December 3, 2020

What is a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)?

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Maintenance operations can be a daunting and overwhelming task. From tracking workflows and practicing preventative maintenance to overseeing a company’s maintenance schedules, systems and processes involve various moving parts that can be challenging to follow—even for large enterprises. Studies have shown that organizations spend approximately 80 percent of their time reacting to maintenance issues rather than proactively preventing them, creating unavoidable maintenance costs. Statistics like these have led to the adoption of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS).

If you’re looking for a CMMS solution specific to your needs, use our Product Selection Tool. You’ll get a list of software tailored to what you need from our unbiased Technology Advisors.

What is CMMS?

A computerized maintenance management system is a software tool that centralizes and streamlines maintenance data while also facilitating maintenance operation processes.

In a world where exceptional customer experiences depend on excellent logistics, inventory management, and supply chain systems, CMMS software system features have become essential for companies.

A CMMS allows companies and maintenance teams to:

  • Track employee and equipment certifications
  • Store important asset information like manufacturer model, cost, location, related documentation like manuals and warranties, and IoT capabilities
  • Manage work orders
  • Manage inventory
  • Promote preventative maintenance and predictive maintenance, reducing reactive maintenance
  • Give their maintenance technicians the ability to access and update work orders
  • Analyze assets and create performance reports

A CMMS software system is a one-stop-shop for handling all the processes associated with managing a company’s operational systems while also allowing users to conduct daily maintenance work and tasks.

These tools are typically used by companies in industries where physical infrastructure and machinery plays a massive role in how the business is run. The need for work order management, facility maintenance, and other maintenance-involved capabilities is vital to the business, and it’s a large part of what computerized maintenance management software does. 

Computerized maintenance management system vs. enterprise asset management system

Computerized maintenance management systems and enterprise asset management systems are both asset management and maintenance software tools, but they have their differences. While a CMMS system focuses on maintenance, EAM software incorporates multiple maintenance activities and functions. A CMMS platform starts asset tracking after an asset has been purchased and installed. An enterprise asset management system tracks the whole asset lifecycle, starting with design and installation.

To decide which main management software system is right for your organization, consider your needs. If your business has multiple locations and is equipped with several assets, then an EAM system is the best route to go for comprehensive asset tracking. If you’re a smaller business or one that doesn’t need in-depth asset tracking, consider CMMS software. It’s a better choice for those focusing on preventive maintenance tasks, predictive maintenance tasks, and overall visibility for inventory management. 

Read alsoThe Essential KPIs for CMMS

The benefits of a CMMS 

CMMS software tools are catching on; a Plant Engineering 2016 Maintenance study found that 51 percent of manufacturing facilities are using them. The software gives companies advantages that their competitors shouldn’t ignore.

Decrease maintenance costs

A CMMS software system records performance statistics and downtimes while also streamlining work order management, preventing unexpected and costly repairs. Implementing a maintenance management software system can improve the reliability of equipment by as much as 35 percent to 50 percent, which drastically decreases costs. 

Increase team productivity

CMMS tools can also be used by the maintenance department for project management, task delegation, and decreasing workflow disruptions. Additionally, features like work order automation free up maintenance teams to handle more advanced responsibilities and strategies that benefit the entire company.

Maintenance professionals can avoid sudden decreases in productivity due to unexpected maintenance requests or interruptions that could’ve been handled with predictive maintenance. With maintenance management software, CMMS administrators can schedule out when service occurs and when alerts on specific machinery occur. 

Extend the life of the equipment

Preventive maintenance can extend the life of equipment by monitoring wear and tear to repair equipment before it breaks. Users can automate work orders and trigger them based on an asset’s age or usage so machinery can get needed repairs.

Predictive maintenance within a modern CMMS uses asset performance data gathered over time to automatically create an alert or generate a work order whenever sensors detect an asset is operating outside predefined limits. This reduces reactive maintenance and overall costs. 

Improve customer service and customer experiences

All of the above measures can prevent machinery downtime, promote better inventory management, strengthen supply chains, and improve product delivery to customers.

Modern CMMS tools are instrumental in promoting growth and continuous improvement within maintenance operations while also increasing overall efficiency. However, while it’s clear that CMMS software is necessary, it can be challenging to know which tool is best. 

Types of CMMS software tools

Your facility’s needs and the complexities of your operation will determine which of the three types of CMMS solutions you choose. 

Simple facilities

A CMMS product in the simple facilities group tracks basic maintenance management and operation processes. These systems track work orders, ensure compliance, and support single-site facility locations. 

Asset and equipment groupings

Does your business revolve around depreciating assets? If so, an asset and equipment grouping-based CMMS platform is going to be a top option for you. This type of maintenance software uses automation and preventative maintenance to track the performance and usage of machinery and equipment. 

Complex facilities

Larger companies with more sophisticated workflows that include multiple locations, work areas, and intricate work environments will likely use a complex CMMS software provider. 

Popular Products on the Market

There are various CMMS vendors on the market such as Limble CMMS, Fiix, eMaint, and Upkeep. All four incorporate many of the standard features associated with maintenance software: work order management, preventative maintenance, inventory management, and workflow automation.

Nevertheless, each one has unique aspects that allow it to stand out. For example, Upkeep enables users to develop task-based checklists to keep workers focused, while eMaint CMMS has interactive plans and site maps for workflow visualization. Fiix even allows users to conduct maintenance management on a mobile app.

How do you pick the best CMMS software for your company?

Buying needs vary from company to company, but consider these factors as you research:

  • Price – What is your company’s budget? This information will likely be at the top of your list. Sit down with leadership and involve the accounting and finance team to see how much you can spend monthly or annually on software tools. You may also want to run an opportunity cost analysis before this meeting to discuss how you can offset the price of implementation.
  • Deciding between cloud or on-premise implementation –  Do you need your product to be implemented on a specific worksite, or does your company need cloud-based support? With the rise of location-independent work, you may likely need a hybrid solution to service onsite staff while ensuring offsite teams can still conduct maintenance operations.
  • Storage needs –  How much digital space will you need for documentation? If your storage needs are high, a cloud-based CMMS may require integration with a cloud-based storage service.
  • Focus needs and goals – How small is your company? How complex are your operations? The answer to these questions will decide whether you need a software tool in the simple facilities, asset maintenance, or complex facilities group. Additionally, the focus you choose should also align with your goals—whether it’s to manage operations or better monitor your machinery.
  • How many people will be using the system? – Who will be involved in managing the system? Will the CEO and CIO be using it, or will maintenance managers be the primary users? You need to determine this to know what CMMS tool you need to satisfy as many people on your team as possible.

Read alsoHow a Mobile CMMS Can Double Productivity for Facility Teams

CMMS allows you to take control of your maintenance processes

Changing consumer preferences and more dynamic technologies are making maintenance management systems essential for companies with a lot of maintenance and operational processes to manage. If you are considering implementing this system, you need to first understand what a modern CMMS can do for your company. Look at factors like budget, executive buy-in, goals, and team needs to determine your company’s best option.

Ultimately, making the selection of a CMMS your top priority can significantly enhance your maintenance operations and cut down on reactive maintenance in the short and long-term. For a detailed look at CMMS software options to help you make your choice, use the  TechnologyAdvice CMMS product selection tool. Enter your requirements, and our expert advisors will give you a list of the top CMMS products for your company.