6 Ways CMMS Supports EHS and Energy Conservation

Bryan Christiansen

6 Ways CMMS Supports EHS and Energy Conservation

Clients, suppliers and investors critically scrutinize organizations on their safety and sustainability credentials, and companies can receive commercial penalties for poor performance.

While countless businesses understand that a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) reduces expenditures and increases maintenance and plant efficiency, many organizations fail to recognize that a modern CMMS, paired with an optimized maintenance program, enhances their safety and significantly reduces their carbon footprint.

Here are six ways businesses can use a CMMS to fulfill their Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and sustainability obligations.

#1: Reduce Material Waste

A CMMS system manages asset lifecycles and reduces material waste in two ways:

  1. It achieves an asset’s designed life through optimal maintenance and care.
  2. Less frequent replacements delay capital expenditure, avoid early resource consumption, and reduce the facility’s landfill waste contribution.
  3. It identifies when assets are nearing the end of their useful life by tracking their maintenance and repair history, allowing for replacement planning.
  4. The timely replacement of end-of-life assets can reduce energy consumption – newer assets are often more energy efficient than older equipment.

Further waste reduction occurs for organizations using their CMMS for predictive maintenance, causing a reduction in preventive maintenance tasks and increasing the time between maintenance interventions, saving consumables and other resources.

#2: Enhance Technician and Operator Safety

A CMMS helps an organization comply with EHS regulations by ensuring routine equipment inspections and maintenance and tracking safety incidents, near-misses, and hazards. The collected data helps facilities strategize on how to reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety training programs and culture.

At an operational level, using the CMMS to implement predictive and preventive maintenance reduces the risk of failures that jeopardize the health and safety of operators and bystanders.

Additionally, it optimizes maintenance tasks. This reduces maintenance intervention needs and results in less technician exposure to the elevated safety risks of shutdown, maintenance and startup tasks.

#3: Decrease Energy Consumption

A CMMS allows organizations to collect real-time data on their energy use. Analyzing this data identifies trends and improvement opportunities and informs strategic actions that reduce energy consumption.

Operationally, the frequency-based inspections of preventive maintenance or condition-based predictive maintenance prevent equipment from being operated when components are causing increased energy use.

Components that cause elevated energy use include:

  • Dirty Filters: These filters cause fans to work harder and equipment to operate inefficiently at elevated temperatures.
  • Blunt Cutting Tools: These tools cause quality issues and draw a higher current.
  • Poor Lubrication/ Worn Components: These create heat, increase friction, and require greater energy to function.

#4: Minimize Environmental Exceedance

Equipment defects can cause environmental exceedance due to:

  • Leaks
  • Spills
  • Heightened waste concentrations
  • Emissions above regulatory allowances

A proactive maintenance program, managed by a CMMS, reduces equipment malfunctions and failures and helps companies remain compliant with environmental regulations.

A CMMS can also track and manage hazardous materials and waste streams. By monitoring the use and disposal of these materials, a company can identify potential environmental risks and take corrective action before any exceedance occurs.

For example, a CMMS can track the quantity and location of hazardous materials, ensuring they are properly stored, labeled and disposed of according to applicable regulations.

#5: Reduce Paper Use

A CMMS helps to reduce a company's paper waste in four ways:

  1. Digital Work Orders:Creating, assigning and managing digital work orders significantly reduces paper consumption for work order processing and provides real-time visibility into work progress and completion.
  2. Online Forms and Checklists:Online forms and checklists replace paper-based versions. Electronically completing and submitting digital forms reduces physical paper and manual data entry needs, improves data accuracy, and streamlines data collection and reporting.
  3. Electronic Documentation:A CMMS can store and manage equipment manuals, standard operating procedures, and other documentation. Eliminating paper-based copies ensures that all documentation is up-to-date and easily accessible to authorized users.
  4. Mobile Accessibility:Mobile accessibility allows technicians to access and update work orders, forms and documents on mobile devices, reduces the need for paper-based forms, and allows for real-time updates and communication between technicians and other stakeholders. Additionally, it improves data accuracy and reduces the risk of lost or misplaced paperwork.

#6: Optimize Delivery Miles

An organization can use its CMMS to centralize inventory management by tracking inventory levels across multiple locations and alerting when supplies need replenishing. The need for frequent deliveries to each location is reduced, providing efficient delivery scheduling and routing.

Analyzing the data compiled by the CMMS from the maintenance and inventory departments offers opportunities to optimize the supply chain and reduce delivery miles. The resulting supplier consolidation, delivery reduction and delivery route optimization all contribute to reduced emissions.

Delivery Miles

The total number of miles traveled from where the order is picked up to where the order is delivered.
Source: Law Insider

Finally, using a CMMS provides effective preventive maintenance, which:

  • Reduces the risk of equipment malfunction.
  • Reduces the need for emergency supplies or replacement parts deliveries.
  • Increases the likelihood of effective delivery scheduling and routing.

Parting Thoughts

A CMMS helps businesses improve EHS and sustainability performance by:

  • Reducing resource use.
  • Optimizing maintenance operations.
  • Minimizing environmental impacts.

These actions lead to reduced costs and increased efficiency while contributing to environmental and social benefits, such as reduced waste generation, lower carbon emissions, and improved health and safety.

As businesses become more aware of the importance of sustainable practices, it's time to start looking at CMMS as more than just a solution to maintenance issues. By adopting a sustainable approach to maintenance operations and utilizing a CMMS to support those efforts, businesses can reap the benefits of improved sustainability performance and an enhanced bottom line.

Ultimately, a CMMS is an essential tool for businesses looking to create a more sustainable future for themselves and the planet.

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About the Author

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy-to-use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of m...