Callan Marine

How a dredging company excavated their Excel-based maintenance program and skyrocketed reliability with Fiix

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Callan Marine is a Texas-based business that performs dredging projects that restore berthing depths for ship docks, navigation channels, or otherwise facilitate waterway transportation.


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Before Fiix: Struggling with Excel

At $3,000-$5,000 an hour, the cost of project downtime at Callan Marine is nothing short of devastating. So it’s no surprise that Justin McCormick can call up the figure in conversation without missing a beat. For the Equipment and Purchasing Manager, downtime is more than a headache. It’s directly tied to his job performance. “I was brought on five years ago to get us to a state where our equipment runtime would be longer and more cost-effective,” he told Fiix.

Though Callan Marine is now using Fiix to track maintenance and purchasing, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the dredging company. “When I first got here, they didn’t have any type of maintenance program,” says Justin. Coming from years of managing over 300 pieces of equipment in the United States Army with a CMMS, he came into his current role being well-versed in the benefits of maintenance software. “I preached it from the beginning, but initially, there was no budget for that.”

Instead, Justin used the resourcefulness he gained from his years in the army and did the best he could with Excel spreadsheets. “In order to maintain your equipment, you have to have data, so I used that to create maintenance checklists that the guys would send back to me. But it was a lot of legwork, because it was a whole lot of retyping.”

It was also far from a perfect solution for capturing useful data. “There was still human error. If you messed up on something, it would cause your whole chart to be completely wrong.”

Further, without a centralized solution, workflow suffered. “We had purchasing requests in an Excel spreadsheet, and people would scan them to emails or send them to me, and because of that, a lot of things got dropped and quickly became an emergency due to the fact that our processes and procedures were never put in place,” Justin recalls.

When I first got here, they didn’t have any type of maintenance program. I went with Excel spreadsheets. There was still human error… If you messed up on something, it would cause your whole chart to be completely wrong.

Justin McCormick, Equipment and Purchasing Manager

Callan Marine

Opportunity comes knocking

After suffering through the shortcomings of an Excel-based maintenance program for a year and a half, Justin was presented with the opportunity he had been waiting for. “We decided to buy another dredge, and I explained to [management] that we had way too much equipment now to maintain on Excel spreadsheets. It’s just not cost-effective.” He was instructed to go looking for a CMMS and present his findings back to management for consideration.

Justin knew, first and foremost, that his team needed a cloud-based solution. Being located in Galveston, Texas, the possibility of losing data was just too risky. “If a hurricane hits and wipes out my building, I’ve lost all my data,” says Justin.

After ruling out an on-premises CMMS, there were still many options to choose from—though they were far from equal. “I found a few options that had an up-front cost because they didn’t just want to give you the system and allow you to format it yourself. Then on top of that, there was also either a monthly or yearly fee.”

After narrowing his search down to five to seven vendors, Justin’s top pick was obvious. “[Fiix] gave me the ability to do what I wanted. It had hierarchy built into the system. It had a lot of reports, a lot of customization, and it was user-friendly. It was also something we could easily afford. It was, pay your amount of money per seat, and let’s make this happen.”

Once management gave the green light for Justin’s selection, he got to work setting up the CMMS he’d wanted all along. When it came to getting technology-averse employees to adopt the new software, Justin’s previous job experience once again served him well. “We used to have a game in the army called ‘One, two, three, I win,’ where you would cover up your rank, turn to someone lower-ranking and say, ‘Let’s see who wins.’ Obviously, when you lifted your hand, the higher ranking official won. So that’s pretty much how it went. I said, ‘You’re either going to use this system or you’re not going to work here.’ Otherwise people would have continued to write stuff down or not do what needed to be done.”

[In 90 days], I see a return of astronomical proportions just in terms of a reduction of project downtime.

Justin McCormick, Equipment and Purchasing Manager

Callan Marine

Moving forward with Fiix

It didn’t take long after adopting the system to start noticing improvements. “Once we got Fiix, we got an all-around system, meaning that it tracked our costs, it tracked our maintenance, and it was all wrapped up in a nice little bow in a work order. That just made things a lot easier,” notes Justin, adding that he especially likes the ease with which he could add parts and plan purchases. “We’re able to foresee problems now, instead of them just popping up all the time.”

More importantly, using Fiix has allowed Justin to begin transforming Callan Marine’s maintenance strategy. Though in his words, the company is “still moving towards being preventive rather than reactive,” Justin has been working with the Professional Services team at Fiix to build a plan that will have them using the mobile app and tracking KPIs more accurately over the next three months. “[In 90 days], I see a return of astronomical proportions just in terms of a reduction of project downtime,” says Justin. Fiix will check back in with Justin in the future to find out which further improvements have been made. For now, Justin is keeping his gaze on the horizon. “The fact is,” he concludes, “My feet are always moving forward. If you’re not ready for change, you’re gonna get left behind.”

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