Going Paperless in the Maintenance Department
They said we’d be moving to a paperless world. And yet, even surrounded by technology, paper still physically weighs down organizations from hospitals to hotels, government to golf courses.
And it’s a constant presence across companies. People create documents on computers in reception. They get printed out and sent up to the CEO’s office for a signature. They come back down to accounting where information may well be reinserted into another electronic document, and then it all gets filed away in rooms filled with bulky metal cabinets you swear were bought in the 70s.
And the famous, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
BUT IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT BEING BROKE
You’re in a maintenance department. You know a thing or two about things being broken, what to do when it happens, and how to stop it happening in the first place.
So you know that just because the temperature of the building is right doesn’t mean the HVAC doesn’t need attention. Sometimes you’re fixing a problem — and sometimes you’re doing routine work that you know will lower the chance of failure to an acceptable level.
If your paper-based workflows appear to be working on the surface, think about every point of friction in the system.
You need to keep buying and storing paper
Paper can get lost and damaged as it's passed around
Handwriting can be hard to read
Paper can be easily misplaced or thrown away
You either have one copy of a paper document, or multiple that can fall out of sync
Once you’re done with the paper, you have to file it for future reference
When you need to pull old paper documents for reporting, you waste time searching for them
Now, if there were no better way, all these challenges would still be unpleasant, but necessary. Despite technology’s promise of a paperless world, there was still one major advantage of paper: it was incredibly portable. You wouldn’t want to physically lug around a desktop machine — and it could also be impractical to carry a laptop into many places. But paper you could slip into a briefcase, secure into a clipboard, or even fold and stow it in your pocket.
You could take it anywhere. But nowadays, there’s something else you and everyone on your staff take with you anywhere. Your smartphone. And that makes all the difference. How much space does a smartphone take up?
HOW SMARTPHONE TECHNOLOGY ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR PAPER IN YOUR MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT
As powerful a tool a smartphone is for keeping in contact with friends and family (and wasting some time on entertainment apps), there’s enormous potential for streamlining your work and getting things done with greater efficiency than ever. Include tablets as well, and you’re able to carry a ton of processing power around with you, anywhere, and keep it all connected to the internet.
With the penetration of these devices, software developers were newly empowered to create software for more and more diverse needs. Sure, Excel is a good “one-size-fits-all” solution for many tasks that involve creating and tracking data, but these portable devices and their availability means not only is it more economical for developers to create more tailor-made solutions — but the benefits of organizations adopting these solutions can have profound impact.
Your needs can be met by developers who are closely plugged into your industry or your line of work
You can access this software from anywhere rather than being stuck at a desk
Crucially, you can eliminate paper
COMPUTERIZED MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
CMMS is a tool that aims to digitize and bolster the efficiency of a lot of what you do as a maintenance department. And it’s able to do so via an app your staff have on their device.
Every request that gets reported to the maintenance department, every task you set, every item of preventative maintenance — even a complete record of all of your assets — everything is done electronically. No printing documents. No filling in things by hand.
And everything’s consistent while flexible. No accidentally using an outdated version of a form, and no running out of space to accurately describe an issue.
Paper can’t automatically remind you of a task due that day first thing in the morning, but CMMS can. Paper in your office won’t automatically update when your technician in the field enters new data, but the shared resource in the cloud will. And paper can’t automatically leap out of your filing system and arrange itself according to how you need it with a couple of clicks — but a comprehensive reporting system does it immediately.
Basically, this kind of software takes all those points of friction we talked about and totally eliminates them. By the time it’s done, there’s simply no need for paper. And that means you don’t need to buy it, store it, file it, copy it, sort it, or trash it.
If you run a maintenance department, and you still have paper shuffling around — whether your system is entirely paper-based or partially using other software like Excel — you owe it to yourself to check out CMMS.
SURE. PAPERLESS SOUNDS GREAT, BUT HOW’S THE PRICE?
Sounds super convenient and useful, so it’s got to cost you, right?
Well, no, not really. Many CMMS actually have free options that let you make sure the tool is right for you before you upgrade to the full version.
Beyond that, in almost all cases, we find that the money a maintenance department spends on CMMS software is far below what they’d spend on supporting an aging paper-based system. You’re avoiding the physical cost of all that paper — but even more importantly, you’re avoiding the labour cost. Time spent pulling reports is decimated. Time spent checking centralized schedules, correcting recording mistakes, hunting down missing pages, asking about unclear writing, and so on?
It’s all now free for you to allocate to higher-value tasks. You know, the actual maintenance. You’ll be able to get more done in a day. Which means preventative maintenance you’d always have liked to do but were too busy putting out fires to get to is now doable. Better reports, that help you make more effective decisions, are now available. And costly mistakes that arise from being pulled in too many directions at once can be hugely reduced.
Going paperless is more than just a convenience. It’s an opportunity to run a smoother, safer, less costly maintenance department. And that’s just going to make everyone happier.
GIVE MAINTENANCE CARE A TRY
We built Maintenance Care to help maintenance managers achieve these goals. We believe in what we do and we know you’ll see the value of it too.
We want to be your partner in your paperless future. Our CMMS has every feature we’ve discussed today (as well as a ton more we continue to add in direct response to the needs of maintenance managers), and it’s super easy to get going.
You can try the free version right now or get in contact to book a demo with one of our experts who’ll help you see exactly how our CMMS can improve your maintenance department specifically.
Get ready to file your last sheet of paper when you sign on with Maintenance Care!