There is no hiding from the damage manual maintenance workflows can have on your construction business.

A giant thorn in the side of your field team’s results, they disrupt your ability to understand and continuously improve performance - impacting productivity and profitability.

Often, you will find these teams looking after cutting edge technology, potentially worth millions, with the same tools we used 20 years ago – pen, paper, grainy pictures, and battered site computers.

Let’s look at ideal ways to perform three basic maintenance workflows and see how tough it would be to get the best results using these outdated, manual means.

Planning and scheduling jobs

The planning and the scheduling of jobs need to run smoothly if you want work done at the right time with the right tools, materials, and people.

Without an effective maintenance planning and scheduling process, you will struggle to get results.

A DuPont study, and many others since, have shown that maintenance productivity is often poor – usually as low as 20% - 30%. If an employee works 10 hours a day, they spend an average of just 2 to 3 hours on actual work – sometimes less.

Manual workflows make it hard for workers to do the right thing, with inefficiency and waste seeping in at every turn.

There are plenty of maintenance planning and scheduling processes going around, but in essence, they all come down to these basic steps.

  • Identify by pinpointing and prioritising jobs based on your business and related needs.
  • Plan by formally organising the jobs, including the scope, labour, tools, and materials.
  • Schedule by setting how long you expect it to take to complete the planned job.
  • Execute by getting your field teams to complete the jobs.
  • Close by capturing the job history, images, notes and any other critical information.

It seems straightforward but many struggle to implement them consistently, leading to poor productivity. It is no surprise because most manage them manually.

See this in action:


Measuring asset performance

Constant asset performance measurement is key to understanding whether you are focusing on the right areas, sticking to the plan, and staying on budget.

You achieve this by tracking the repair history and analysing for trends.

You probably know the assets most likely to breakdown or fail unexpectedly, as it happens often enough, but predicting which one will go down next takes a psychic effort.

As a result, your field teams spend their time putting out fires with corrective and reactive maintenance. Once behind, it can seem impossible to get back on track with a proactive plan. It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture – focusing on planned maintenance to prevent these failures.

When engineers inspect assets, you often rely on their knowledge of the asset to get the job done because the information lives there. Expect catastrophic consequences if they leave the company, spend time away or forget vital details.

The right tool will pull relevant data from several sources, produce detailed reports and run deep analysis, helping you understand asset performance, spot trends, and predict the next failure. But it is hard to do with the mix of manual tools that most businesses rely on.

You could try, and you probably do, but the amount of manual data collection, analysis and report production would take up every last minute of your day.

See this in action:


Managing defects

The best cure for defects is always avoidance. How often do defects happen when the thought “if only we caught this earlier” quickly bubbles to the surface?

The closed-loop system is one of the best defect treatments. It includes defect avoidance, defect detection and then defect correction. Unfortunately, most organisations rely on a default elimination strategy that they supplement with default detection.

Sadly, this leaves defect avoidance – the aspect of defect management with the biggest payoff – on the wayside.

Let’s look at the closed-loop system in more detail.

  • Defect Avoidance. The best approach to managing defects is to avoid them. That means proactively controlling the functions that can lead to failure. Assets last longer when used correctly, producing fewer defects for you to detect, analyse and correct.

  • Defect Detection. Even your most robust efforts to avoid defects cannot be 100% effective. With varying inspections and monitoring, constant surveying will give you proactive and predictive opportunities to deal with them. 

    • Proactive detection is ideal. You find potentially harmful conditions to intervene and eliminate before they become serious issues.
    • Predictive detection is also valuable. You can spot early-stage damage and address it early.
  • Defect Elimination. Sometimes, you must run a detailed analysis to better understand a defect before eliminating it. By doing this, you can figure out the causes that did not contribute to the failure. Then, you can take appropriate action to eliminate the defect.

  • Defect Correction. Every defect needs correcting. Here, you must plan the job properly with straightforward instructions, an accurate Bill of Material, the right parts and clear definitions of the right tools and skills to execute the job effectively.

    See this in action:


Make your workflows work for you

As you know, these three workflow examples barely scratch the surface of everything you need to do daily. Each is just one cog in a behemoth of a machine, where countless other workflows interconnect and impact your performance.

It is not surprising that we still do certain things with the same tools we used 20 years ago. The construction software puzzle is only just piecing together for an industry that lacks digitisation.

The good news is that you can automate manual processes with digital workflows and mobile forms - using mobile workforce management software - getting them to work for you.

Want to learn more about this software?

Check out our mobile workforce management solution - Causeway Ermeo

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