How to Conduct a Needs Assessment for Your Maintenance Department, Part 3: What Tools Do You Need?

16th June 2017
16th June 2017

So, we’ve discussed where your maintenance department needs to go, and what’s already in place. Next, let’s start working on a plan to get you there.

At this point, you need a strategy to get you from point A to point B. The first task is to decide what tools you need.

Get the Right Tools in Place

By tools, we mean anything your team needs to do their jobs, which may include…

  • Tools, equipment, and informational resources
  • Software
  • Training

Let’s review each one.

Tools and Equipment

As every maintenance tech knows, you need the right tool for the job. Make sure your team has everything they need to get their work done efficiently—wrenches, drills, diagnostic equipment, etc. That includes informational resources as well, like manuals, data, electronic documents, and repair history.

And consider new tools and equipment on the horizon. Many maintenance managers are exploring Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices—systems that gather information directly from multiple devices, which can be almost anything with a sensor. IIoT devices can include technology in computers, vehicles, smartphones, appliances, building automation systems, and production equipment.

When you purchase new assets, some of these devices will come with IIoT technology. But these devices can also gather data from existing gauges, meters, and PLCs on your current assets.

These little data-gathering machines monitor your equipment and assets every day, 24/7. So consider how this change will affect your maintenance needs.

Software

Your CMMS software affects every aspect of your maintenance operations. So it makes sense that your plans should center around your CMMS and what you do with that information.

If you’re looking to upgrade or buy new software, it’s a great time to take those needs you identified in Part 1 and compare them to the software’s features. Look for…

  • Work order management
  • Scheduling
  • Service request features
  • Inventory tools
  • Vendor management
  • Financial tracking
  • Scability
  • Interoperability

Last, but not least, you probably see things changing down the line. What changes can you see coming? We often hear about the growing need for…

  • Incorporating mobile devices
  • Better parts management
  • Improved data collection
  • Integration with other applications
  • Use with IIoT technology

During this process, we highly recommend spending your time wisely with software demos and trials. There’s really no comparison to seeing the software in action.

Training

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—training is a vital part of any maintenance operation. You’ve already evaluated your team’s skill sets and potential growth. Now find the resources you need to get them the training they need.

Think outside the box: webinars, online training, classroom, or on-site. There’s a lot of options. And an investment in training pays off every day.

Now you’ve identified the tools you’ll need. Next you need to figure out how to fund it.

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