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To identify how the industry uses software in 2013 to tackle major maintenance challenges, we’d like your help in completing our 2013 Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software survey.
We’d like to learn how you are using technology to get organized, improve efficiencies and prolong asset lifespans. Please take a few minutes to complete our short survey.
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What is CMMS Software?
Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) help organizations track the upkeep of their assets and associated costs of the work, with the ultimate goal of prolonging an asset’s lifespan at minimal expense. This could include maintaining assets in a single facility or a range of facilities, or maintaining a group of equipment like a fleet of vehicles or other types of machinery.
CMMS and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems are closely related, and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, CMMS is a departmental application used by maintenance departments, while EAM is accessible across the entire enterprise. CMMS is implemented to prolong the lifespan of physical assets. EAM, on the other hand, oversees all of an organization’s assets, including fixed assets, IT assets and digital assets.
This is Maintenance Connection's CMMS module menu.
There are industry-specific maintenance management systems, too. We’ve written buyer’s guides that cover CMMS for specific industries, including fleet management software, equipment maintenance software applications, and aircraft MRO software. In this guide we’ll cover the following:
Maintains information about an organization’s assets (equipment, machines, buildings, fleets, etc.). This includes when the asset was purchased, its expected lifetime, warranty information, the upkeep history, costs, depreciation and more. It may be used by several departments, including accounting and maintenance. Vendors that offer asset tracking include eRPortal CMMS, eMaint X3 and Maintenance Connection.
Inventory Tracking and Purchasing
Tracks parts, tools and other materials required to perform routine upkeep. Features may include a scheduling system for personnel to reserve tools; an auto-notifier to alert staff when more materials need to be purchased; and support for multiple currencies. Many vendors offer a purchasing module that allows you to keep track of where you purchased supplies, when they were ordered, the total cost and the quantity ordered. This module may be able to send out automated requests for quotes to suppliers when the stock of an item is low. Examples of vendors offering this functionality include ManagerPlus and 4Site.
Preventive maintenance software allows you to schedule tasks based on meter readings, dates, or by setting up custom triggers. You can view all current and future maintenance activity on a calendar. You can also set up custom groups and routes. Some systems also have a preventive task library to help define the right tasks and procedures. Example vendors include Sprocket CMMS and Series4000.
Predictive Upkeep and Condition Monitoring
Minimizes surprise failures by monitoring the condition of assets and analyzing historical trends in asset performance. These applications automatically schedule tasks based on performance indicators like noise, vibration, temperature, corrosion, pressure and flow. Users can define upper and lower boundaries of these parameters for each asset, and automatically create a work order when a reading falls outside the boundary. Bigfoot CMMS and eMaint X3 offer intuitive condition monitoring solutions.
Work Order Tracking
Manages the work order process. This includes scheduling repairs, assigning personnel to the job, reserving materials, recording costs, tracking the cause of the problem, tracking downtime and making recommendations for future action. Other features may include permission and notification settings, department and technician routing, and a portal where customers or other employees can submit work order requests. Vendors providing work order tracking include MPulse, WOW! On the Web, and NetFacilities.
Important Features to Consider
Mobile Capabilities. Technicians often work in the field. The use of mobile devices has become prevalent in this market, providing personnel with the capability to immediately update records and make data available across the organization. Mobile tools can also generate work orders directly from the device, track labor and inventory use, and issue, return and receive parts in real-time.
Vendors like Micromain offer mobile dashboards.
Other examples of mobile capabilities often offered in some CMMS include:
QR/Barcoding Capabilities Many CMMS provide quick response (QR) coding and barcoding capabilities. Scanning an asset’s code provides a glimpse into its entire maintenance history, giving immediate insight to the last task performed, the next upkeep due, troubleshooting notes, warranty information and more. These capabilities also allow technicians to include notes about an asset that are immediately accessible organization-wide.
Voice Recognition. Technicians often need to use both of their hands while performing work. Voice recognition capabilities empower technicians to record notes hands-free. In addition, speech-to-text features allow voice notes to be automatically converted to text and entered into the CMMS. This saves time that would otherwise be spent transcribing notes by hand for manual data entry.
Asset Ranking Tools. Asset ranking tools “grade” equipment performance, highlighting equipment that’s historically underperformed or tends to perform well. This helps organizations identify equipment that needs replacement or repair. These tools calculate the costs of operating equipment as well as predicted asset lifespans based on performance. Asset ranking tools create a sense of transparency that can save time and money, while reducing the likelihood of reactive maintenance over time.
Bigfoot CMMS offers an asset grading feature.
Using CMMS to Earn LEED-EB Credits
Energy & Atmosphere is one of nine key areas measured by the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED-EB (Existing Building) certification. By using a CMMS to monitor meter readings including pressure, temperature, voltage and hours in operation, personnel can “pinpoint” poorly-performing equipment. This can help organizations achieve an overall reduction in energy consumption.
In 2010, for example, the Denver Convention Center was awarded LEED-EB and acquired the Energy & Atmosphere credit partly due to its implementation of Bigfoot CMMS. The chief engineer, Tom Barnes, determined that their biggest opportunity to reduce consumption was through comprehensive preventive maintenance efforts--in particular, by overseeing their HVAC and air handlers more closely.