The Real Difference between CMMS and EAM

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CMMS or EAM? The debate has raged for years.

Manufacturing has evolved over time, from the first mechanical loom at the end of the 18th century to the 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.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

The real difference between CMMS & EAM


Asset Maintenance, Inventory Management, Work Order Generation and Work Scheduling have been critical components in manufacturing processes.

Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Enterprise Asset Management (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.

CMMS Workflow Areas

What Does a CMMS Do?

CMMS systems have been around for more than 35 years. Before CMMS systems, Punch cards were used to remind factory technicians to complete tasks.

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Mainframe computers and the emphasis on automation introduced CMMS Systems which automated the manual processes in a few core areas like Work Orders, Inventory control, and Preventive maintenance.

The primary functions of a CMMS are to:

  1. Maintain your asset register

    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 you 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 your maintenance cycles – be it a reactive, proactive, preventive or preventative maintenance cycles or instances.

  3. Streamline work order management

    Maintenance management involves internal and external work orders – they can be resource oriented and/or material oriented. CMMS provides the workflows to manage and report on your work orders.

  4. Provide visibility for Inventory management

    CMMS keeps track of details like part numbers, description, supplier and spare parts of equipment. They can also provide alerts if the inventory falls below a pre-defined threshold level.

EAM Workflow

What Does an EAM System Do?

EAM Software takes a holistic view on assets involving procurement, operations, productions, and disposal of assets.

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It’s main functions are to:

  1. Plan and analyse asset life cycle

    EAM offers ‘financial planning-to-disposal’ lifecycle management of assets. It maintains information on every stage of asset status. For example; procurement records, maintenance management records, compliance and asset disposal details.

  2. Configure asset workflows

    An asset is viewed differently by different teams. Production team view an asset as a means to drive their production, maintenance to optimise asset uptime, finance for asset profitability and compliance team to ensure safety. EAM offers different asset perspectives based on your role/department.

    One can plan inspection, track warranties, track high priority work order statuses, reasons for delays and overdue notifications amongst other features.

  3. Link asset uptime with production and 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 your assets across its lifetime.

    EAM is a tool to manage the lifecycle of an asset and hence is an enterprise tool. CMMS is a niche maintenance specific tool and is widely used by maintenance or service management teams.

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.