CMMS software and mobile technology have proved to be a powerful duo when it comes to maintenance management. There are a few types of mobile device which could be used by field workers, each with benefits and failings.
A laptop for example has its own operating system and so a fully functional computerised maintenance management system software program could be run on it, however due to it’s large size compared to other mobile devices, it could be impractical for field workers to carry around. The three most popular mobile devices: PDAs (personal digital assistants), smartphones and tablets are discussed below.
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
PDAs are perhaps the most commonly used device. They have their own operating system which means that the full functionality of the CMMS software can be put to use. They are rugged devices which means they can withstand the wear and tear of industrial use. In addition to these benefits, most PDAs have a camera which will allow images to be captured and then manipulated on the device. You can also record audio notes, use GPS functionality to locate assets and inventory and use in-built barcode scanners to identify particular assets and bring up the specific maintenance history.
While PDAs are purpose-built for field work and use with a computerized maintenance management system, they usually come with a significant price tag. This technology is improving and prices are becoming more affordable but particularly for smaller firms, the price of PDAs may be too high. There are thankfully two alternate, more affordable options.
Smartphones and Tablet Computers
Smartphones such as the iPhone and tablet computers such as the iPad are now becoming common tools in the workplace and your firm’s workers could have already received either of these mobile devices as a company issued device. Unlike with a PDA, these devices rely on web portal functionality. Field workers require an internet signal at all times to login into the web portal and enter the required information. The costs of accessing the internet could add up and so firms that require regular field work may find PDAs to be more cost effective.
These devices are more portable than a laptop but not as rugged as a PDA. They may not be able to mirror the PDAs camera, voice recording, GPS, barcode scanning and signature capture functionality. These alternative devices would suit smaller firms with fewer field workers who already have either of these devices.