What is a CMMS?
Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) is a business system that helps companies digitize, automate and improve their maintenance operations.
An effective CMMS system will allow your business to increase efficiency, connect systems, reduce equipment downtime, make data-driven decisions, budget effectively, prioritize work orders, organize, and more – all from one custom, synchronized solution.
In short, it can solve your most pressing maintenance pain points so you can save time, increase efficiency and make more money.
The Basics of a Computerized Maintenance Management System
Common Problems Businesses Face
Many businesses today are inefficient and ineffective when it comes to their work order management and maintenance. Among other concerns, they:
- Face delays due to breakdowns that make it difficult for them to keep their routine maintenance on track
- Have difficulty maintaining appropriate staffing and keeping overtime costs to a minimum
- Fail to consistently focus on high-priority work
- Have low visibility into parts inventory, work order history, etc.
- Have difficulty scheduling planned preventive maintenance
- Consistently practice reactive maintenance rather than preventive maintenance, which can — among other things — reduce safety, increase unplanned downtime and reduce asset lifecycle
The source of their problem? Data recorded on paper or in outdated, disparate legacy systems that are difficult to update, share or sync across devices.
This makes it difficult to track asset histories, schedule PMs, scale or maintain compliance – which ultimately leads to lost time, inefficiency and decreased revenue. A CMMS can help.
What is a CMMS Software System?
Figure 1. Common Manufacturing Maintenance Goals
CMMS software is a business system used to manage work orders, inventory parts and preventive maintenance. Ultimately, it provides as a single source of truth for all information that your facility and maintenance management team needs.
It can also help companies like yours plan, track, measure and optimize everything to do with preventive maintenance and work order management so you can develop better maintenance practices, stay organized, and ultimately save time and money.
Specifically, a centralized, collaborative, real-time CMMS system can help users:
- Increase efficiency
- Connect systems
- Reduce equipment downtime
- Make data-driven decisions
- Budget effectively
- Prioritize work orders
- Implement set procedures
- Organize assets across devices
- Manage teams
Further Reading & Resources:
- Blog Post: Why You Aren’t Realizing the Full Benefits of Your CMMS
- Webinar: Using Reporting and Analytics to Drive Manufacturing Improvements
- Blog Post: 3 Elements of Maintenance Success in the Chemical Industry
Specific Uses of an Enterprise CMMS
Comprehensive Work Order Management and Preventive Maintenance
Efficient work order management is critical to running a business smoothly and efficiently. CMMS software ensures you have the full visibility you need for this kind of management by providing full trackability of parts inventory and work orders, complete visibility into work order history, and accountability for maintenance technicians.
Using a robust CMMS tool:
- Managers and operators can build, review, prioritize, assign and track work orders from any device. They can also receive up-to-the-minute updates when a work order is complete.
- Users can schedule preventive maintenance by setting up time, usage or condition-based maintenance triggers.
- Technicians can be immediately alerted when there is a new work order and receive important details like repair histories, checklists, asset manuals and more.
- Technicians can immediately input notes, mark a job as complete and let others know the status of a particular asset.
These features also allow for more effective preventive maintenance planning, reducing the number of expensive emergency repairs, decreasing downtime, and saving you money in the long run.
Insight into Asset Performance and Reporting
If you cannot effectively collect, analyze, access and apply your equipment data, your operations will be inefficient and under-productive. CMMS software can help you extract meaningful data to pinpoint preventive maintenance needs and manage KPIs:
- Track equipment usage and performance, including metrics like mileage, gauge readings and operational hours.
- Create asset profiles so you know all the pertinent information about a particular machine at-a-glance, including failure codes, required safety equipment, maintenance history and more.
- Quickly generate custom reports on things like asset downtime or cost of inventory so you can answer important questions about your maintenance operations at any time.
- Connect with other relevant systems in your company so your maintenance data is always available to relevant departments and individuals.
MRO Inventory Management
Your business has to order, use and keep track of countless MRO (maintenance, repair and operating supply) items, and your technicians need to access these parts in order to effectively complete repairs. In many cases, MRO accounts can make up as much as 40% of a business’s annual procurement budget. A CMMS can make your MRO inventory management easier and less costly by helping to:
- Automate purchases so you have the correct parts in the right place at the right time.
- Keep track of every spare part, including important details like purchase date, availability on certain sites, where the part is stored, and more.
- Inform technicians what parts are needed for a particular prepare and where those parts can be found.
- Track big-picture metrics like inventory costs, order histories and usage statistics.
A CMMS can help maintenance departments better meet safety initiatives and comply with regulatory, industry, geographic and other audits:
- Keep an accurate and searchable record of all tasks so inspectors can quickly verify actions and maintenance history can be audited stress-free.
- Maintain employee compliance and safety by embedding training videos and creating user profiles where certifications and renewal dates can be monitored easily.
- Easily provide the proof required to achieve ISO certification with archived work orders, task lists and photos attached to work orders.
- Use automated reports and searchable audit logs to track key metrics and quickly pull up any necessary information about a particular asset.
The Benefits: How Can a CMMS Improve Your Business?
A CMMS system can replace disparate systems, Excel sheets and physical paperwork to effectively track:
- Assets and physical equipment (machines, vehicles and other equipment)
- Supplies such as parts, materials and other inventory
- Work orders and workflows
- Related information such as service schedules, equipment budgets and invoicing
This ultimately increases transparency and decreases inefficiency and confusion when it comes to maintenance work orders.
Improved Team Management
Businesses can better manage teams with key CMMS software features, including:
- Key and lock management
- Mobile access, single sign-on and unlimited users
- Browser and device-agnostic user interface
- Event and transportation scheduling
- Technology ticketing
- API access
- QR code and barcode-enabled workforce tracking and management
Lower Maintenance Costs
The 2020 State of CMMS Survey Report indicates that of facilities that have substantially implemented CMMS, 88% report significant cost savings, ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
A CMMS system cuts costs by streamlining maintenance processes:
- Preventive and predictive maintenance
- Parts and inventory management
- Calibration management
- Work order management
- Purchase order and facility rental management
A CMMS system can eliminate delays caused by emergency breakdowns and unavailable inventory, ultimately saving time and keeping production steady.
Additionally, with all the asset data you need at the ready, you can run comprehensive reports to quickly answer questions about service history, compliance, vendor track records and more.
Increased Ability to Track Critical Assets and Data
The need for historical and real-time information that is readily available and easily searchable is fundamental to maintenance improvement. A CMMS provides this kind of information with:
- Accurate, effective and easy work order monitoring
- Service history tracking
- Billing and invoicing
- Robust reporting and analytics
- Inventory and asset management
Of course, it is not just about the collection and analysis of the asset and maintenance intelligence. A robust CMMS also enables configurable reports and KPIs that can be automatically distributed to the right employees to make better-informed business decisions — extending the value of the CMMS.
Emergency repairs and staffing inefficiencies can take a huge financial toll on your business. A CMMS system not only decreases the equipment breakdowns that cost your organization money but also allows you to maintain appropriate staffing levels and avoid overtime and wasted labor costs.
Improved Health and Safety
A top-tier CMMS tool can help give you peace of mind when it comes to health and safety of your team by:
- Providing straightforward, easily accessible safety requirements for every job
- Simplifying audit logs
- Making safety procedures more accessible
- Allowing those in charge to track safety training
Further Reading & Resources:
- Blog Post: Why a CMMS is Foundational to Manufacturing Maintenance Program Success
- Blog Post: 5 Signs it is Time to Replace Your Healthcare Facilities Maintenance Solution
- Webinar: ROI Benefits of a CMMS with Trinchero Family Estates
Industries that Benefit from CMMS Solutions
Effective maintenance is key across a wide range of industries, including:
- Oil & gas
- Public sector
A CMMS software can help with five primary use cases across these industries: facility maintenance, fleet maintenance, production & manufacturing maintenance, linear asset maintenance, and field services maintenance.
Find a CMMS solution built to serve your industry.
Features of a Great Enterprise CMMS
When evaluating CMMS systems, there are many features to look out for, and many concerns to be wary of. First, be sure to look for hidden costs such as time spent during the configuration and installation, limited reporting that does not include the data you need, complicated interfaces that require significant training, and solutions that do not scale with you as your business grows.
Instead, you will want a CMMS that is:
A top-tier, effective CMMS will provide easy-to-use mobile capability. Without mobile capability, maintenance technicians in the field spend extra time retrieving documents or on other non-maintenance tasks, resulting in inefficiencies and lost productivity.
Conversely, a mobile-responsive CMMS app allows technicians to complete the necessary tasks for maintenance and repair efficiently by giving them the tools to:
- Retrieve procedures and documentation
- Evaluate the equipment’s maintenance history
- Check parts availability
- Initiate parts orders
- Update work order statuses.
Keep in mind, though, that all mobile CMMS software is not created equal. Some tie users to a particular type of device, which can keep users from maintaining flexibility or changing devices without additional cost.
Integrates with Existing Systems
It is essential that your CMMS is able to integrate your other systems if you’re going to effectively use it to capture, analyze, and use data, so do your research ahead of time to make sure that the system you are looking at is easily integrated.
With Accruent’s Maintenance Connection RESTful API, for example, you can connect your key applications – such as ERP platforms or Internet-of-Things applications – to your CMMS instantly. These connections allow for closed-loop data management in the software toolchain, enabling complete data visibility and real-time data insights that range from inventory stock availability across multiple locations to the current meter readings for key assets.
A CMMS will only help your maintenance team if your employees can actually use it. Ease-of-use greatly affects user adoption and is key to ensuring you receive the return on investment (ROI) you anticipate from your CMMS.
Ask yourself: is the software intuitive? Does it make my employees’ jobs easier, faster, and better? It is responsive to the day-to-day needs of my employees? When answering these questions, be mindful of the particular needs of your users and your facilities.
Additionally, if a CMMS requires complex configuration, it can result in an overcomplicated workflow. If this is the case, you are likely to see a lag in user adoption, particularly among less tech-savvy users. When this happens, it is common for many technicians to use the system improperly, or find ways around using it entirely – both of which result in inaccurate data and reporting. And that would entirely defeat the purpose of having a CMMS to begin with.
On the other hand, choosing a CMMS that is easy to learn and that your employees enjoy using will help you get to the benefits you expect more quickly, ultimately increasing your ROI through more accurate data.
Top-of-the-line CMMS systems have an array of security features to keep your data safe, including:
- Secure cloud-based storage
- Single sign-on for secure authentication
- Access control that ensures only the right people are authorized to access the right resources.
Easy to Migrate Data
A CMMS is most effective when it has access to all relevant information. Be sure that the system you choose allows for easy migration of data trapped in spreadsheets and other legacy systems. Overall, this will help your organization:
- Realize and harness the power of digital transformation and workplace collaboration.
- Enable all organizational stakeholders to get on-demand, real-time insight into key metrics and data.
- Share insights digitally using automated notifications, scheduled reports by email, or exported reports in PDF format.
Provides Long-Term Help
While a vendor’s CMMS software itself is the most important factor in selection and buying process, the vendor organization should be equally important. Good vendors are partners with their customers, and they provide help with implementation, training and ongoing support. Implementation services, in particular, are a natural part of a CMMS project. Thorough vendors will acknowledge this and include these costs upfront.
Additionally, they should provide training in many forms and not just as a one-time activity. Any suggested formal training should be outlined clearly by the vendor and should define key details including the duration, number of users that can be included in the sessions, and the materials that will be provided. As part of their proposals, CMMS vendors typically include how training will be conducted, how much it costs, and other key details.
Finally, once a CMMS is in place, questions will inevitably arise as companies work through growing pains. A good vendor will provide 24/7 support to help companies work through these issues, and they will be able to resolve and escalate any concerns when necessary.
A key feature of CMMS systems is that they are centralized, allowing immediate access to whatever data you need, whether it be work order statuses, inventory levels, and parts availability, recommended procedures, up-to-date data for compliance reporting and more.
See how much your company can benefit from a modern CMMS solution. Calculate your potential cost savings now.