This is an age when so many competitive businesses depend upon efficiency. Still, problems with document workflow productivity create challenges. In contrast, superior document workflow management tools and tactics can offer amazing productivity boosts. Learn how inadequate document workflow management reduces efficiency and even more, how the right technology can help improve all areas of your business.

Why Reconsider Your Document Management Strategies?

Document workflow management simply refers to the process of transferring information from one person to another during various stages in the business process. Typically, work has to get approved before the completed work moves to the next step. For a simple example, a supplier might send an invoice to a buyer. The buyer may need to approve it as matching the order and route this document to inventory to confirm delivery. Once confirmed, inventory will approve it and route the invoice to accounts payable.

This example may appear simple, but you probably already know the problems that inefficiencies in your own document management system can introduce to a business. In the example, flaws in the process can lead to violations of payment terms, issues with future orders, and increased workloads.

According to Business.com, these are common issues that many companies struggle with.

Document mishandling issues: Common problems include the inability to find documents, issues opening documents emailed from others, and duplication of incorrect information on multiple documents. Either way, these challenges led to an estimated loss of productivity of well over 20%, based on a global IT survey.

Collaboration using email: It’s still common to find companies emailing documents back and forth for collaboration. This generates multiple copies of the document as it’s in the process of getting emailed. Generally, discussions occur within long, cumbersome email threads as well. There’s also no way to assure that the final version ended up in the inbox of the person who has ownership over the data.

Versioning issues: Old-fashioned methods of sharing documents create versioning problems. They make it difficult to ensure that everybody’s working on the latest iteration or even knows how to find it. Business.com mentioned a Harris survey that found 83 percent of respondents said that tracking versions caused problems.

Wasted time searching: Knowledge workers reported spending an inordinate amount of time looking for the documents they needed to proceed with tasks. Dealing with misplaced or lost documents took them even more time. When key employees leave or transfer out of departments, files often got lost.

Lack of remote access: Increasingly, today’s workforce runs remotely. Relying upon hard copies or even electronic files stored on somebody’s disk drive can limit accessibility to necessary documents. Having an on-premises-only system may also encourage employees to create even more unmanaged copies of documents, so they can take them home or on business trips.

Expense of manual approvals and signatures: An automated and convenient electronic signing and approval process can save time, ensure faster results, and reduce the costs to handle each document. Otherwise, employees waste even more time delivering documents, asking for approvals, and then waiting for them.

Security and compliance: In this age of BYOD, or bring your own devices, security has grown increasingly challenging. Understandably, employees may try to download documents to their own devices to take with them for work away from the office. However, it’s difficult for companies to protect information on scattered devices and also, to make sure the document only gets used in ways that the government allows.

How a Better Document Workflow Management Will Make Your Business More Productive

Modern, smart, cloud-based document management systems can address common issues. For instance, the system can have input rules that minimize human error and help ensure that employees use the latest version of the right document. They incorporate features like notifications and electronic approvals to keep the approval process streamlined. They also come with built-in collaboration tools that eliminate the need to require upon cumbersome email threads.

Even better, these systems run from the cloud, so they make it possible to access files from almost anywhere and at any time. Nobody has to travel back to the office or even worse, wait for somebody to unlock the door. At the same time as they improve accessibility, these document management systems incorporate smart security, so management can set rules to ensure that only the right people view sensitive information.  This helps ensure security and compliance with legal rules.

The system also keeps a complete version history, so it’s simple to track changes and view the document’s history in case of problems or audits. Finally, these systems allow companies to classify and tag documents. This ensures that it’s easy for employees to find what they need and never waste time looking for lost documents.

Source: – https://www.m-files.com/blog/how-better-document-workflow-management-will-improve-efficiency-and-remove-headaches/

The 5 Key Themes for M-Files in 2020

Looking back at 2019, it was a year of significant development for M-Files. That was the year we truly saw the transformation with M-Files Online — allowing customers to truly achieve instant cloud-readiness. And, it was the year we helped customers find the benefits of intelligent information management within their daily business applications — like Microsoft Teams or Outlook, or Salesforce.

But so much for nostalgia. Now let’s jump into the path forward for 2020.

Our focus for this year in product development is driven by five major themes.

1. Digging deeper into our core differentiators

User experience

As a product, M-Files is built on three cornerstones. M-Files is:

  • metadata driven
  • – system and repository neutral
  • – AI-powered.

Our metadata approach sets us apart from the competition. Our solution is truly metadata driven; everything is managed with metadata — from the documents themselves to the user and access rights, workflows, policies, app integrations and more.

On all the three cornerstone areas, 2020 brings in development that will enhance the user experience and offer new ways to automate office work. As cool as AI can sound, it all boils down to this: How can it help employees work more efficiently? Our new intelligence features will make the user the centerpiece of everything, assisting the user in the context of his role and task at hand. And, as an out-of-the-box feature, artificial intelligence is still going to be as simple as ABC.

2. Improving the user experience

Putting the user at the center also means adjusting to the way THEY prefer to do their work. This was one of the key initiatives for 2019, and we continue the same path in 2020. We will embed M-Files into more systems and common business applications. One more was just recently launched, when we integrated with Esri ArcGIS, a tool for applying location-based analytics into business practices.

On top of the integrations to other systems, we will significantly improve our own web client, offering easy deployment and ease-of-use in a modern and simplistic UI, designed to support daily work.

3. Scaling for more complex requirements and environments

Scalability

As organizations grow and begin to embrace new technologies to deal with the exploding amount of data, it is vital to offer more scalable ways to run business applications — like M-Files —  or to search for data in both cloud repositories as well as on-premises data storage.

Our roadmap for 2020 supports initiatives like multi-server mode, which will improve scalability. Multi-server mode will always balance the load for M-Files Online customers by offering high availability.

4. Improving service management capabilities

Service capability

As we look at 2020, the M-Files solution will also provide better service to customers — improved cloud architecture, self-service capabilities and other improvements that help further our task to be the best SaaS provider of intelligent information management solutions.

Already, M-Files is recognized as a Visionary in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, the Best Document Management Software of 2020 by Business.com, and a Leader by Nucleus Research. User experience is very important to us, and we pride ourselves on the ease-of-use confirmed by numerous customers and reports — like the Top-Rated Enterprise Content Management Software for 2019 by TrustRadius. The new service management capabilities will help us further improve the user experience.

5. Enhancing collaboration capabilities

Easier collaboration

Collaboration seems to be an overarching theme in numerous discussions and articles. The new ways of working together in virtual teams call for new solutions for easy collaboration.
People will always find ways to work the way they prefer, and unless the organization provides safe but easy-to-use tools for collaboration, people will do so with whatever tools they find.

Easier collaboration is one of the themes for 2020 for M-Files as well as we seek to serve the information-driven industries better. We will start to introduce several enhancements that will make everyday collaboration a walk in the park.

Summary

So – if 2019 was a year of transformation and going where the customers are, 2020 is going to be yet another interesting year with lots of new features and capabilities. These capabilities will put our customers at the driver’s seat, allowing them to stay even more focused on the task at hand while benefitting from the many advances of intelligent information management.

Source:- https://www.m-files.com/blog/the-5-key-themes-for-m-files-in-2020/