Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has changed the landscape of maintenance operations. Over the past twenty years, a growing number of businesses large and small and across all corporate, industry and service sectors have traded in traditional “pencil and paper” approaches to maintenance management for automated systems. Among other things, CMMSs have made it possible for maintenance managers to move beyond simply managing inventories and placing work orders to scheduling preventive maintenance programs designed to keep all equipment in optimal condition that in turn increases their lifespans, maintains facility operations and saves money.
The CMMS industry is constantly evolving in response to marketplace demands. As businesses are confronted with economic challenges, changing technologies and market trends, maintenance management vendors are constantly enhancing their products to meet these demands. In addition, CMMS systems are now available in different formats (cloud based and on-site) and come with a range of features at different price points as well as support options. Considered together, today’s automated maintenance management systems can be customized to meet the requirements of all businesses regardless or their size, industry or budget.
To those new to CMMS products, the range of available options can be overwhelming and confusing. Since budgets and maintenance logistics are primary determinants when selecting a system that is the right fit for your business, it is important to be clear on what these products can actually do.
A good starting point is to understand their basic capabilities. CMMS systems have the ability to monitor inventory levels, track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and most important, they can instantly determine which company assets require preventive maintenance (PM). It is this latter feature - preventive maintenance - that forms the heart and soul of automated systems and the most valued aspect of CMMSs. The introduction of PMs into maintenance management software has been responsible for extended equipment lifespans, improved organization, better time management and labor utilization and ultimately, reduced operational costs and increased company profits.
Having covered the basic CMMS functions, there are also a number of CMMS softwares that are widely sought after by many customers. Here I’ll present the most popular ones.
Portability with Mobile Device Access
One of the most appealing applications of CMMS software is mobile device access which makes it possible for maintenance technicians to place work orders, check inventory levels, order parts or generate reports etc. while in the field. Being able to access a CMMS dashboard from any device with an Internet connection is an enormous time saver because it reduces unnecessary time delays when having to rely on office based computers to complete these tasks. With mobile device access, maintenance technicians are free to conduct all aspects of their work from wherever they may be.
Image Capturing Capabilities
Having mobile device accessibility also makes it possible for maintenance staff to capture images via bar code scanning and photos. These integrated CMMS software applications are able to accurately identify pieces of equipment in need of repair and capture a scanned image of a part’s barcode in need of replacement. Both features reduce often-costly delays associated with mistakes made regarding a piece of equipment being serviced or a part being ordered. There is no longer a need to search for a part using equipment serial numbers which when transposed incorrectly can result in unintended errors. Bar code scanning makes it possible to order parts accurately and quickly in a one-step process.
A number of automated maintenance management systems offer an integrated architectural drawings application that makes it possible to generate specifics on facility structures. Also known as blueprints, architectural drawings are a rendering of an architectural design as plan and/or elevation views of a building or structure. With this software application, many CMMSs make it possible for users to access them from the system dashboard using mobile or onsite devices. This CMMS application provides another way to identify the exact location of equipment as well as any electrical and plumbing placements that may impact its functioning. Having architectural drawings makes ordering new equipment easier because the exact placement of them within a space along with needed electrical and plumbing supports can be done precisely.
There is no doubt that maintenance management has taken a quantum leap with the introduction of automated software systems. Among other things, CMMSs in general reduce reactive or corrective maintenance costs, decrease equipment downtime and reduce technician utilization. This translates into better profit margins and improved company operations. Having the CMMS software applications noted simply adds greater flexibility and increased utility to an already exceptional product.