Computerized Maintenance Management System: Definition and Tips
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Equipment maintenance is essential for many industries to remain profitable. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are valuable tools that help organizations efficiently maintain and extend their assets' life spans. If you're involved in asset maintenance or management, you might want to learn whether having a CMMS is a good idea for your organization. In this article, we discuss what a CMMS is, what you can use it for, the benefits of using one and tips for choosing a CMMS for your company.
What is a computerized maintenance management system?
A CMMS is a type of software organizations can use to help coordinate and manage maintenance needs and activities. Computerized maintenance management systems can store information in a centralized location and allow employees and management to access that information efficiently across multiple sites.
The information stored in a CMMS includes work orders, maintenance reports and inventory levels. A CMMS can be useful for companies ranging from small, single-owner businesses to large, multisite organizations. Types of industries that can benefit from a CMMS include retail, hospitality, food and beverage, manufacturing and health care.
Related: 10 Facilities Manager Career Goals
Uses for a CMMS
Here are ways you can use a CMMS to benefit your organization:
Manage asset inventory: A CMMS can monitor assets, such as tools and equipment, and anticipate each asset's useful life span based on factors like usage.
Manage work orders: Your CMMS can help you schedule, assign and record work orders.
Automate maintenance inventory orders: You can use a CMMS to keep a log of necessary maintenance inventory, such as spare parts, and schedule orders or send automatic notifications when supplies are low.
Generate maintenance reports: A CMMS can create and store asset maintenance reports.
Manage preventive maintenance: Your CMMS can potentially recommend preventive maintenance by monitoring your equipment's meters, usage and parameters.
Manage predictive maintenance: A CMMS can also monitor other indicators of asset condition, such as noise and temperature, to recommend unscheduled maintenance.
Benefits of a CMMS
The potential benefits of using a CMMS include:
Reduce costs and downtime
A CMMS can help you avoid asset downtime. By performing regular preventive and predictive maintenance if issues arise, you can reduce the chance of an unexpected failure removing an asset from work processes. Also, you can use the CMMS to order supplies automatically when inventory gets low, with enough lead time to receive new stock before running out of old stock. You can avoid ordering too much inventory and avoid costs associated with waiting for needed items or repairs.
Comply with regulations
With a CMMS, you can schedule maintenance and have maintenance records available during audits. You can also record health and safety issues and keep a log of steps taken to address incidents. Using a CMMS might help you better maintain your equipment, reducing the risk of safety incidents.
Access asset information quickly
Computerized maintenance management systems usually have user-friendly displays that help you find or generate reports, work orders and maintenance records quickly. Many team members, such as management and maintenance staff, can access the information from different locations and make orders or update statuses. By displaying information about assets in a way that's easy to navigate and interpret, you can potentially reduce maintenance time by helping employee s get the information they need quickly.
You can usually program a CMMS to track existing inventory and anticipate future inventory needs. The CMMS often has an option to automate orders. It can record information about the vendors you have purchased from in the past or automatically request quotes to help you choose a vendor. The CMMS saves time by gathering the information you need so you can make a quick decision or place an order without requiring your input.
Many computerized maintenance management systems have mobile application features. These apps often have an offline option, which can sync with the central data storage when a connection is available. Mobile applications allow multiple employees to access the CMMS from the worksite, including field locations.
EAM vs. CMMS
EAM is short for enterprise asset management. An EAM differs from a CMMS because it monitors an asset through each phase of its life span. A CMMS focuses on an asset's maintenance history. A CMMS works best for physical assets with physical maintenance and repair needs, while an EAM can also work for nonphysical assets.
An organization can use an EAM to help monitor an asset's impact on the organization, such as its overall financial impact throughout its life span. A CMMS monitors the asset's useful life and can help keep it working for as long as possible. An EAM package might include a CMMS as one of many features.
Related: How To Get a Job in Asset Management
Tips for choosing a CMMS
When selecting a CMMS, think about the type of business, the functionality you need and the challenges you face. Features to look for might include:
Ease of use: You might want easy-to-learn software so you can deploy it to a large workforce with minimal time lost to training.
Technical support: Different CMMS options might include varying levels of support. For example, you might want support staff to help you learn to use and refine your CMMS.
Integration: It might help if the CMMS can integrate with other technology in the organization, such as sharing asset performance and usage information or staff records.
Application: Consider whether the CMMS includes a mobile application. An app with offline usefulness can particularly help employees in the field.
Price: One of the critical factors to consider might be the price of the CMMS and any payment programs associated with it. Consider whether the potential savings are worth the cost of the CMMS software you want.
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