Archive for Predictive Maintenance

Using Safety from the Start

Like it or not, when safety hazards go unchecked in high-risk work environments and companies fail inspections, maintenance often takes the fall. Management will sometimes blame maintenance if an employee suffers an injury on the job because a technician failed to perform a safety review, and OSHA levied a fine against the company.


Why is Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) a friend to safety and maintenance managers? Because OSHA regulators want to know what safety programs you have in place. They want a trackable history of what’s been done on a piece of equipment; when it was done; who did it; and how often it has been inspected. So you need safety reports, preferably sorted by asset, repair technician, safety standard, etc. If an auditor questions an incident or exposes a safety risk, a maintenance report will prove that the task has been performed on schedule, over the past year, and the incident was a one-time occurrence, with prevention measures in place. CMMS provides these capabilities.

Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) for maintenance

An advanced CMMS with OSH capabilities is like having a safety and health inspector tell you what to do before they make the call to your facility.

Beyond core functionality, an excellent CMMS should offer an integrated Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) solution for the linkage of safety programs, audits, incidents, emergency notes and inspection data with work orders, PMs, assets and equipment.


Sample Job Safety Analysis (JSA), stored within the OSH component of a CMMS system.

Unexpected accidents warrant their own records with photos, filled out OSHA 300 log forms, and other necessary documentation. Using CMMS with an integrated OSH solution, incident data is available for quick review with reports that show which safety tasks were completed over time and what’s been put in place to prevent the same injuries. This is the kind of documentation inspectors want to see.

Any decent CMMS product will give you the basic do-it-yourself tools to maintain your safety programs, but an advanced CMMS with OSH capabilities is like having a safety and health inspector tell you what to do before they make the call to your facility.

Want to see a CMMS OSH solution in action? Attend the complimentary webinar, “Safety First: Keeping Occupational Safety & Health a Priority” by registering at today.

The Hidden Costs of Cheap Capital Expenditures

Work orders and preventive maintenance are Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) fundamentals. But companies that look beyond the obvious functions reap the benefits of better-informed budget planning, serious savings on fewer repairs, reduced staff overtime, and lots more.

Asset Life Cycle Analysis, or ALCA, helps you go beyond simple asset management to separate the most cost-effective and efficient assets from the worst.

One helpful function of CMMS that provides a simple way to gather intelligence and improve operations is Asset Life Cycle Analysis (ALCA). By capturing day-to-day operational information from Preventive Maintenance items (PMs) and Work Orders (WOs) and crunching the data using ALCA, CMMS users are better equipped to separate the good vendors from the bad and the ugly, plus analyze technician performance, improve PMs, etc.

ALCA analyzes critical maintenance data for all assets, and answers the question, “How much did it cost us to run this asset during the last 12 months?” The maintenance director may have gotten a good price for the machine up front, but ALCA can show him that he paid twice that in repairs. ALCA even assigns the machine a letter grade! If your asset is receiving a failing grade from ALCA, it may be time to scrap it and start evaluating new vendors before submitting next year’s budget. Case in point is the life cycle costs for 40 washers and dryers for Chemung ARC, a housing organization for the developmentally disabled in upstate New York that uses Bigfoot CMMS. The maintenance department was buying cheaper units, which at the time allowed them to avoid expensive repairs and constant call-ins from the housekeeping department. But the team never considered sustainability, operational costs, and machine capacity.

Washers and dryers are just some of the capital expenditures that can be analyzed using your maintenance management software's ALCA.

The washers and dryers came with a lower purchase price, but they were also undersized and lacked some basic features. Each machine ran 8-10 loads of laundry per day but frequently broke down. Add in the fact that repair parts were largely out of stock because various models had been purchased over time; combine that with rising water and electricity usage; and factor in costs resulting from longer washer and dryer cycles, and Chemung was spending nearly $800 on average for the life cycle of a typical washer, not including utility costs. To top it off, most machines had to be replaced within 15 months. Through Bigfoot’s ALCA cost study, maintenance now spends almost twice as much upfront for each unit BUT the life cycle cost benefits are significant:

  • Washers and dryers generally last six years instead of 15 months, reducing the recurring costs for purchase, installation, and disposal
  • Repair and maintenance costs per unit per year dropped 30 percent
  • By doubling capacity of the units, the number of loads per day was cut in half; energy and water consumption dropped by 30 percent per load

The housing organization’s maintenance team has become the ALCA poster child of success. They’re now using it to analyze life cycle costs for dishwashers, refrigerators, snow blowers, light fixtures, faucets, tub controls and adaptable bathing tubs. Couple that with a PM schedule that doesn’t miss a trick, and the Chemung team rarely has to replace a failed appliance. The incidence of HVAC system failures, for example, has fallen 50 – 60 percent.

Now it’s your turn: test drive your CMMS’ ALCA and see what kind of savings you can uncover!

Fill the CMMS Reporting Gap

Reports found native in Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) can range from the very simple (such as active vs. completed Work Orders) to the more complex (asset life cycle analysis per region, per site, per category within a specified time frame, for example). But many organizations have realized that custom reporting is still a necessity in order to properly manage maintenance operations. As the managing editor of FacilitiesNet previously wrote in a 2009 article, “it is important for managers to understand no one system fulfills every need for every organization.” So how can you fill the reporting gap?

Solutions available to the maintenance industry today, such as Bigfoot SQL Data Views, allow you to still take advantage of built-in, pre-defined CMMS reports while giving your authorized business analysts and database administrators access to your raw maintenance data – Work Orders, Assets/Equipment, Parts, Purchase Orders, and more – for more advanced, custom reporting. Even better, these SQL Data Views are independent of any reporting tool, allowing you to use the reporting solution of your choice.

Solutions like Bigfoot SQL Data Views help you to fill the reporting gap between native CMMS reports and the need for custom maintenance reports, using the reporting tool of your choice.









You can learn more about the SQL Data Views solution for Bigfoot CMMS by visiting

Automating Maintenance Management to Deliver Product on Time, Every Time

Your company’s reputation can be dependent on a number of factors, such as how well your product functions or how fast you can deliver product, or both. For one company, its reputation depends on delivering the right product to the right customer in the form they want it, as soon as they can get it. Today this company is one of the most highly-rated Internet companies in the United States.

“To get our product to our customers around the U.S. within one business day is the mission of all our regional hubs, and we have a 97 percent effectiveness rate,” says this company’s VP of operations engineering.

But this company hasn’t achieved such success by accident. Its operations are well-defined: initially product is shipped by distributors to the company’s central operations in OH, and from there, shipped out directly to its regional hubs. Each hub mails product to its own distribution list of customers, which adds up to 2 million products per day.

Maintenance management software can help ensure you're delivering product on time, every time.

One company has over 50 hubs throughout the U.S. using Bigfoot to keep track of its own assets, which are sometimes moved to other locations or swapped for new ones.

Three different machines handle product mailings and returns. Inserting equipment places product in mailing envelopes. Sorters read bar codes and apply customer postal addresses to the mailers, then run mass quantities of product through many more passes and group together as many as possible within the same zip code. This eliminates the time it would take the post office to put these shipments through its own sorters, earning the company a postal discount, which helps cut operational expenses.

When product is returned, the company relies on custom-designed machines to ensure that the right tasks are being performed with each product. Machines open product packaging, orient the product, and analyze them for defects. Before product is repackaged and sent to another customer, each product is cleaned and placed in the right packaging, which has been checked for reuse. Product without customer orders are placed in storage.

Tools for the Mission

We operate more than 700 machines throughout the country so it’s not unusual to have a machine break down in one of our locations during the business day,” says the VP of operations engineering. “We needed to have a system in place to make sure repairs are handled promptly. Otherwise, we can’t get product out to a customer in one business day, which means we’re not achieving our mission.”

To ensure timely delivery to clients and lower operations costs, the company uses Bigfoot Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS), from Smartware Group, to schedule and manage preventive maintenance of the company’s sorters, inserters, and machines. Each hub uses Bigfoot to keep track of its own assets, which are sometimes moved to other locations or swapped for new ones.

Bigfoot CMMS makes it possible for companies to maximize uptime and performance of their high-production equipment by automating preventive maintenance and repair functions and schedules. Bigfoot maintenance software issues work orders for ad-hoc repairs and then sets up preventive maintenance schedules based on repair history to get ahead of machine breakdowns before they occur.

The company uses Bigfoot to track preventive maintenance activity and the history of every machine in every hub. For example, operations personnel can look up a sorter by its assigned number, check the history of repairs, and perform a preventive maintenance check in advance of a potential malfunction.

Preventive maintenance assists in decreasing the chances of machines failing during inconvenient times.

“We are committed to preventive maintenance and we use Bigfoot to keep our reliability up,” the company’s VP of operations engineering says.  “Otherwise we risk machines breaking down at the most inopportune times.”

Nonetheless, ad-hoc failures do occur and Bigfoot CMMS plays a role in expediting machine repairs. For example, a dispatcher in California receives a trouble ticket generated by Bigfoot about a broken sorter in the company’s hub in Atlanta. Based on the type of repair, the Bigfoot dispatcher assigns the ticket to the most appropriate technician.

Bigfoot generates a work order, which the on-site technician completes once the request for repair is fulfilled and the machine is up and running. And throughout the repair process, the Atlanta hub is updated through Bigfoot until the machine has resumed functioning.

“Before we had Bigfoot, e-mail notifications went out to all technicians on the distribution list at once,” said the operations engineering vice president.  “It wasn’t clear who was responding to a particular failure and a spiderweb of e-mails between the specialized techs would ensue. Now, because Bigfoot tickets are assigned, we get more capacity and greater efficiency from our technicians, which means faster machine repairs and improved uptime.”

The company also uses Bigfoot CMMS to look at work order history and the number of breakdowns on each piece of equipment, and whether it makes sense to repair or replace a particular machine with chronic problems.

“Having an efficient and intelligent infrastructure is at the heart of what drives our growth and reputation, and repairing equipment without disrupting service to customers is our primary strategy,” said the company’s VP of operations engineering. “We value Bigfoot because it keeps us on top of equipment repairs and addresses problems with great efficiency.”

Learn how other Bigfoot CMMS users are finding success every day by reading the latest Bigfoot articles and case studies at