The advances of mobile technology and web-based software have provided users with on the go and round the clock access to software programs. These tech trends allow niche B2B systems such as the ever-growing computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) market to increase in popularity.
Growth has also stemmed from the development of feature rich software catered to specific industries and user groups. Maintenance management software is now applicable to virtually every industry that relies on its facility and critical equipment to deliver its core offering.
Systems no longer adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach, rather CMMS is made up of custom features delivered through flexible platforms. It is interesting however, that although features continue to innovate and change, core CMMS functionality developed 25 years ago remain an essential backbone of any program. So which CMMS features do most businesses opt for?
Here are the ten most important maintenance management software requirements:
- Preventive Maintenance This feature is a must-have among the majority of buyers looking for CMMS. In a recent survey polling over 100 facility managers, 84% sought to be proactive in maintenance repair and 55% were extremely interested in preventive maintenance. CMMS buyer behaviour suggests that preventive maintenance is the most sought after CMMS feature.Preventive maintenance allows work orders to generate on a given schedule, outlining tasks to properly inspect or clean critical equipment. Performing scheduled maintenance on your assets has demonstrated enormous cost savings, both increasing equipment uptime and the longevity of assets by an estimated 20%. Without a CMMS, PM automation is almost impossible to mimic let alone track. This automation is what makes preventive maintenance a primary requirement amongst buyers.
- Work Order Management Work orders are the hub of any maintenance management system. In addition to providing a digital form instead of the traditional paper-based work orders, a CMMS work order acts as the central component to your maintenance database. All asset and equipment information, including documents, ID tags, equipment images, spare parts information, and much more can be associated with work orders making it an agile communication tool in your maintenance department.Digital work orders are also flexible, allowing users to update and modify information quickly such as its status or description fields. With such a robust tool available among all CMMS vendors, it’s no wonder why 53% of survey respondents were extremely interested in work order management and additional research found that 21% of buyers required work order management as a key feature.
- User-friendliness With innovative CMMS features comes the need to declutter an interface and streamline the look and feel of robust software. User-friendliness is of the utmost importance to the end-user as a confusing dashboard or overabundance of action buttons severely reduces software uptake. The survey found that nearly 74% of all maintenance managers considered user-friendly software as extremely important. Simply put, if software is complicated, maintenance technicians who are generally less tech savvy won’t use it.
- Technical Support Along the same lines of user-friendly software, CMMS education and training is an essential part of increasing user uptake. Organizations are searching for software vendors who provide affordable yet comprehensive training, tutorial guides, blogs, whitepapers, and technical support. Vendors offer these services in a variety of formats, from free ongoing technical support delivered over webinar to round the clock (and generally outsourced) call center support to a searchable database of helpful guides. As many reports show, successful CMMS implementation relies on ingraining software processes in a worker’s everyday routine. Proper training and ongoing support provides this foundation.
- Web-based system requirement Traditionally CMMS systems were installed on local servers, resulting in high upfront costs, ongoing costly updates and less accessible systems. The advancement of more agile cloud-based systems has allowed companies of all sizes and maintenance budgets to access CMMS wherever they have an internet connection. Stricter security standards and encryption policies have only further perpetuated the demand for cloud systems. About 66% of respondents viewed web-based systems as either an extremely important criteria for purchasing a CMMS or very important.
- Mobile The use of CMMS mobile capabilities has seen significant growth over the last 5 years. Began as an innovative new feature of CMMS, mobile is now a common function to any maintenance system. Maintenance technicians in particular are able to leverage mobile app benefits by accessing their work orders in the field to check off tasks, enter their total project hours, and much more.A CMMS app reduces human error, eliminates the need for paper, and decreases the time between jobs as technicians can refer to their mobile job list instead of having to check in with superiors. As more and more buyers continue to ask for increased mobile capabilities, CMMS apps are expected to become smarter and more comprehensive in the future. Functions such as syncing real time phone alerts with machine inspections and providing an increasingly user-friendly interface to view and edit information will quickly grow in popularity.
- Calendar Interface Calendar interfaces are commonplace among software systems. Developed to schedule projects and ensure timely workflow, calendar screens for CMMS systems have become an important tool for maintenance departments to plan their work order schedules. Calendars display a monthly, weekly, or daily schedule and filter based on a variety of criteria such as work order status, maintenance tech, category, and keyword search. API third party integrations now allow users to synchronize their office calendars with work order schedules to house all business activity on one convenient calendar.
- Asset and equipment management Apart from pure work order management a CMMS also functions as a maintenance database. It stores a wide variety of data, from asset information such as documents, images, warranty info, serial numbers, installation dates to all spare parts information to equipment locations and historical work order data. No longer do organizations have to shuffle through filing cabinets to find critical O&M manuals or walk over to an asset to read its ID tag. All information can be accessed through the system via different interfaces such as interactive floor plans for accurate asset mapping, a standard grid format, or even the above mentioned calendar interface.
- Inventory management Similar to asset and equipment management, inventory management helps businesses organize and track their spare parts. Too often organizations misplace or run out of parts in the middle of repair on a critical asset, leading to increased equipment downtime and overall productivity failures. Inventory management, which details spare part information and automatically notifies users on low stock levels, is an essential feature to manage large-scale maintenance operations with numerous pieces of equipment. So important, that nearly 34% of respondents consider inventory management just as critical to their operations as they do asset and equipment management.
- Scalability The right software will grow with a business as its maintenance operations expand. In addition to web-based systems allowing for flexible delivery methods, they also enhance the scalability of CMMS software by providing subscription based pricing at an affordable rate. Licensing a service subscription- similar to renting- opens the door for different types of pricing structures. While many vendors price their solution per user, which can quickly escalate costs if more and more users require access to the system, other vendors price their solution per facility. Per-facility-pricing offers unlimited user licenses and price breaks as you add more facilities to the solution. 31% of respondents stated that it was extremely important to source out a scalable CMMS to accommodate growth demand either from more users or from additional facilities.
CMMS systems are ever evolving, developing new features to stay on top of current industry trends. The fundamental features of work order management, preventive maintenance, and asset and equipment management however, remain consistent. The difference now stems from their user-friendly aesthetic and web-based delivery method. Although a majority of maintenance managers refer to these features as the most important, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Proper research and vetting of various software vendors will help organizations looking for CMMS to develop their own list of required features for a tailored and comprehensive software experience.