Five Ways CMMS Software Helps Transform Maintenance Managers into Leaders 

Reena Sommer, Ph.D

Posted 12/19/2023

Introduction:

Maintenance managers are pivotal in overseeing and coordinating all organizational maintenance activities. Their job involves ensuring the efficient and reliable functioning of equipment, machinery, and facilities. Maintenance managers are generally charged with maintaining the operational integrity and longevity of the organization’s physical assets. To achieve these ends, they carry many responsibilities, including developing and implementing maintenance policies and procedures, scheduling routine inspections and repairs, managing maintenance budgets, and supervising maintenance staff. Overall, they strive to minimize downtime, reduce operational disruptions, and optimize the lifespan of assets by proactively addressing issues and implementing preventive maintenance measures. Maintenance managers also collaborate with other departments to align maintenance strategies with overall organizational goals, emphasizing safety, cost-effectiveness, and compliance with regulatory standards.  

The above tasks present a tall order for any maintenance manager wanting to excel and become top in their field. This is a challenging feat, considering they are in charge of a department with many moving parts, quite literally. Fortunately, since more and more organizations are adopting a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software), attaining excellence is much more attainable.  In simple terms, just as a CMMS is a strategic tool, maintenance managers are just as crucial in optimizing operational efficiency and ensuring the reliability of key assets.

Qualities That Make Maintenance Managers a Leader:

Maintenance managers, as leaders, possess certain qualities and demonstrate specific leadership behaviors. The following are a few leadership attributes that make maintenance leaders stand out:

Vision and Strategy:

A leader is a maintenance manager with a clear vision for where their maintenance department is heading and aligns the team’s efforts with broader organizational goals. This person also has a strategy for implementing their vision by developing and communicating a concrete plan for maintenance activities, outlining priorities, goals, and resource allocation.

maintenance manager teaching tradespeople

Communication Skills:

A maintenance manager with leadership skills can effectively communicate expectations, goals, and changes to the team and ensure that information is transparent and easily understood. Listening actively is a key communication skill because it encourages team members to share their concerns and ideas, and in doing so, it fosters open communication and creates a positive work environment.

Decision-Making:

Maintenance managers who demonstrate decisiveness can make informed and timely decisions while considering the impact on the team and the organization. They also take responsibility for outcomes, whether positive or negative. A key attribute is demonstrating effective and timely problem-solving skills when facing maintenance issues, especially those that emerge on short notice.

Team Building & Empowerment:

Another leadership quality is a maintenance manager who invests in the professional development of team members by identifying and nurturing talent within the maintenance department. This person can inspire and motivate a team and foster a positive and collaborative work culture. By delegating responsibilities and tasks, a maintenance manager’s team members are empowered to take ownership of their work and develop their skills. By being reliable, consistent, and fair in decision-making within the team, a maintenance manager is able to engender members’ trust. 

Adaptability:

This leadership skill requires that a maintenance manager demonstrates flexibility in adapting to changes in technology, processes, or organizational structure and encourages the team to embrace change positively. Leading by example, seeking continuous improvement, and promoting a healthy work culture encourage the team to find more efficient and effective ways to perform maintenance tasks.

Results Oriented:

The bottom line for strong maintenance managers is focusing on results and achieving goals. This person can set challenging yet achievable goals for the maintenance team and monitor progress toward those goals via performance metrics (KPIs) that measure and improve maintenance performance. The best leaders motivate their team. They make a point of celebrating the wins rather than focusing on when the team missed the mark.

In summary, maintenance managers who are true leaders combine technical expertise with strong interpersonal and organizational skills, fostering a positive and productive work environment and leading the team toward achieving common goals. Now let’s turn to five critical ways a CMMS can help transform maintenance managers into leaders. 

Leveraging CMMS for Transforming Maintenance Managers into Leaders:

CMMS software helps organizations compete by reducing costs and improving efficiencies. With these outcomes, CMMS software can be instrumental in transforming maintenance managers into influential leaders. It provides maintenance managers with the tools and capabilities to improve their decision-making, maintenance processes, and overall team performance. Here are five specific ways:

1.   CMMSs Offer Streamlined Work Order Management:

Efficiency and reliability are two essential goals that maintenance managers aspire to achieve. When organizations implement a CMMS, its work order management feature makes these goals attainable. By using this feature, companies experience a 20-30% reduction in time to complete work orders. (Aberdeen Group, 2016). This is accomplished in the following two ways:

Automation of Work Orders:

The CMMS software automates creating, assigning, and tracking work orders. This eliminates manual paperwork and ensures that maintenance tasks are executed promptly. The days of work order slips piling up on a desk or in a maintenance team member’s mail slot are a thing of the past. 

Prioritization and Scheduling:

As is true for most organizations, some maintenance tasks are more urgent than others, especially when something goes wrong unexpectedly. These are times when a CMMS is most helpful because maintenance managers can use the software to prioritize and schedule work orders based on criticality, resource availability, and overall organizational priorities. Moreover, CMMSs’ real-time capabilities make transmitting urgent work order information instantaneous. This helps in optimizing maintenance activities and minimizing downtime.

2.   Asset Lifecycle Management:

Asset Tracking and Monitoring:

By utilizing the CMMS asset tracking and monitoring features, the software allows maintenance managers to track the performance and condition of assets in real-time. Maintenance managers can access information on equipment history, maintenance schedules, and associated costs, which allows them to change schedules based on actual data as needed.

Predictive Maintenance:

By leveraging data from CMMS, maintenance managers can implement predictive maintenance strategies, reducing unplanned downtime by identifying potential issues before they become critical. According to a study by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), effective CMMS implementation can lead to a 15-20% reduction in downtime. This finding suggests that such a strategic approach can significantly improve equipment reliability and longevity in its operations.

3.   Resource and Inventory Management:

Optimized Resource Allocation:

CMMS helps by managing and allocating resources effectively through its reporting capabilities. The software provides insights into workforce availability, skill sets, and workload distribution, all in real-time. Maintenance managers can deploy the right personnel to the right tasks and at the right time.

Inventory Control:

Maintenance managers can track and manage spare parts and inventory levels using CMMS. This prevents overstocking or stockouts, leading to cost savings and improved maintenance efficiency. Moreover, it makes it possible for maintenance managers to ensure that their inventory-related decisions are accurate.

4.   Data-Driven Decision Making:

Performance Analytics:

CMMS software can also generate detailed real-time reports and analytics on various maintenance metrics, allowing maintenance managers to assess performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions. This feature eliminates the need to guestimate equipment performance, giving maintenance managers the confidence to evaluate maintenance operations effectively and efficiently. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

A CMMS helps maintenance managers define and track maintenance KPIs related to equipment reliability, maintenance costs, and workforce productivity. This facilitates continuous improvement initiatives and ensures maintenance efforts appropriately align with organizational goals.

maintenance manager working in CMMS with tradesperson

5.   Regulatory Compliance and Documentation:

Documentation Management:

CMMS assists in maintaining comprehensive documentation related to equipment, maintenance procedures, and regulatory compliance. Adhering to industry standards and regulations is essential for audits and a responsibility that rests primarily on maintenance managers.

Audit Trails and Reporting:

CMMS-supported preventive maintenance programs have been shown to assist companies in meeting regulatory requirements. A study by the European Journal of Operational Research highlighted a 10-15% improvement in compliance-related metrics. The software provides audit trails and reports that help demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements. This feature allows maintenance managers to access historical data, efficiently facilitating transparency, accountability, and compliance.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that maintenance managers have challenging jobs that are tasked with numerous and diverse responsibilities. Despite this, leveraging CMMS software helps improve performance on many metrics. CMMS features empower them to efficiently manage work orders, optimize asset performance, allocate resources effectively, make data-driven decisions, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. These capabilities make it possible to transform maintenance managers into proactive leaders by assisting them in actualizing operational excellence in their maintenance operations. With a CMMS, maintenance managers can become the Rock Stars they always wanted to be.


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Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer has written extensively about CMMS and maintenance management best practices since 2018. Reena has been a contributor for Hippo CMMS, Click Maint among others. She has her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Manitoba. Reena hails from Winnipeg, Canada and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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