A small and medium-sized enterprise, commonly referred to as an SME, is an enterprise that has a relatively small size and level of operations compared to large companies. The exact definition of an SME may vary by country, but generally refers to companies with a limited number of employees and a low to moderate annual turnover.
SMEs are usually independent enterprises owned by individuals or small groups of people and have a significant impact on the local and national economy. In many countries, SMEs are the main sources of employment and make an important contribution to economic growth and innovation. Because of their size and structure, SMEs often have more flexibility and adaptability than large companies and can respond quickly to changes in market and consumer demands.
However, SMEs also face unique challenges, such as lack of financial and human resources, competition from large companies, and the complexity of complying with regulations and standards. Despite these challenges, many SMEs have achieved great success and have expanded to become larger and more profitable companies.
Industry 4.0 presents a number of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that can help improve their efficiency, productivity and profitability. Some of these opportunities are:
Automation: the automation of maintenance processes allows SMEs to reduce costs and increase efficiency. This is achieved through the use of a CMMS (Maintenance Management Software), which allows the planning and scheduling of maintenance work on equipment and assets for long periods, thus achieving order, control, organization of the area and extending the useful life of its machinery and equipment.
Internet of Things (IoT): IoT allows SMEs to collect real-time data on their assets, allowing them to make data-driven decisions, schedule predictive maintenance, thus maintaining the useful life of their equipment, giving them the care they deserve, being efficient and effective in the financial management of equipment acquisition. The images in this article were generated by artificial intelligence AI, an example of how digitization can optimize processes.
Data analytics and Big Data: collecting and analyzing large amounts of data using CMMS can help SMEs identify patterns and trends in asset behavior and functionality, enabling them to make informed decisions on how to improve the efficiency and quality of their products or the delivery of a service.
Augmented reality: Augmented reality can help SMEs improve the efficiency and quality of their maintenance processes by providing real-time information to workers on how to perform specific tasks.
Benefits of adopting a CMMS in an SME
Among the benefits that can be listed of adopting a CMMS in an SME are the following:
Increasing efficiency: a CMMS can help improve the efficiency of maintenance operations, which in turn can improve the productivity of the company, providing a better service than the competition or producing goods of better quality and price.
Driving down the costs: By enabling better planning and scheduling of maintenance tasks, a CMMS can help reduce maintenance costs and avoid unplanned outages, taking care of assets and equipment, avoiding customer complaints or non-conforming products.
Improved inventory management: A CMMS can help manage and control the inventory of parts and spares, which can reduce the cost of stocking and ensure that workers always have the necessary parts on hand.
Health and safety: A CMMS can help ensure that workers follow proper safety procedures when performing maintenance tasks, complying with local occupational health and safety regulations and standards such as OSHAS 18,000.
Information and work tracking: A CMMS provides an overview and tracking of maintenance work, including costs, tasks performed, parts used, tracking indicators, centralization of information, asset history, failure tracking, and much more..
Rate of investment:implementing a CMMS can have a significant cost, but the amount of maintenance management savings that comes with its adoption can represent 20 to 30 times the purchase of licenses.
Training: employees will need to be trained in the use of the CMMS, which may require time and resources, the SME will need to rely on a CMMS provider that has sufficient resources and support materials to train employees, in this way the technical staff of maintenance will be professionalized in their work, coupling with the latest technology.
Personalization: The CMMS here is the most highly customizable maintenance management software on the market that can be tailored to the specific needs of the company and expanded as the organization grows that is to say it is scalable with the business.
A CMMS can help a SME to drive down costs
The adoption of a CMMS in small companies becomes a powerful tool to manage maintenance, maintenance costs are variable and always tend to increase if there is no adequate and sufficient control and order, a CMMS contributes to the optimization of the maintenance strategy and when the area is aligned to meet the objectives and indicators, reductions in these variable costs are obtained:
Reducing preventive maintenance and repairing costs: By using a CMMS, a SME can improve the planning and scheduling of preventive and corrective maintenance tasks. This can help reduce maintenance and repair costs by avoiding unplanned interruptions in production and preventing failures from becoming major problems.
Increased useful life of assets: with a CMMS, an SME can track the maintenance and repair history of its assets. This can help identify problems and take preventative measures to avoid future failures, which can extend asset life and reduce replacement costs..
Inventory cost reduction: With a CMMS, a SME can keep track of parts and components used in maintenance and repair. This can help avoid unnecessary inventory buildup and reduce warehousing costs.
Labor cost reduction: A CMMS can help an SME optimize workload and labor resource utilization. By scheduling and planning maintenance tasks effectively, the need for overtime can be avoided and costs associated with hiring additional staff can be reduced.
Improved efficiency and productivity: By using a CMMS, a SME can improve the efficiency and productivity of its maintenance processes. This can enable the company to perform more maintenance tasks in less time, which can help reduce overall maintenance costs.
Manage contracts with customers in maintenance outsourcing: A CMMS will be able to provide the ability to manage MRO contracts, properly follow up on agreed maintenance dates, generate quality work reports, notify the customer online of the execution of tasks, feed the costs generated and generate profitability for the business.
How to implement a CMMS in your SME
It is recommended to follow the following steps for the implementation of a CMMS in an SME:
- Needs assessment: an assessment of the company’s needs in terms of maintenance and repair management should be carried out. Aspects such as the number of assets, the type of maintenance performed, the personnel involved, the nature of the clients, among others, can be considered.
- Software selection: once the needs have been evaluated, a CMMS software that adapts to the characteristics and size of the company should be sought. It is important to evaluate the functionalities, ease of use, integration with other systems, maintenance experience of the supplier, quality of the support staff, promptness of response, further development of the software, among the most important characteristics.
- Design of the implementation plan: an implementation plan should be designed that includes the objectives, together with the CMMS provider, the scope, the resources required, the deadlines and the responsible parties. It is important to establish a clear roadmap for the implementation and follow-up of the project, the monitoring of implementation and coverage indicators are important as well as staff satisfaction and the use of an incentive plan.
- Software configuration: the software functionalities must be configured according to the company’s processes. It is important that the software is adapted to the specific needs of the company.
- Staff training: Staff should be trained in the use of the software. It is important that the personnel involved in maintenance and repair understand how to use the software and the functionalities that have been configured, the supplier plays the most important role by fully understanding the needs of the company, understanding its processes and the qualifications of the technical staff.
- Pilot implementation: it can start with a pilot implementation in a part of the company, with the objective of performing tests and adjustments before the full implementation.
- Full implementation: once the necessary tests and adjustments have been made, the software can be fully implemented throughout the company.
- Monitoring and continuous improvement: the use of the software and the results obtained should be monitored. It is important to perform periodic analysis to identify opportunities for improvement and make adjustments to processes and maintenance management.
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