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How to Increase Your Maintenance Department’s Labor Efficiency with a CMMS


How to increase your maintenance department’s labor efficiency

When manufacturing companies experience low profit margins, they look to trim business costs. One of the first places they look to make cuts is in their maintenance and operations departments. This frequently means that you can forget about hiring those new technicians (among other things). Most maintenance managers are already overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to accomplish, so it can be incredibly difficult to hear that they have no help coming.

When faced with this situation, maintenance managers must increase their labor efficiency. They can do this by increasing their department’s productivity and by determining when it is more cost effective to outsource labor.

A CMMS like FMX can help you achieve these items. FMX can also help you measure your success in these areas. It may even help you justify adding headcount to your team because you’ve shown that you’re using your labor force at its maximum efficiency.


  1. BY ALLOWING TECHNICIANS TO ACCESS THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO COMPLETE THE PROJECT Technicians often do not receive the necessary information to complete a work order or preventive maintenance task (PM). For example, there could be missing information in the work order or the technician could be a little hazy on the proper procedure for a PM. A CMMS can help you track and centralize the information that technicians need to complete their tasks. As a result, your technicians should experience fewer delays or interruptions while on a job.


• Your technicians can view each and every work order and PM through FMX: Your technicians will no longer need to sort through paper work-order forms and emails. Company employees submit work orders directly through FMX and you can use FMX to schedule PMs as well. So if your technicians are looking for details on a particular work order or PM, all they have to do is look in FMX.

• You can use required fields to make sure employees include certain information when they submit work orders: You can customize FMX’s work-order form to make certain fields required for employees to submit requests. By making certain fields required on that form, you can ensure that your technicians receive the information they need to complete the work order.

• You can set up automatic email and text notifications to alert your staff when they’ve been assigned to a work order or upcoming PM.

• Your technicians can look up details about how past work orders were resolved: That way if a similar work order comes up, your technicians will not have to start from scratch in order to resolve it. With FMX, technicians can easily pull up past requests and view histories for each location, building, piece of equipment, and request type (i.e. HVAC).

• You can create step-by-step instructions for common PMs: Assigned technicians must check off each step before they can close out a task. Alternatively, you can allow technicians to record their progress on a task and then close it out at a later time.

2. TECHNICIANS ARE SCHEDULED APPROPRIATELY CMMSs can help you determine the amount of time routine PMs (and even work orders) take to complete. CMMSs mark the date and time that PMs and work orders were created and the date and time when they were completed. This information should give you the amount of time the task took to complete. Over time, you’ll be able to calculate the average amount of time that routine tasks take. This information will help you know when to schedule PMs based on your technicians’ availability. Through efficient scheduling, you can also free up some of your technicians to complete work orders and other tasks as needed.


• You can track and run reports on the average resolution times for common PMs and work orders.

• You can view average resolution times for each of your technicians.

• You can plan tasks days, weeks, months, or even years in advance.

• Technicians can view their daily schedules with FMX’s simple calendar display.

• Company employees can submit maintenance requests through FMX: That way your maintenance team can focus on completing work orders instead of receiving them.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING FMX helped Bonnell to gauge the time and money they are spending on equipment maintenance throughout the plant. FMX has also reduced the need for administrative roles, allowing facility staff members to focus more on preventive maintenance tasks. This increase in focus on preventive maintenance has made it possible for staff to take a proactive approach to maintenance, rather than reactive.

“The reporting has probably been the greatest thing to ever happen, according to the corporate office. That has really improved our distribution of costs and accurately tracking our costs across the plant. It also helps us with capital projects. We can see how much money and time we’re spending on equipment and if you don’t have that data, it’s very difficult to justify capital projects.”


Occasionally, it is more cost effective to outsource a PM or work order to a contractor instead of completing it in-house. In order to make that decision, maintenance managers need to compare the total cost of both options. As a general rule, it is almost always cheaper to complete routine tasks in-house, but occasionally you’ll come across some tasks that are not so routine. At that point, you need to determine whether it is worth outsourcing the project. With a CMMS, maintenance managers can track their technicians’ and vendors’ labor rates, inventory cost, and downtime associated with each PM or work order. Though your technician’s labor rate is likely lower than the vendors, it will likely take your technician more hours to complete the task. However, despite this increase in completion time, you may experience greater downtime by outsourcing the task because it may be a while before the vendor can come out to do the repair. Tracking costs for both in-house and outsourced tasks in a CMMS will provide historical cost information to refer to in the future, which will help you decide whether or not to outsource similar tasks moving forward.


• Your technicians will log their labor hours for each PM and work order.

• You can record labor rates for your technicians and vendors

• FMX will automatically calculate labor costs associated with each work order, piece of equipment, or building: You can even view the labor costs associated with a request type (i.e. all HVAC requests) for a given period of time.

• You can communicate directly with vendors by adding them as users in FMX: You can assign them tasks, set due dates, and exchange information about a task all through FMX.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING: COMTEX uses FMX to track maintenance histories for their equipment, inventory costs, and work order resolution times. FMX also helps COMTEX technicians know what to complete each day and access work order details with ease. As a result of using FMX, work requests are completed promptly and the problem of overlooking work orders has been eliminated.

“Since implementing FMX, our facilities management is much more organized. The system is very up front, and I can readily see the things that need to be done, just by looking at the calendar. I like, particularly, the record-keeping capabilities that allow me to track the work completed on individual machines, the money spent for parts, and the time involved in making necessary repairs.”

Measure your success and justify headcount

After implementing these labor efficiency measures, you will see an increase in your PM and work-order completion rates and your labor costs should either decrease or remain constant. You may even see lower equipment and capital costs. 4 However, if you constantly have outstanding PMs and work orders to accomplish despite increasing your labor efficiency, then you are likely understaffed, and may have no choice but to solve it with increased headcount. Not to worry, you can use the data recorded in a CMMS to justify the cost of increasing headcount on your team. A CMMS will allow you to look at the number of work orders and PMs your technicians complete in a given time with their associated labor costs, so you can calculate the cost and increase in productivity that additional headcount can bring.


• You can easily view your work-order and PM completion rates with the FMX reporting module.

• You can also view the amount of work orders and PMs your individual technicians have completed over a given time and their associated labor costs.