Food Engineering
TECH FLASH

CMMS simplifies maintenance management and regulatory reporting

August 28, 2012
Romark Logistics, Hazleton, PA
Aerial view of Romark's 522,000-sq.-ft. warehouse. Source: Romark Logistics.

With ever-increasing demands for accountability throughout the supply chain to ensure food safety—as well as the recordkeeping requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act and the potentially devastating impact of product loss—maintenance of a multi-million dollar refrigerated facility is of prime importance. To meet these demands at its Hazleton, PA warehouse, Romark Logistics, a third-party logistics provider, chose a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to improve maintenance operations, record recovery and retention, and simplify regulatory compliance.

Ryan Ziegler, director of facilities & sustainability management at Romark’s 522,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in northeastern Pennsylvania, and his staff of 10 are tasked with keeping temperatures and relative humidity steady in 40°F and 70°F rooms designed to store a large variety of food and confectionery products.

Romark Logistics ammonia compressors
Ammonia compressor room is monitored by Bigfoot CMMS software, which automatically schedules PM on a regular basis. Source: Romark Logistics.

Ziegler also is responsible for sustainability and capital projects, security, pest control and sanitation in addition to safety, product loss prevention, risk reduction, environmental protection and compliance with federal agencies. Ziegler manages multiple outside contractors who may enter the facility to work on hundreds of assets that run the refrigeration system, material handling equipment, HVACs, lighting, fire systems and the 64 loading docks.

Given the complexity of his responsibilities, Ziegler needed a CMMS to replace paper records, track repairs and/or plan preventative maintenance (PM) tasks. “We had stacks of paperwork orders and PM logs,” he recalls. “Before CMMS, if we handled a repair internally, we’d make the repair and rely on email to notify everyone when the system was back in service, but at no time, was this repair history being organized or connected to the asset.

“And if an outside contractor made the repair, the technician would leave a paper work-order receipt, and I would scan the receipt into the abyss,” says Ziegler. “All of our scanned documents were in a server somewhere. It was impossible to retrieve past repair information to tracks costs.” Based on the value of Romark’s assets, there was a driving need for uptime and record retention as well as better facility planning.

Romark chose Bigfoot CMMS, which according to Ziegler, yielded an ROI from the first auto-generated work order. A PM schedule provided by Bigfoot CMMS helps Ziegler’s team stay ahead of maintenance problems before they occur—unlike the old system of using a three-ring binder to keep track of PM tasks.

“There was no trigger to alert us when it was time to check on maintenance tasks that had to be done and when we needed to do them,” says Ziegler. “We’d have to go through the binder to see what we had to check, or we’d be busy and miss pending PMs. It was an inadequate system.”

Ziegler’s staff and outside contractors also use the new CMMS to instantly call up the total repair history on any asset in the facility. This readily available history saves time and money.

“Without Bigfoot, it could take us months to recover the paperwork on a particular asset. But now, we can pull up a report that tracks our PM activities and shows we’re on top of things and adhering to the requirements of every asset. We’re saving thousands of dollars a year by eliminating reactive maintenance and avoiding potential problems that could lead to devastating losses.”

Because the maintenance management program has proven so useful to his staff, Ziegler says his company plans to incorporate Bigfoot CMMS into the operations of Romark’s warehouses throughout the US—in locations from southern Florida to southern California. “My goal is to maintain and improve the value of all of our assets throughout the company,” says Ziegler. “We want to take great care of our assets, the same way we take great care of our long-term relationships with our customers.”

For more information, visit Bigfoot's website.