CMMS System: Integration for Off-site Operations 

Paweł Bęś, Logistics and Maintenance Marketing Expert, QRmaint

Posted 6/11/2024

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems are often perceived as solutions that can operate solely in production plants. However, the growing demand for maintenance across production facilities has shown that the complexity of the business, and its need for integration is far more extended. Today, enterprises require CMMS integration with the supply chain—not only in the context of production, but also in the context of supplying manufacturing facilities with spare parts for their maintenance departments.

In this article, we explain how interoperability is facilitated today in maintenance operations. Using QRmaint as an example (a CMMS system that combines extensive capabilities of service and maintenance, asset management, and facility management) we will share knowledge about deep integration in manufacturing operations.

CMMS for maintenance
Image courtesy QRmaint

CMMS that Works Beyond the Production Plant 

CMMS systems should completely cover multiple operations required not only for service and maintenance, but asset management and facility management systems as well.

Looking deeper into cross-connected areas in the production plant, we see that all internal departments are required to be informed about current events regarding ongoing operations. Whether the production line is dealing with unplanned downtime or scheduled maintenance, these events outline the need to get proper insights on task assignments and parts KPI metrics

The people who need the data are maintenance managers, maintenance technicians, and machine operators. This is the first reason why deep integration between various departments has become increasingly important in manufacturing plants.

Areas that Require Integration

Production Line

Machine operators should be able to exchange constant data. The CMMS system offers the ANDON feature, an automatic calling system that allows for reporting issues and machinery failures on the production line.

Maintenance Workers

Technicians and maintenance staff can get data in real time about ongoing issues in the facility, whether it’s production line dysfunction or errors in the proper functioning of building infrastructure. By using the CMMS for maintenance, they can make material requests, like spare parts necessary to handle the situation.

Inventory Management

Warehouse clerks should keep the stock of spare parts low to maintain a cost-effective inventory approach. Therefore, they should exchange information with maintenance workers about required parts in real time. This also helps track the usage of spare parts and control the need for reordering.

Operational Management

Operations managers and team leaders responsible for the maintenance department can track ongoing tasks in an integrated CMMS system. They can assign work orders, see the progress of each task, and review KPIs at any time. This gives them a holistic view of all operations and where the teams are at the current time.

Finance Department

The finance department benefits from the CMMS by gaining insight into maintenance costs, including labor, spare parts, and downtime. This allows for more accurate budgeting and financial planning throughout the organization. 

Supply Chain

The supply chain can seamlessly integrate with the CMMS to ensure timely procurement and delivery of spare parts and materials. This integration helps maintain optimal inventory levels, reduces lead times, and minimizes the risk of production delays. With CMMS, you can also choose your supplier and easily reorder exactly the same component, which is safe most of the time.  

Putting it all together, there is one thing in common for all the areas here. Maintenance integration is about data exchange. By analyzing cost data, the finance team can identify savings areas and ensure efficient resource allocation. All of that leads to improved financial performance

Real-time data exchange between the production plant and stakeholders in the supply chain ensures that maintenance activities run smoothly, which contributes to overall operational efficiency. 

Considering these capabilities, we can outline what facilities maintenance is really like today. Data quality and data in place are two essential elements of today’s maintenance operations. 

Hurdles of Integration in Manufacturing Plants 

The way companies evolve over time indicates a more extended need for integration. There is no doubt that businesses have made many mistakes over the years, focusing on silos way too much. This caused them to create many separate legacy systems that need help to integrate. This is why integration between various departments becomes even more challenging to do.

An excellent example is the lack of mobile access within inventory management in the production facility. Production staff can’t effectively control goods flow by using paperwork, and the lack of mobile access often requires employees to check data on the PC workstation to see if it complies with paperwork and stock location. 

Manufacturing company personnel encountered obvious issues with a lack of mobility, such as mismatches in production and problems with access to spare parts for machinery repair.

After a while, the company decided to deploy mobility in the production and for maintenance workers. They needed to integrate existing inventory management with new mobile solution.

Deploying a mobile app system for warehouse management wasn’t enough. Engineers needed to build and integrate a solution on top of the existing one with mobility, or completely replace the legacy system. Both cases were very time consuming and difficult to handle cost efficiently.

Main Hurdles to Operational Integration in Manufacturing Plants

Legacy Systems

As stated above, legacy systems are challenging to integrate, but businesses are still going along with them. Therefore, today, we have so many nonupgraded ERP systems with connected low-code platforms on top of and running maintenance operations with still relatively low agility. So, in many cases, it isn’t possible to integrate legacy systems, and these will need to be replaced. 

Personnel

Computer operation was a problem in the past, but in the age of mobility and artificial intelligence, this is no longer a problem. Low-profile employees are very well educated in the use of basic mobile technology. The problem is convincing people to change. You can’t rely on a new integration solution with personnel who are not motivated. People lacking motivation will bring down even the most effective initiative.

Integration Cost

As mentioned above, if the integration solution involves deploying a new system that should integrate other systems, it may seem too costly. If it is too expensive, it will not be possible to proceed with it. Therefore, the CMMS integration operation should solve multiple problems and be cost effective.

Summary: CMMS Integration

It will be very difficult to run nonintegrated operations in a production plant today. Companies must adapt and improve data flow to tackle future and recent economic challenges. 

Data is key today. It is a key to smooth operations, and it stimulates a more predictable work environment. Companies like QRmaint constantly take care of their data acquisition improvement. One example is the latest update they performed in their CMMS system.

The latest upgrade in the QRmaint CMMS system increased the ability to approximate input machine time. This upgrade was significant for running very accurate maintenance indicators such as MTTF or MTBF. Data taken on these indicators is a key to increasing maintenance efficiency. 

In conclusion, improving your data exchange capabilities and CMMS integration can strengthen your production plant capabilities. You create a more agile and robust business by paying more attention to integration.


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Paweł Bęś

Paweł Bęś, Logistics and Maintenance Marketing Expert for QRmaint. He is a B2B marketer with 8 years of experience in the logistics industry in the Netherlands. His work included business analysis of distribution and supply chain operations of high-tech companies in EMEA and APAC. He was responsible for directing, coordinating, planning and supervising transportation tasks and internal operations. He is currently responsible for marketing activities at QRmaint, a company that provides CMMS systems for various industries.

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