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Aprilaire Leverages Dude Solutions to Keep Manufacturing on Track

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CLIENT: Aprilaire – Barry Dean, Maintenance Manager

GEOGRAPHY: Madison, Wisconsin

CHALLENGES: Legacy system was outdated, expensive to update, and didn’t provide easy integration of work orders and preventive maintenance activities, or fast, easy access to information/reports.

RESULTS: Better visibility across maintenance operations. Ease of use and simple report generation. Significant time and labor savings.

Barry Dean, maintenance manager at Aprilaire, a Division of Research Products Corporation, is responsible for maintaining the manufacturing equipment that produces its broad range of quality indoor air products. “Every piece of equipment needs to be maintained properly, and the best place we’ve found to document what needs to be done on a regular basis is Dude Solutions’ [software],” he says. “Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly task, it is captured in the system. This program is invaluable in helping us track all our work.”

Lower Cost, Less Complexity

Aprilaire implemented MaintenanceEdge two years ago when it became apparent that their legacy maintenance software would be very costly to replace. The fact that the software streamlined the processing of work orders was an added benefit.

“The legacy software required submission of a work order request via an Excel spreadsheet,” explains Dean. “The lead had to fill out a document, email that document to me, and then I had to go into the system to create a work order based on the request. With Dude Solutions, anyone who is in a lead position can submit a work order to get done.”

For Dean, the seamless integration of planned maintenance with the work order system is significant. “If something is discovered to be wrong with the equipment at the time of preventive maintenance, after that PM is closed out, you can duplicate the report and convert it into a work order immediately,” he says. “That is a key advantage.”

He gives this example: Someone is doing a PM work order and finds that a number of grease Zerk fittings are missing. They can’t apply grease to the bearings, so the maintenance is completed otherwise and submitted to the system; but, it is also converted to a work order to give to a mechanic so that those fittings are replaced. The next time a PM is done on the machine, those parts will be fixed.

“Now it’s standard operating procedure,” says Dean. “This way, things get done and not forgotten. It is much more efficient.”

Key Factors 

Dean cites several factors that were important when making the selection of Dude Solutions for Aprilaire:

  • It was an online solution, something that Aprilaire required.
  • It allowed for multiple users across the Aprilaire enterprise.
  • It came with unlimited training. 

The unlimited training and multiple users were the two main factors,” notes Dean.

What’s more, he cites his own experience providing input at Dude University, Dude Solutions’ annual user conference, as another positive factor. “I was one of a number of manufacturing clients who had input into what tools would work for manufacturing,” he says. “That they sought input from the client side was impressive.”

Visibility, Speed and Exceptionally Responsive Service

Dean says perhaps the most dynamic capabilities he’s seen from the system are the visibility it provides across operations and the speed with which he can access information. “Since [the software] is web-based, I can get a lot of great information from the system anytime I want,” he says. “That’s powerful. If I want to find out about a piece of equipment or how many work orders an individual has completed — anything within the system — I can glean the reports rapidly at a glance. It takes no time at all to get reports or set them up. This saves me more time than with any other maintenance program I’ve ever used.”

According to Dean, Dude Solutions’ responsiveness to Aprilaire has matched the performance of its software. “Every step of the way, since looking at the product at the very beginning, they listened to our needs and explained how they could meet them.”

“Every person that I’ve ever dealt with at Dude Solutions has been very responsive and positive about making sure that our needs are met. That’s the thing that stands out the most. It doesn’t make any difference who or from which department; I’ve never had a bad experience with anyone from the company. I believe that reflects their leadership. They know that they’re providing a great service and want to make sure that it’s done right.”

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