What is a CMMS and what is it used for?

A CMMS, or computerized maintenance management system, is a software application that lets you track information about your maintenance operations. These operations can include tasks like tracking and scheduling work orders, keeping up with inventories, recording asset histories, and much more. All of this information is collected and aggregated so that you’re able to make better-informed decisions regarding your resources, both monetary and manpower.

CMMS at its core isn’t a new concept. The basic ideas behind CMMS solutions have been around since the mid-1960s where businesses would use math based systems to document and verify manufacturing processes. And although CMMS solutions have become more advanced over the years, the core principle remains the same: provide better insight into daily operations, identify areas to improve upon and reduce waste.

This principle manifests itself in multiple, though sometimes deceptively important, ways. It can be time saved by eliminating paperwork from your inspection processes, a substantial improvement in your ability to audit past work or something even as subtle as being able to see live updates from the field. In any case, there are many different ways that a CMMS will improve your ability to keep up with your maintenance operations.

How will a CMMS benefit my organization?

The answer to this question varies slightly as each industry has unique needs and requirements. But as a whole, the benefits remain the same. To highlight this, let’s take a look at a small checklist that can be used to determine whether a CMMS is right for you:

  • I want to be able to reduce the amount of paperwork I have to fill out every day.
  • I want to be able to see real-time updates from my workers in the field so that I can act if needed.
  • I want to be able to easily review the history of my assets.
  • I want to be able to track inventory on spare parts and other resources more effectively.
  • I want to be able to easily comply with all regulatory standards.

If you’ve answered yes to any of these points, then a CMMS solution is definitely something you should be considering if you’re truly interested in improving the performance of your maintenance plan.

Real-World Benefits

The benefits of implementing a CMMS solution are often talked about in a sense where you’re “increasing efficiency” or “promoting communication” but sometimes it’s hard to realize the real-world benefits of what these claims actually mean. So let’s take a closer look at some of these claims and what they actually mean.

Increasing Efficiency

It’s no secret that revenue drives business. Regardless of what industry you service, you need to be able to turn a profit in order to be successful. Better efficiency means that you’re able to get your service maintenance crews out the door to repair and maintain equipment faster because they have easy access to information like inventories, service manuals, and other important information required to do their jobs properly.

It also means being able to schedule tasks in a more reliable manner. Scheduling work more efficiently results in better performance from your workforce and better performance from your workforce results in less overtime, fewer work outages, and better value for your organization.

There are many other areas that “increasing efficiency” come into play as well, such as faster historical review, better inventory management, and more but as a whole better efficiency means better performance, better value, and reduced cost.

Promoting Communication

Regardless of whether you’re using a CMMS or not, there will always be a large amount of information that’s required in order to properly manage your maintenance plan. And at some point, you’re going to have to share information between departments, such as the purchasing department needing to be able to monitor inventory levels or management needing to review maintenance records for auditing.

If you’re not using a CMMS solution, this is much easier said than done. Even with computerized solutions for each department, you still have hurdles in place when it comes to sharing this information between them. With a CMMS solution, all of the applicable information is centralized in one location and is readily available for anyone in any department. When your workforce can freely and easily access the information they need, they become substantially more efficient and better efficiency from your workforce means better value for your business.

Better Auditing and Analysis

Many fields of work require some kind of audit logs to verify work is being done according to any and all applicable protocols, and not being able to provide this information if requested can prove disastrous. Having a CMMS in place allows you to automatically log information about events that happen, such as what steps were taken to repair a piece of equipment. Not only does this reduce the amount of filing and aggregating you’re required to do, but it also drastically reduces the time needed to view the history of an asset.

Beyond regulatory needs, being able to review the history of an asset provides valuable insight into trends and other metrics for measuring health and performance. By having the ability to easily analyze work history, you’re able to then able to begin forecasting when assets need maintenance and schedule the work. This new method of preventative maintenance allows you to truly understand what your maintenance needs are and take action accordingly. Simply put, being able to take action sooner puts you in a position where your equipment lasts longer, your maintenance needs are much easier to execute, and you’re creating more value from your maintenance plan.

And Much, Much More

We’ve only scratched the surface of how a CMMS solution can benefit your organization. In today’s modern environments, the need to become more efficient and streamlined in our operations has never been greater. Mobile solutions where workers can perform inspections in near real-time and web/cloud based solutions are just some of the features you should expect to see in a good, reputable CMMS solution.