Talking Points Column: Maximizing CMMS Technology, Expecting the Unexpected

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  

What benefits has a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) delivered to your maintenance and engineering department?

I posed this question to several managers as part of this month's Roundtable.

Not surprisingly, the responses included such benefits as better asset control and improved schedule planning. But Frank Lucas, director of work management with the facility management department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, offered an interesting response. In 2010, his department "took on an additional 450,000 square feet of new space and didn't have to hire new employees."

Why? Productivity gains generated by the department's CMMS unexpectedly enabled existing staff to absorb the added work. That is what you call a pleasant surprise.

As it turns out, the department never received the funds automatically allocated to hire workers when new space is added. State funding was suspended due to budget cuts. But the cuts did not spell doom. Instead, they actually highlighted an existing technology — the CMMS — that helped the department weather the burden of more space to maintain.

Perhaps most importantly, this case demonstrated the need for managers to do their homework when researching technology investments. Managers cannot foresee all of the possible benefits a particular piece of technology will deliver. But by understanding department needs and specifying the most appropriate technology based on those needs, managers might just set their departments up for pleasant surprises down the road.

Dave Lubach offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.

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  posted on 2/26/2014   Article Use Policy

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