You already know preventive maintenance software is essential to keeping track of tasks at your site.
In the 2019 Plant Engineering report, only 45% of maintenance managers reported using in-house spreadsheets and schedules, while 58% said they are using preventive maintenance software or a computerized maintenance management system.
But when it comes to choosing the right software, the decision might not be as obvious.
Finding the right solution comes down to asking the right questions.
Questions to ask in a preventive maintenance software comparison
1. What features do you need most?
One common mistake is to start comparing different preventive maintenance software options before you really know what you want. Understanding what features are most important for your team will save you time and effort.
Will you be using your system primarily to manage basic maintenance tasks? Or do you need a more detailed asset maintenance management that measures the total cost of ownership through your equipment lifecycle?
Integrations may also be an important factor. If your company is already using enterprise resource planning (ERP) or facility management software, you’ll want to look for a preventive maintenance system that works well with your existing technology.
2. Does your preventive maintenance software support work order management?
Although work order management is among the most basic functionality of a preventive maintenance software system, data collected from work orders can help you identify trends and adjust your maintenance schedules.
Using a work order software has many benefits, including:
- Automated workflows that allow you to track every task, from request to completion
- Comprehensive data collection about every task
- Easy facilitation and communication, which eliminates back-and-forth conversations between maintenance managers
- A single source of truth to keep everyone on track when it comes to task ownership, schedules and deadlines
3. Does your software automate preventive maintenance scheduling?
Regular inspections are critical for reducing overall maintenance costs and prolonging the life of an asset. In some cases, they are done to ensure safety and compliance.
Like a well-oiled machine, your preventive maintenance software should automate and simplify PM tasks. It should include a detailed checklist of equipment and inspection reports. It should also notify team members when it’s time for preventive maintenance activities.
4. Is your preventive maintenance software available on the cloud?
IDC reports that worldwide spending on cloud services will more than double by 2023. This trend is consistent across industries, and you don’t want to be left behind. Even in the construction industry, which has been slower to adopt digital transformation, 85% of surveyed contractors confirmed that they use or plan to use cloud-based solutions.
Cloud-based solutions are subscription-based, so they don’t require a large upfront investment. You pay a monthly fee, which includes hosting, software maintenance and upgrades. You don’t need to worry about hardware or expensive upgrades.
And your data is easy to access from anywhere.
5. Have you performed a cost-benefit analysis?
Comparing costs can be misleading because the lowest cost solution often includes only the most basic features. It may also come with hidden fees you didn’t expect, such as fees for additional users. To determine the best value for your investment, it’s better to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.
You’ll need to estimate parameters such as asset longevity, reduction in equipment downtime and improvement in labor productivity.
One way to calculate this is to benchmark against similar companies who have shifted from manual methods of preventive maintenance to using the software you’re considering. For example, knowing that a similar firm saved $600,000 in a year with a preventive maintenance software system could help you make a compelling case for investing in it yourself.
6. Does the software include mobile functionality?
If you have technicians who spend a lot of time at construction sites or on the road, having a system with a mobile app is critical.
In the 2019 Plant Engineering report, 29% of respondents said that they used mobile devices in some form. Some used them for scheduling and communication, while others used them to obtain information about machines and their work history at the repair site. Add this with the other 39% who are considering on-boarding mobile devices in the future, and you realize this is a trend that can’t be ignored.
Most cloud-based solutions provide mobile access, but it’s also essential for them to offer a well-designed app customized for use from mobile devices. As Plant Services reports based on trends over the years, “organizations are becoming much more comfortable (even reliant) on mobile devices and networks to successfully execute their maintenance strategy.”
7. Is it easy for anyone to use?
If you have a team who isn’t accustomed to using any type of preventive maintenance software, an intuitive user interface will likely be among your top criteria.
To maximize your return on investment, anyone should be able to understand how to use your software with minimal training.
Once you have purchased the software, there will likely be a learning curve as you start exploring all its features. As you compare preventive maintenance software, it’s important to consider the level of training and support you’re gaining as well.
8. Does the software offer robust reporting features?
The best preventive maintenance software will have in-house business intelligence capabilities and real-time data on reports and dashboards. These are useful from both short-term and long-term perspectives.
For example, outlier alerts can help you to quickly intervene when a piece of equipment is relaying stress signals. Long-term continuous monitoring of metrics such as overall equipment effectiveness, mean time to repair and mean time between failure is useful to understand the effectiveness of your preventive maintenance program. This is also critical for data visualization, allowing you to spot trends and make more informed decisions.
Get started with preventive maintenance software
Taking the time to evaluate these questions can help you conduct a more effective preventive maintenance software comparison.
But the best way to know which solution is right for you is to see it in action. Discover why our preventive maintenance software consistently ranks among the highest-rated solutions on Capterra and Software Advice.
“Assigning parts to work orders is as easy as a quick barcode scan. I can get the maintenance staff the parts they need so they can quickly get back on the job.” -Kristi V. Amarillo College
“The most essential part of our maintenance program.” -Mark P. Central Paving