The State of CMMS Adoption in 2019

Ryan Chan

The CMMS is the most popular way for maintenance teams to track maintenance tasks and programs. In a survey UpKeep conducted with 271 maintenance managers, 39% of said they used a CMMS. Others stated using pen and paper (21%), spreadsheets (28%), or no system at all (12%).

How Maintenance Tasks Are Tracked

Given the fact that CMMS software has existed for decades, a 39% adoption rate seems low at first. But it’s important to remember that, until recently, organizations had to go through laborious processes to install maintenance software on-premise. This software was also expensive and hard to use.

Today, there are cloud-based CMMS products that are more intuitive and ready to go out of the box. No onsite installation is required.

Larger maintenance teams use more advanced maintenance tracking systems.

It’s refreshing to see that organizations with 21-50 technicians or 50+ technicians are at least using some system to organize maintenance operations. And, as the size of the maintenance team increases, the usage of pen and paper decreases.

Maintenance teams with 50+ technicians use pen and paper the least (7%) and CMMS products the most (60%), though spreadsheets are still fairly popular among large teams.

How Maintenance Tasks Are Tracked by Team Size

Sixty-one percent of maintenance managers find implementing new software somewhat challenging.

Even though CMMS products are easier to use and install today, the majority of maintenance managers find it either somewhat challenging (34%), challenging (17%), or very challenging (10%) to get their team to adopt new software and processes. The remainder find it either easy (25%) or very easy (14%).

Are you one of the 39% who implement CMMS software with relative ease? Share your tactics for alleviating the challenges of CMMS adoption here on the Maintenance Talk forum.

Challenging implementation is problematic when the main reason maintenance managers use a CMMS is to organize maintenance operations and make their lives easier.

When asked to choose among five reasons for why they use a CMMS, an overwhelming majority said for organization (75%). Runners up were related to cost-savings (increase profits) and productivity (wrench time).

Top 3 Reasons CMMS Software Is Used

These responses show that acquiring a CMMS is only the first step to organizing and improving maintenance operations. A necessary second step is to reduce friction in adoption. To do this, maintenance managers can:

  • Document new processes that include CMMS workflows
  • Request initial setup and onsite training from the CMMS provider
  • Require technicians to attend product training webinars offered by the CMMS provider

There’s a gap between the importance of work orders and how they are updated by technicians.

The need for proper CMMS training and onboarding is evident in the gap between work order importance and how work orders are updated.

When asked what maintenance managers use their CMMS for — managing work orders, managing inventory, managing assets, or viewing historical maintenance activity — managing work orders was the most upvoted option (65% of all CMMS users). However, not every organization has technicians that properly update work orders.

One of the core benefits of a CMMS offers today is the ability to update work orders in the field with a mobile CMMS app. But only 52% of maintenance managers say their technicians do this. Others say they update work orders after completing them from a desktop computer (38%) or don’t update them at all (10%).

To summarize: about 4 out of 10 organizations have technicians that are unnecessarily wasting time making trips to the shop and 1 out of 10 organizations are not utilizing their CMMS for what it’s primarily designed for.

On a more positive note, mobile CMMS apps are relatively new. Therefore, a 50% adoption rate is strong for an industry that was once only offered outdated software options.

Additional Insights

The State of Planned Maintenance in 2019

The State of Maintenance Operations in 2019


271 maintenance professionals (manager level and above) who use the free or paid version of UpKeep responded to this survey. Respondents were in one of four industries: manufacturing, facility management, property management, or fleet management. Responses were largely North American (US and Canada) based, but did include international responses as well. If you want responses broken out by industry, team size, or something else, please email us.

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