Short for Computerised Maintenance Management System, CMMS software is a way of helping asset-intensive organisations to digitally manage their assets and effectively schedule maintenance. As a maintenance manager or member of your company’s maintenance and facility team, you’re responsible for making sure physical equipment is available at all times. With the help of essential maintenance management tools found in typical CMMS solutions, such as asset tracking, preventive maintenance scheduling, and work order management, you can maximise asset reliability and begin to eliminate costly unplanned downtime.
Although finding the best CMMS system to suit your maintenance activities can seem like an overwhelming task, making sure you implement the right software solution is essential for managing the maintenance life cycle of your critical assets. In this guide to finding the best CMMS software solution, we’ll cover:
CMMS software (short for Computerised Maintenance Management System) is a digital tool that simplifies your planned, preventative, and reactive maintenance management. It offers a common tool for your office and field-based teams to plan, track, execute, and report on your maintenance activities.
The main role of a CMMS solution is to reduce asset expenditure and eliminate costly equipment downtime. As well as streamlining the repair and replacement processes of mission-critical assets such as equipment and machinery.
A CMMS system is most commonly implemented across industries that rely heavily on the upkeep of their physical equipment and infrastructure. Such as oil and gas production, the utility sector, manufacturing, engineering, construction, and transportation.
The functions of a CMMS enable businesses to gain a holistic view of their assets and maintenance tasks throughout their facilities. Including maintenance and repair schedules, inventory and spare parts, and health and safety processes.
A CMMS solution is packed full of tools and features that help you to effectively streamline your maintenance tasks. But, depending on your maintenance requirements and the best CMMS software for your processes, features can vary. Most typical features found in CMMS systems include:
Work order management is typically seen as the main feature of a CMMS system. It provides essential capabilities to maintenance teams and enables them to create, track, complete, and analyse work orders throughout the organisation. This allows you to:
By utilising IoT (Internet of Things) devices, in the form of sensors and trackers, with a CMMS solution you’re able to continually monitor and analyse the condition of each mission-critical asset. This enables maintenance managers and technicians to build preventive/preventative maintenance schedules based on dates, meter readings, times, usage, and triggered events.
An important part of ensuring the availability of equipment is through effective asset management. As part of a CMMS solution, asset management offers an effective way for you to track, store, organise, and share data regarding all company assets. This allows you to:
For a business that relies heavily on the upkeep of its assets, CMMS software provides a range of benefits that can have a positive effect on your maintenance management activities. The benefits of a typical CMMS solution include:
The benefits of a CMMS solution can also be broken down into three groups; technical CMMS benefits, operational benefits, and business benefits.
Your organisation is likely to use your chosen Computerised Maintenance Management Software for 3 to 5 years (Calculated based on analysing average customer life of our 921 CMMS software buyers). So it pays to invest time in choosing a system that will form the basis of your maintenance program.
In the UK, there are 96 software vendors who provide equipment management and CMMS systems. As a result, it can be time-consuming and confusing to look at multiple systems without having a clear idea of your requirements. The 15 points below have been written to clarify your thoughts and assist you in choosing the best CMMS system to meet your requirements.
Clarify Your Readiness to Adopt a CMMS System and Quantify Your Deliverables
Over 93% of new CMMS software buyers use a spreadsheet and paper-based methods before implementing a cloud-based CMMS system. Data entry, maintenance workflow and reporting are fundamentally different in a CMMS system.
Moving away from the existing manual approach to a new system requires taking a fresh perspective on your maintenance program. There is no point in just replicating your current methods in a new CMMS system. For example; with a spreadsheet-based system, most of the maintenance program is reactive or meter-based. However, using a web-based CMMS tool will require you to switch to a preventative maintenance mode.
Implementing a new CMMS system is best viewed as taking a new perspective on your maintenance culture and strategy.
Leading maintenance teams assign maintenance-oriented targets to be achieved with a new CMMS system. For example; if you have 500 equipment, your current maintenance cost is £200,000 and the average age of equipment is 4.5 years. With a new CMMS system, your maintenance cost should come down to the range of £160,000 to £180,000, and the average age per equipment should increase by 7 to 16%.
|Maintenance Parameters||Current System||Targets for New CMMS System|
|Number of Equipment||500||500|
|Maintenance cost per Equipment||6% per annum||2.5 to 4% per annum|
|Equipment Life||4.5 years||5.5 to 7 years|
Identify Equipment and Maintenance Data That You Would Like to Hold.
The basis of a cost-saving and impactful maintenance program is concise and correct data. Too much data becomes overwhelming for technicians and users, while too little data creates ‘not enough information’ scenarios.
Existing sources like accounting software, spreadsheet, and asset tracking systems can be a good source to import data into your CMMS system. If you have tagged your assets, then the best CMMS systems can easily read the equipment data.
Work orders instruction, health and safety information, data about your office and field-based teams, material, inventory and contractors are some of the vital areas that require identification before looking out for your best CMMS system.
Establish Your Work Order Types
As you decide to switch from manual to digital work orders, establishing the type of your work order is a good starting point.
If you are migrating from a spreadsheet-based maintenance program, then your work order book is likely to look much different with a CMMS software. The level of planned, preventative and predictive maintenance will increase by at least 40 to 60%. Also, the level of information you can hold and analyse is substantially different with Computerised Maintenance Management Software. For example; asset data, skillset data, resource availability, equipment condition, place of maintenance, health and safety information, and previous maintenance history can all be reviewed from your work order.
Another element to think about here is who your work order creators are. It is not unusual for work order requests to be from end users of your equipment or facility in which case, you require the work order fields to be simple and intuitive.
Identify Your Planned Maintenance Framework
There is a saying in the maintenance industry, “If you ask ten different maintenance engineers for the definition of planned maintenance, you will get ten different answers”. We suggest you work with the framework that works best for you.
However, it is useful to be clear about your planned maintenance framework. This maintenance can be an inspection routine to decide on preventative maintenance tasks or it can be a condition or interval-based light maintenance activities.
Get an Idea of Your Preventative Maintenance Program
Preventative maintenance is a maintenance program for each of your equipment and is based on time, interval, meter reading or regulatory compliance.
For example; Changing the timing belt of your centrifugal pump every 12 months, after winter production run, after a reading of 60,000 cycle counts, or due to safety compliance will be examples of preventative maintenance program. In effect, preventative maintenance is derived from understanding data from the mean time between failures.
Below are some of the key elements that we suggest you investigate for your preventative maintenance program.
- Maintenance tools and equipment
- Skillset Required
- Location of maintenance
- A requirement of external contractors
- Equipment warranty
- Manufacturer’s instructions
- A requirement of leased equipment
Identify if You Need Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is a maintenance program based on understanding the condition of the equipment using Vibration Analysis, Lubrication Analysis, Motor Circuit Analysis, Visual Inspections, Infrared Thermography, Ultrasonic Analysis and other advanced condition monitoring techniques. Manufacturer’s data, production runs, benchmarking industry maintenance plans and behaviour of the equipment are taken into account to understand the condition of your equipment.
Predictive maintenance is an advanced maintenance program mostly relevant to production or operations critical assets.
It is recommended to consider the suitability of predictive maintenance as it can have impactful changes to your maintenance, asset life and cost optimisation parameters.
Understand You Are Going to Address Reactive Maintenance Events
Even with a new CMMS software, you are very likely to undertake reactive maintenance tasks. Speed of response and quality of failure information are crucial elements in handling reactive situations.
Typically, you will need to mobilise people and equipment. Quite often, temporary replacement equipment might be necessary. While you are deciding about your new CMMS software, it will be beneficial to know how you plan to deal with reactive situations and how your CMMS system can deal with it.
In a reactive situation, modern Computerised Maintenance Management Software will allow you to get an idea of the tools, people and instructions required to address reactive tasks.
Note Your Mobile CMMS Requirements
Whether you plan to rely on external maintenance contractors or your field-based team, your mobile CMMS requirements must ideally be noted in detail.
To start with, mobile hardware devices have access to compromises. Tablets can be difficult to carry especially in space-limited maintenance zones. These devices also have screen size limitations.
While a web-based or cloud-based mobile CMMS solution is responsive (adjusts itself based on the type of device), flipping across multiple screens to find and input information requires consideration.
Clarify Your Service Management Requirements
From a definition viewpoint, service management is an agreed maintenance plan with your customer. Quite often, there tends to be a service level agreement with your customer. This management often involves light maintenance activities like inspection, oil change, consumables replacement and cleaning. The one area which makes this different from maintenance management is tracking vehicle/fleet status.
However, this requirement can be addressed by most CMMS systems.
Identify Your Field Maintenance Requests
“Who is going to log your maintenance requests” is a very crucial topic for your CMMS selection (hence we are mentioning it twice). Quite often, service or breakdown requests are logged by end-users of the product.
It is vital to understand where and how the requests are going to be logged. For instance, there are 2-3 types of users who log breakdown and failure requests. Mode of logging requests include email, maintenance portals, calls, or help desks. These are important to note as they will help you in asking relevant questions and identifying the suitability of CMMS solutions as you see demos of different products.
Another key element here is the requirements of your maintenance team on the roads, who are likely to require restocking of tools, flexible inventory delivery points, vehicle servicing, and access to a printer for work orders amongst other things. It is highly recommended to note these details as they will help you identify a CMMS tool that fits well in your maintenance workflows.
Establish Your Framework to Monitor Your Maintenance Activities with Maintenance Reports
Most CMMS system will have 100’s of standard inbuilt report templates. We suggest you identify 5 to 10 reports that will be most useful to you. Typically, they revolve around:
- Key Maintenance Trends
- Over Maintenance or Under maintenance
- Track Labour and Material Usage
- Work Order Book by Status
- Resource Availability and Skillset
- Critical Assets
- Weak Assets
One of the biggest benefits of moving from a manual spreadsheet-based maintenance program to a CMMS system is the insight and maintenance intelligence that your system can develop. Quite often, reports are not viewed as part of the developing maintenance intelligence of your organisation.
Map your Maintenance Plan with Your Enterprise Asset Management Plan
Maintenance is a part of managing the complete life of your assets. There are activities linked to maintenance, such as initial capital planning, procurement, asset appreciation or depreciation and the final disposal.
As you are planning to deploy a new CMMS software, it would be advantageous to take pre-maintenance and post-maintenance approaches to your maintenance.
Total asset lifecycle management typically has a considerable effect on Total Equipment Effectiveness and can therefore positively impact your maintenance program.
You are likely to deploy a well-accepted CMMS system if you collaborate with different teams that benefit from your maintenance management initiatives.
Review and Benchmark Maintenance Programs from Your Industry
Although each business is different, there are numerous areas which overlap between businesses within the same industry.
- Retail Maintenance Management Solutions require a special focus on managing different types of refrigerators
- Facilities sector quite often use a combination of internal and external maintenance contractors
- Maintenance systems in the manufacturing sector always require strong planning and scheduling features
Identify if Your Equipment Transmits Data About Themselves
Over the last 5 to 7 years, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of equipment which has advanced sensors and thermostats that can emit data about themselves. For example; a compressor can emit data about its operating conditions like temperature, pressure, meter readings, cycle counts and other elements.
If you plan to buy internet-enabled equipment then ensure that your new CMMS system can import and handle data emitted from different equipment.
Equipment that emits data can help enormously with predictive and planned maintenance. In most cases, equipment is capable of informing you about potential maintenance and failure issues.
Be Aware of Cognitive Maintenance
There are CMMS systems that can develop patterns from historic maintenance plans, correlate with equipment performance, manufacturer’s data and industry benchmarks. All of this is possible using machine learning algorithms.
As of now, most of these systems apply to CapEx heavy and asset-intensive industries like Oil and Gas, Energy, Power, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing. If you are looking for an advanced CMMS system, then it might be useful to investigate cognitive, machine learning or Industry 4.0 features.