Finding the Best Maintenance Software: How to Choose a Maintenance Program
Choosing the right maintenance software is a big decision for any business. It takes a particular type of software that is specifically designed for maintenance needs, it must be reliable, and it should keep detailed records of work orders. And you want to find the very best system that fits your exact needs.
UpKeep is here to help. Starting with what maintenance software is at the most basic level and moving through the different types, attributes, and features that all quality maintenance software has, here’s how you can find the best maintenance software for your unique needs.
What is maintenance software?
Maintenance software is software that comes alongside your maintenance team to properly care for your assets, facilities, stock, inventory, and other things that need maintenance. Due to the wide range of things that need to be maintained, maintenance software solutions can be wildly different.
That’s where the four major types of maintenance software come into play.
The four types of maintenance software
Depending on the company’s needs, a selection is generally made among the different types of maintenance software. Sometimes multiple solutions are used together in order to serve the company’s needs. Let’s take a look at the types of software available and what they do best.
The first and one of the most common maintenance software systems is the computerized maintenance management system. These systems, at the highest level, are data management systems. Data is fed into a central system and calculations, predictions, and suggestions are made. CMMS systems allow requesters to submit work order requests and an admin can assign the task to a technician.
A CMMS is a good all-around system for most companies. It hits the spot between comprehensive and affordable. It’s also simpler and more intuitive. This results in higher levels of productivity and less friction during the software adoption process. Many companies find the shift to a CMMS much easier than the shift to more extensive maintenance software systems.
The next level of maintenance software after a CMMS is an EAM. Enterprise asset management software helps organizations manage every phase of the asset lifecycle. It facilitates the procurement of new assets, the maintenance, and usage of active assets, and the disposal of assets that have reached the end of their useful life.
This is no small task! EAM software is always complicated and convoluted, even in the most ideal situations. It performs best in companies that need this level of insight into their assets.
On the other side of the spectrum of business, some small companies simply need their employees to be able to know what they need to do. That’s where work order management software shines bright. This simple solution focuses on streamlining the work order process as much as possible.
While work order management software may seem simple, quality software can make a large difference for a small company. A solution that is smaller is more affordable and is easier to implement. This makes it ideal for smaller businesses and niche companies.
The last maintenance software type is inventory management software. As its name indicates, it’s solely focused on managing, tracking, and maintaining inventory. More advanced systems can use the Internet of Things to monitor inventory from half-way around the world, while barcodes and QR codes make more basic systems far easier to categorize and maintain.
Like work order management software, inventory management software is very good at doing its own thing. Unlike work order software, it’s much easier to scale up, particularly in inventory-heavy industries or niche warehouses.
Key features of maintenance software
Now that we’ve explored the different types of maintenance software, what are some of the key features that companies should look for in the different options that they are considering? Some of the main features that all maintenance software systems should have include:
- Asset management
- Data reporting
- Simple automation
- Preventative maintenance framework
- Predictive maintenance capabilities
- And work order fulfillment abilities
All maintenance software should be able to manage the company’s assets in some way, shape or form. This can include tracking, replacing, and maintaining assets. These abilities are key, especially when you have expensive assets like equipment and facilities that need careful management.
Data reporting rests on adequate data collection and report generation abilities. All comprehensive maintenance software systems should have these. It should also be easy to access the reports and the data should be easy to read. Good data reporting is especially needed when you are trying to scale your business.
In some way or another, maintenance software should allow you to eliminate time-consuming tasks usually done by a worker. This can include automatically updating your inventory counts, sending out the appropriate reports to the people who need them, tracking your shipments with the click of a button, and more.
Preventative maintenance framework
Preventative maintenance has been on the rise in the past few years, with many facilities and producers using it and generating great results. Much of this can be attributed to preventive maintenance practices that rest on data. Your software should be able to collect the data necessary for you to put a preventative maintenance plan into practice.
Predictive maintenance is a type of condition-maintenance that uses sensors to monitor a company’s assets. It can also be used to minimize problems in the workplace and dovetails neatly with a quality maintenance software plan. The sensors and data collection that are integral parts of a maintenance software system should also enable companies to set up predictive maintenance strategies, all within the same overarching system.
Work order fulfillment
Work order fulfillment for parts should be easy. A great maintenance software system can dramatically simplify the process, while a poor system can cause a trainwreck of work orders in a very short period of time. The work order fulfillment process should also be simple to understand and easy to customize. Overly complicated systems or systems that are rigid can cause a lot more trouble than they are worth, especially in the long haul.
What to look for when choosing your maintenance program
So far, we’ve looked at an overview of ideal maintenance software solutions. This is helpful on a conceptual level, but what should companies focus on when they are faced with an array of solutions, of which only a few will work?
Integrations with your current systems
Your maintenance program should be able to integrate with your other systems, particularly if you use mainstream solutions. That being said, maintenance programs should also be able to work in tandem with custom company processes. The solution should always be able to work for the company, not the other way around.
Integrations with physical products
Integrations with things like sensors are what set apart future-proof maintenance software from those that have limited use and a hard deadline. While not every company has the resources or the ability to implement a full-fledged Internet of Things network, their maintenance software needs to have the ability to integrate with physical assets, products, and things in some way.
It’s becoming commonplace to do things on your phone. Why should your CMMS be any different? Mobile access to your CMMS, EAM, or other maintenance system streamlines almost every aspect of maintenance. It enables employees to cut down on the amount of time that they have to spend on administrative tasks, such as manual tracking or organizing.
Ease of use
Lastly, maintenance software should be easy to use and fairly straightforward for new employees and personnel to learn. Highly complicated systems have their place, but it is generally not in maintenance. And when in doubt, ask for a demonstration. While it may not show you the full range of the product, it can give you a good feeling for how complicated the system is and whether it will be a good fit or not.
Industries that need maintenance software
While every industry needs some form of maintenance, not all industries need maintenance software. Here is a selection of the major industries that need maintenance software with practical applications of it.
Shipping fleet and logistics
Tracking and maintaining your fleet, whether it’s cars, vans, or golf carts is a complicated task. The shipping and logistics industry is probably the industry that depends on maintenance software the most. And it’s well understood that this industry, in particular, has a lot of potential in the future, with things such as the Internet of Things, automation, and more.
In all fairness, agriculture is not one of the industries that most people think about when they consider maintenance software. However, in order for agriculture to be successful, you need a large group of machines working together in sync. These machines also need to be monitored and maintained. These factors combine to make agriculture maintenance software a force to be reckoned with.
Manufacturing and production
Manufacturing and production companies constantly and consistently need to minimize errors and keep the consistency of production in order to stay competitive. One of the best ways that these companies can do that is by automating their processes. Maintenance software comes alongside these teams and enables them to get more done in less time than ever before.
Food and beverage
New technologies and new customer demands are always pushing the food and beverage industry to the limit. Maintenance software frees up the companies from simple, repetitive tasks and enables them to push their horizons into the future.
Power and energy
The power and energy infrastructure is one of the key networks that hold much of our facilities together today. Because of how many people and businesses rely on the power and energy industry, maintenance and maintenance systems are of paramount importance. Having a digital history of parts can go a long way.
How UpKeep can help you
UpKeep is truly the superior option, not just because of the selection of features and the ease of use, but because of our unique combination of all the above. Than makes up the groundwork all of our maintenance software solutions. It’s as simple as that.
Try our solution today for free and see what makes UpKeep the premier maintenance software solution among the rest.