Whether your business is in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, or transportation, proper asset maintenance is important to ensure quality product and service delivery. Your maintenance team spends hours every week on scheduled maintenance of heavy equipment, machinery, spare parts, and more. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) helps your team perform tasks efficiently by providing data on what to do and when to do it.
CMMS software—also known as maintenance software—helps create a virtual repository of data on the entire maintenance operations of a business. It automates manual processes such as scheduling work orders and tracking inventories to help save time.
With an array of products available on the market, buying a CMMS solution can be confusing. To help you figure out which tool matches your business needs, we’ve created this buyers guide that has all the essential information related to purchasing CMMS software.
Here’s what we'll cover:
What is CMMS software?
CMMS software is a software platform that helps organizations track the upkeep of their assets and the related maintenance cost, with the goal of prolonging an asset’s lifespan at minimal expense.
The software is used for asset management, facility management, fleet maintenance management, equipment management, and maintenance of other types of machinery. CMMS software can generate maintenance reports and process scheduled maintenance requests for inspection.
CMMS and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems are closely related; the terms are often used interchangeably. However, CMMS is a departmental application used by maintenance departments, while an EAM system is used across an enterprise. CMMS is implemented to prolong the lifespan of physical assets. An EAM tool, on the other hand, oversees all of an organization’s assets, including fixed assets, IT assets, and digital assets.
Asset tracking in EZOfficeInventory software (Source)
Common features of CMMS software
Most CMMS software platforms have the following common features:
||Monitor the lifecycle and usage of assets, such as equipment, tools, and hardware, from acquisition to retirement.
||Plan and perform maintenance of equipment at specific time intervals to prevent the chances of unexpected failure.
|Work order management
||Manage the timely processing and completion of maintenance work orders to avoid asset downtime. Work order management includes processing work requests, checking resource availability, assigning tasks, tracking warranty, tracking downtime, and managing inventory.
|Billing and invoicing
||Manage monetary transactions and invoices with external customers or internal departments. This involves generating quotes for services offered, creating invoices, and getting paid.
||Track the parts, tools, and other materials required to perform routine upkeep in your maintenance program. This helps manage the number of resources on hand to maintain proper supply.
||Access the software remotely on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops through an app or a browser.
||Plan the availability of resources and assign specific maintenance tasks to be completed over a period.
||Track the work performed, maintenance history, and resources used for past customers, sites, or assets.
||Track the work orders and scheduled services assigned to each technician. The software helps manage technicians’ availability and assigns specific tasks to them.
||Integrate CMMS software with other solutions and applications to sync data. This helps avoid any duplicate data entry and ensures informed decision-making.
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing a CMMS platform, you should understand which buyer category you belong to. Most buyers fall into the following categories:
- Small and midsize businesses (up to 500 employees): Buyers in this category have limited resources and a set budget to complete equipment maintenance. They need software that can help them reduce their operating costs and improve productivity. A CMMS platform can help them achieve these goals by organizing and tracking maintenance tasks for different equipment, such as machinery, spare parts, and facilities.
SMB buyers should opt for a tool that offers work order scheduling, asset management, inventory control, and barcoding/RFID capabilities. These capabilities will provide the maintenance manager access to real-time inventory data and help track what needs to be ordered. This will save time and money from manually tracking inventories and reduce the risk of running out of tools and machinery.
- Large businesses (over 500 employees): These organizations have a large number of assets—sometimes running into thousands. Since they often have offices in multiple locations, they need to track inventories for servicing their machinery, vehicles, and other assets. Opting for CMMS software will help these businesses ease their maintenance work by recording procedures and inspections accurately in one central location.
A fully featured CMMS software with predictive and preventive maintenance, service history, asset management, work order management, and inventory management capabilities would be beneficial for such buyers. It will help them identify trends in breakdowns and reduce unplanned downtime to save on costs.
Benefits of CMMS software
Implementing a CMMS software platform has various benefits, including:
- Low maintenance cost: CMMS software provides a centralized location to store all information related to equipment, service repairs, inventories, and other assets within the organization. It eliminates the need for pen-paper or spreadsheets to track and record asset maintenance data. By tracking data accurately, a CMMS platform allows you to plan maintenance to avoid expensive last-minute repairs or downtime. This reporting and tracking capability helps lower the overall cost of maintenance operations.
- Compliance management: CMMS software generates reports on asset performance and maintenance operations; these reports can be used during audits. The software can record maintenance procedures and inspections so you can provide detailed documentation to compliance agencies when required.
- Improved asset visibility: Using the software, your maintenance team can view the status of all work orders and highlight those that need special attention. You can instantly view or track when an asset was purchased, when maintenance was performed, the frequency of breakdowns, the parts used, and more. Visibility into assets and their maintenance schedules can help avoid last-minute equipment downtime and improve the efficiency of maintenance operations.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CMMS software:
- Deployment options: CMMS software can be deployed on premise or in the cloud. If you have pre-installed IT infrastructure and want to create custom company-specific solutions, then opt for on-premise software. That way, you can have total control over the software and processes. But if your organization has more work on site or in remote locations, then go for a cloud-based or web-based CMMS solution. This setup can help lower your maintenance and manpower costs, as the vendor will manage the software security, configurations, and updates on your behalf. A cloud-based solution will also let you access your data from anywhere.
- Customization: Your business will change as operations grow. The way you manage maintenance today will be different next year. But you can’t keep changing your CMMS software every year to meet the maintenance needs of your organization. Therefore, invest in a CMMS platform that can be customized to fit the way your team works now and will work in the future. The platform should be able to support third-party systems so your data integrates seamlessly with all other software tools that you plan to implement in the future.
- Technical support: Before purchasing software, evaluate if the vendor's support services will fit your team’s needs. CMMS vendors often provide phone and email support with self-service resources. While some vendors offer live chat, user community forums, and other help desk support free of cost, others might need you to purchase a paid support plan to receive any assistance.
Market trend to understand
Here is a latest trend in the CMMS software market:
- Internet of things (IoT) is enhancing the maintenance capability of CMMS software tools. IoT is making machines smart. Machines can monitor themselves and send real-time data on asset performance to managers to help avoid unexpected machine failure or downtime. Vendors integrating IoT into CMMS solutions can help businesses with predictive maintenance strategies that automatically provide real-time information on the status of machines. This helps improve plant productivity by limiting production downtime and improving follow-ups based on historical analysis of asset breakdowns.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.