Everything you need to know about a computerized maintenance management system

Free guide to buying a CMMS

What is a CMMS?

A computerized maintenance management system (or CMMS software) helps organizations plan, track, measure, and optimize everything to do with maintenance on a digital platform.

A CMMS can help facilities organize and manage preventive maintenance tasks, inventory, safety, and more. It’s a big part of developing better maintenance practices, proving the value of maintenance, and the fuel used by production facilities to drive better results.

What is CMMS software used for?

A CMMS has a lot of tools, but they won’t do you any good unless you know how to use them. Understanding what CMMS software can do is the key to maximizing the system’s value and using it to improve maintenance.

the main functions of a cmms graphic

Work order management and preventive maintenance

A computerized maintenance management system simplifies every step of the maintenance work order process.

  • Managers can build, review, prioritize, assign, and track work orders from their desktop, mobile phone or tablet. Operators can also submit work requests.
  • Preventive maintenance can also be scheduled by setting up time, usage or condition-based maintenance triggers.
  • Technicians are alerted of new work orders and can see key details, like checklists, asset manuals, and repair histories.
  • Technicians can mark a job as complete, input notes, and switch the status of an asset from offline to online so operators are alerted.
  • Managers are notified of completed work orders, and can file them away to use in reports whenever they need to.

Asset performance and reporting

A CMMS provides a better way to collect, analyze, access, and apply equipment data to increase efficiency and productivity.

  • Track how your equipment is being used and how it’s performing, like operational hours, mileage, minute-by-minute gauge readings, and more.
  • Build asset profiles that put every detail about a machine within a few clicks, including maintenance checklists, failure codes, required safety equipment, and more.
  • Generate custom reports on everything from asset downtime to the cost of inventory in minutes so you can get a 360-degree view of your maintenance operation.
  • Connect your CMMS with other software at your company so accurate and up-to-date maintenance data can be shared with the right systems and people.

MRO inventory management

A CMMS makes it less daunting to order, use, and keep track of thousands of spare parts.

  • Automate inventory purchasing so you can have the right parts, at the right time, and in the right amount.
  • Log every spare part and rotating asset across your company. Make notes on where parts are stored, purchase dates, how to use them, and their availability at other sites.
  • Technicians can know exactly what parts they need for a repair or PM task, where to find them, and how to use them in a split second.
  • Maintain optimal inventory quantities by tracking inventory costs, order histories, cycle counts, usage stats, warranties, and first-in-first-out details with the reporting feature.

Audit preparedness

A CMMS can help maintenance departments smooth out the process of preparing for audits.

  • Keep an unchangeable and searchable record of every task, so an asset’s maintenance history can be audited and inspectors can verify actions
  • Create user profiles where certifications and renewal dates can be monitored easily, and view embedded training videos so you can stay safe and compliant.
  • Provide the proof needed to achieve ISO certification with archived work orders, task lists, and photos attached to work orders.
  • Searchable audit logs and automated reports make it easy to track key metrics and immediately pull up information about an asset and tasks performed on it.

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How does a CMMS work?

There are two common types of CMMS software: Cloud-based and on-premise CMMS software.

On-premise CMMS

An on-premise CMMS is software that a business is responsible for running on its own, with its own hardware, such as servers and computers. It is an older and more traditional way of deploying a CMMS. The benefits of this kind of CMMS installation includes having more control over the design and functionality of the CMMS, and complete data privacy. Some of the drawbacks of installing on-premise software include higher costs, more complex implementation, and the need to constantly maintain, back-up, and update hardware and software.

Cloud-based CMMS

Cloud-based CMMS software is a CMMS run online through a software provider. The provider takes care of all the IT, hosting, security, and backups for the system, and the software can be accessed through any computer with an internet connection and web browser. Another benefit of cloud-based software is that it’s updated automatically, so you’re always using the latest and most secure version.

What are the benefits of a CMMS?

A computerized maintenance management system opens the door to a whole new set of possibilities for your maintenance team. There are five main areas in which a CMMS can empower your operation and help it take a huge leap forward.

benefits of a cmms graphic
  • Control costs: Use a CMMS to stop overspending on inventory, avoid costly scrap and rework, save on energy costs by keeping equipment in top condition, and increase asset uptime, all while tracking maintenance costs so you know exactly how your budget is being spent.
  • Reduce downtime: A CMMS gives facilities a chance to slash downtime by making it easier to conquer backlog, increase the reliability of assets, schedule preventive maintenance, and simplify repairs. This all helps to keep assets healthier and ensure downtime is eliminated at its root.
  • Increase efficiency: CMMS software allows you to crush inefficiencies by optimizing preventive maintenance schedules, automating work orders, standardizing PMs, and improving access to maintenance resources. Work can be done faster, your budget is maximized, and resources are never depleted.
  • Centralize information: CMMS software allows you to access maintenance metrics, KPI reports, real-time work order updates, and asset histories in the palm of your hand, so you’re never without the information you need to improve your maintenance program.
  • Improve health and safety: A CMMS can give you piece of mind when it comes to the welfare of your team by outlining safety requirements for every job, simplifying audit logs, making safety procedures more accessible, and helping you track safety training.

What industries use CMMS software?

Maintenance is key in every industry, and CMMS software can help businesses plan and manage that maintenance. There are four main use cases for a CMMS:

what industries uses CMMS?
  • Production and manufacturing maintenance: These are companies that make tangible products. They have machines, assembly lines, forklifts, and heavy equipment that require frequent maintenance.
  • Facility maintenance: These are companies that take care of buildings. Apartment buildings, entertainment facilities, and government buildings all require maintenance. CMMS software helps them deal with structural, HVAC, and water-supply problems.
  • Fleet maintenance: These are companies that take care of vehicles and transportation. Construction sites, car rental companies, city buses, transport ships, and fleets of tow trucks all need to have repairs scheduled, which can be taken care of with a CMMS.
  • Linear asset maintenance: This is a category of maintenance for companies that have assets like roads, water pipes, or fiber optic cables that cover great distances. A CMMS can help manage the complex maintenance required to keep these assets running.
  • Field services maintenance: This type of maintenance deals with a variety of assets spread across large areas or several sites and that operate independently of each other. For example, windmills, solar panels, cell phone towers, and oil wells. A CMMS helps organize contractors and make maintenance resources accessible in the field.

What is the best CMMS software?

The best CMMS software companies are focusing on these areas for future development:

Mobile capabilities

Maintenance workers spend most of their time outside the office, fixing machines and maintaining assets, which is why having a CMMS available in the field on a mobile device is essential. With a mobile-friendly CMMS app, technicians can record what they are doing as they are doing it, take pictures of the work, and request help onsite. Mobile apps that offer offline mode allow these updates to take place even without a wifi connection.

Easy to use and manage

A CMMS can only help your maintenance operation if staff use it. The software won’t live up to its potential if it’s too complicated or time-consuming to learn or use. The best CMMS providers are those that always have the user in mind and software that is simple, intuitive, and don’t provide too many unnecessary features. Every part of the CMMS should be easy to use, from logging in to seeing tasks, submitting work orders, completing work, inputting data, running reports, and more. In short, the best CMMS is the one that gives you the freedom to focus on maintenance and not on figuring out the software.

CMMS Integrations

It’s crucial for your CMMS to be able to integrate with other systems used by your company. When each piece of software is linked together, both the maintenance team and the rest of the organization are able to capture, analyze, and use data they otherwise wouldn’t have to make smarter decisions. The best providers offer a wide range of integrations and make it simple to implement them in the right combination for your company.

Post-implementation partnership

Many CMMS providers guide maintenance teams through the implementation of the software, but the best vendors help organizations build and execute a long-term plan for maintenance success. This post-implementation partnership between the company and the provider ensures your business can track results, scale its operation, and overcome any growing pains.

Simple data management migration

A CMMS is most effective when it has as much information as possible. Your maintenance operation may have a lot of the necessary data, but it is likely trapped in older systems, like Excel spreadsheets. The best maintenance software makes it easy to migrate data from spreadsheets, collect data from equipment, organize information, and analyze it with better reporting. All these elements can help you build your maintenance program quickly and with accurate information.

CMMS software: A complete tool for maintenance management

A computerized maintenance management system is a tool for managing maintenance and connecting maintenance to other business systems. It helps facilitate everything from work orders to inventory purchasing. In doing so, it allows maintenance teams to operate in new ways, like implementing preventive, condition-based, and predictive maintenance, or collecting more information on assets to make smarter, data-driven decisions. Whatever your maintenance department’s goals are, CMMS software has the potential to push you closer to them, and then some.

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