In recent years, Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) has become a household name in the facility management world. But this has not always been the case. When CMMS software was first introduced 50 years ago, its appeal at that time was limited to large manufacturing companies that could afford them. Early versions of CMMS software required large and costly centralized mainframe computers systems, and keypunch operators well versed in Fortran or Cobol computer languages to respectively, house and run them. However, since that time, CMMS software has evolved such that the newest versions make it attractive and affordable to businesses of all types and sizes. Today, the CMMS market has exploded by making its robust, powerful and user-friendly systems available to a growing number of companies spanning a broad range of industry, corporate and retail sectors. Here, I’ll provide a sampling of business of types and show how each can benefit from using CMMS software. Let’s start by first describing CMMS software and providing an overview of its most valued features.
What is CMMS Software?
CMMSs are powerful maintenance management systems that simplify asset management and streamline maintenance activities such as monitoring equipment conditions, utilization, and performance across locations in real-time. At the same time, the systems can also zero in on the status of any single piece of equipment and keep track of inventory levels. In general, CMMSs make it possible for maintenance managers to accurately predict maintenance requirements (using preventive maintenance programs) and operational costs of individual assets. A CMMS system not only accelerates day-to-day maintenance tasks, but it can also generate reports that facilitate accurate prioritization of maintenance based on risk. Finally, automated maintenance management systems are able to meet the unique and changing needs of companies large and small because they are highly customizable and are offered with a range of features, formats, price points and support options.
Most Valued CMMS Software Features
Cloud Based Software
Many CMMS systems offer a cloud-based deployment, which means the system can be accessed through a vendor’s server with all maintenance and upgrades provided remotely. With this platform, there is no need for any in-house system servers, support or additional security software. Overall, with cloud based CMMS software, the work, worry and added costs of maintenance and upgrades are all taken care of.
In some businesses, it is common for maintenance staff to be deployed to various locations within or outside of a facility. For example, a maintenance tech may be assigned to work within a facility and then later be deployed to carry out tasks off site. One of the most appealing features of CMMS software is its portability through mobile access capabilities that make it possible for maintenance technicians to place work orders, check inventory levels, order parts or generate reports etc. wherever they may be. Being able to access a CMMS dashboard from any device using WIFI or cellular connectivity is incredibly efficient because it reduces unnecessary time delays associated with having to rely on office based computers to complete these tasks.
Preventive maintenance (PM) programs provide maintenance managers with the assurance that all company assets are functioning optimally through regularly scheduled maintenance checks. With a PM in place, equipment lifespans are conserved with the added benefits of saving time, resources and money because unexpected and costly breakdowns that interfere with production cycles can be prevented. PMs can be set based on a number of variables including calendar, asset priority, repair histories, operation down times, inspection dates or equipment manufacturer standards. Using CMMS analytics, it is possible to assess equipment performance based on repair history, cost of repair, type of repair and downtime. The customizable function of PMs makes it possible to alter preventive maintenance schedules as needed based on the reports generated.
Image Capturing Capabilities
Mistakes are often made when a technician transcribes the wrong part or serial number that is needed to repair a piece of equipment. The best way to overcome this problem is by capturing the part barcode or serial number using an image. Using the bar code scanning feature through the mobile device app ensures that the correct part or piece of equipment will be ordered. Photo images of a piece of equipment and its location can also be captured. Both CMMS integrated features reduce often-costly delays when common mistakes are made.
Many CMMS software packages bundle technical supports into its pricing structure while other CMMS vendors sell supports as add-on features. CMMS supports are available to cover its customers from implementation through after care with the aim of having the system perform as it was designed. Of great importance is the implementation phase when all critical data relating to inventory, assets and users are entered along with configuration of preventive maintenance program schedules. CMMS vendors offer clients a choice of in house audits or remote and telephone tech support for implementation purposes as well as a variety of onboarding and after care resources to assist users in system use across time. These are available as online manuals, videos, email, chat and webinar recordings as well as telephone support.
Businesses that Use CMMS Software
Corporate Environments such as Information Technology (IT) – Unlike other business sectors, corporate environments do not manufacture or produce tangible products. Using the IT example, companies may be small start-ups or large multi-centered companies located across the country or globally. Their products are information that is stored and transmitted online. For these companies, their most important assets are the computers, hardware and servers they utilize often on a 24/7 basis. Apart from these essential pieces of equipment are others such as copy and fax machines and printers, as well as maintenance of service and work areas, and HVAC, lighting and plumbing systems, just to name a few.
Service Industries such as Restaurants
The food industry as represented by restaurants in this instance is a vibrant part of the economy and offers tremendous value to its customers. It is also a very competitive market where operating margins are tight and a single bad review could be devastating to its success. Restaurants of all sizes depend on the full functioning of all their equipment. A breakdown in anyone piece of equipment could be costly financially and in reputation. Because all major kitchen equipment is extremely costly and experience high and often-intense use, it must always be in optimal condition. Additionally, restaurants must adhere to stringent health and safety regulations and they often undergo random and unscheduled inspections. This means that all of restaurant operations must always be to code as fines may be issued or shut downs could occur. Finally, inventories must be kept at certain levels in order to meet service demands.
Transportation Industry such as Trucking
The trucking industry is and for decades, has been an integral part of the economy by making it possible to move goods across town, state or country. Timely deliveries are the hallmark of the trucking business. Regardless of how large an operation or how many vehicles in its fleet, business owners make money when its cargos are moving. Much of maintenance energies are directed toward ensuring that each vehicle is road worthy and meets safety standards. To do so, this requires exhaustive and ongoing maintenance checks on a variety of systems.
The above are just a few examples of businesses types that can benefit from CMMS software. While each is very different on many levels, they all share in the need to streamline their operations by extending equipment lifespans and by minimizing costs, labor utilization and resources. CMMS software systems are best defined not only by its powerful features but also by its ability to be customized according to a company’s specific needs, industry and asset type. CMMS software has the ability to serve its customers today and also as their businesses evolve and grow in the future.