What is a CMMS? Why is it important?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in General | Comments Off on What is a CMMS? Why is it important?

CMMS is an acronym for Computerized Maintenance Management System.

To provide you with a functional definition, a CMMS is a software application that helps the maintenance manager run the maintenance function of a company. The purpose of the CMMS is to increase asset efficiency and reliability, while keeping the practice of maintenance as cost-effective as possible.

It is important to make clear that there are various different CMMSs in the market, ranging from the simple basic database-type applications, to more complex systems with fancy features, and normally, hefty price tags.

Implementing a CMMS is many times linked to developing or re-organizing the Preventive Maintenance system in your firm. Preventive Maintenance is a mentality which preaches that if machinery is serviced and repaired regularly then the probability of asset failure, and hence production downtime, is minimized. Preventive Maintenance works. To achieve it, a CMMS should at least offer: Data storage: the CMMS should store data on a number of things such as equipment, employees, suppliers and clients. Scheduling: the software should be able to schedule the work timetables of the maintenance personnel. Inventory control: a lot of time is often wasted waiting for spares. This problem should be minimized or solved completely by better organizing the management of spare parts. Reporting: summaries of existing data should be organized for reports showing past performance or predicting future result estimates. Apart from the above functionality, a CMMS can have many other features that help the maintenance department fulfil its function. Among the more popular functions are financial reporting capabilities, KPI (key performance indicator) monitoring, predictive maintenance tools, and support for mobile computing.

Despite, and perhaps because of, all the above functionality, many CMMS implementations still fail. This happens for a wide range of reasons such as poor planning, lack of motivation, and lack of proper training. For this reason, it is important that when choosing a CMMS, a proper roadmap needs to be designed to show how the full capabilities of the chosen CMMS will be utilized within the maintenance department.

With respect to why having a CMMS is important, another question must first be put forward. What is the best way to implement a successful preventive maintenance mentality? The answer is: get a quality CMMS. Having a CMMS which automates many tasks which would otherwise take a lot of time to do (manually) is enough reason why companies justify spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on such systems.

The organization of data, management of assets, and employee resource management facilities, that having a proper CMMS gives you, are indispensable for any maintenance manager. In conclusion, it makes sense to state that despite the difficulties often encountered in implementing a CMMS, this is very much where maintenance management is heading. CMMS software has been around for over 20 years, and it looks like they are here to stay.