From WMS, ERP and HR to SCM, BI and CRM, the business software world is filled with acronyms. Believe us when we say that we know how you feel; sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of all the acronyms and what they all mean. With that being said, let’s take a look at one of those many software acronyms, and answer one simple question: what is CMMS?
What is CMMS?
CMMS stands for computerized maintenance management system. In other words, it’s a computerized system (aka a piece of software) that manages your various maintenance operations. Maintenance departments typically use a CMMS as their main maintenance software, as it covers a wide range of functionality. A CMMS helps manage equipment, inventory and entire maintenance teams.
What Can CMMS Do?
So we just mentioned that a CMMS can help manage your equipment, inventory and maintenance workers, but how exactly does it do that? A good CMMS software package comes fully equipped with a large variety of maintenance management features. The most common CMMS features include:
One of the most important tasks for a business with heavy equipment or machinery is preventive maintenance. Nobody wants to experience extended downtime of an important asset when it could have been prevented. In order to help businesses get proactive with their preventive maintenance, a CMMS schedules regular preventive maintenance to be performed on any and all assets that need it.
Additionally, the most powerful CMMS can connect and “talk to” your various assets. Using the Internet of Things, sensors connected to your equipment can detect when issues arise, both major and minor. This creates an alert in your CMMS so you can address the issue right away. This is another proactive measure for ensuring that your equipment continues to run smoothly.
Preventive maintenance isn’t the only way to protect your assets. The asset management features of a CMMS allow you to track various data related to all of your assets. Some of the more basic data it tracks includes purchase dates, warranty information and specifications. But the more powerful data that a CMMS tracks include expected lifetime and service history.
The service histories of your assets in particular is important. This keeps a record of every bit of maintenance performed on an asset, so you know when and if maintenance occurred. In addition, you can use this information to predict when issues will occur. Analyzing the service history data may also reveal patterns in certain issues, such as a part breaking down every 10 months. In turn, you can plan your maintenance accordingly.
Work Order Management
The digital realm is always better for organizing and storing work orders than pen and paper. You never want to lose track of your work orders; especially not your recent ones. The work order management features in a CMMS eliminate the possibility of losing track of your work orders, since they’re all stored within the system. When you log in to a CMMS, you can view the status of all your work orders, such as which are yet to be started, which are in progress and which are done.
In addition to simply tracking them, you can also see who was assigned to each work order. This is helpful for when you need to check on who performed maintenance. After all, it’s useful to know who’s responsible for a poor maintenance job, as well as who’s responsible for an exceptional one.
A CMMS isn’t a substitute for a standalone inventory management system. However, the inventory management features available in a CMMS are still quite useful. While an inventory management system maintains inventory control over products and other items that are distributed from a warehouse, CMMS inventory management manages your spare parts. These parts are the ones used to repair and perform maintenance on your equipment and other assets.
The worst thing that can happen during maintenance is realizing that you’re out of a part that you need, resulting in extended downtime. CMMS inventory management automatically tracks how much of each part you have left, and alerts you when you get below a predetermined threshold. This way, you can order more spare parts before you run out.
Schedule Maintenance Workers
Maintenance managers can also use a CMMS to schedule their maintenance team. As anyone who’s created a schedule manually can attest, it’s a time-consuming and difficult process. A CMMS helps automate the process by scheduling maintenance workers for not only shifts, but specific tasks during their shifts. With an automated schedule, maintenance managers can rest assured that every maintenance activity will get done when it needs to.
Almost everyone constantly buries their face in their phone already, so you might as well continue the trend with business software. Cloud-based CMMS typically come with mobile capabilities so you can take the system with you wherever you go. Although we doubt anybody would access their CMMS on their mobile device for pure entertainment, it’s incredibly useful while on the job.
With mobile CMMS, maintenance managers that oversee multiple facilities can jot down notes directly into the system, no matter which facility they’re at. But mobile access is also convenient for a maintenance worker or manager that works at a single facility. Without it, any notes or maintenance updates that need to be made in a CMMS have to wait until they’re in front of a computer. When they have mobile access, however, they can update work orders as they complete them and write down maintenance notes while they’re doing it.
What Types of CMMS are There?
In addition to your average CMMS, there are also more specialized types of CMMS. These systems are oftentimes thought to be synonymous with CMMS, but in reality they each have their own unique uses.
Enterprise Asset Management
Enterprise asset management, or EAM software, is used mostly for asset management (bet you couldn’t figure that out from the name). The main goal of an EAM is to extend the life cycle of your equipment in order to maximize your ROI. More often than not, EAM software is used to manage large, expensive pieces of equipment that would create a high cost if the turnover rate gets too high.
Computer-Aided Facilities Management
Computer-aided facilities management, or CAFM software, is a type of CMMS that — surprise, surprise — focuses on the management of your facility. Also known simply as facilities management or FM, it helps plan everything about a facility, including the processes that go on inside it. For example, some CAFM systems let you remotely control windows, lights and thermostats. More common, however, are features such as property maintenance, life cycle management and space utilization/resource allocation.