Mobile Technology for Modern Facility Management

Mobile technology has become much more relevant to facility management in the last two years. Maintenance and engineering professionals are mobile by nature, and have relied on paper, phone calls, emails, and text messages to get their job done.  Although these different methods of communication have been somewhat effective, there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made by using modern web based Computerized Maintenance Management Systems, or CMMS products.  With the advent of Smart Phones and Tablets, more facility managers are realizing the positive impact these technologies can have in their facilities.

Older Methods Don’t Produce the Same Results

Even though mobile technology is gradually becoming popular in the industry, there are still those who prefer older ways and have not incorporated the new technology into their facility management processes.

The older methods usually involve paper, phone calls, and manual data entry.  This means that when maintenance technicians and mechanics need immediate access to information, they have to wait until they are on site and even then, may have to wade through huge files from the administrative office in order to find what they are after.  This method is not only tedious; it wastes time and substantially reduces productivity.

The result is a maintenance process that is compromised and productive methods such as predictive maintenance become impractical or in some cases, impossible to implement.

Where Mobile Technology Comes in Handy

When utilizing web based CMMS products, mobile technology enhances the performance of employees and leads to lowered costs for the facility and for the workforce.  When applied in the following areas, mobile technology has far reaching effects:

  • On Demand Work Orders:  The largest improvement made is in automated dispatch of workers to handle client Service Requests and Asset Repair Orders.  Workers don’t need to be called or stop by the office to pick up their Work Orders – they are sent automatically to their Smart Phones or Tablets.  The workers can start and stop the Work Orders in the field, giving accurate field work times.  They can document what they did and even take pictures before, during, and after the work is done to document the work completely.  When work is completed, everyone who is involved knows instantly, and the worker can be assigned their next task immediately, reducing travel and down time.  An added benefit is the elimination of double entry and the errors that happen as part of that older documentation process,
  • Preventive Maintenance Work Orders: When work is completed for On Demand Work Orders, the workers have a scheduled list of Preventive Maintenance Work Orders that they can immediately begin.  All of the details they need to complete the work can be automatically sent to their Smart Phone or Tablet, increasing their productivity and minimizing the amount of work their supervisors need to perform.  Just like the On Demand Work Orders, workers can start and stop the PM Work Order in the field, documenting their work with notes and also with pictures.  Everyone who monitors Preventive Maintenance will know that the work is done, and follow up documentation becomes much easier.  Of course, the same benefit for eliminating double entry is useful for PM Work Orders as well.
  • Quality Inspections:  Supervisors can perform Quality Inspections of both On Demand and Preventive Maintenance Work Orders with their Smart Phone or Tablet.  Their start time and end time is automatically documented, and they can record everything they find with easy drop down menus to prevent a lot of typing.  Inspectors can also take pictures of any deficiencies they find or also document when a job is well done, so there is a complete and accurate record of the work performed.  Analysis of Quality results becomes a lot easier, as reports are generated automatically to improve their productivity.
  • Asset Inventory: This is another important area where the effects of mobile technology can be experienced as receiving, tracking, and performing physical inventories become much faster and more productive.  Inventory results can instantly and automatically be sent into the web based CMMS, eliminating transcribing errors and improving accuracy.

Without a doubt mobile technology is the next big thing for savvy maintenance professionals and when properly integrated with their chosen CMMS, it provides great opportunities for effectiveness, productivity, and accountability.