There are many reasons for emergency protocol and crisis management to be a part of a solid business plan. When something major takes place in the world (as we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic) the aftershocks can hit a business hard if there are no measures in place to protect your assets, facilities and products.
The great thing about operating with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) as a cornerstone of a facility management plan is that you already have an autopilot built into your maintenance plan. Additionally, social distancing between employees can be a breeze with remote access and mobile apps. This allows the transfer of information and status updates to be done from wherever the safe zone is.
Are all of your assets under one roof?
When you think of CMMS, do you think about your equipment that is on job sites? Don’t worry if you didn’t immediately do so, because your CMMS did that for you. It also pinged the equipment's location, put together a report and then sent it over to you via your smartphone.
When an emergency order is handed down, in most places you will see restricted movement for the general public. It may not be safe for your technicians to travel to sites, checking the physical location of your equipment. And if it is in an area of heavy damage or disturbance, you'd definitely want to know if your asset is damaged as well. You could have all that information at your fingertips because of your CMMS and the GPS link to your assets.
Real-time reporting on machinery
We like to believe that when limited staff is a factor, our machines can handle the extra burden. Yet, if the equipment isn’t monitored, how will you know if a breakdown occurs, or if a line stops? Do you now have product wasting in a tank because the packaging line stopped for a misaligned photo-eye?
The real-time reporting function of CMMS is invaluable in times of emergency shutdowns. With limited staff, management can check the status of every asset in the facility from their phone or laptop. Nobody needs to wonder if the equipment is stalled with a mechanical failure, or if a thermal unit was left running and overheating.
The fact is, a lot can happen to your assets in a matter of minutes.
Don’t leave anything up to chance by requiring a physical inspection. Because if a member of the staff can’t get to the facility in an emergency, you run the risk of major machinery failure.
Purchasing order points and parts inventory
So, the worst has occurred, and your production has been down for a month. Your suppliers may end up affected by the same crisis. And if you have an automatic parts order with vendors, you may end up with a warehouse full of parts. Talking about inventory that can’t be used anywhere and costs you valuable time and space.
When your CMMS handles your parts order by set reorder points, it adjusts for the fact that your usage went from 75 to two in the week of the catastrophe. This lets your vendors know that the standard shipment should be adjusted.
Once crisis management has assessed the inventory, you can easily adjust your setpoints as needed. Keeping costs to a minimum in what could prove to be a financially challenging time is a top priority. In uncertain times that follow a crisis, unnecessary spending should be the least of worries when it comes to facility and equipment.
Audit and compliance has just become a monstrosity
After a catastrophe occurs, people search for reasons, and the process to follow so that it doesn’t happen again. If you are in manufacturing, construction, shipping, or food processing, you know all too well that the blame is often placed on your industry. If the food is tainted, the FDA needs all your equipment records. If a building collapses, OSHA is on-site before the dust settles, filing cabinets holding your training records.
If you have any government agency that regulates any part of what your business is involved in, you need accurate records accessible at any time. The information needs to be detailed and confirmable.
CMMS systems enable you to pull the records of an asset from the moment of purchase. They can also record readings direct from the equipment sensors, providing you with the protection you need if an audit gets triggered.
When going back to business as usual after a catastrophic event, regulations may be much more strict. By maintaining detailed and up to date information, you can get your operation up and running with no hiccups because of lost documentation. Your CMMS can report that you’re in compliance under the new guidelines, and you’ll be authorized to move forward.
Mobile tools make working remotely as easy as an app
The option to employ mobile tools in your CMMS suite is crucial. Especially, when a crisis results in a lack of staff on-site or the inability to communicate face to face. From relaying information to teammates via the team chat feature, keeping critical staff up to date on equipment readings - mobile tools supplied by CMMS are allowing maintenance and management to virtually view their assets. Despite the disaster and its’ aftermath, you don’t have to worry about your facility or equipment because you can read the data as though you were in your office.
Talmage Wagstaff is the co-founder and CEO of Redlist. Raised in a construction environment, Talmage has been involved in heavy equipment since he was a toddler. He has degrees and extensive experience in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering. Talmage worked for several years as a field engineer with ExxonMobil servicing many of the largest industrial production facilities in the country.