Every asset maintenance business has experienced the ‘furious customer’ effect. That heart-stopping moment when a valuable customer calls to report a broken asset, either halting their production or causing a breakdown in their operations. Suddenly your customer wants to know how this happened and what you are doing to fix it?
One phone call can place your entire team into chaos as they look through files, paperwork and job cards to pull together the asset’s history, rush to the location, diagnose the issue and provide a solution. Suddenly your carefully scheduled day goes completely off schedule and your business loses billable hours, wastes resources and has to spend the next few days playing catch up.
But what if you could move beyond the furious customer effect, or at least significantly reduce the cause of your unhappy customer calls?
It’s time to move away from a break/fix model, and instead, embrace an asset management system that allows you to move towards preventative maintenance.
This Ultimate Guide to Asset Maintenance Management Software for field service businesses will explore why it might be time to move to an Asset Maintenance Management software, what to look for in a software solution and how it can help your team meet your Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Why move to an Asset Maintenance Management Software
The example above illustrates the challenges faced by maintenance businesses trying to manage multiple assets, requiring different levels of service, across multiple sites.
An asset maintenance management software can bring together the different aspects of job management, like planning preventive maintenance for customers, scheduling the right field service staff member to the job, assigning inventory, viewing asset histories and test results, invoicing and so much more.
- Are your asset maintenance and test history records on paper or files that are kept in your office?
- Is it challenging to schedule the right field service employee to the right job?
- Have your team struggled to meet your SLA's
- Are you already using asset maintenance software that isn’t doing the job?
If you answer yes to all of these questions, then it is time to look at your options for a cloud-based job management solution to manage asset maintenance.
What should you look for in an Asset Maintenance Management Software
The most important thing that an asset maintenance management software can provide is a central location for all important information about the assets you manage. But if your staff in the field and the office cannot equally access and update details, you will quickly find yourself in the same predicament as you did before spending time and money investing in a solution.
Move your business into the cloud
First things first, get your business onto a cloud-based asset management software. This will be a huge benefit to your business as it will allow the office and your field staff to stay connected with real-time updates. It will also empower your field staff to use their mobile devices to update and manage data, saving you both time and money.
If you are interested in learning more about moving to a cloud-based software, check out this blog.
Access asset lists and test histories in the field
Any decent asset management system should allow your team to check an asset’s history in the field.
Whether they are performing routine maintenance, tests or fixing a break, field service staff should be able to easily locate an asset, scan or search it’s barcode via their mobile device and immediately have a full history of maintenance carried out on that particular asset.
Some software will also allow you to view an asset’s test history and upload photos to the asset’s file for future reference.
Scheduling and location routing
Software that includes scheduling and routing capabilities will make a huge difference in the efficiency of your team. Manage day-to-day maintenance schedules and dispatch the right person to the right place in an emergency.
This functionality will allow you to select the most efficient route, assign the correct person and assets to a job and improve communication across your teams.
Maintenance planning and barcoding
Meet SLAs with tools that directly support the management of preventative maintenance schedules for assets under contract. While you might pay a little more for an add-on like this, it is excellent for recurring or preventative maintenance.
This software add-on will usually also let you know what needs to be tested, when the tests need to occur, and in many cases it can also determine what level of service is needed. Best of all, some of these systems also send alerts or reminders to office staff when an asset requires attention.
Barcoding is another handy tool to have in your physical asset management arsenal. When paired with a cloud-based software it is an easy way for field service staff to gather information at a glance. Simply scan the asset and view histories, used materials, update important details and see previous test results.
Why data is the key to asset maintenance management
Data is no longer just a buzzword in the asset maintenance world. Instead, it has become a cornerstone for field service businesses to deliver consistent results to their customers.
How can an asset maintenance management software support the operation and growth of your business? Because it provides:
- Data integrity - A single system that allows employees in the field or the office to update important details means no more verifying errors or information. Get the most current information anytime.
- Improved responses - Reduce unplanned asset downtime, improve efficiency, carry out tasks and respond to customers faster. A single system allows you to streamline your workflows and make process improvements, meaning you can reduce costly mistakes.
- Security - A single, complete, data storage location minimises leaks and the risk of unauthorised access to business information.
- Reduce costs - Save time and money with fewer hours spent on data entry and keep your data up-to-date by giving your team the power to make edits in the office and the field.
A word about the future: IoT
Touted as the ‘future of asset maintenance’ IoT is an important step towards managing maintenance, staying compliant and keeping your customers happy. So what is it?
Our Australian General Manager, Peter Darley, did a great job of explaining why all Asset Maintenance businesses should be adopting IoT on this blog here but for the layperson, here is a quick overview.
To put it simply, IoT refers to the interactions of machines that are connected to the internet. The idea is that if an asset in the field requires maintenance or breaks down, a message can be sent between the asset and your system to let you know that a field service employee needs to be dispatched.
This change represents a huge shift in the way asset maintenance can be carried out in the future. When coupled with a cloud-based asset maintenance management software, an alert can be delivered to an office staff member that an asset is at risk of failure. They could, in turn, then schedule and alert the nearest field service staff member to the job, have that person visit the asset onsite, view a full repair and test history and fix the issue, all without the customer even being aware that an asset was at risk of stopping their operation.
Talk about ending the ‘furious customer effect’!
Are you looking to update your processes with comprehensive invoicing software? simPRO can help you achieve end-to-end operations management and streamline your invoicing processes. Take a look at our Asset Management page to find out more, or contact simPRO today.