As growing organizations seek to digitize and streamline maintenance activities, they are investing in computerized maintenance management system—also known as CMMS.
In fact, the global market for CMMS software is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by the end of 2024, according to a recent MarketWatch news release.
CMMS software helps managers prioritize critical maintenance so they can extend the useful life of their assets. While it's an ideal fit for many companies investing in a maintenance management system for the first time, it does have some inherent limitations for enterprises with more advanced needs. Here's a closer look at CMMS software features and benefits—and how to tell if it's the right fit for your organization.
What Is CMMS software?
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is designed primarily to manage assets and maintenance activities. Rather than relying on solitary spreadsheets, CMMS software gives managers an integrated, accessible, digital system to store the detailed information they need, including:
Types of assets, their ages and locations
Lease or ownership information
Service requests and work orders
This collection of data gives managers and their teams a comprehensive view of asset maintenance as well as insight into the total cost of asset ownership.
Clipboards and paper maintenance records have obvious limitations. A CMMS platform stores data for easy access and streamlines manual processes, ensuring better productivity and accountability.
The best CMMS solutions on the market today are cloud-based, mobile, and offer access to real-time data. They also have an intuitive user interface. CMMS software should help facilities managers and maintenance leaders gain efficiencies in a number of areas.
Improve equipment uptime
Let’s face it. Downtime is a drag on productivity as well as profitability. With a CMMS platform, managers can insightfully streamline maintenance and work order processes to achieve maximum uptime.
Reduce overall maintenance costs
A well-organized maintenance strategy quantifies manpower, parts, and downtime against the cost of asset replacement. A CMMS balances the equation to ensure maintenance expenditures always make business sense.
Optimize and automate preventive maintenance
Deferred maintenance can put machines, vehicles, and equipment at risk of failure. And asset failure means downtime, reduced productivity, worker stress, and safety concerns. CMMS platforms help create a streamlined preventive maintenance program and keep preventive maintenance schedules in check, so nothing “falls through the cracks.” With the right system, repetitive tasks can be scheduled with one action, saving time and ensuring follow-through.
Extend the useful life of assets
Getting the best return on investment means getting the most life out of every asset. By mining the data stored in a CMMS platform, managers can discern how the overall maintenance strategy impacts the longevity of their investments, then adjust accordingly to maximize life cycles.
Handle service requests more efficiently
Unplanned maintenance concerns must be addressed quickly to minimize costly downtime. The power of a CMMS software is its ability to immediately alert managers who can deploy the appropriate repair teams, then track the progress of work orders in real-time. The end result is a faster fix with greater accountability.
Improve asset tracking
Administrative tasks can burden a business. That’s why CMMS platforms must enable teams to get more done in less time. Instead of chasing assets, teams should be able to use their CMMS tools to find all the information they need, when they need it, so they can act quickly.
Contribute to business growth
Growing companies must have enterprise-level information at their fingertips so they can make the most out of market opportunities. With a CMMS, every asset is accounted for individually, by category, and in the overall context of profitability.
Who uses CMMS software?
Facility managers and maintenance professionals from a wide range of industries rely on a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software to maximize their asset performance. In particular, it’s ideal for organizations with a large number of assets and/or maintenance needs, such as:
Energy, oil, and gas
Shipping and logistics
For instance, Pegasus Manufacturing, a world leader in specialized contract manufacturing services, uses CMMS software to keep track of all the equipment at its 52,000-square-foot facility, which serves over 70 customers globally. Investing in Hippo CMMS significantly reduced the time the company's maintenance manager spent submitting and organizing work orders.
The USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier turned museum, also uses a CMMS to maintain records of all its assets and manage work orders. Using the software, technicians can manage work orders, quickly find assets using interactive floor plans, get step-by-step instructions for repairs and store maintenance records for every item in the building.
CMMS software trends
Data now plays a bigger role than ever for maintenance and facilities leaders. They’re increasingly being brought to the table with executives to discuss the bottom-line business impact of daily operations, asset investments, and future opportunities.
Such discussions must also connect the dots between the data and the real world.
CMMS platforms are designed to not only track and schedule maintenance, but also condense data, assemble it into visual reports, and share those reports across the enterprise is now a business imperative.
That’s something maintenance leaders simply can’t produce from a dog-eared stack of paper work orders.
What to look for when considering CMMS solutions
With so many CMMS software solutions on the market today, how do you know which is right for your organization? Here are a few questions that can guide you in your decision.
1. What functionality do you need?
CMMS softwares tend to focus on managing facilities and assets—such as vehicles, heavy equipment, machines, instruments, electronics, and other resources. Look for systems that allow you to track and maintain exactly the type of assets your business counts on. Being able to categorize a drill press differently than a computer monitor, for example, allows you to capture the right type of data.
If your needs are more complex and you need to track asset lifecycle throughout the supply chain or better understand total costs of ownership, you may need a more advanced system.
Additionally, if you need to manage other areas, such as planning for office moves or scheduling conference rooms, you might need an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).
2. What data do you need to capture?
Your industry and your assets will determine what type of data you need to collect. Keep in mind that some data inputs will change over time. Any maintenance management software you choose should allow you to refine your strategy as your business needs change.
For example, if your company upgrades from desktop computers that stay in a fixed spot to tablets and mobile phones that are constantly on the move, you might need to change your tracking policies.
Or, perhaps your maintenance teams report unforeseen bottlenecks that slow your work order completion. Your software system should be robust and flexible enough to meeting your changing needs.
3. Who will use the software?
If your software needs primarily involve the maintenance team, a computerized maintenance management software will be your best fit. If others are involved, such as your accounting or purchasing teams, EAM software may be a better solution.
Additionally, if you are primarily managing facilities but working alongside real estate leaders, workplace leaders, human resource managers, and IT professionals, you might consider an IWMS.
Another consideration is the environment of the assets you’re managing. Teams who manage vehicles and assets that are always on the move require different capabilities than users who almost exclusively work in a central location.
If you are working with a distributed team, the software system you choose should have mobile capabilities and even the ability for users to access data offline if needed.
4. What is your budget?
An IWMS or EAM software is usually a bigger investment than a CMMS simply because these systems have broader functionality.
While your budget will be an important consideration, make sure your decision aligns with your company's long-term goals. Investing in a low-cost system might save you money now, but if you outgrow it in six months, you'll be right back where you started—minus the implementation fees and the time it took to onboard and train your team on a new system.
5. What are your future goals?
Can you plan your asset strategy for the next 60 days? Six months? A full year out? And how accurately can you sketch out your business’s necessary capital planning to budget for major purchases of new assets? Depending on the size of your organization, a single asset investment could make the difference between turning a profit and just getting by.
That's why it's so important to think about the future as you evaluate your options. How many users might you have? Do you anticipate needing additional features and functions? What kind of integrations will you need?
To ensure you're getting the best return on your investment, look for software partners who offer:
Personalized onboarding support
On-demand tutorials for each function
New tutorials as functions are added
Scalability as your business grows
If you are a fast-growing organization with plans to add more assets and significantly increase your workforce, you need to make sure you have a platform that will grow along with you. Always keep an eye on the opportunity to scale up to meet emerging business needs.
How to know when you've outgrown your CMMS software
Many companies begin their automation journey with CMMS software, moving from spreadsheets to automated workflows. But as their company grows, they realize they need a more robust solution.
One common reason we already mentioned is a need for more complex business data.
A desire to move from preventive to predictive maintenance is another common motivation to switch to a more robust solution. If these challenges sound familiar, it might be time to consider upgrading from CMMS software to (EAM) software.
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