Looking Beyond the Obvious Applications of Maintenance Management

by Gayla Burns on March 19, 2012

Is disaster just a mistake away?

The annual Maintenance Management Summit is quickly approaching and our team is fast and furious in preparation.  I always enjoy being part of the planning process and then watching it all come together.  We are also attending the Alliance (formerly known as HEUG) Conference as well.

The PeopleSoft Asset Life Cycle Management (ALM) application has been highlighted many times here on this blog.  We talk about the features, functions and integration value this application can bring to any enterprise.  That’s all top-shelf information.  But, for me, value is best uncovered during an a ha! moment.

Here’s mine.

I was recently on the campus of a medium-size university meeting with some IT folks and a couple of people from the business side.  We were discussing how ALM may benefit them.  Certainly streamlining the work order process, keeping an eye on inventory and its location, knowing when equipment needs preventive maintenance are all excellent business reasons to consider the ALM application.  The integration with PeopleSoft Financials is also a tremendous benefit.  But sometimes we don’t really understand the value of an application until we see it in action. Like everything else we learn, we only really know it when we experience it.

One of the university managers invited me on a tour of the campus facilities.  It is the part of my job I really enjoy: getting to see how PeopleSoft ALM can really help and provide value beyond RFP text and whitepapers.  The tour helps gain an understanding of work processes and work flow.

But when we walked into the “Lock and Key Room” it hit me like a ton of bricks. The entire room was full of keys hanging on boards, keys organized in filing cabinets, keys lying on tables.  I never realized how many keys it takes to operate a campus.  Classrooms, labs, cafeterias, supplies, equipment rooms, locker rooms, gyms, practice facilities, not to mention dorms.

The Facilities Manager at a major University has thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of assets to track, manage and maintain.  Most are still operating with spreadsheets and manual check in/checkout procedures.  All I know is that if I went into the ‘Lock and Key room’ and accidently bumped one of the boards, hundreds of keys could possibly end up on the floor. Disaster. That manager has the same issue with his assets: there are thousands of them, all stored in a spreadsheet somewhere, tied to a manual checkin/checkout process. What happens if someone bumped those metaphorical keys? How quickly would asset costs spiral out of control?

I started thinking that the grip many organizations have on asset  management may be more tenuous than they imagine. They don’t want it this way, but over assets and their metadata just pile up. I think escaping the toddering threat of an Excel-and-checklist tower crashing down is why many customers come to us asking about smarter asset management.

I encourage you to look beyond the obvious applications of Maintenance Management software and investigate the not so obvious applications – therein may be the ROI.

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