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Machines are unpredictable.
So much so that even world-class facilities find themselves operating in reactive maintenance mode about 20 percent of the time.
Unexpected equipment breakdowns snowball into production delays, unexpected costs, and backlog delays if not handled properly. The key to minimizing the fallout—besides engaging in preventive maintenance (PM) programs for critical assets—is fostering airtight communication systems.
Common Communication Setbacks
Many maintenance departments struggle to maintain foolproof communication between managers and technicians. Unfortunately, subpar communication leads to inefficient outcomes, even with access to modern equipment. As reported in MRO Magazine, poor communication may lead to several issues, including:
- Missed deadlines
- Prolonged downtimes
- Redundant task performance
- Low-priority work completed before high-priority work
- Delayed production due to missing spare parts
- Unresolved equipment issues because of poor documentation
This is why we developed our Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) app with team messaging capabilities from day one.
CMMS Mobile Messaging = Game-Changer
MaintainX provides the same functionality of traditional work order software—inventory management, asset management, work order scheduling, meter reading, cost/time tracking—plus real-time communication via mobile devices.
Our customers repeatedly say they are most surprised by the usefulness of MaintainX’s work order commenting, group messaging, and individual chat features.
“In the past, we relied on a combination of emails, voicemails, and text messages to communicate throughout the day,” Brent Tomamichel, fleet manager of Southeast Power says. “I was constantly checking different mechanisms to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Now I can quickly communicate with my guys via MaintainX and nothing falls through the cracks.”
In this article, we’ll walk through the step-by-step process of how to use MaintainX’s three CMMS messaging features. After transitioning to CMMS messaging, you will probably wonder how your team ever functioned without it!
NOTE: If you want to follow along, we’ll be using MaintainX’s desktop version. However, the steps are similar, plus or minus a few, for mobile setup.
How to Streamline Communication with MaintainX’s CMMS Messaging
There are three different ways to communicate using MaintainX: individual messaging, group messaging, and work order commenting.
1. Individual Messaging (1-on-1)
Individual, or 1-on-1, messages are best used to discuss relevant information between two team members. You might want to send a direct message (DM) to request a favor, communicate personal information, or discuss a topic of relevance with only one particular person. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Invite Team Members
If you haven’t already, invite your co-workers to join your organization:
- Select the Team/Users tab from page left.
- Click Invite in the top-right corner.
- Enter the person’s full name, mobile phone number, and account type.
- Click Send Invite
Step 2: Send Your Message
- Select Messaging from page-left. As soon as your new team member accepts their invite, MaintainX will automatically add them to the team chat thread.
- You can direct message a team member by selecting New Message from the top-right corner.
- Type the name of the team member you wish to message in the “To” field at the top of the page. The software will automatically pull up likely matches to choose from.
- Write your message in the bottom form field and press Send.
- You can also attach a photo to your message by clicking on the paperclip icon to the left of the form field. This feature is useful to clearly communicate equipment and parts problems.
- If you need to delete a message, simply hover over the message until the trashcan icon appears. Click the icon and select OK when prompted.
Congratulations—you have mastered individual messaging! Let’s take a quick look at group messaging, which is similar but can include more people.
2. Group Messaging
Group messages are great to quickly communicate company-widepolicy changes, important safety information, and relevant team topics.
MaintainX created two different types of multi-person communication threads: Group Chat and Team Chat. Every user designated to a specific team is automatically included within Team Chat. Conversely, app administrators can create additional Group Chats on the fly.
There are several reasons to create Group Chats. Say you’re a large manufacturing facility responsible for maintaining assets in multiple locations. You might create unique Group Chats for team members assigned to specific locations. Alternatively, you might form a group chat specifically for organizational directors to discuss confidential information.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to group chat topics. At MaintainX, we have specific group chats for different departments and a few fun chats, including a “funny/random room” for team members to share memes, interesting articles, and fun anecdotes. Essentially, it’s our remote water cooler!
How to Create a Group Chat
- Go to Messages.
- Click the +NEW button in the top-right corner.
- Type in and select the users you want to include.
- Send a message to your new group to finalize.
How to Create a Group Chat Photo
- Go to Messages.
- Select the Group Chat you would like to modify.
- Click on the three dots ::: in the top-right corner.
- Select See Conversation Information
- Select Change Name or Picture
- Select the picture you want and click Save.
Group Chat Best Practices
- Use First Names: When addressing a specific person in the group, type their name before your comment. Note: MaintainX will be releasing @mention notifications in the near future!
- Be Concise: If an announcement warrants more than two to three paragraphs, it may be better suited for email.
- Stay on Topic: Group chats work best when exclusively used to discuss relevant subject matters.
Finally, they say “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Upload screenshots of reports, equipment photos, and other images to quickly and clearly communicate with team members.
3. Work Order Commenting
Finally, let’s discuss our favorite feature—work order commenting. Have you ever had the experience of misplacing important work order information? Say you assign John, a PM to your technician. Include all of the asset information John needs to service the particular asset.
However, once John visits the site, he quickly discovers a secondary issue or underlying cause you didn’t know existed. Suddenly, John either has some time-sensitive questions and/or information to send your way.
This is where work order commenting comes in. Anytime team members need to communicate additional information regarding an assigned task, they can write a message directly within the digital work order. Translation: no more hunting down voicemails, text messages, or email threads for relayed information! They can also attach and annotate photos to further illustrate what is happening.
How to Comment on a Work Order
- Select Work Orders from the menu page-left to see a. A list of organizational work orders in varying stages of progress.
- Click on the work order you would like to open and then select Comments from the top-right corner.
- Type your message within the comment box and hit Send. You also can click the paperclip icon to attach a photo from your desktop. If you’re on a mobile device, you will be given the additional option to take a photo.
The best way to ensure maintenance instructions don’t fall through the cracks is to only communicate work order-related information within individual work orders. That means NO relaying asset details by email, voicemail, or text message.
Maintaining a centralized point of information for each project ensures that all team members involved know exactly where to find important communication. Additionally, if one technician takes over for another, he won’t have to hunt for the project information he needs.
Transitioning to this one system can pay huge dividends in terms of reduced miscommunications, delays, and stress!
Don’t Let Details Fall Through the Cracks
CMMS selection is a matter of personal preference, but some products are infinitely easier to use than others! We encourage you to prioritize overall usability, real-time chat, photo uploading, e-signature capability, asset imports, workflow, and user-friendly reporting when weighing your options.
When we say that anyone with a smartphone can download the app and get started now, we aren’t kidding. Find out why companies like Hilton, Quikrete, Marriott, and McDonald’s are streamlining operations with MaintainX. Platform instant messaging, work order creation, and asset creation is always free.
Click here to download the app for free on iOS, Android or desktop.