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Ruth Hughes, Founder & CEO, joins 'Industrial Talk' Podcast

Ruth Hughes, CMRP, CDG Founder & CEO

Industrial Talk Podcsat - Ruth Hughes

Ruth Hughes, Founder & CEO of CMMS Data Group, joins the Scott MacKenzie, host of the Industrial Talk podcast at the 30th anniversary of the SMRP Conference.


Narrator - Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get

Scott MacKenzie - Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk the number one industrial related podcast that celebrates industry professionals all around the world because you are bold, brave, you dare greatly. you innovate, you collaborate, you solve problems. why not celebrate you on this particular podcast? Because you deserve an appointment at you in the camera right there. Boom, you alright. And we're also broadcasting from the 30th annual SMRP conference. It was a great event, as I said was, we're relegated to another room and we're doing a podcast, because we can't it's a podcast. And because the story needs to be told, we're talking to Ruth Hughes, the company is CMMS Data Group or the URL is Let's get cracking. We'll see how we pulled that together.?

Ruth Hughes - That's awesome.

Scott MacKenzie - Yeah, it is awesome. Did you have a good conference?

Ruth Hughes - It was excellent.

Scott MacKenzie - So you you also what was interesting about it is that he's sort of got late notice. Right? And then you just said, Let's do it.

Ruth Hughes - Absolutely.

Scott MacKenzie - Why? Why was that important? 

Ruth Hughes - We were here last year, and we made great connections and learned a lot and had Don Nyman in our booth. So we hit the hole. A lot of people are trailing him.

Scott MacKenzie - Yeah, he's like the Boston Dynamic Robot. You know, everybody has sort of watches that robot rock around where there were a couple there out there. This time around. For the listeners, let'sget up. So a little background on Ruth and where you come from and why you're such an incredible professional.

Ruth Hughes - Well, I grew up in Wheeling, and went to wheeling high school and went to Illinois Institute of Technology. There I received my degree in manufacturing and operations management, a minor in accounting, and then went in two different manufacturing positions, entered the software world and worked for data stream for two years, they purchased a product called R five. And they merge that with MP2 and called MP five.

Scott MacKenzie - Why wouldn't you call it MP five, it had already a five to it.

Ruth Hughes - So then it eventually turned into seven eyes. But they expected everybody just to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to transfer MP two to seven I and most manufacturing companies can't swallow that upfront that quickly was such short notice. So they laid off a lot of people. And I happened to be one of the last waves of layoffs. Then I every time I left a plant as an MP to data stream consultant, every plant would ask me can I come back and work for them on the weekends. Even though I wanted to I couldn't because my life was on a Saturday, I left for work on Sunday night because we had to be at the plant at seven in the morning, and would come back Friday night. And sometimes the flights were delayed. So I got back really late Friday night. So my only free day was Saturday. And then they also asked me how do I get the data into this system? And they asked me what is everybody else doing? So when everybody the world keeps asking you the same thing over and over and over again, it's a great time to start a company.

Scott MacKenzie - So the CMMS Data Group or a CDG, what is it?

Ruth Hughes - It is a team of dedicated, intelligent, enthusiastic, intelligent. There we have, we have a very, very, very smart team. We do a lot with our software, we use Salesforce and Salesforce told us that we use more of the program than anybody else for being not as big as everybody else. And so what we do is our focus is helping maintenance men and women make their lives easier, because a lot of times they're given well, all maintenance departments are given so little and expected to do so much. And every time I left a plant, my heart was broken because I wanted to help them and I couldn't. So eventually one time. At one of the plans I saw a barcode solution in action. It was with a laser light pro 32characters 16 on top 16 in the bottom, and I saw it and I said There it is, I'm starting my company, this can help make an impact on the world of maintenance and reliability. So I'm on a $600 credit card check. I started CDG. And now I have 75 employees.

Scott MacKenzie - Shut the front door. Now, again, here's, here's the deal. Take us through a process, I'm a business. You approach me? What problem? are you solving for me?

Ruth Hughes - Data, I'm giving you good data, accurate data to make excellent decisions, you scrubbing the data? No, I'm giving you upfront good data in the beginning with a barcode solution. When the guys and gals are out there on the floor doing work orders, no one can remember their start and end times. So normally, on manual work orders, you'll see 30 minutes, 30 minutes, 30 minutes, and no one ever finishes.

Scott MacKenzie - There's a lot of pencil whipping going on there. Yeah, absolutely. I agree.

Ruth Hughes - So the our barcode solution eliminates the pencil whipping, you get good data, you get accurate start and end times you get comments. And we've developed the barcode solution anytime you complete a step that automatically time and date stamps each step. So you have actual time actual steps completed, you can have the end user sign off on the work that you did. And it's customizable from top to bottom of how open or closed you want the system to be.

Scott MacKenzie - So I have a work order work order has been generated by my system. And then it's on this particular asset. Let's say it's a pump. Because I can say it's a pump. I've been using fans the whole time here and I'm tired of using pencil. And and so I create that and are you saying I got to go effect? I got it, I got effect repairs on it, whatever it is, it's important. Are you saying that I've got the way of scanning, take us through that just that process of I've got a work order, walk us through.

Ruth Hughes - Okay, so we eliminate paper, because...

Scott MacKenzie - It's done out the door,

Ruth Hughes - You're on the handheld. So anytime a work orders assigned to you, it automatically downloads to your got handheld. And then when you log on, all your work orders are there, and it's ordered by scheduled start date. And then you have your work orders there. So you don't have to go back and forth to the shop and waste all that time just walking back and forth. And then you go to the equipment. And

Scott MacKenzie - In this case, the pump.

Ruth Hughes - The pump. So you don't even have to scan the pump because the pump is already on the work order you just hit start automatically starts the timer and you do your work, it prompts you for parts, you check out all the parts. And if you need a part, it actually tells you the location of the part. So you don't have to go back. So

Scott MacKenzie - So you have a store room is connected to whatever kidded or whatever bill of material or whatever the bomb and whatever it is. Okay, continue. So I'm still there, got every thing in my hand, go ahead.

Ruth Hughes - So you apply. And the parts complete. I don't ever say fix it, we prevent the failure. We repair it. And then the we have downtime codes. So all the downtime codes pop up by asset type. And then you can list the downtime codes, and then comments. And the beautiful thing now with today's scanners, not the Laser Light Probes but the scanners now have the microphone so the technicians just tuck specify via the microphone what they did, so then they have the comments. So then you can say,

Scott MacKenzie - Oh, I don't have to write it. I can just sort of speak it. I installed this burying and I put this in so whatever it might be, so I Okay, so it records that. How do you How does your system let's just say I'm a human being I walk out to that pump. I got my work order. It's all right here. It's in my handheld. It's all wonderful. And I just start working. And but I don't click it start the clock. How do you how do you sort of mitigate that? yelling at them?

Ruth Hughes - No, you can't look at the work order unless you open it. When you open it. It starts the timer. Ah,

Scott MacKenzie - There you go. Don't be me. That's the right solution. Yeah. So what does that do? What benefits does that bring to companies.

Ruth Hughes - So technicians are allowed to be technicians and that data entry clerks. They can do their work. I mean, the systems that I saw today I just My heart is breaking again today and today is 2022 and I set a system today that is so labor intensive and software should work for you not against you. So our software works to increase productivity, efficiency and data not to eliminate jobs but to secure your job to make better decisions about the equipment and be more reliable the more reliable your plant is the more profitable it is.

Scott MacKenzie - So your system also in correct me if I'm wrong if I have an existing enterprise asset measurement system, right? Can you plug it plug yours in? Because it sounds like a mobile solution.

Ruth Hughes - I initially started the company to do that. But then when it was so successful with updating the current MP2 system that I was updating the whole, our whole customer base asked me, When are you going to write your own CMMS software. And I was like, never. I assumed everybody already had CMMS software. And I already knew there was too much competition out there. But being in the industry, and then seeing the competition, how much they were charging the customer and how much you were worried how little they were returning, and how much they were giving in return. It was just so it was just a no brainer for me to bite the bullet and write my own CMMS software. And we wrote the requirements in 2006,released it in 2008. And for the past, little while, yeah, a lot of thought went into it. A lot of, you know, blood, sweat, and tears went into it as well. And for the last five years, we were the product of the Year Award, named by a product engineering magazine.

Scott MacKenzie - Why do you think that's the case?

Ruth Hughes - Our software is easy to use. The differentiator is where there were our average response time on chat is less than love and 11 seconds. You don't have to call it overseas, or we're there to support you. Every time we have a user event, a customer event, everyone says they feel like family, because that's how I care about everybody to make sure they're successful. The software is working for them. And they're making improvements at their plants. And again, what why we do all this is once you have a country has a strong manufacturing sector, they have quality of life for its citizens, the more jobs there are for its citizens. And that's what my goal is only for not only for the US, but for the world.

Scott MacKenzie - Yeah. You just sort of gloss over sort of caught my attention. But the one thing that you mentioned, so I can call you and it's 11 second response, like call physically call on a chat. So somebody's there, boom, hey, I got this. Yeah, okay. So this, but okay.

Ruth Hughes - 11 seconds.

Scott MacKenzie - I like that. Well, why would you like that? I mean, I've been on chats where it wasn't as fast as 11 seconds, maybe a little longer, like a lot longer. So what are what are the barriers? What what are you challenged with? So I get it, man, it's, it's simple. Deploy, it collects that data in a very effective way makes the technician do technician stuff, makes them efficient. And it pulls all that together? What's the pushback

Ruth Hughes - For purchasing our software? So the problem is, we have a big, the challenges, we have a big development team. And our marketing team is not as big as our competitors. So if it was software against software, we would win hands down. But we are in the process of changing that increasing our marketing grip on the world and getting our name out there more.

Scott MacKenzie - Good. And and because it's just it has less to do with limitations with the platform, and more to do with just hey, get some attention out there because I need that attention. Because once because, for me, been down that road used programs for us systems. And one of the things that if if it's difficult in any way shape, the adoption stinks. The data begins to degrade Well, the next day. Right? It just and I think that that's that's imperative. Where do you see sort of that future? Where what, what's your dream? What does that look like without divulging any any issues? I mean, I just where do you see it going?

Ruth Hughes - Well, the I used to work at Hotel intercontinental and I was implementing MP to their for the hotel. And they hired Landis and Stata. And they wanted to integrate the two have PLC integration. And they couldn't do it. They didn't figure it out. So then, when I started CMMS Data Group, someone from data stream called me asked for help with that. For some, you know, technical work, and then we ended up integrating NP two via our own PLCs that we had, and that was probably in 2001 or 2002. I was so excited because we did it. This was like one of the big hurdles in the beginning. Yeah, I can imagine. And so then one of my I call my maintenance gurus, these people that I've trained in the past but they're still amazing. They're so knowledgeable and they're just know everything. His name is Bob Smith, and he was at basic American foods. And he was so excited to implement at their plant. And so we had a conference call and talking about PLC integration. I showed them the demo. The whole team loved it. But then the IT person says, Why does maintenance need this? And I was like, what? You know, right? And so then there's always education, and it's like, maintenance needs that more than well. Anyways. So then, being at this conference, I'm seeing every booth has PLC integration. Everyone has the sensors. So where do I see it going? Is that the barrier still is education. Because even if you have these data points coming in, what are you going to do with the data? And so the beautiful thing about my company is that we've created software CMMS, software, work order management software, it's easy to use gives you precise data. The challenge was for me, how do I leverage that data to make a plant world class in steps Bill Mountjoy, VP of reliability engineering, and he actually wrote this book, I don't know if you can see it.

Scott MacKenzie - It actually looks like a university book. It's got the glossy covers and everything in it probably big works, too.

Ruth Hughes - So they'll Mountjoy worked under Dan Nyman and Dan Nyman is the founding maintenance and reliability excellence thought leader, and he checked, he trained a lot of the big hitters out there right now. Yeah. So last year at SMRP Don Nyman was at our booth. And we were promoting the book. But the reason I'm telling you this is that we have a reliability engineering group that takes the precise data that our software delivers and allows plants to become world class. And we have something called Mesa maintenance excellence status assessment, where that's the problem that no one knows how to become world class. And we tell you how to do it. And this is because we have this amazing, intelligent group, the reliability engineering group, led by Belmont j.

Scott MacKenzie - So it's just gonna get bigger, you're gonna start pulling in more data, you're gonna take this IoT, this industry for dot.0, this digital transformation, journey juggernaut that exists out there and then became, too, because it's all the gold is in ,you got the it's rough, but then you got to mined for the gold out there. And you got to figure that out, you got to figure out how that analytic work and be able to demonstrate and then push out the tactical steps associated with it. Hey, it looks like it's degrading, whatever it is, you know, and to be able todo that and then be able to have those devices notify those technicians and the technicians then effect and and have the equipment, everything. So it everything's living wonderfully. Is that Is that what I hear? That's not what I see.

Ruth Hughes - I saw want to know, I want everyone to answer the question. What are we doing here first, before we do all the AI stuff, I want to get down to the basics.

Scott MacKenzie - First, you have to...yeah, need to know how to pack a berry. Yes, you still need to know how to align up a motor.

Ruth Hughes - So what I'd like to see first is the training videos. I'm Bill Munch, I wants to do the Google glasses to have the training videos right here. I want to train and educate first before we keep going all these peripherals.

Scott MacKenzie - Yeah, I like it a lot. Because that is true. I'm always I'm always preaching education in this in this method, educate, collaborate, because you don't have all collaborate. And then you innovate. That's just how you have to do it. And it's always been that case, educate, collaborate, innovate,

Ruth Hughes - As a team.

Ruth Hughes - Well, heck yeah.

Scott MacKenzie - That's what collaboration is all about. You can't do it in a vacuum. All right. You had me at hello? How did people get a hold of you there?

Ruth Hughes - You can email me at or email the company at And we'll get back to as soon as we can.

Scott MacKenzie - What's the deal between What's looking at your business card listeners?

Ruth Hughes - That's an old business card so...

Scott MacKenzie - Strike that don't even listen to me anymore.

Ruth Hughes - So MVP Plant and then we have an add on for OEE overall equipment effectiveness. So yeah, it's now are all under its CDG.

Scott MacKenzie - Make that simple. It's CVG. All of the contact information will be out there for route so if you're not you will be able to connect with her with no problem here. So go after Industrial Talk. It will all be there. Thank you once again for joining the Industrial Talk. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Thank you very much for joining. We will be right back.

Narrator - You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.

Scott MacKenzie - Once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk and a hearty thank you to Ruth Hughes, founder and CEO of CMMS Data Group, you need to manage your assets, you need the ability to be able to see the health of those assets in every proactive way. And I think that what we have here at CMMS Data Group is an absolutely wonderful solution. You need trusted Sherpas in your management of your assets, your maintenance, your whatever it might be to keep your business up and running. Check out Ruth, check out team CMMS Data Group all out on Industrial Talk, it is a must connect, I'm telling you a must connect. Alright. Also out on Industrial Talk, we have a revenue growth series it is a series that is in five parts one, it is an overview to its corporate strategy or corporate governance. Three, it is about your marketing, what are key elements to your marketing sales, as well as the technology associated with those sales enablement solutions. Just homepage, free just on demand, don't even worry about it. begin that process of continuously learning and growing we need you to succeed that's why it's important for you to connect with Ruth us and team CMMS Data Group. Also just an FYI, it's don't go to CMMS Data Group. I think it might pop up but anyway All right. Be bold, be brave, dare greatly hang out with people like Ruth and team CMMS Data Group and you're going to change the world. We're gonna have another great conversation coming from SMRP shortly so stay tuned.

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