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FasTrak SoftWorks

Designing next-gen Computerized Maintenance Management cloud Software (CMMS)
OVERVIEW

FasTrak SoftWorks is a diversified supplier of industrial automation and computerized maintenance management software (CMMS). Using the first-gen 'FTMaintenance Classic' software, over 20,000 customers worldwide have relied on them to help solve their unique business challenges, allowing them to better serve their markets and communities. For over 30 years, they have empowered industrial plants to go to production faster and to avoid costly downtime.

When I joined the organization, I was tasked with designing the next generation of 'FTMaintenance Classic', called 'FTMaintenance Select' from the ground up. It was to gain new customers and give existing ones an upgrade to a multi-platform over the cloud software, specifically designed to meet the maintenance management needs of today's industrial organizations and facilities.

This was my first full-time assignment as a User Experience Designer. As the only UX Designer in the organization, I had immense responsibility in the role of ensuring the usability of software on all mediums at all times. Hence, the hands-on experience and the knowledge gained in the process were phenomenal.

Duration

July 2019 to Present

Tools

Balsamiq Wireframes, UXPin, Adobe Photoshop

Skills

User Research, Data Analysis, Low and High Fidelity Prototyping, Usability Testing

Role

UX Design, Interaction Design, UX Research

OBJECTIVE

Design a full suite of all-in-one CMMS multi-platform software that provides a full range of features for documenting, managing and tracking maintenance activities. To gain maximum customers, the software had to cover as many industries as possible where a CMMS can be utilized viz.:

  • Manufacturing

  • Facilities

  • Construction

  • Education

  • Fleets

  • Government

  • Healthcare

  • Hospitality

  • Food & beverage

  • Oil & gas

  • Mining & natural resource

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Power & energy

  • Property management

  • Public works

  • Wastewater

 

To ensure that it would be usable by a wide variety of users ranging from maintenance technicians on/off-field up to maintenance managers and executives on their desks, including clients and customers as well as inventory clerks.

Wide user base ranging from Maintenance Technicians to Managers and Executives

 


ROLE
As the sole UX Designer of the organization, I was responsible to design every user-facing page for all platforms of the software. To ensure adequate research on all industries and their variety of users to identify the pain points that exist in the process of maintenance management. Brainstorm for viable solutions in the form of low fidelity prototypes that can be tested internally with subject matter experts and with a small base of users who are our customers. And creating a high-fidelity prototype based on the feedback received during testing which would be handed off to various development teams in the organization.

Fastrak Process

Design process

USER RESEARCH

Primary user personas were created and domain research was conducted using publicly available databases like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net OnLine. Crucial information like the most important tasks performed by maintenance technicians, their work environment details, the kind of tools used and their technical and educational qualifications. All of that data is then used to create a customer profile canvas for each type of distinct user i.e. maintenance technicians, maintenance managers and executives.

Customer Profile

Value Proposition Canvas

 

The value proposition canvas is then filled up to identify the gain creators, pain relievers and products & services. This helped to understand the customer and what their requirements are. As for the competitive analysis, similar CMMS offerings were studied and mapped using SWOT analysis. This answers the 'why' of the design.

REQUIREMENT ANALYSIS

Domain requirements are defined by the means of requirement documents like Entity and Attribute definitions, Domain models, and State Transitions that define the scope and provide a blueprint of the software for designers and developers. Using them, user stories and goals are listed that help in narrowing down to answer the 'what' of the design.

Before starting with the designs, since a front end relies on Syncfusion UI controls, research is performed on which controls would best suit the needs of the interaction flow constraints. Interaction flow constraints list down the exact UX limitations that are put on the designs to ensure the end results are precisely based on the requirements of the users. Based on the user goals, interaction flows are listed along with their design constraints that define the 'how' of the design. An example of a constraint can be 'do not allow the Work Order number to exceed 10 digits'. Dependency graphs are plotted using the interaction flows to understand the priority of pages, answering the 'when' of the design.

LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

Once we have the order of pages to be designed from the dependency graphs, low-fidelity designs are prepared on Balsamiq Wireframes. The designs are self-break-tested to ensure that it is scalable, if it is usable with one hand in the case of mobile pages and the time consumed by the user is minimal for the task at hand. Feedback received from the quantitative usability tests and internal subject matter expert feedback is used to confirm if the designs are usable for our target users and if the designs are viable for the industries we are targeting for. ​

HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

High-fidelity mockups are produced with feedback from prior steps in the process which are handed off for development to the front-end developers. Before the hand-off, the self-break-test is performed again to ensure the changes made are still not affecting the basic usability of the design.

Note: Design deliverables of this project cannot be displayed as the product is not yet completely released in the market which refrains me from disclosing any such material in public. Although, the below content gives a glimpse of the outcome of the design process described on this page. Please note that the screenshots are of actual implementation that is live for the customers obtained from the company's marketing web pages.

FTMAINTENANCE SELECT (A.K.A. FTMAINTENANCE NEXT-GEN)

SALIENT FEATURES

  • FTMaintenance Select CMMS provides a full range of features for documenting, managing and tracking maintenance activities from a simple, all-in-one platform.

  • Can be used on any web browser on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones

  • Due to the software being in the cloud, users can work across devices with an adaptive interface that changes to fit any screen size

The CMMS software FTMaintenance Select was designed for the following platforms:

  • A full-fledged web app platform for desktops and tablets with modules for -

    • Work Order management with global scheduling 

    • Service Request management

    • Asset management with meter reading and downtime recording

    • Inventory management

    • Labor management

    • Purchasing management with receiving records and vendor invoices

    • Invoicing management with payment receipts and credit memos

    • Location management

    • User management with user and user group level permissions

    • Notifications for all modules via email and text

    • Barcode and QR code scanning for all modules 

  • Generating reports for all the modules in PDF and XLSX (Excel)

  • A simplified mobile-optimized version of the web app for Asset management

  • Simplified iOS app for Work Order and Asset management

  • Simplified Android app for Work Order and Asset management

WORK ORDER MANAGEMENT

  • Ability to create fully detailed work orders, including attachments

  • Can generate multi-asset work orders

  • Supplements work order details with pictures taken from mobile device cameras

  • Ability to track multiple types of maintenance activities including corrective and preventive maintenance

  • Creating preventive work order schedules with multiple scheduling options

  • Lets customers plan ahead on a flexible maintenance calendar with multiple schedule views

  • Can easily distribute work orders via automatic emailing and printing

  • Set-and-forget preventive maintenance work orders using auto-activation functionality

  • Improve data entry by customizing required fields

  • Can create and receive work orders from mobile devices

  • Saves time by updating and closing work orders as repairs are completed

  • Managers can schedule Preventive Maintenances based on the calendar date, run time, or when maintenance was last performed

  • Can create a master list of tasks that can be reused on every Work Order

  • Maintains consistency by providing technicians with step-by-step instructions

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An implementation screenshot of Work Order creation page, frequently used by Maintenance Managers

An implementation screenshot of Active Work Order list page on the web and mobile web, frequently used by Maintenance Managers and Technicians

 

 

WORK ORDER MOBILE

  • Labor Resources can view all assigned work orders on mobile devices

  • Maintenance technicians can enter work order details in real-time as work is completed using native keyboards, talk-to-text, and images

  • Available on iOS as well as Android to ensure maximum device compatibility, but can also be accessed from mobile web browsers

  • Eliminates time wasted running between the plant floor and offices, computers, and printers

  • Instantly access work order history for better troubleshooting

  • Managers can hold technicians accountable for their time spent in the field

App Store screenshots of various mobile app screens on iOS, frequently used by Maintenance Managers and Technicians

Play Store screenshots of various mobile app screens on Android, frequently used by Maintenance Managers and Technicians

 

ASSET MANAGEMENT

  • Users can manage multiple asset types including equipment, parts, and facility assets

  • Ability to create relationships between assets

  • Stores information about asset manufacturers and vendors

  • Ability to organize and track assets in single or multiple locations

  • Provides additional details through attached documents or images

  • Viewing service history to aid in troubleshooting

  • Customers can create Asset Tree to form parent-child relationships for equipment and related components

  • Can pinpoint exactly which subcomponents consume the most maintenance resources

  • Calculates maintenance costs to justify equipment repair or replacement

  • Identifies recurring failures and tracks maintenance history to predict future breakdowns

An implementation screenshot of Asset home page, frequently used by Maintenance Technicians and Managers

INVENTORY MANAGEMENT

  • Controls MRO inventory across single or multiple locations

  • Users can easily access vendor and supplier information

  • Inventory clerks can instantly identify a part’s stockroom location, quantity, cost, and more

  • Managers can know where parts are used and what jobs they’re assigned to

  • Automatically updates inventory counts and costs

  • Gives alerts when parts need to be reordered and auto-generates a reorder list

  • Improves productivity using barcode scanning

SERVICE REQUEST MANAGEMENT

  • Clients of customers can create, view, and manage requests for maintenance assistance from any device form factor

  • Gives everyone (including non-users) the ability to submit maintenance requests using a customizable online form

  • Can attach images and other files to requests to provide additional details

  • View all open requests and their related work orders from one place

  • Automatically approve maintenance requests or place them in a queue for approval

  • Provides requesters with visibility of their maintenance request status

  • Automatically notifies requesters of status changes via emails or texts

  • Sends automatic email or text notifications when work orders are complete

An implementation screenshot of new Service Request page on web and mobile web, frequently used by Customers

 

 

REPORTING

  • Generates over 20 reports to monitor Work Orders, Assets and Inventory health as well as Purchase Orders and Invoices​

  • Stakeholders can stay in the loop about Work Orders that require their attention

  • Ability to monitor maintenance teams' improvement through performance tracking

An implementation screenshot of PDF Reports pages, frequently used by Executives

An implementation screenshot of PDF Reports pages, frequently used by Executives

REFLECTIONS

Overall it was an enriching experience for me as it was a very intense project in terms of the breadth in verticals of industries and users FTMainteance Select is designed for. It not only gave me a chance to hone my skills in the various prototyping techniques like Balsamiq Mockups and then Balsamiq Wireframes, UXPin and Photoshop but also gave me exposure to how to design for a software product that is aimed for such a wide demographic. From highly educated executives using FTMaintenance from their office chairs to ones with basic certificated technicians using FTMaintenance on the field with work gloves on under harsh conditions. The research involved was tremendous at each step which helped in gaining insights into the target industries and the subtle differences in each industry's verbiage and methodologies.

 

The experience gained in being the only UX Designer responsible for a new product like FTMaintenance Select as my first full-time assignment was more than what one could have asked for. I learned how the handoffs could be improved to help convey my design to the developers at points where I was confident that the mockups were very descriptive. Testing the designs with an internal SME and customers helped me realize the shortcomings in user research as well as my requirement analysis and iterate the process. Being a part of a distinguished Enterprise Architecture team, I learned a great deal about design processes and requirement analysis. I learned:

  • How and why to identify the core purpose of a design

  • How to self-break-test my designs

  • Why not jump to conclusions and start designing

  • Why prioritize the aesthetics of experience over the aesthetics of interfaces