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February 21, 2024

| 8 min read

Building a Sustainable Future With the Help of Maintenance and CMMS

As global concerns about the environmental impact of our economy grow, industries are redefining success by incorporating sustainability into their maintenance strategies. With this shift, maintenance has become a key to achieving eco-friendly operations. Computerized maintenance management system’s (CMMS)(opens in new tab), with their data-driven insights, help organizations optimize energy usage, reduce waste, and extend the life cycle of their assets. The relationship between maintenance and sustainability not only aligns with global conservation goals but also offers a realistic and attainable approach to future-proofing industries.

In this blog, we’ll explore how maintenance strategies, and a CMMS can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

The role of maintenance in sustainability

Maintenance, when approached strategically, offers solutions to minimize environmental footprints across various sectors. Whether optimizing energy consumption, reducing production waste(opens in new tab), or enhancing resource efficiency, sustainable maintenance practices play a role in managing the adverse effects of industrial operations on the planet.

Proactive maintenance or planned maintenance(opens in new tab) aims to prevent breakdowns rather than react to them and offers significant economic and environmental advantages. By addressing equipment issues and optimizing performance, industries can cut downtime, reduce energy consumption, and minimize the need for resource-intensive repairs. This ultimately leads to cost savings and a diminished ecological impact.

Numerous industries highlight the benefits of sustainable maintenance practices. From the wind energy sector, where proactive maintenance enhances turbine efficiency and prolongs their operational life, to manufacturing plants implementing predictive maintenance(opens in new tab) to optimize production processes and reduce waste, these examples illustrate how a commitment to sustainable maintenance aligns with both environmental and economic goals.

Learn more about the link between maintenance and a more sustainable world (opens in new tab)

Understanding the CMMS

Before we dive deeper into the impact of a CMMS on sustainability, it’s important we understand what a CMMS is and its various capabilities. A CMMS is a digital ecosystem designed to streamline and optimize maintenance operations within an organization. It acts as a central hub where tasks can be organized to ensure equipment reliability, minimize downtime, and propel sustainability efforts by reducing waste.

The CMMS has revolutionized the way organizations manage their day-to-day maintenance tasks. By digitizing and centralizing data related to assets, work orders, and preventive maintenance schedules, a CMMS empowers teams to work with higher efficiency compared to the more traditional pen-to-paper approach.

With a CMMS like Fiix for example, teams can:

  • Create work requests within a few clicks, even on-the-go. This gets the job done faster and keeps assets running at their best.
  • Track and report on everything done. Teams can see work orders, including completion rates, repair dates, total costs, follow-up tasks and more.
  • Know the past, present, and future of every part. You can search for parts, calculate the cost, and build automated reports to get inventory data sent straight to you.
  • Measure equipment usage and performance quickly. Using the asset insights dashboard, you can be alerted to abnormal levels of maintenance, and track equipment usage to trigger work with up-to-the-minute meter readings.
  • Collect, analyze, and act on maintenance data. You can use Fiix analytics to visualize all of your metrics in one place and measure the impact of maintenance from a single dashboard to share across your organization.

Discover even more features and capabilities of Fiix CMMS (opens in new tab)

These are just a few of the features and capabilities that a CMMS like Fiix can offer. Further into this blog, we’ll discuss how these features can contribute to sustainability efforts. Each CMMS offers a spectrum of features tailored to meet the needs of different maintenance teams. From asset tracking and inventory management to real-time monitoring of equipment health, a CMMS provides a holistic view of the maintenance landscape.

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Sustainability benefits of CMMS

In 2021, the U.S. spent $1.3 trillion on energy (opens in new tab), or 5.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, about 32.4% of U.S. energy consumption is from industrial manufacturing alone. The predictions from further data suggest that these numbers will continue to increase if efforts to become more sustainable aren’t put in place. According to the International Energy Agency (opens in new tab), around 2.8 trillion USD was estimated to be invested in energy for 2023 (final numbers are still pending).

But with numbers like these, how can a CMMS help?

“There are lots of ways a CMMS can reduce waste, in fact, maintenance should be a pillar for manufacturers to begin their sustainability efforts,” says Jason Afara, our Solutions Engineer Manager. He adds: “There are three core ways a CMMS can really help with sustainability efforts: one being optimizing resource allocation, second being reducing downtime for eco-efficiency, and the last but most important is waste management and minimization for assets.”

Jason presents an interesting solution for manufacturers to consider in meeting their sustainability goals. In fact, preventive maintenance cuts 20% of raw material usage (opens in new tab) for manufacturers and reduces overall energy costs. Let’s understand a little bit more about the examples Jason spoke to so we can clarify these stats further:

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1. Resource allocation optimization

Since a CMMS offers real-time insights into asset health and performance, it ensures that resources are being utilized optimally. This results in reducing unnecessary energy consumption.

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2. Downtime reduction for eco-efficiency

Predictive analytics and scheduling tools in a CMMS addresses issues before they escalate, ensuring continuous operation and reducing the need for resource-intensive emergency repairs.

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3. Waste management and minimization

By streamlining inventory management and optimizing spare parts usage, organizations employing a CMMS significantly minimize the waste associated with overstocking or underutilization.

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3. Utility reduction

This can be focused on less water, compressed air, energy, etc. If things are working as expected and not doing overtime work due to unplanned downtime, you can certainly cut potential overuse of your utilities.

These are just three examples of the way a CMMS can benefit sustainability efforts. Numerous organizations have embraced using a CMMS to achieve their goals; arguably, a good majority are in the manufacturing or energy sector. A notable example is Voltalia’s maintenance team, they are a renewable energy producer and service provider. They implemented Fiix CMMs to streamline their maintenance processes and the result was 2,000+ hours of travel time (plus associated emissions) saved with Fiix.

Key features of CMMS for sustainable maintenance

CMMS feature How it helps
Predictive maintenance By harnessing the power of data analytics and machine learning, a CMMS like Fiix predicts potential equipment failures before they occur. The proactive approach reduces unplanned downtime and prevents the need for resource-intensive emergency repairs, promoting efficiency and resource conservation.

Discover all of Fiix’s predictive features with Asset Risk Predictor (opens in new tab)

Asset management A CMMS allows organizations to track and manage their assets throughout their lifecycle. By optimizing asset performance and extending their lifespan through timely maintenance, organizations not only reduce the frequency of new equipment purchases but also decrease the environmental impact associated with manufacturing.
Energy tracking In the pursuit of eco-conscious operations, energy tracking within a CMMS becomes a powerful ally but likely requires integration with additional software. This feature enables organizations to monitor energy consumption patterns of equipment and facilities. Direct integration into the equipment can help teams gather meter readings. From there, teams are able to identify energy inefficiencies and implement targeted strategies to reduce energy consumption, leading to cost savings and a decreased environmental footprint.
Data analytics and reporting A CMMS empowers organizations with data analytics tools, allowing them to derive clear insights from their maintenance activities. With informed decision-making at your fingertips, you can focus on your sustainability efforts, identify areas for improvement, track progress towards sustainability goals, and make data-driven adjustments to maintenance strategies.
Scheduled maintenance module You can see what work you have planned, the frequency, and your available resources. With better scheduled maintenance you’re less likely to waste resources.
Parts and supplies module In order to reduce wasted resources and maintain sustainability efforts, a CMMS gives you visibility and a guide into what you should and should not buy in terms of parts and supplied. Additionally, it cuts shipping costs by ensuring that the parts room is organized by the minimum and maximum quantities on the shelf, since parts have a specified shelf life.

Discover a pain-free way to purchase, organize, and use inventory with Fiix (opens in new tab)

CMMS best practices for sustainability

Now that we have a clear picture of the benefits and features of a CMMS, here are some best practices to ensure a successful partnership between maintenance and sustainability:

  1. Develop a comprehensive strategy that aligns CMMS implementation with your sustainability goals. Sustainability needs to become part of your overall maintenance strategy. You need to clearly define your maintenance team’s objectives, identify key performance indictors (KPIs) related to sustainability, and establish a roadmap that ensures a phased and seamless integration.
  2. Tailor your CMMS to focus on key features for sustainability goals. Leverage features like predictive maintenance, asset management, condition-based maintenance, and energy tracking to align with your sustainability goals.
  3. Prioritize training programs for your users to understand CMMS features and emphasize the connection between their efforts and your sustainability goals. Successful implementation of a CMMS and sustainability hinges on your team’s proficiency and adaptability. That’s why it’s important to train your team.
  4. Establish a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of both CMMS performance and sustainability metrics. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your strategies, identify areas for improvement, and adapt your CMMS processes to evolve sustainability standards.
  5. Benchmark and share your success stories. Choose a small subset of assets to improve, then copy that strategy and use analytics to be able to tell your story. This boosts team morale and creates a positive feedback loop. Sharing success stories across departments also ensures that everyone can see the benefits from sustainable practices.

By adopting these best practices, organizations can not only optimize maintenance processes but also champion environmental responsibility, paving the way for a greener and more efficient future.

Discover even more best practices for sustainability: Learn how to become carbon neutral in five steps (opens in new tab)

Challenges and considerations

Although we’ve outlined some of the incredible benefits of integrating a CMMS with sustainability efforts, it’s important to consider some of challenges to this effort and how to overcome them.

“There can be a lot of constraints, especially when we consider resources or lack of expertise,” says Jason Afara.

“Sustainability needs to become a core part of a maintenance teams KPIs, it needs to be measurable, or else you fall into the potential of it failing.”

Below are a few of the most common challenges maintenance teams face when integrating a CMMS with their sustainability efforts.

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1. Unsure where to start

Challenge: A lot of teams aren’t sure where to begin their journey with sustainability.

Recommendation: Limit yourself to three assets, or one part of your facility. From here you can focus efforts on a phased approach, and you don’t need to worry if things aren’t perfect. Progress is better than perfection.

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2. Resistance to change

Challenge: Resistance from employees accustomed to traditional maintenance practices can impede CMMS and sustainability KPI adoption.

Recommendation: Prioritize change management strategies, including comprehensive training programs. Illustrate the benefits of CMMS in terms of efficiency gains and sustainability contributions to garner support.

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3. Resource constraints

Challenge: Limited budget and resources pose obstacles to the integration of CMMS and sustainability efforts, especially in smaller organizations.

Recommendation: Prioritize key sustainability initiatives within the CMMS integration plan. Explore phased implementations and consider leveraging government incentives or grants available for sustainability projects.

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4. Lack of expertise

Challenge: Insufficient expertise in sustainability practices or CMMS functionalities can impede effective integration.

Recommendation: Invest in training programs for both CMMS usage and sustainability principles. Consider hiring consultants or experts to guide the integration process, especially during the initial stages.

By acknowledging and proactively addressing these challenges, organizations can pave the way for a successful integration of CMMS and sustainability practices. Team alignment not only optimizes operational efficiency, but it also creates an understanding amongst the team of their environmental responsibility.

Maintenance teams leveraging a CMMS can pave the way for a more sustainable future

Manufacturers and maintenance teams have the power and ability to pave the way for a more sustainable future. “A CMMS really is a great tool for manufacturers to cut down their waste and build their sustainability goals,” says Jason. “Once maintenance teams set sustainability KPIs and make that a core part of their overall maintenance strategy, we’re going to see a lot of energy savings, and not only that, but a cost savings value as well.”

Discover how Fiix’s CMMS solutions can help you pave the way for your own sustainability efforts and sign up for our blog newsletter below to always be in the loop with the latest trends.

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