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Selecting the Best CMMS

What is a CMMS?

CMMS stands for Computerized Maintenance Management System. A CMMS plays a critical role in helping a company record, maintain, and update all its information related to its maintenance operations.

What Should You Look For In A CMMS?

When it’s time to select your CMMS, be sure to consider fit with your business, resources required, and the system’s growth potential.

Company Fit

First, be sure your solution fits the needs of your business. If you are a small organization, you may need a simple software solution without all the bells and whistles. On the other hand, if you expect rapid growth, you’ll want a CMMS solution that can scale quickly and easily. Larger companies with multiple facilities may require a more sophisticated, proven solution that can easily integrate with other business systems.

Resources Required

Second, match the resources required with the resources available. The initial cost of a CMMS is important; however, it’s critical to consider the ongoing costs such as training, upgrades, or subscription costs. Be sure your organization can follow through with not only purchasing and implementation but the ongoing tasks necessary to maximize the features of the chosen CMMS.

Potential for Growth

Finally, evaluate the CMMS’ ability to grow with your organization. Cloud-based technology is the future of this software as well as mobile functionality. Be sure your chosen solution provider is ready to help keep you up-to-date in terms of the technology itself.

3 Key Benefits of a CMMS

A CMMS offers a wide range of benefits for businesses today. Here are the top three.

1. Reduce Costs

By automating many tasks, a CMMS can reduce costs for a maintenance department. Once solid information is entered into the system, a CMMS can help shepherd parts, inventory, and work orders seamlessly throughout the organization. Sensor and scanning technology allow rapid or even real-time data collection in a fraction of the time.

2. Stay Ahead of Problems

Reactive maintenance is often the norm in many facilities, and one major benefit of a CMMS is it provides the tool to help you identify and address small issues before they become production-stopping problems. By analyzing CMMS data, you can create a reliable preventive maintenance program easily and, later, implement a predictive maintenance program.

3. Improve Productivity

Maintenance problems inevitably can cause production slowdowns or unexpected downtime. By implementing a CMMS, you create a more systematic way of addressing a host of issues. Work orders are prioritized and maintenance managers have a birds’ eye view into all critical assets and equipment. A CMMS provides the information to make better and more timely decisions to keep your production lines up and running as much as possible.

Important Features of Maintenance Management Systems

The most important feature of a CMMS is the effective management of work orders, inventory, vendors and assets as well as the ability to provide analytics, mobility and scanning capabilities.

Work Order Process Management

Work orders can be automatically scheduled, accessed and tracked through a CMMS, providing both technicians and management a comprehensive record of maintenance work completed and scheduled. In a similar way, a CMMS can help a facility keep track of expensive tools when they are used by multiple technicians, follow inventory through a work process, and manage contractor agreements and payments effectively.

Reporting

You’ll want to make sure your chosen CMMS provides easy-to-read analytics reports so you can periodically evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Mobility

In addition, your CMMS should be accessible with mobile technology so your service technicians have the same information when they are out in the field and can easily record their work and findings right back into the centralized system. Integration of barcoding or RFID scanning technology is also an important CMMS feature, allowing you to quickly and accurately tag and scan assets and inventory data.

4 CMMS Use Cases

Here are four examples of how CMMS can make a difference in reducing costs, improving productivity, and increasing efficiency.

1. Asset Management

A CMMS doubles as an asset management software and can help a facility better manage its maintenance assets. Some companies may use expensive testing equipment or put together service tool kits for maintenance technicians to take out during service calls. By tagging these kits or assets, a company can keep track of which technician is using what tools, where the equipment is located, and when they might need to be inspected or serviced.

2. Property Management

Property managers often must keep track of a wide range of maintenance requests from tenants as well as overall maintenance tasks such as landscaping and janitorial services. A CMMS can help prioritize and schedule related work orders as well as track costs and asset repair history.

3. Facility Management

Many facilities can benefit from a CMMS by using it as a facility management software to help manage reactive and preventive maintenance on critical assets and equipment. The data collected over time can also help management decide when equipment should be taken out of service and replaced. For example, sophisticated analytics can compare the costs of continued repair and maintenance with the cost and productivity gains of new equipment. 

4. Inventory Management

By keeping track of materials and items from the moment they enter your facility, throughout their journey in your company, and to their final consumption, you can minimize the labor spent in searching for items as well as the cost of replacing lost items. Scanning technology works in tandem with a CMMS to give you an inventory management software, showing accurate and complete information on your inventory.

Industries That Benefit From a CMMS

A wide variety of industries can benefit from implementing an effective CMMS. Here are some examples of potential applications.

Manufacturing

 Keep your equipment and assets up and running. A CMMS can help manage work orders to increase production uptime and help you keep a closer eye on all your critical assets.

Facilities

Manage everything from your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to landscaping tasks. A CMMS can help you ensure that all those little things that keep your facilities safe, comfortable, and productive are completed.

Equipment

By tracking all of your equipment and the associated repair history, you can have a firm handle on required reactive and preventive maintenance tasks. Both field technicians and management have the needed transparency to do their jobs more effectively.

Farming

A CMMS can help manage maintenance requirements on farm equipment and help you make better decisions of when to repair or replace agricultural assets.

Building

By managing the details required to keep a building up and running, a CMMS can help you streamline potentially time-consuming tasks to save time and money.

Hospitality

A centralized CMMS system can help you serve your customers better by providing rapid response to maintenance issues. In addition, reducing costs and improving things like energy usage can benefit the entire business.

Property

Tracking and prioritizing tenant maintenance tasks can become quickly overwhelming. A CMMS helps manage all of that by scheduling maintenance tasks automatically and generating work orders that help technicians manage their workdays efficiently.

Restaurants/Small Businesses

A CMMS can help you streamline all those maintenance items that need to be addressed but are not part of your core business. Spend more time building your dream and less time managing repairs, vendors, and contractors.

Churches/Non-Profits

Achieve your vision and serve your members by relying on a CMMS to take care of required building and system maintenance easily and effectively.

Fleet 

Schedule preventive maintenance tasks based on mileage, time, or performance to keep your fleet vehicles reliable and running well. Sensors can help trigger CMMS work orders, giving you 24/7 data on your vehicles.

Schools

Educators and faculty can easily use a CMMS to report needed maintenance requests quickly from a mobile device. Eliminate the need to call a maintenance department and shorten the response time required.

Cities/Municipalities

Managing everything from landscaping of public buildings to repairing highway signage, our city officials have a lot on their plates. A CMMS can help prioritize and schedule all those tasks to keep our cities safe and pleasant for all.

Gym/Fitness

Keep your equipment operating smoothly and safely with a CMMS. A centralized system can not only manage maintenance of gym equipment but can also help you keep supplies and parts well-stocked.

10 Best CMMS Providers

The 10 best CMMS providers are:

  1. UpKeep
  2. eMaint
  3. Dude Solutions
  4. FMX
  5. Maintenance Connection
  6. Fiix
  7. Limble
  8. Hippo
  9. MaintainX
  10. MicroMain

1. UpKeep

This CMMS solution ranks among the top maintenance packages for its functionality, customer support, and ease-of-use. As a scalable CMMS that can be easily used on both desktop and mobile applications, UpKeep provides transparency of maintenance information for all team members no matter where they are working. Requesters, however, have limited access to this CMMS.

2. eMaint

This software’s strength is in its ability to connect data, teams, and systems. eMaint is a web-based, software-as-a-service solution that’s sold by subscription. Assigned a designated manager, customers receive unlimited support, data backups and software updates for tracking and managing work orders, inventory, scheduling, and regulatory compliance data. Some customers have noted that reports are difficult to use and read.

3. Dude Solutions

With its suite of cloud-based applications, Dude Solutions centralizes maintenance requests, creates schedules, automates workflows and generates reports for manufacturers, distributors, and warehouse centers. However, it was designed for specialized niches and doesn’t offer an on-premises solution.

4. FMX

This configurable CMMS helps companies streamline their work processes and increase productivity of their assets. By offering ongoing support and training as well as allowing unlimited users, FMX has a high customer satisfaction rating. Because it is a web-based system, some customers have found it difficult to communicate with external partners or those not online.

5. Maintenance Connection

This cloud-based CMMS offers an on-premise hosting option, giving a wide variety of businesses and industries access to this maintenance management solution. Maintenance Connection allows easy integration with enterprise resource planning and computer-aided facility management systems as well. Certain customizations can be expensive and reports can be hard to interpret.

6. Fiix

By organizing maintenance data, this web-based CMMS solution can help businesses move from a reactive maintenance mindset to a more preventive one. It integrates with ERP and other related solutions easily. The number of customizations and configurations available, however, can be somewhat overwhelming.

7. Limble

This CMMS is cloud-based and includes preventive maintenance, work order management, and asset organization features. Information, pictures, documents, and other data can be entered and uploaded easily. Some areas have limited customization options.

8. Hippo

This intuitive, easy-to-use CMMS solution provides plenty of onboarding and ongoing training so that implementation is relatively fast and simple. This cloud-based solution serves many industries and markets. The solution is somewhat limited in functionality and can be difficult to customize.

9. MaintainX

As a mobile-based CMMS solution, MaintainX helps technicians know exactly what they need to do to complete their work orders and how to complete their tasks. This includes safety procedures, gauge reports, inspection workflows, and environmental procedures. It is somewhat limited in functionality and ordering capabilities.

10.  MicroMain

This CMMS/EAM solution helps businesses increase the life of their equipment, better manage work orders and generate custom reports. By providing comprehensive maintenance data, MicroMain helps companies focus on preventive maintenance tasks designed to save time and money. Implementation at larger facilities is time-consuming and complex.

FAQ About Choosing a CMMS

What can a CMMS do?

A CMMS is a comprehensive maintenance management system that keeps track of work orders, inventory, vendors and a host of other critical information related to a business or organization’s maintenance responsibilities.

How much does a CMMS cost?

According to Cost Owl, the price of a CMMS can vary widely. An off-the-shelf CMMS can cost as little as $1,000 but cannot be easily customized. Those designed especially for multi-site companies may cost tens of thousands of dollars. Most CMMS companies charge a base fee plus a per-user licensing fee, which can range from $1,500 to $40,000. Support and upgrades may incur an annual fee, usually one-fifth of the purchase price. Training may be included or charged separately. Web-hosted software is charged on a subscription basis and varies with the number of users. Monthly fees may be $50 to several hundred.

What is the difference between a CAFM and a CMMS? 

A CAFM (Computer-Aided Facility Management) is a larger package that not only addresses maintenance aspects but helps a facility manage all aspects including real estate usage. CMMS is usually part of a CAFM and takes a much more detailed approach to the maintenance aspect of running a business.

Do I need a CMMS or an EAM?

EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) software is a long-term, comprehensive solution that can scale with a company’s growth and focuses primarily on assets. A CMMS focuses more heavily on the overall maintenance systems and operations, including assets.

Who benefits most from a CMMS?

A wide variety of companies and organizations can benefit from a CMMS. Any business or group that has the responsibility to keep systems, equipment, or assets up and running may find that a CMMS helps prioritize maintenance tasks and can save them time and money in daily operations.

The greatest benefit will be realized within organizations that not only invest in a solid CMMS package but those who take the time and ongoing effort to keep team members trained and data accurate and up-to-date.