How much does maintenance cost your company? It's likely that, with a bit of checking, any reasonably well-run business should be able to determine how much it costs to keep their production lines, fleets and other machinery and equipment running. 

But what about the lost cost? Or rather, what about the lost opportunities? Any asset-rich company will know the importance of maintenance – as well as the cost of getting maintenance wrong. According to a survey by Plant Engineering, the leading cause of unscheduled downtime within respondents' facilities remains ageing equipment (40%), followed by mechanical failure (24%). Yet overcome these problems, and the rewards can be significant; a McKinsey article notes that by "dramatically reducing unplanned outages while boosting maintenance-labour productivity", some businesses have been able to increase "profitability by 4 to 10 per cent".

But how do companies get to that point? The challenge can be knowing when the time is right to take an asset out of service and run a maintenance programme. Many turn to predictive maintenance to simplify these processes – Plant Engineering's survey suggests more than three-quarters (78%) of manufacturing facilities follow a preventive maintenance strategy, while 61% have a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) in place. 


What is CMMS?

A CMMS is a software system that:

  • Stores maintenance data for centralised access
  • Automates tasks for improved efficiency, and;
  • Helps manage maintenance processes.  

CMMS software can be deployed to manage equipment, fleet, and machinery lifespans. It can also be used to enhance asset use and availability across multiple locations, while providing transparency across a diverse, decentralised asset estate. 

Modern CMMS can also provide enterprise asset management-level functionalities. To make the most out of this functionality, they should also be able to integrate with other integral tools like space planning, mobile surveying tools, and Internet of Things remote monitoring tools.


What a CMMS should deliver

CMMS software as a concept has been around for a while, but new systems should provide users with specific benefits in line with the latest user expectations. These include:

  • Mobile responsiveness: A modern CMMS should be easy-to-use and mobile device agnostic. This helps technicians and key personnel in the field easily retrieve procedures and documentation, check part availability, initiate orders, evaluate maintenance history, maintain compliance and update work orders.
  • Streamlined integrations: Any decent CMMS must integrate with other mission-critical systems so teams can effectively capture, analyse and utilise critical data. 
  • Intuitive navigation: User adoption is essential to the success of a maintenance management software implementation. Easy-to-use, intuitive software is much more likely to be adopted, so look for a CMMS suited to employees' processes and responsive to their needs.
  • Comprehensive security: Modern, top-tier CMMS systems come equipped with the security necessary to keep sensitive information safe, including single sign-on for secure authentication, secure cloud storage and refined access to controls, authorisations and restrictions.
  • Straightforward migrations: CMMS implementation will require data migration from disparate, legacy systems. This should be straightforward so that companies can facilitate collaboration and ensure that data is comprehensive, up-to-date and actionable.
  • Full work order visibility: Effective facility maintenance work requires smooth work order management and execution. A robust CMMS facilitates this by allowing users to review, prioritise, assign, schedule, and track work orders and associated maintenance tasks. It will also provide complete visibility into work orders, work order history, and part history.
  • Smart automation: Many automations should be available in a CMMS. These include the ability to schedule maintenance – by setting up time, usage or condition-based maintenance triggers – and automated alerts to technicians, including details like repair histories, checklists, and asset manuals
  • Full reporting: Customised CMMS reports and analytics allow businesses to extract meaningful data that they can use to pinpoint preventive maintenance needs, manage KPIs and optimise processes and performance.
  • Audit records: CMMS software should help maintain employee compliance, keep searchable work records and generate the automated audit logs needed to demonstrate compliance with regulatory, industry, geographic and other legislation.


What do we mean by a modern CMMS?

We're all operating in the digital transformation era, with a pace of change unlike anyone has ever seen. Trying to keep up with the evolution of technology can be challenging, and it can sometimes feel like a new implementation is out of date by the time it is up and running. 

To avoid this, businesses should be looking for CMMS software that offers future-proofed capabilities, including:

  • Artificial intelligence: Many modern CMMS use machine learning and AI developments to expand their predictive maintenance management capabilities. Ultimately, this kind of physical asset insight can help your business increase efficiency, connect systems, improve team management, budget effectively, prioritise work orders and reduce downtime, all from one centralised, easy-to-use system.
  • Cloud options: A cloud-based, software-as-a-service CMMS deployment offers many benefits over an on-premise deployment, including increased mobility, maximised scalability, full integration with other systems, increased security and a decreased need for a robust in-house IT infrastructure.


What a CMMS provider should give you

As with any technology investment, much of the success can lie in the solution's integration. A CMMS can be a significant commitment, so businesses must do their due diligence on the tool and the vendor themselves. 

At a minimum, companies should expect a proper support programme from the vendor, including help with implementation and training and troubleshooting support. 

To get that, look for a provider committed to building a partnership and doesn't see the deal as a transactional process. As well as after-sales support, this can include customised capabilities that build on the existing features to allow a business to tailor their CMMS investment to fit their specific needs. Some vendors will baulk at this, but a system as critical as CMMS should work for the customer, not the provider

Find out how you can use CMMS

Ultimately, a CMMS is an integral part of any maintenance management software toolset, helping users to manage work orders, track inventory and schedule maintenance operations. All from one centralised platform in real-time. Get in touch to see how you could acquire and deploy a CMMS that meets the needs of your equipment, fleet and machinery.