Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mobile CMMS: The Future Maintenance Team's BFF

This week's post comes to us courtesy of Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice.  Ashley focuses here on a topic that is important to all FM's, the adoption and deployment of CMMS solutions (and by extension all forms of FM technology) to speed response and improve quality of service.

By Ashley Halligan

Anyone who's worked in the maintenance management industry knows that maintenance is a constant task--the slightest oversight can result in costly asset malfunction, leading to expensive repairs or--worst case scenario--replacement. That said, having an around-the-clock maintenance team is a valuable addition to any facility --but having the appropriate staff available at pertinent times may be impossible. 

And in comes the true value of mobile CMMS and its impending trend--providing improved reaction time, resulting in immense cost-savings. 

Because of the sometimes hefty investment of CMMS systems, some organizations have been hesitant to move forward with such an investment. Additionally, some techs are intimidated by new technology--some feeling as though these systems and applications may eliminate the need for their jobs. 

However, these systems and apps help automate communication at an organizational level so that all people have access to synchronized data. 

Some of the core functionalities of these products are as follows: 

Paperless work order management: Managing work orders either on or off-site saves significant amounts of times, allowing data entry that's immediately synchronized into the CMMS organization-wide. This also alleviates the need to handwrite notes that can be miscommunicated, and also take time to reenter at a later time onsite. 

Inventory management: Having synchronized inventory management is another efficient tool in the field--allowing immediate access to available assets, as well as equipment that may be issued to other jobs or locations. At the touch of a finger, a maintenance technician can see if an asset is available and immediately disperse it to the needed location.

Asset management and QR codes: Having an asset's entire maintenance history available instantly helps with assigning jobs, or assessing potential issues. Quick Response or QR codes provide a tool to scan an asset's code, bringing up its entire history--including preventive maintenance, malfunctions, reactive maintenance, etc. 

Having these functions available by all maintenance personnel in all locations an organization may have--provides a platform for instant communication, immediate updates, and a more cohesive reactivity plan in the case of malfunction or emergency. 

Read Halligan's original story here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alternative Workplace Design

Great article here from Martin Pederson at, discussing Jonah Leher's new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anytime Bill Gates promotes something we should probably pay attention. The Khan Academy is one, and its (his) potential to influence the future of education is almost unlimited. Take a look at this simple and powerful concept. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Connecting the Dots - Why Economic News Matters to FM's

It is never a safe or necessarily wise thing to try to predict the future, and I am not.  Make no mistake about that.  But all of us should maintain an awareness of the world around us as we plan our personal and business lives.  I am generally an optimist and pragmatic, believing that trends are cyclical; when it's bad it is bound to get better, and when it is good a healthy dose of realism when planning is prudent.  That said, I also recognize that some highs are higher, and some lows are lower.
As I listen to the voices around me and filter them through my own biases and experience, some resonate.  A couple of information "dots" that I am now connecting give pause. 

Bill McBride over at the Calculated Risk blog is one of the best I see at giving us hard data coupled with objective information.  If you track his history over the last few years you will quickly understand why he is respected as one of the best in the area of simplifying economic information (why I appreciate him so much) for greater understanding.  He gives us this reality check as it relates to employment numbers.  We all know it has been a rough road.  Looking at this graph makes it clear that this has been a very deep and wide trench.  It is good that we have begun to claw our way up, but last week's employment numbers amplify that we have a long way to go.

Robert Zoellick, departing president of the World Bank offers a sobering summary of world wide economic fragility in this recent Wall Street Journal interview.  The list is long...Europe's issues, lackluster U.S. job growth, general lack of political will to make necessary choices, the impending "cliff" facing the U.S. economy, escalating difficulties in developing nations as they struggle with trickle down effects and their own issues all combine to form a daunting image of the months and year(s) ahead. 

The Conference Board offers supporting albeit more positive analysis, including the following statement on the outlook for advanced economies.  

"Advanced economy growth is expected to slow down from an already meager 1.6 percent in 2011 to 1.3 percent in 2012. For 2013-2016, the outlook suggests some recovery in advanced economies, bringing these countries back to the pre-recession growth trend of a little more than 2 percent."

I am not suggesting doom and gloom here and I note again that I am not a trained or even amateur economist.  However, I do pay attention to the data points as those who are expert talk.  From all accounts this will continue to be a period of increased risk and fragility.  This month and the rest of the summer will be important as Europe makes decisions that will affect all of us for decades.  Those dots have connected and will continue to do so.  They bear watching, closely.

As FM leaders we share a responsibility to guide our organizations through the future.  Keeping our eyes and ears attuned to the outside world as it changes and adapts economically is an important function in forming strategy and capital development plans.