What is CMMS Software?

by ManagerPlus on March 12, 2020

As growing organizations seek to digitize and streamline maintenance activities, they are investing in computerized maintenance management system—also known as CMMS.

In fact, the global market for CMMS software is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by the end of 2024, according to a recent MarketWatch news release.

A computerized maintenance management software helps managers prioritize critical maintenance so they can extend the useful life of their assets. Here’s a closer look at CMMS, how they work, and what to look for if you’re considering investing in a maintenance management platform.

What Is CMMS software?

A computerized maintenance management software system is designed primarily to manage assets and maintenance activities. Rather than relying on solitary spreadsheets, CMMS software gives managers an integrated, accessible, digital system to store the detailed information they need, including: 

  • Types of assets, their ages and locations
  • Lease or ownership information
  • Service requests and work orders
  • Parts inventory
  • Maintenance activities
  • Inspections

This collection of data gives managers and their teams a comprehensive view of asset maintenance as well as insight into the total cost of asset ownership.

CMMS benefits

Clipboards and paper maintenance records have obvious limitations. Meanwhile, a CMMS platform not only stores data for easy access, but it also streamlines manual processes, ensuring better productivity and accountability.

The best CMMS solutions on the market today are cloud-based, mobile, and offer access to real-time data. They also have an intuitive user interface. A CMMS platform should help facilities managers and maintenance leaders gain efficiencies in a number of areas.   

Improve equipment uptime

Let’s face it. Downtime is a drag on productivity as well as profitability. With a CMMS platform, managers can insightfully streamline maintenance and work order processes to achieve maximum uptime. 

Reduce overall maintenance costs

A well-organized maintenance strategy quantifies manpower, parts, and downtime against the cost of asset replacement. A CMMS balances the equation to ensure maintenance expenditures always make business sense.

Optimize and automate preventive maintenance

Deferred maintenance can put machines, vehicles, and equipment at risk of failure. And asset failure means downtime, reduced productivity, worker stress, and safety concerns. CMMS platforms keep preventive maintenance schedules in check, so nothing “falls through the cracks.” With the right system, repetitive tasks can be scheduled with one action, saving time and ensuring follow-through.

Extend the useful life of assets

Getting the best return on investment means getting the most life out of every asset. By mining the data stored in a CMMS platform, managers can discern how the overall maintenance strategy impacts the longevity of their investments, then adjust accordingly to maximize lifecycles. 

Handle service requests more efficiently

Unplanned-maintenance concerns must be addressed quickly to minimize costly downtime. The power of a CMMS platform is its ability to immediately alert managers who can deploy the appropriate repair teams, then track the progress of work orders in real-time. The end result is a faster fix with greater accountability. 

Improve asset tracking

Administrative tasks can burden a business. That’s why CMMS platforms must enable teams to get more done in less time. Instead of chasing assets, teams should be able to use their CMMS tools to find all the information they need, when they need it, so they can act quickly.

Contribute to business growth

Growing companies must have enterprise-level information at their fingertips so they can make the most out of market opportunities. With a CMMS, every asset is accounted for individually, by category, and in the overall context of profitability.

Who uses CMMS software?

Facility managers and maintenance professionals from a wide range of industries rely on a computerized maintenance management system software to maximize their asset performance. In particular, it’s ideal for organizations with a large number of assets and/or maintenance needs, such as: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Government 
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Energy, oil, and gas
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Education
  • Retail
  • Food service

For example, Envirosystems Inc. uses its CMMS to manage a fleet of more than 800 vehicles. Envirosystems performs hazardous waste and chemical clean-up for a range of heavy industries—including oil and gas—and vehicles are especially important assets and therefore a fleet maintenance software plays an important role.

Within the first year of implementing its CMMS, the company saw vehicle maintenance costs decline significantly. Tow truck calls were virtually eliminated, and preventive maintenance stayed true to schedule. 

Beyond vehicles, CMMS platforms are also adept at managing equipment and machines that stay in a fixed spot.

For example, Deer Valley Resort implemented a CMMS and discovered that having one centralized system to manage equipment at more than a dozen locations helped the organization save time and money. Leaders quickly noticed they were able to see parts inventory in all of their buildings, allowing maintenance managers to avoid duplicate purchases. Thanks to the CMMS insight, teams utilized in-stock items and leveled up to smarter reorders and consistent inventory levels. 

CMMS software trends

Today’s maintenance leaders know that past experience is a critical driver of future success. The greater the experience, the sharper the decision-making. However, as more and more industries adopt digital tools, going with your gut can no longer be the sole strategy.

Decisions must be made with precision. Outcomes must be predicted and evaluated against the backdrop of business objectives.

Data now plays a bigger role than ever for maintenance and facilities leaders. They’re increasingly being brought to the table with executives to discuss the bottom-line business impact of daily operations, asset investments, and future opportunities. 

Such discussions must also connect the dots between the data and the real world.

CMMS platforms are designed to track and schedule maintenance, of course, but they have advanced to provide modern capabilities that reflect today’s tech-enabled management strategies. The ability to condense data, assemble it into visual reports, and share those reports across the enterprise is now a business imperative.

That’s something maintenance leaders simply can’t produce from a dog-eared stack of paper work orders.

What to look for when considering CMMS solutions

With so many CMMS software solutions on the market today, how do you know which is right for your organization? Here are a few questions that can guide you in your decision. 

1. What functionality do you need?  

Is the required system functionality primarily related to maintenance, or do you also need to manage other aspects of the business? If you need to manage other areas, such as planning for office moves or scheduling conference rooms, you might need an integrated workplace management system (IWMS). 

CMMS platforms tend to focus on managing facilities and assets—such as vehicles, heavy equipment, machines, instruments, electronics, and other resources. Look for systems that allow you to track and maintain exactly the type of assets your business counts on. Being able to categorize a drill press differently than a computer monitor, for example, allows you to capture the right type of data.

2. What data do you need to capture? 

Your industry and your assets will dictate what type of data you need to collect. Keep in mind that some data inputs will change over time. Your CMMS should allow you to refine your strategy as your business needs change.

For example, if your company upgrades from desktop computers that stay in a fixed spot to tablets and mobile phones that are constantly on the move, you might need to change your tracking policies. 

Or, perhaps your maintenance teams report unforeseen bottlenecks that slow your work order completion. In that case, you need your CMMS to have the ability to make universal adjustments in the work order schedule to accommodate the reality of the road.

3. Who will use the software? 

If your software needs primarily involve the maintenance team, a computerized maintenance management software will be your best fit. If others are involved, such as real estate leaders, workplace leaders, human resource managers, and IT professionals, you might consider an IWMS. 

For CMMS users, another consideration is the environment of the assets you’re managing. Teams who manage vehicles and assets that are always on the move require different capabilities than users who almost exclusively work in a central location.

CMMS platforms that deliver robust features on mobile devices can improve productivity for teams frequently working out in the field. Also consider the ease-of-use of the mobile platform to be sure teams aren’t delayed by cumbersome administrative tasks.

Real-time updates are important for most industries. Consider whether you will use your CMMS as an immediate tool that’s updated as teams make progress or whether you’ll complete status updates in large batches—at the end of each day, for example.

4. What is your budget? 

An IWMS is usually a bigger investment than a CMMS simply because it has broader functionality. However, an IWMS can help growing organizations achieve enterprise-wide efficiencies and cost savings. 

For those making a CMMS investment, one key feature to consider is the onboarding and customer service aspects of the software provider. You’ll want to get the best return on your investment, which means being able to use the system to its fullest potential.

As you evaluate potential partners, find out if they offer:

  • Personalized onboarding support 
  • On-demand tutorials for each function
  • New tutorials as functions are added
  • Free updates
  • Scalability as your business grows
  • File storage
  • Satisfaction guarantees

Also consider the pricing options that are in your budget today, as well as what may come tomorrow. How many users will you need to add to your CMMS? What kind of integrations are available? Where might you need unlimited options?

5. What are your future goals? 

Consider how forecasting might inform your future vision. A CMMS platform must be able to predict needs before they arise. 

Can you plan your asset strategy for the next 60 days? Six months? A full year out? And how accurately can you sketch out your business’s necessary capital planning to budget for major purchases of new assets? Depending on the size of your organization, a single asset investment could make the difference between turning a profit and just getting by. 

If you are a fast-growing organization with plans to add more assets and significantly increase your workforce, you need to make sure you have a platform that will grow along with you. Always keep an eye on the opportunity to scale up to meet emerging business needs.

CMMS implementation

Once you decide that CMMS is the right solution for you, and you’ve narrowed down your options, create a gameplan for implementation. A significant amount of your time and attention will likely be focused on rolling out the new system and creating the tailored processes that work for your team in the context of your industry and the work you do every day.

Realize that initial rollout might occur over several days or in several phases. You’ll be creating a new way of working for yourself and your maintenance teams. Be patient as you refine your process in real-world application and begin to understand where your areas of opportunity lie. 

Alert your teams to changes ahead of time. Consider collecting their input before refining processes. Their proximity to the daily routine will provide insight on maintenance needs you might not have thought of on your own.

Advantages of ManagerPlus Lightning CMMS software 

If you’re considering adopting a CMMS platform for the first time—or replacing your old one—ManagerPlus Lightning is the industry-leading choice among maintenance leaders and facilities managers. The supercharged Lightning platform delivers a full complement of maintenance and asset management capabilities at lightning speed.

Organize, track, schedule, and manage assets with Lightning’s easy-to-use interface that puts you in control from any location. See and manage your equipment in one place, keeping every critical investment within your sights.

As you lead your teams through preventive maintenance, inspections, and work orders, you can work smarter and faster. Lightning was built to answer today’s demands for superior efficiency, based on real-world use.

And thanks to its cloud-based technology, ManagerPlus Lightning requires no software installation, so your interface is always up-to-date. New capabilities are instantly available.

Since data is always a driving force, Lightning’s visual dashboards and custom reports let you analyze and share your data quickly. Integrate with your critical business tools and unlock the full power of a modern CMMS software platform.

ManagerPlus Lightning effortlessly connects all aspects of your maintenance and asset management processes—from today’s demands to tomorrow’s possibilities. Best of all, Lightning is accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device, so you’re never out of touch with your business operations. ManagerPlus Lightning continues to lead the asset management space as the fastest platform for the toughest industries.

Curious about what ManagerPlus Lightning can do for your business? Schedule a personalized demo, and we’ll walk you through it.

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