MRO Magazine

How equipment management systems can improve operations

By Rachael Plant   

Machinery and Equipment Maintenance Machine Building Manufacturing Equipment management equipment visibility Improve accountability improve operations remote collaboration

Equipment management systems help track and manage the tools and small equipment used in daily operations. Managing equipment maintenance and expenses in a cloud-based software maximizes asset efficiency and improves your return on investment.

Photo: Fleetio

Equipment management: spreadsheets vs cloud-based management systems
Small equipment and power tools can be as critical on the job site as company vehicles. Many fleets rely on a variety of small equipment to serve their customers. While some fleet managers only think about tracking vehicles, tool and equipment management can be just as important to your fleet’s efficiency and bottom line. An equipment management system helps ensure tools are in safe operating condition to avoid downtime, accidents, and costly replacement purchases.

Using a spreadsheet to track tools, small equipment and their usage allows an opportunity to identify problems and act before equipment fails. In addition to helping ensure proper maintenance, you can log asset assignments to help keep teams accountable. A robust equipment management spreadsheet can help track inventory and operational status, historical usage details and purchase and warranty information.

Spreadsheets may not work for everyone, especially if you have a growing list of tools and equipment, as it can often be difficult to monitor assets in real time. It’s also difficult to view real-time metrics, and manual data entry often results in miscalculations. Even paper inspection forms lack efficiency. Aside from slowing down your team’s workday, issues can’t be communicated instantly, often resulting in compounded problems and costly repairs.

Cloud-based equipment management systems track job-critical assets in a centralized software, automating the manual tracking process to free you up for more important tasks. With information stored on a single platform, you can monitor utilization, performance, maintenance, and expenses to improve operations.

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Photo: Fleetio

Improve accountability with remote collaboration
Since teams are often dispersed, leveraging an equipment management system is a great tool to maximize asset visibility and enhance fleet-wide collaboration. Using a cloud-based equipment management software with a native mobile app enables tracking and managing operations remotely.

Fleet managers can assign equipment to certain operators to ensure equipment is properly maintained. Equipment assignments create an audit trail and hold team members accountable. When issues arise, teams can effectively communicate on a mobile device to resolve those issues and stay productive. Team members can alert managers to any safety or maintenance needs.

Catch issues early with mobile inspections
Monitoring equipment health is the best way to maximize productivity and avoid downtime. Having operators conduct routine equipment inspections allows you to closely track equipment, ensure safe operating conditions and identify any maintenance issues.

Mobile inspections offered by equipment management systems keep you informed of equipment issues in real time. A configurable equipment management system can tailor inspection forms for all specialized tools and equipment. Managers are immediately notified of any inspection failures and can begin scheduling maintenance. This automated process speeds up the maintenance workflow and helps keep potential issues from falling through the cracks.

 

Photo: Fleetio

Increase equipment visibility to ensure safety
Some fleets operate dangerous tools and small equipment on the daily, so anything you can do to mitigate risks and ensure safety should be a priority. Implementing safety procedures and maximizing asset visibility are the best ways to stay informed of issues and maintain safety.

Equipment management systems provide increased visibility across your operation and allow you to communicate issues with your team in real time. Managers can view and update equipment status in cloud-based software to inform others of potential safety issues.

Whether issues are identified immediately during inspections or on the jobsite, managers must communicate issues quickly. Marking a piece of equipment “out of service” in an equipment management system keeps all team members informed. Since broken equipment may have to stay in the vehicle until it can be fixed, consider creating a sticker to label equipment as unsafe.

Monitor maintenance from start to finish
Maintenance issues must be identified and resolved quickly to maximize uptime. Two of the biggest obstacles for managers is tracking maintenance progress and communicating needs with their team.

Leveraging an equipment management system allows collaboration on maintenance. Managers can assign mobile work orders to technicians and track repair progress from start to finish.

Managers can approach equipment maintenance with preventive maintenance (PM) scheduling. Managers can automate service reminders based on usage or calendar intervals, ensuring all equipment is routinely serviced to address issues and lengthen asset lifespan.

Track utilization to determine life- cycle trends and procurement needs
While tools and small equipment may not seem expensive compared to larger assets, acquisition and replacement costs add up over time. Performing routine maintenance and monitoring utilization ensures you get the most out of your equipment.
Tracking utilization in an equipment management system provides insight into how your tools are used. This data can keep track of PM, develop strategies to lengthen equipment lifespan and estimate when equipment should be replaced.

By analyzing utilization reports in your software, you may notice you’re over-utilizing certain equipment, causing it to wear out quickly. From there, you can determine whether to add new equipment or potentially find under-utilized equipment in your current stock.

Monitor expenses to ensure profitability
Controlling expenses across the operation is a balancing act. When it comes to small equipment, some fleets constantly replace equipment instead of repairing it. This strategy often has a negative impact on the bottom line. Tracking expenses in a cloud-based equipment management system allows comprehensively monitor spending. With configurable expense reports, you can break down expenses at a line item level or view high-level metrics like total cost of ownership.

Managing equipment in cloud-based software automatically tracks costs in real time. Managers and stakeholders can easily perform a cost analysis with configurable reports. Using real-time data allows you to make confident decisions to improve operations and maximize profitability. MRO
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Rachael Plant is a Content Marketing Specialist for Fleetio.

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