Finding Maintenance Scheduling and Work Order Software to Fit Your Company’s Needs

1. Know exactly what you want your maintenance software program to do, but keep it simple! Just like you wouldn’t ask your dishwasher to vacuum your carpets, you shouldn’t ask your preventive maintenance software to keep track of inventory, part costs or man hours. Most companies have between 100 and 5000 maintenance processes to schedule. Each task requires thought and/or research in order to determine what must be done to service and maintain a piece of equipment or to accomplish a maintenance process, before you even begin entering the information into your new software program. You must also determine the required frequency of the maintenance, either by consulting the Operator’s Manual for equipment or referring to maintenance history and experience for other tasks. Keep in mind that a comprehensive maintenance software scheduling program will also make recommendations for lubricants, parts, etc., that are required for the maintenance process. The best programs will even generate a work order for the job! All of this information will need to be entered into your company’s maintenance software database and then refined over time. If you complicate the process by insisting upon incorporating inventory and costs, the software can not only become prohibitively expensive, it also becomes too complex and overwhelming for your maintenance personnel to want to use. Our suggestion: Start simple (and cost effective) and then upgrade or expand as enhancements become available.

2. If your company requires a “Work Order Program” to automate the generation of maintenance work orders, make sure the software program you choose is easy for everyone to use. Keep in mind that if you have a computerized work order system there are numerous work stations using it. There will always be some employees that are not very efficient on the computer. Purchasing software that is easy for anyone to use is the key to being happy with a work order program. We recently talked to a Director of Maintenance for a large hotel in San Diego. He tried to incorporate a Palm Pilot work order system that cost thousands of dollars into his hotel. Some departments wouldn’t use it at all and others used it only occasionally. When it was used, the personnel entered data improperly, creating errors. After six months of frustration, the Director gave up and went back to his manual work order tickets system.

3. Make sure the company you purchase your maintenance/work order software from is accessible, knowledgeable, flexible and service-oriented. At Weston Data Systems we make a huge effort to “keep it simple” by developing multi-featured software that is easy for anyone to use. Many times we incorporate custom features and functions to provide a company with exactly what they need. Sometimes field name changes or different titles are all that’s required to customize a program. For some c