The Difference Between Current and Non-Current Assets

Across industries, understanding what type of assets you have and knowing how to track them is crucial.  And a big part of that is understanding the differences between current and non-current assets, the roles they play in your business, and how to manage them. 

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Benefits of maintenance history records

That old saying “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” applies just as much to maintenance management, integrated facilities management, and the benefits of maintenance history records as it does to the rise and fall of empires.

Once you have a solid understanding of the maintenance team’s completed work, you can more effectively schedule preventive maintenance, fine-tune SOPS, forecast inventory, and even make staffing decisions. With an accurate picture of the past, you can plan a better future with less unscheduled downtime, costly repairs, and stress. 

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The Study of BIM for FM: What the academics say

What do the academics in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) think about the benefits, best practices, and challenges of repurposing design and construction data for operations and maintenance? Does BIM for FM pass with flying colors? Or is there room for improvement? Most important: For facility and maintenance managers, what are the highlights and where are the crib notes? 

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How to Write a Facilities Maintenance Job Description

Staffing scalability is a challenge for many companies, and one area in particular that’s difficult to properly staff is facility maintenance — often because businesses aren’t quite sure who to hire and in what capacities. They start writing a facility maintenance job description but then stop because they’re not sure what the role and responsibilities should be. 

There are many qualified facility maintenance professionals, but the question is: Who brings the most value to an in-house team? It doesn’t make sense to pay a full salary to an on-staff plumber when you could call any one of a dozen nearby only when you need them.

Instead of a large collection of highly-specialized experts, you want a smaller group of multifaceted talent — technicians who can take care of the many everyday needs of your facilities. 

So, here’s how to write a facility maintenance job description to attract the type of professional your facilities need to minimize unscheduled downtime and cut costs. Step one is taking a step back and first thinking about why you need facility maintenance staff. 

Why hire facility maintenance personnel? 

First, ask yourself what your general need for facilities maintenance is. The decision to hire an in-house maintenance professional or build out an existing team hinges on several key factors: 

  • Consistent demand for facility maintenance 
  • Cost savings generated by hiring staff 
  • Convenience associated with on-site staff 
  • The shift to an integrated management approach 

As a company grows, facility demands tend to scale along with it. The decision to bring on a facility maintenance manager or build out an in-house team should support the continued success of the company. For example, an on-site technician can resolve a basic electrical problem within the hour, while outsourcing this task might take an entire day or more.   

When it comes to many basic repairs, having dedicated staff makes a lot of sense. Adding some extra insulation to a drafty window helps everyone in the office focus on their work. With people on-site, you could spot the problem and have it solved quickly.

Having to track down local help willing to take on such a small project is likely only the start of your troubles. From there, you’d need to schedule a time for them to arrive, have someone babysit them to the site, and then make sure the invoice gets to the accounting department. Dedicated staff can make a lot of sense for larger repairs, too.

Instead of bringing in new people, when you have an in-house team, they already have years of experience with your specific building systems.  

For some work, however, you’re likely going to always need to bring in outside help. For example, the complexity of your fire alarms, including special knowledge of the system as well as the surrounding codes, makes it unlikely anyone on the team can complete the work.   

So, consider the reasons behind hiring maintenance personnel as you begin the search. When you understand the objective, it’ll be easier to describe the position and communicate expectations to candidates. 

Describe a facility manager position and expectations 

What are the main roles of a facility maintenance manager? What do you expect from facility maintenance personnel day to day? Your answers are the most important pieces of information to put into a job description, because they set the tone for applicants. While the job title might be what attracts them, discerning candidates read the job duties to know exactly what they’re applying for.  

Make sure to include: 

  • A sampling or broad list of daily, weekly, monthly tasks 
  • Any special tasks or duties that require advanced knowledge 
  • Information about the role as a standalone position or part of a team 
  • Chain of command and who the hire will report to 
  • Software or systems candidates should be familiar with 
  • Physical demands of the job, such as lifting heavy objects 
  • Business and size/type of facilities 

Facilities maintenance is a broad description. A detailed breakdown of the specific position, duties, and expectations casts a smaller net out into the ocean of potential candidates. The more information you provide, the better the applicant pool you receive. 

Set qualifications (and be specific) 

One final important part of writing a good facilities maintenance job description is to be specific about qualifications. This applies to companies large and small, especially in sectors where special skills, knowledge, or training are important.  

Ask potential candidates for the following: 

  • Formal education (ex. Bachelor’s Degree in Facilities Maintenance) 
  • Certifications (ex. SMC certification from BOMI) 
  • Memberships (ex. IFMA Membership) 
  • Specialized training (ex. journeyman electrician) 

Establish qualifications for applicants to narrow the scope of who you’re looking for, and to make sure individuals you interview have the baseline capabilities to do the job you need them to. For example, if you need a repair technician to oversee your expanding IoT network, post a description with specific education, training, and certification surrounding smart buildings and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

A sample facilities maintenance job posting 

What should your final facilities maintenance job description look like? Here’s a basic sample: 


Facility Maintenance Professionals are responsible for basic maintenance and repair of the facility, including interior, exterior, and vital systems (HVAC, plumbing, electrical). Individuals should prepare to field work request tickets through a CMMS and respond to the general everyday needs of facilities upkeep. New hires will work as part of a three-person team, responsible for upkeep of 15,000 square feet of traditional commercial office space. 

Basic Duties 

  • Drywall/plaster repair and painting 
  • Furniture assembly and relocation 
  • Changing lights and/or fixtures 
  • Plumbing repairs, replacements, installation 
  • Carpentry repairs and installations with hand and power tools 
  • Minor repair of electrical devices 
  • Facilities safety inspections 
  • Concrete and asphalt paving inspections and repairs 
  • Grounds and security maintenance (fencing, gate arms, and gates) 


  • Maintain tools and equipment in clean, safe, working order 
  • Adhere to all safety requirements and wear proper Personal Protective Equipment 
  • Respond to emergency situations to ensure employee and facility safety 
  • Comply with OSHA and other local, state and federal regulations 
  • Adhere to organization and facilities department policies and procedures 
  • Build relationships and demonstrate a high level of cooperation 


  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) 
  • 2 years facility maintenance experience 
  • Familiarity with CMMS work order system 
  • Valid state driver’s License 
  • The ability to lift and/or move up to 100 pounds 

Keep in mind, this is merely a basic example of a facility maintenance job description. Your description should be specific to your company’s needs, your unique facilities, and your hiring objectives. 

Focus on building a maintenance team 

Whether you’re hiring your first in-house maintenance staff member or your 50th, keep scalability in mind. The purpose of hiring these professionals is to ensure the continued smooth operation of your facilities. Hire qualified staff who can work together and cooperate as a unit. After all, the success of your in-house maintenance team is directly evident in the upkeep, maintenance, and efficiency of your facilities. 

MRO Storeroom Organization [Guide]

So often in maintenance, it’s up to you to accommodate other people’s decisions. Need access to the line? Work around the production schedule. Want to replace an ancient water heater? Wait for room to open in next year’s budget. But with the maintenance storeroom, you’re in charge from the physical layout of the shelves to how you organize the parts on them.

By following simple steps and best practices, you can have a space that supports the maintenance team with improved inventory control and higher overall efficiency. 

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4 features of preventive maintenance software you need

What is preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the combination of scheduled inspections and tasks you do to ensure maximum uptime and minimum unscheduled downtime for the least amount of time, trouble, and money. Because it’s always easier, faster, and cheaper to avoid a problem altogether, preventive maintenance is the ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure.

Benefits of preventive maintenance software

Preventive maintenance software helps you implement this important strategy by centralizing your data and streamlining your processes. It helps you: 

  • Schedule inspections and tasks 
  • Generate work orders (preventive and on-demand) 
  • Track assets and equipment 
  • Control parts and materials inventory 
  • Track maintenance costs 

At the heart of your program is the preventive maintenance work order (PM). Your PM software solution is how you manage your PMs. That’s what the software does, but the question is: How does it work?

They might not be the ones you think. 

The ability to leverage reliable maintenance data that lives in the cloud 

This one is less a specific feature and more something that works behind the scenes making all your other features better. Traditionally, maintenance departments ran everything relying on paper, from scheduling labor to trying to track parts.

The problem was that the whole system was susceptible to human error. All it took was one technician filling in the wrong numbers in the wrong spot to make your data inaccurate and unreliable. 

And that was the data you could keep.  When things exist only on paper, it’s all too easy for them to slip through the cracks. Once you lose that slip of paper, it’s gone forever.  

But even if you had all your data (and somehow it was all accurate), there was no easy way to leverage it for your operations. For example, if you wanted to know which asset was costing you most to keep up and running, you would have to track down all your reactive and preventive work orders to add up all the associated costs, including labor and parts. The answers would be out there somewhere, but you would have to spend a lot of time chasing it down. 

And even if you had all your manual data and it was accurate, it would be hard to share insights with the rest of the maintenance department. Trying to run a team of techs with paper work orders and emails is tough. Paper-based processes move slowly. Plus, it’s too easy to end up working from different, out-of-date directions.

The value of the data disappears if you can’t share it. You might know what needs to get done to avoid costly downtime on a critical asset, but if you can’t communicate that to the team effectively, you can’t get your data working for you.   

Getting all your data in one spot makes everything smoother. You want it updated in real time, so everyone is working from the same single source of truth. Now everyone knows what needs to be done and when it’s all scheduled.  Plus, now everyone has transparency on individual roles and responsibilities in the process. 

With a cloud-based preventive maintenance platform, you get accurate data you can trust and that you can easily leverage into insights that are seamlessly shared with the whole team. And it ensures everyone is working from the same data. 

Being cloud-based is different than the other features of a preventive maintenance solution. It’s more a critical characteristic of the software. It’s what makes many of the other features possible and better.  

Generating on-demand maintenance work orders 

Connected features make it easier for you to set up and track work, including reacting quickly when the unexpected happens. 

Reactive, on-demand maintenance work orders 

Even with a smaller facility, it’s impossible for the maintenance team to catch every small issue quickly, which is why a built-in request portal is so important. Once everyone in the building has a fast, simple way to report issues to maintenance, it’s like having an extra set of eyes and ears everywhere. It’s the same logic behind 911.

Police, fire, and ambulance crews need reliable ways for people to report problems. And it’s not always for emergencies. All those departments have non-emergency numbers people can use to report anything from a broken traffic light to a cat stuck in a tree. 

Once someone sends a maintenance request through the online portal, the maintenance lead can review it right away and decide on the next steps, including how to best prioritize open work orders. Is it something you can safely delay while focusing on more important matters? Or does it deserve your immediate attention? Did someone report a burned-out light bulb in a storage closet? Or is there a major water leak in the break room ceiling? 

From inside the preventive maintenance software, you can take the details in the request and build out your reactive maintenance work order, including everything the maintenance techs need to work efficiently and close it out quickly. Next, you can assign the work directly to a technician.  

Get granular with checklists for PM inspections and tasks

For the average PM, there’s a combination of inspections and tasks the tech needs to run through to ensure they’re finding and fixing any small issues before they have a chance to slide down the p-f curve, where everything becomes much more expensive.

With the right software solution, you can create custom checklists tailored specifically to your assets and equipment. So, say one of the industrial washing machines in the basement of your hotel has recurring issues with its motor, you can add specific items to the inspection list.

Or, if the rollers on the conveyor belt in your manufacturing facilities tend to loosen and then bend, you can easily add related tasks to the PMs. 

Mobile friendly technology for techs and maintenance leaders 

Being mobile means your technicians have access to everything from everywhere. With instant access to comprehensive asset maintenance and repair histories, techs arrive onsite with the data they need to work fast. When they’re working on the AC unit that was recently upgraded with a new fan, they know to look there first. Imagine the team is working on a forklift that’s making a strange squeak.

Because they can see a PM from the week before when someone on the team adjusted the brakes as part of an ongoing PM program, they’re already more than halfway to narrowing down the possible problem. 

Even when it’s not in the asset’s histories, the answer is never far away. Techs can access OEM manuals and digital schematics from their mobile devices. And with the ability to upload comments and pictures directly to the open work order, they can even get help from the rest of the department.  


The benefit of preventive maintenance is how you get out ahead of the maintenance curve, and preventive maintenance software helps you set up and run your PM program. The software has many different features, including PM scheduling and inventory control, but some of the most powerful ones are less obvious.

Having all your data in one central location helps keep everything accurate and accessible. Being able to move data seamlessly from requests to work orders to standing PMs deliver better control, while customization ensures your team gets the data it needs fast and from anywhere.   

The Biggest Benefits of EAM Software

When it comes to tracking maintenance, managing assets and equipment throughout the life cycle, and improving your overall return on investment for everything from labor to parts and materials, it all comes down to one key concept: Data is king. Across asset-intensive industries, from construction and manufacturing to fleet and agriculture, data delivers the visibility and accountability you need to succeed. And none of it is possible with the right enterprise asset management (EAM) solution.   

In today’s business landscape, reliable, accessible data is the new competitive edge, and the right cloud-based EAM packed with wide ranging features is how you get it. 

What is enterprise asset management (EAM) software? 

EAM software is all about helping companies see increased returns and improved productivity from their assets by collecting comprehensive data for a complete picture of how they are performing historically and when the best time is to schedule future maintenance work so that they keep running at full capacity for as long as possible. 

EAM software is all about collecting data and leveraging it to improve your asset operations and to make better business decisions about your assets. You can also use EAM software to help automate error-prone and time-consuming tasks to streamline your maintenance processes. 

Benefits of using EAM software 

The largest benefits from using EAM software stem from the ability to optimize and streamline workflows to eliminate bottlenecks and frustrations, and to use the data you collect to maintain your assets more effectively. 

EAM software helps you: 

  • Track real-time asset performance 
  • Increase operational efficiency 
  • Improve asset reliability and uptime 
  • Centralize critical information 
  • Improve collaboration and communication 
  • Get in-depth cost analysis 

Get instant, actionable data on your assets 

There’s a lot that goes into managing assets, especially when you’ve got multiple high-value assets spread across an entire organization. Asset tracking lets you see exactly how every dollar you put into those assets is spent. From inventory to vendor work to maintenance costs, EAM software helps you calculate your total cost of ownership (TCO) for every asset you have. Once you know your TCO, you can make better decisions about how to continue investing in your assets. 

Help your team work more efficiently 

Maintenance and asset managers often face delays and increased costs due to inefficient workflows. If you’re still relying on paper and spreadsheets to manage the majority of your operations, you’re holding your team back from being able to work at their best. Instead of fighting an uphill battle to improve work order completion rate, time on wrench, and other key maintenance metrics, you can use EAM software to eliminate the bottlenecks and empower your team to do more. 

The best EAM solutions are based in the cloud which means that any data you have in the system is always accessible whenever you need it and updates are reflected in real-time. If a part is pulled for a work order, inventory levels are automatically updated. As soon as a technician closes out a work order, you can immediately assign the next one, eliminating the need to come back to the maintenance office. 

Cloud-based software also means that it’s accessible from anywhere. You don’t have to download anything to your computer or purchase a unique program that only lives on the one computer in the maintenance office. With a mobile-friendly solution like ManagerPlus, you can access the system from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, even if you don’t have an internet connection. If you’re somewhere you don’t have a good signal, you can do what you need to do and everything will update as soon as you get reconnected. 

The mobile-friendly aspect of ManagerPlus extends to its mobile applications as well. With the Operator Companion app, your team can quickly perform inspections from their connected device and mark the asset as pass/fail. If it fails, a technician is automatically notified and can scan the asset’s unique QR code from the Work Companion app to instantly access the work order and any information they need and can closeout all while they’re on site. 

Get more from your assets by improving uptime and reliability 

Arguably the biggest benefit from EAM software is the fact that it’s proven to help you improve your asset uptime and reliability, so your assets work better, longer. This happens by helping you develop and implement a robust preventive maintenance (PM) program to anticipate equipment repairs before they lead to devastating failures. 

Many maintenance teams still rely on reactive maintenance to repair their assets and while it can be more efficient for some assets, in the majority of situations it ends up costing you much more than you might think. 

Consistent, thorough preventive maintenance routines are up to five times more cost-effective than reactive maintenance, due in large part to the fact that PM targets maintenance tasks while they’re small, simple, and relatively cheap to fix, whereas reactive maintenance is only performed after severe, costly problems have developed. 

With EAM software, you can set automated PM maintenance schedules based on predetermined metrics such as time or usage. 

A good example is a work truck. While you might be able to wait until the automatic windows stop working to fix them, using the same strategy for replacing the oil is a bad idea. You know that in order for that truck to run efficiently, it will need an oil change every now and then and with EAM software, you can have a work order automatically generated and sent to a technician whenever that truck travels 5,000 miles, or whatever mileage you determine to be appropriate. 

This same strategy can be applied to every asset in your organization. Using EAM software to keep track of your asset usage and automatically notify and assign techs to make repairs, before things break, will not only save you money, it will improve your asset’s productivity. 

Keep everyone on the same page with centralized information 

The benefits of EAM software all flow from data. The program needs data to help you predict and prevent downtime, track your inventory, and all the other things we’ve talked about so far. The software gathers all that data and stores it in one, centralized, easily accessible place. And that is another benefit in itself. 

With spreadsheets and paperwork and all sorts of other information scattered across your operations, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything going on. Not to mention all the time you waste searching through filing cabinets and your email inbox to find what you’re looking for. Adopting a cloud-based EAM software brings all your data front and center and lets you access it instantly from wherever you are. This comes in especially handy during audit time as you can quickly find your inspection reports to prove you’re in compliance and avoid costly fines. 

Communicate more effectively across your organization 

How often has miscommunication among your team led to incorrect or incomplete work? Your team can’t work together very efficiently if they can’t communicate. One of the main purposes of an EAM platform is to get one source of information – a single source of truth — that everyone can see and access whenever they need. 

Unifying and digitizing your data into one platform also helps eliminate errors from manual data collection and entry. Trying to use spreadsheets to manage your information means that everyone has to update the same file to make sure the data is accurate. The moment it gets emailed out to someone it becomes a copy of the data so any changes they make won’t be reflected in the original. With EAM software everyone is always working from the same source of data. 

The biggest benefit is knowledge retention. For most maintenance teams, the senior techs are the “go-to” folks to ask questions about certain assets when there’s a problem. They are the ones who have been working on that asset the longest, so they know it inside and out. The difficulty is that without EAM software, critical knowledge is all in their heads or on a piece of paper or Word document somewhere. 

If you have EAM software, you can build that knowledge directly into your work order templates so when that senior tech retires or moves on to another company, you’ve got all that valuable knowledge readily available for your junior techs. 

The best EAM platforms also help you allocate your personnel more efficiently. Using a drag-and-drop maintenance calendar allows you to see in advance what work needs to be done and quickly move things around as needed. Instead of technicians vying for the same equipment, you can schedule them out so there are no disruptions. 

Getting your team working from the same platform also helps you communicate with them much more effectively. Instead of having to track them down around the facility or wait for them to come back to the office so you can relay some information, you can send them everything they need right from within the platform. 

Make better business decisions with in-depth cost analysis reports 

Making good business decisions is all about knowing where your money is going and how you can spend it effectively to see the greatest return. This entire process starts with tracking your costs accurately, so you have a complete picture of your financial situation. 

EAM software helps you track your asset’s financial journey through your organization, from the purchase and investment costs to the maintenance expenses incurred over its lifetime. All of this data combines to give you the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your assets. Knowing the TCO is the best way to make sure you’re making the most economical investments. 

Once you have all this data, you can use your EAM platform to generate in-depth reports on exactly how much is being and where. The best solutions will let you customize these reports based on the specific KPIs you want to track whether that’s the TCO for multiple work trucks, or the efficiency of your maintenance team so you can see if you need to make some changes. 

Better inventory management 

Managing your inventory better might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking of ways to improve your asset management, but the truth is that as much as 50% of unplanned asset downtime can be traced back to improperly managed inventory. 

For preventive maintenance to be effective, your technicians need to have the right parts. Knowing when the oil needs to be changed and automatically generating the work order to get it done doesn’t help if you don’t have the right oil or filter that you need. 

The goal is to have the right parts in the right place at the right time, and EAM software helps you do just that. You can customize par levels within the software and track every part as it moves throughout your facilities. When a work order is generated, the software can automatically assign the necessary parts which are then marked as unavailable so even if another tech goes to pull it from the bin for a different work order, it won’t let them scan it out because it’s already been assigned. 

Many maintenance teams seek to avoid running out of parts by ordering in bulk whenever they can get the best price and holding them in the warehouse until they run out. The problem with this strategy is that you’re often holding onto a lot of excess parts that you don’t need. In fact, for most companies, about 90% of MRO inventory goes unused every year. That means you’re wasting money purchasing and storing parts you don’t need. 

With EAM software, you can track your maintenance operations more granularly, so you know exactly what parts you need and what you don’t, and you’ll always know when it’s time to order more. 

Hire and retain good people 

As younger generations are increasingly turning to more technology-focused careers, businesses are finding it difficult to hire young technicians eager to learn. Implementing good EAM software at your organization can help combat this. 

Many people looking to enter the workforce or have done so in the past several years, are well acquainted with technology and tend to appreciate and understand its benefits. When evaluating which company would be a better place for them, it’s not unsurprising that more are choosing companies that have integrated smart technologies across their organization. If they know that your company is using a program that can make them more productive and get the job done better, they are much more likely to sign on with you. 

The same is true for retaining quality talent. If your workers see that you’re willing to invest in tools that can remove many of the mundane frustrations of inefficient workflows, they are more likely to stay on. 

How EAM transforms organizational practices 

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine. With EAM software, you have the opportunity to step back and critically examine your organizational practices from a 10,000-foot view. 

Continuous quality improvement calls for close examination of current patterns of activity — such as how quickly priority work orders are addressed or how many preventive maintenance tasks are deferred — and honest comparisons to best practices. The data contained in an EAM platform can surface weak spots that must be addressed. Further, the asset manager can then use the EAM capabilities to deploy new and improved workflows, checklists, or processes and hold technicians accountable for following them. 

No large group meetings are required to enforce an improvement in organizational practices. Just add the appropriate fields or workflows to the EAM interface, and they’ll be available to teams across the enterprise. 

For asset-intensive industries, organizational practices go beyond maintenance  

and extend to dollars-and-cents value propositions. EAM platforms put all the tools required to organize the complete asset portfolio in one place. The quantified, comprehensive data support smart decision-making for investment strategies, growth planning, asset replacement, and asset disposal. 

EAM benefits summary

As industries around the world continue to connect more and more equipment and technology together, you need to be able to quickly discover places in your organization where you can save money and boost output. 

EAM software can help your company quickly optimize its operations to improve ROI on your assets, giving your team the tools to extend the life of your equipment. Not only does this save you money, but it also directly impacts productivity allowing you to quickly boost your bottom line. 

EAM software helps you track real-time asset performance, increasing operational efficiency and improving asset reliability and uptime. With centralized critical information, you can improve collaboration and communication. And because you can now trust your data, you get in-depth cost analysis that drives savings across your budget. 

OEM vs aftermarket replacement parts: How to decide

For asset-heavy industries like fleet management, leaders need to decide between original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vs aftermarket parts for maintenance and repairs. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, you can find the balance that helps maximize performance and reliability while also cutting costs. The key is understanding how the value of an asset changes over its useful life.  

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Understanding the connection between maintenance and reliability

Because both involve efforts to reduce unplanned downtime, it’s tempting to think of maintenance management and asset reliability as interchangeable terms. But you need to know not only the differences but also the connections so your maintenance team and reliability professionals can deliver an effective, efficient asset management program with a strong return on investment throughout all stages of the life cycle. 

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LORA: Level of repair analysis

How much does a $5 part cost? If you’re only looking at price, the answer is simple: It costs $5. But to effectively manage your maintenance budget, it’s better to think of product price as just one piece of a larger picture. So, instead of only focusing on how much something costs, it makes more sense to zoom out and also look at what it costs you to repair or replace that part when it fails. With level of repair analysis (LORA), you can systematically determine the overall effects of different costs on your budget, helping you make decisions backed by reliable data. 

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How maintenance data helps capital planning

The expensive, complex projects and five-year plans of capital planning and budgeting can feel far away from operations and maintenance, with their focuses on the day-to-day demands of keeping a facility up and running.

But regardless of the size of your capital planning project, from constructing a new building to adding lights along a pedestrian path, you can ensure more efficiency and effectiveness by integrating data from both operations and maintenance. Traditionally, sharing between the teams has been difficult, but new workflows supported by the right software solutions make integration not only possible but relatively painless. 

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Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) Best Practices

Maintenance, repairs, and operations (MRO) is the combination of processes and activities connected to the upkeep of a plant or facility, including the maintenance of the facility, the systems that run inside of it, and the assets and equipment used inside the facility to produce the main business output. 

But what does that all mean, and how can you improve your MRO?  

Let’s start at the beginning and build our way up from there.  

Take Free Maintenance Technology Quiz Now

What is MRO?   

The easy explanation is that MRO stands for maintenance, repair, and operations. But that’s about the same as saying DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid; it’s the right answer, but it doesn’t immediately tell us what we need to know.  

maintenance repair operations mro

A simple example helps make everything easier to understand. Take an ice cream plant. MRO covers the maintenance on the facility, including the buildings and the areas around them, the systems inside the facility, including things like the electrical and plumbing, and the machines that you use to take the ingredients, make the ice cream, store it, and then load it into trucks. 

What is the difference between direct and indirect spend, and what’s the connection to MRO? 

Here’s another way to understand MRO. With our ice cream plant example, the company has two types of “spend,” which just means things they spend money on.  

On one side is the direct spend, which is money for the parts and materials the company uses to produce ice cream. For example, cream and sugar and walnuts.  

On the other side is the indirect spend, which is all the services and products the organization needs to buy. And it can cover a lot. So, when the HR department prints out a new employee handbook, the paper and ink are indirect spends. The cleaning products for the janitor and the earplugs for the equipment operators are also examples of indirect spend. The key point is that the organization needs to spend that money to keep everything going, but you don’t see any of those things in the finished product.  

MRO is another example of indirect spend. In fact, it’s often a large percentage of an organization’s overall indirect spend. But it’s not all of it. Remember, indirect spend is both products and services, so the entire accounting department is indirect spend, too, but it’s not maintenance, repair, and operations.    

What are the types of MRO?  

Although they all fall under the larger umbrella definition of “keeping things up and running,” there are four different types of MRO.  

  • Infrastructure repair and maintenance  
  • Production equipment repair and maintenance 
  • Material handling equipment maintenance  
  • Tooling and consumables  

To better understand the various roles of MRO, let’s look at each type in a bit more detail.  

Infrastructure repair and maintenance  

This includes maintenance and repair on roofs, doors, windows, parking lots, lighting, and plumbing. It can also include landscaping, snow removal, pest control, and janitorial services.  

maintenance repair operations mro

Although internal teams often do all the work, there are many opportunities to bring in third-party vendors. So, you might have the maintenance department doing small repairs on the roof but bring in professional roofers for larger projects. Also, it depends on if the organization owns or leases the property. The maintenance team is off the hook for any work covered in the lease.    

Production equipment repair and maintenance  

This includes the assets and equipment directly involved in the production process. The goal of this type of MRO is to avoid unscheduled downtime and keep the line online. 

Maintenance departments are a big part of these maintenance, repair, and operations processes, and for each asset or piece of equipment, they choose the maintenance strategy that makes the most sense. For example, for something like the lighting around a machine or the fuses inside it, it makes the most sense to simply use the run-to-failure maintenance strategy. But for other machines, the department might choose predictive maintenance, which delivers a lot of value but also requires a large upfront investment on top of ongoing costs.  

maintenance repair operations mro

Generally, maintenance departments employ a combination of on-demand work orders and preventive maintenance inspections and tasks.  

Material handling equipment maintenance  

This covers all the assets and equipment connected to moving raw material to the production line and completed products to the loading docks for eventual shipping. Basically, it’s what you need to bring in the materials and then what you need to send out the product.  

Tooling and consumables  

This would be all the smaller tools and consumables used during the production process but that are not in the finished product. Drills, drivers, wrenches, socket sets, bits, and cutting blades are all examples. Glue, gloves, goggles, safety glasses, dust masks, and other PPE are all examples of consumables or MRO inventory 

What are the benefits of MRO?  

The answer is right inside the definition: MRO is what you need to keep your facilities, their systems, and assets and equipment up and running. It’s that simple. MRO is the foundation that makes production possible. Without it, you can’t do business. 

MRO is making sure all the little things work so you don’t have to deal with big problems. The old proverb about the missing nail sums it up. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. And it just keeps going, with the negative effects pulling down progressively larger, more important, and more expensive dominions.  

How can I boost MRO efficiency?  

When you’re looking to improve your MRO, it makes sense to divide it into parts and then tackle them directly.  

Improve MRO procurement  

One way to save on MRO costs is to improve your procurement, ensuring you’re getting the MRO inventory and services you need for the best possible prices. Procurement is a whole field itself, but it’s worth looking at some of the important trends to make sure we have a good surface-level understanding of how they work.  

Rely on vendor-managed inventory (VMI)  

Here, you’re outsourcing the headaches of inventory control to a third party. Instead of deciding what to order, when to order it, and where to put it when you’re holding it in inventory, you turn over all those decisions to the supplier. On top of the obvious benefit of peace of mind, VMI should deliver cost savings from bulk purchases.    

Switch to MRO vending machines  

For many organizations, cutting MRO inventory costs starts with first cutting instances of “shrinkage,” where inventory is lost through employee theft and misuse. MRO vending machines, and yes, they look a lot like vending machines for drinks and snacks, are a way of controlling inventory. Once the machines are set up, techs can only access inventory using an employee card or fingerprint. If they’re not authorized to use certain parts, the machine won’t dispense them.  

But the vending machines do more than slow down or stop shrinkage. They also speed up work. With some vending machines, you can program them to dispense specific combinations of parts and materials, helping techs get everything they need for a work order quickly.  

Improve MRO processes and workflows  

Here, start by looking at your existing workflows for maintenance. How well are your preventive maintenance tasks planned out? And more importantly, what are your monthly completion rates? For on-demand work orders, how streamlined is the process? For example, if someone notices a problem on the line, how quickly and easily can they contact the maintenance department? From there, how quickly can you review the request, generate, assign, and track a related work order?  

For a lot of organizations, even a quick look at their process and workflows reveals a lot of gaps and roadblocks, and it’s because they’re still struggling with older maintenance management methods, like paper and spreadsheets.    

What’s the connection between EAM software and MRO?  

Modern EAM software makes everything easier by first moving all your data to the cloud, where it’s safe, secure, and searchable. With older maintenance management systems, like paper and spreadsheets, you run the risk of bad data every time you copy over data manually or copy and paste between cells.  

From there, the software helps you tackle on-demand work orders more efficiently, schedule and track PMs, and better control your MRO inventory.  

Streamline on-demand workflows  

Look at your current workflow for on-demand work orders and count all the places where data moves manually or by word of mouth. Those are all the spots where you risk confusion and corruption, slowing your team down, leading to breakdowns.  

Modern work order management software keeps everything inside one system, ensuring everyone is looking at the same reliable data.  

It starts with the online maintenance request portal, where people can submit requests for work. And because it has customizable data fields, the maintenance department is guaranteed to get the information it needs to make good decisions. From there, you can approve requests and then generate, prioritize, assign, and track work orders. Techs get work orders packed with everything they need to close out quickly, including detailed instructions, checklists, and digital-format manuals.  

Enterprise asset management work orders also come with lists of associated parts and materials, ensuring techs arrive onsite with everything they need to get the job done. And when they close out, the software automatically updates your MRO inventory levels, so you always know how much you have in stock of any given item. And when you hit your customizable min level, the inventory management software sends you an alert, so you can set up your next purchase order. With all the vendor contact info inside the software, you can organize and send new orders directly from the CMMS.  

Set up, schedule, and track preventive maintenance  

Every department has its own key performance indicators (KPIs), and maintenance departments should spend a lot of time thinking about ways to reduce their on-demand work orders, switching instead to preventive maintenance inspections and tasks. The current thinking is to aim for a 20/80 split between reactive and preventive work orders.  

EAM software helps you achieve best practices for preventive maintenance by automating the process. Start by setting up your PMs inside the software. For many of them, you can use templates. Once you’ve created your checklists and instructions, copying them over into new PMs takes just a few clicks. From there, you can schedule them based on usage or time, and the preventive maintenance software automatically generates and assigns them for you.  

Next step  

Taking control of your MRO starts with getting the right EAM solution.  

We’re here to help you get the solution that works best for you, including answering your questions about maintenance management software, helping you book a live software demo. 

Short, concise summary  

MRO stands for maintenance, repair, and operations, and it’s all the assets, equipment, systems, and processes that make production possible. Although they make it possible, MRO does not appear in the final product. A huge part of MRO is the maintenance department. They’re the ones who keep assets and equipment online by looking after infrastructure repair and maintenance, production equipment repair and maintenance, material handling equipment maintenance, and tooling and consumables. To improve your MRO, you can negotiate better deals with suppliers and better control how you distribute MRO inventory. In terms of the processes, a modern CMMS software helps your maintenance team do more, faster and for less money, pushing up uptime and boosting the bottom line.