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The Maintenance Management Blog

December 1, 2016

Using a CMMS for Business Intelligence Analysis

Business Intelligence

These days, companies around the world are more concerned than ever with improving business intelligence. Business intelligence (or BI) is the use of software applications that to analyze a company’s raw data. BI is made up of several activities, such as online analytical processing, data mining, querying, and reporting. Analyzing the data helps companies make strategic business decisions. For example, a clothing store may use an application to analyze sales and decide which clothing to order more of and which to stop ordering. Using the data allows them to spend more money on items that sell well, which not only prevents the company from losing money on items that don’t sell, but it allows them to keep up with the demand of items that do. BI can also be used to make bigger decisions, such as which plants or stores to close.

A CMMS can be a critical tool when analyzing business intelligence in a few different ways. MAPCON has recently incorporated a tool specifically for this, called the MAPCON Business Intelligence Reporting Tool, or MBIRT for short. The tool allows users to create custom reports which make it easy to analyze data and make informed business decisions.

MAPCON users can use MBIRT to create basically any report they want, which can help them make maintenance decisions. If users need to see which of their equipment has the most downtime or the most costly repairs, they can simply run a report which will highlight that information. The report also allows users to drill-down and get more specific information. The report can then be analyzed and used to make important business decisions. Managers may view the downtime report and decide that a piece of equipment has too much downtime and is costing them money, and therefore make the decision to replace it. An inventory usage report can also be run, which will show what is being used within the company and what isn’t, which can save the company money when decisions about ordering parts or equipment needs to be made.

Data from business intelligence reports can also be looked at to determine if there’s a certain time of year when more repairs are needed, which can be helpful. For example, when a company is planning for the fiscal year, they might need to find out what repair costs were for the previous year, broken down by month, to see if there are any patterns. They might notice that repair costs are higher during a certain time of year, which would help them plan ahead of time for those repair costs.

Reporting within a MAPCON can also be used to make human resource decisions. MAPCON allows users to run reports which show how many repairs were done per shift, per craft, and per employee. Those reports allow managers to monitor their employees and make staffing decisions as needed. The possibilities for a CMMS assisting with business intelligence analyzation are limitless. This is especially true when people are using MBIRT within MAPCON CMMS. To learn more about MBIRT, along with other helpful MAPCON features, click here.

 

Filed under: CMMS — Heather Wilkerson @ Thursday, December 1st, 2016

November 14, 2016

Better Off Together

Lincolnland Agri-Energy LLC

(This article appears in the current issue of Biofuels International Magazine)

These days, many ethanol plants are searching for systems that combine purchasing and maintenance management into one. For the past 20+ years, Mapcon Technologies Inc. has offered purchasing within their computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Purchasing was integrated into the software to help companies enforce spending controls while reducing the time it takes from requisition to purchase order.

Lincolnland Agri Energy, located in Palestine Illinois, has been a part of the MAPCON family since early 2007. They have found having purchasing within their CMMS to be very helpful. According to Maintenance and Purchasing Coordinator Candace Kincaid, not only is it convenient, but it also saves them time and money. The majority of their purchasing comes from the maintenance department, so Kincaid thinks the integration of CMMS and purchasing just makes sense. Also, since the maintenance staff already knows how to use MAPCON, there is no additional training for employees needed to complete the purchasing process, which is definitely more efficient.

MAPCON’s CMMS can integrate directly with many accounting systems, which prevents employees from needing to enter vendor and purchase order information twice. The accounting department at Lincolnland uses Microsoft Dynamics GP, which integrates perfectly with their MAPCON system.

“It was integrated a couple of years ago and so far it has worked great between the two systems. It is nice for our accounting clerk to not have to enter all of the information twice!” Kincaid stated.

Previously, ethanol plant managers needed to closely monitor their parts and make sure more were ordered once the minimum number required was reached. Since this was a manual process, errors could be made and things could easily be missed. Also, manually tracking and reordering parts can be time consuming. MAPCON has automated that process, which not only saves managers time, but it also ensures that parts are always available when they are needed, and that the repairs won’t be delayed because a part was not ordered. Users can set a minimum and optimum number required for each part. When a technician issues a part to a work order, it is tracked. When the minimum number of parts has been reached, a purchase requisition is automatically created to order enough parts to reach the optimum number set, and a notification is sent to the proper manager for approval. Users can also change the settings so that the economic order quantity (EOQ) is reached, which can help save the plant money. Users that also have MAPCON Mobile will receive a notification on their smartphone or tablet letting them know that their approval is required. Receiving an email or a notification right away can save time by getting the approval process started almost instantly. Once the purchase order is approved, it can be automatically emailed to the vendor.

When the parts are received, users can log into MAPCON and enter the parts into the system. A notification can then be sent to employees that need to know when the part is received so work can begin. After the parts are added, a stocking report can be generated. This report shows employees in receiving exactly where the parts need to be stored. Having this report handy saves receiving from having to ask supervisors where to put the parts. Users can also easily print barcodes and attach them to the newly received parts at this point. Invoices can be entered into MAPCON, and the information will flow over to the plant’s accounting interface. Adding the invoices to MAPCON first is helpful because the pricing information within the CMMS will be updated if it is incorrect.

In MAPCON, a purchase order can be issued directly to a location, work order, or piece of equipment. This is useful for when a part is needed that is not kept in stock. Purchasing a part directly to a piece of equipment or a work order is also useful when tracking repair costs, as it will be evident what parts were purchased specifically for that equipment and what the costs were.

When vendor information, such as the address and phone number, is saved in MAPCON, it will populate when a purchase requisition or purchase order is created. This not only saves time, but it also helps prevent simple mistakes. Since the information does not have to be entered each time, typos and other mistakes which can delay the order can be avoided. Pricing information is also kept within their CMMS. Kincaid says that having pricing information for parts also stored in MAPCON helps ensure that plants are being charged correctly. There is also a purchase order history within the system so employees can see exactly what parts were requested, how many, and what the charge was for past orders. Vendor terms, such as when payment is required, can also be added. If a vendor gives a discount for receiving payment early, that can be tracked and added to the purchase order and the invoice.

Ethanol plants can also use the purchasing part of their CMMS to track the cost of different projects. MAPCON allows users to create different projects and write purchase orders to them, thus tracking the costs. Currently Lincolnland has several projects going on that they need to track the cost of. They are in the process of adding a fifth fermenter and a fourth grain bin. They need to track how much has been spent on the contractors installing both pieces of equipment as well as any other costs that arise, expected or unexpected. Tracking these costs will help them plan for the future, in case another new fermenter or grain bin is needed.

Since most of the costs accrued in an ethanol plant are maintenance related, it just makes sense to combine maintenance management and purchasing into one system that integrates with the plants existing accounting system. MAPCON did this over 20 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since.

 

Filed under: CMMS — Heather Wilkerson @ Monday, November 14th, 2016

October 26, 2016

Business Intelligence and the Facility Manager of the Future

Business Intelligence

Facility management is a forever-evolving role that relies on a unique mixture of time-tested methodologies, ever-improving technologies, and business intelligence tools that, when combined, offer a flexible tool set reliability managers can utilize to increase profitability and reduce downtime.

Staying on top of the latest trends and newest gadgets is not always an easy job, as it seems that every month or so, some new system or smart device is unleashed upon the world. If there was one area that a facility manager should focus on in particular, it would have to be business intelligence and data-gathering. This particular area is crucial for the growth of a business and to help combat competition in an increasingly competitive market.

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Filed under: CMMS — Lisa Richards @ Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

October 5, 2016

Hazard Communication for Beginners

HazMat for Beginners

If you work in an industrial setting or in the medical industry, you no doubt have a great amount of experience with understanding OSHA labels. Most of the workers in the reliability industry have at least some familiarity with the pictograms used by the organization to indicate different hazards, and many have received special training. Still, even given all of the above, there can be some confusion about the precise meanings of the labels we find on chemicals and machinery, and trying to make sense of them during times of emergency, such as during a chemical spill or fire, can be tricky. Today, we are going to look at some of the most common OSHA hazard communications in an effort to better understand them.

A lot of the pictograms and hazard labels provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration seem to be self-explanatory at first glance. A skull and crossbones, for example, or a giant flame can surely only mean bad things! But beyond the simple warning of danger, these labels and pictograms provide specific information at a quick glance that tells you the exact type of danger you are facing.

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Filed under: CMMS — Lisa Richards @ Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

September 20, 2016

Real-Time Manufacturing Data Collection With a CMMS

Real Time Data Collection

When we think of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), we tend to think of them in terms of how they can help us with simple tasks, such as inventory control and issuing work orders. While those are certainly important functions of any CMMS worth its salt, there are other features that are just as important if not more so, particularly in a manufacturing environment, such as real-time data collection.

What is real-time data collection, and how does it come into play? If you are in the reliability industry and work in the manufacturing sector, you probably already know the basics. But as new technologies begin to emerge and infiltrate the workplace, it is important to understand the present and future role that data collection is going to play.

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Filed under: CMMS — Lisa Richards @ Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

September 8, 2016

2017 MAPCON Networking Conference

Hurray for MUG 2017

The 27th Annual MAPCON Networking Conference, presented by the MAPCON Users’ Group (MUG) will take place April 10 – 13, 2017 at the beautiful Plaza Resort and Spa in Daytona, Florida.

What is MUG?

The Mapcon Users’ Group is an organization of fellow MAPCON users. The purpose of the group is to further the development and understanding of MAPCON by coordinating an annual conference. The conference provides attendees with an opportunity to network with fellow users and further their knowledge of the product through user and developer presentations and structured training. Additionally, it provides Mapcon Technologies, Inc. with the opportunity to meet users, provide product updates, and seek input for future development.

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Filed under: CMMS — Heather Wilkerson @ Thursday, September 8th, 2016

August 23, 2016

The Future of CMMS and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and CMMS

If you are like me, you have been awaiting the rise of virtual reality (or VR) for a very long time. Thanks to recent advances in technologies such as 360-degree photography, the long wait is finally over and we can now leave our old humdrum, boring world in the dust as we dive head-first into digital realms unknown! But not all is fun and games when it comes to VR. In fact, the technology serves many purposes outside of entertainment. One area is in the workplace, which begs the question, how will future computer maintenance management systems (CMMS) adapt to this new tool?

Virtual reality and the reliability industry, believe it or not, are a perfect match for one another. If you own a pair of VR goggles, such as the ones offered by Samsung or even the cardboard offerings from Google, then you know that the possibilities are nearly limitless. And while there may not be thousands of apps for these devices yet, with the pending launch of Sony’s virtual reality system for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Neo, you can expect a huge explosion in the marketplace.

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Filed under: CMMS — Lisa Richards @ Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

August 8, 2016

Why All State Fairs Should Use a CMMS

It’s that time of year again – time for the state fair! As you walk around and gaze at the livestock while eating your corndog and cotton candy, think about how huge of an operation a state fair is. From ride maintenance to vendor setup, everything has to run just perfectly. If it doesn’t, the results could be catastrophic. Not a single year goes by without a story hitting the airwaves of someone being injured on a ride while at the state fair.

Since maintenance and planning are crucial to the success of any state fair, the implementation of a good Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is absolutely critical. A CMMS allows state fair maintenance techs to make sure they have the parts they need, setup preventive maintenance tasks, maintain the fairgrounds, and a host of other things.

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Filed under: CMMS — Heather Wilkerson @ Monday, August 8th, 2016

 

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