5 key indicators your construction team needs a computerized maintenance system

Inspection and maintenance records, time logging and equipment tracking are made easier by implementing a CMMS
(Photo: Arne9001, Dreamstime)

Computerized maintenance management systems, or CMMS, have become vital to maintenance departments in nearly every branch of industry. It’s no surprise that the construction industry can benefit greatly from the use of CMMS, mostly due to the heavy equipment records that can quickly become cumbersome without a thorough tracking and bookkeeping system. There are many signs that a CMMS could be beneficial to your construction company, including failing inspections or equipment loss due to lack of preventative care.

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The use of CMMS in the construction industry has rapidly increased, mainly due to the ease of accessing safety and inspection records remotely, and the ability to track equipment that is located on customer jobsites. The GPS capabilities that are included in some CMMS have allowed business owners and construction managers to locate and check the machine health of their assets, regardless of how far away from the shop the equipment may be. If you find yourself still driving to customer jobsites to inspect your heavy machinery, it may be time to consider a CMMS for your construction company. The 5 key indicators of the need for a CMMS are:

Equipment damage or loss. The cost of the equipment that is used in construction is exorbitant. Incurring repair costs or replacement costs because preventative maintenance has been overlooked is absolutely unnecessary. The ability to manage and track preventative maintenance, inspections and calibration, and GPS locate all of your assets are just a few of the reasons a CMMS can be beneficial to your construction company.

Inspection/OSHA records. Nobody likes a surprise inspection. Even worse, on-site accidents resulting in a visit from OSHA can be devastating if your paperwork isn’t in order. Why risk it? A CMMS virtually handles inspection and safety paperwork for you. You don’t have to dig through years of sign-off sheets, training records and equipment logs. Everything is as simple as running a report on the asset, employee or inspection schedule. A CMMS virtually guarantees you can have the answers quickly and be back to work without the lost time associated with being hampered by lost records, and equipment being taken out of service.

Manually locating machinery. There is simply no justification for losing manpower so that someone can drive around to your jobsites manually locating and inspecting heavy equipment. The CMMS that are specifically geared toward the construction industry have incredible GPS abilities that can relay your machine location, fluid levels, battery health and all of your operators’ information at the push of a button. Equipment theft can be stopped by opting for your machinery to email you if it moves overnight or over the weekend. The machinery tracking capabilities are impressive, and you won’t regret the ease with which you can locate and check the health of all of your heavy equipment, no matter which jobsite the equipment is currently at.

Employee time and training. Manually keeping employee time and training records is difficult and cumbersome. CMMS include time management and training modules that allow you to keep up with payroll, employee training and many other timekeeping functions that greatly simplify human resources in your organization. Because of the fact that you no longer archive or purge files, you can look at employee files from the date of hire until today, without the need to visit file storage rooms or dig through multiple spreadsheets to get the answers you’re looking for.

Equipment records and manuals. Some of the CMMS on the market include the ability to upload and save all of your equipment manuals. This is a tremendous time saver when performing maintenance on a piece of equipment because the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations are at the technician’s fingertips. The equipment service records can be quickly accessed, and the specifications for the equipment can be verified before the mechanic signs off on the repair.

Implementing a CMMS

If you have found that your construction company meets any or all of these key indicators, it may be well worth your time to look into a CMMS that is geared toward the construction industry.

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Once you decide on a CMMS, bear in mind that it will take anywhere from six months to a year to fully implement your system. It is imperative that you plan the implementation and follow the plan to the letter. An implementation plan should follow these steps:

  1. Identify your goals and objectives.
  2. Appoint a project manager.
  3. Develop your structure, nomenclature (for asset naming) and modules.
  4. Confirm your assets.
  5. Develop a management of change process.
  6. Begin the data migration process.
  7. Train all members of staff in their specific modules.
  8. Audit the migrated data and input data.
  9. Set date to go live.
  10. Live, then audit at 30, 60 and 90 days.

By strictly adhering to the implementation plan you’ve devised, you minimize the chances that an important part of the transition will be missed. Following a simple, step-by-step plan can help to get your CMMS online in the shortest period of time and with as few mistakes as possible.

Talmage Wagstaff is co-founder and CEO of REDLIST. Raised in a construction environment, Talmage has been involved in heavy equipment since he was a toddler. He has degrees and extensive experience in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering. Talmage worked for several years as a field engineer with ExxonMobil servicing many of the largest industrial production facilities in the country.


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