What Are the Key Differences Between CMMS & EAM?

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When it comes to choosing the best maintenance management solution for maintaining physical assets in the most efficient manner, there are two options; Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

What Does a CMMS Do?

Manufacturing has evolved over time, from the first mechanical boom at the end of the 18th century to the introduction of production lines in the 20th century. Over the past few decades manufacturing processes have been supported by software systems to transform raw materials into finished goods. One of which, was a CMMS.

CMMS tools have been around for more than 35 years. Before a CMMS made it easy to manage work orders, punch cards were used to remind factory technicians to complete tasks.

Mainframe computers and an emphasis on automation introduced CMMS tools, which automated a business’s manual maintenance processes in core areas such as work orders, inventory control, and proactive maintenance.

CMMS Workflow Areas

The primary functions of a CMMS are to:

  1. Maintain Asset Registers

    Basic and advanced asset details, maintenance records, service management schedule, work plan, and details of service/maintenance engineers are recorded in a CMMS system.

    Typically businesses also have an opportunity to link relationships between engineers, assets, and their maintenance history.

  2. Drive Proactive and Preventive maintenance

    Maintenance costs can be optimised by 12 to 18% by controlling maintenance cycles. CMMS provides the platform and the workflow to manage maintenance cycles – be it a reactive, predictive, or preventative maintenance cycles.

  3. Streamline Work Order Management

    Maintenance management involves internal and external work orders, which can be resource-oriented and/or material-oriented. A CMMS provides the workflows to manage and report on all work orders while being able to track work order statuses in real-time.

  4. Provide Visibility for Inventory Management

    A CMMS keeps track of details such as part numbers, descriptions, suppliers, and spare parts. It can also provide alerts if the inventory falls below a pre-defined threshold level. Eventually helping to automate the ordering process to make sure stock levels are kept replenished and avoiding unplanned downtime.

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What Does an EAM System Do?

EAM Software takes a holistic view of the complete asset lifecycle management including planning, procurement, operations, and disposal of assets. Whereas a CMMS is used primarily to manage the maintenance of equipment and machinery

EAM systems are typically used by industries that rely heavily on the use and availability of their assets. The overall goal of an EAM system is to control and measure asset performance. By doing so, businesses can maximize usability, reduce expenses, improve maintenance processes, and enhance the quality and efficiency of workflows.

EAM Workflow

The main function of an enterprise asset management system is to:

  1. Plan and Analyse the Asset Life Cycle

    EAM offers ‘financial planning to disposal’ lifecycle management of assets. It maintains information at every stage of the asset life cycle from procurement records, maintenance management records, compliance, and asset disposal details.

  2. Configure Asset Workflows

    An asset is viewed differently by different teams. Production teams view assets as a means to drive production, maintenance teams to optimise asset uptime, finance teams for asset profitability, and compliance teams to ensure safety.

    EAM offers different asset perspectives based on a role/department. One can plan inspections, track warranties, track high priority work order statuses, reasons for delays and overdue notifications amongst other features.

  3. Link Asset Uptime with Profitability

    Since EAM has a 360-degree view of an asset, it is equipped to link asset uptime and asset life with profitability. The value of assets needs to be recorded/updated on a continuous basis for accounting purposes. EAM provides a vital framework to value assets across their useful life.

Side By Side: The Difference Between CMMS and EAM

As a trend, both EAM and CMMS vendors are adopting capabilities to understand machine to machine connections. Whilst EAM and CMMS software for a long time had the capability to be connected with plant equipment using SCADA or Data Historian, the contemporary trend is to derive intelligence from the data rather than just collect the data.

The real difference between CMMS & EAM

CMMS and EAM are the two solutions that offer maintenance-oriented solutions in the manufacturing industry. Often they are perceived to be one and the same thing, which they are not.




Fundamental ConceptDesigned to address total asset lifecycle managementDesigned to drive asset uptime
Key CapabilitiesCapital Planning, Asset Procurement, Asset Installation, Workflow Layouts, Production Load Management, Asset Maintenance, Compliance Management, Asset Risk Management & Asset DisposalReactive, Proactive, Preventive and Preventative Maintenance Management Workflows. *Some CMMS software options include EAM capabilities
UsageUsers from Finance, Maintenance, Operations, Productions and Compliance teamsUsers from Maintenance and Operations teams
ImplementationSince they are enterprise-wide systems they tend to have Phased Implementation CyclesSingle Implementation Cycles
Decision MakingC-Level Suite, Maintenance and Operations TeamsTypically Maintenance and Operations Teams
Ideal ApplicationAsset-intensive industries focused on managing the asset lifecycleAsset-intensive industries focused on driving asset-uptime.