Is a Free CMMS Right for Your Business?

By: on June 4, 2018

It’s already difficult to find the right CMMS software. What makes the search even more challenging is the small tech budget many maintenance teams are given to work with.

But, 75 percent of teams that call Software Advice use only manual methods (spreadsheets and paper)—or nothing at all—to track equipment and schedule preventive maintenance. That means there are hundreds of companies that need some kind of automation.

That’s where a free CMMS can help. Whether it’s the “lite” version of a system or an open source platform, there are several options for smaller teams that want to boost maintenance efficiency without a huge investment.

We’ll help you determine whether a free system works for your needs, and offer a list of three free systems that can help you manage maintenance effectively.

Free CMMS vs. Paid System: Which Is Right for You?

If you have the funding, you should invest in a fully featured maintenance system or enterprise asset management (EAM) system that provides all the functionality you need into the future. Unfortunately, many teams are making due with custom databases or spreadsheets that are prone to error.

But even smaller teams can afford a paid system that removes human error and automates daily maintenance tasks.

It can be difficult to know when to look for a free system or to make the investment and buy one, so take a look at our checklist below for help:

Should I Buy a CMMS?

Some of these tasks can be performed with manual methods, but not efficiently. And trying to reduce reactive maintenance without a proactive software solution is nearly impossible.

If most of the items on the list describe your maintenance responsibilities, it’s time to invest—take a look at our Software Needs Cycle for Maintenance Management to see which features you need when you’re getting started.

If you don’t have most of the requirements listed above, you should look for a free system to get started.

Here are three free maintenance solutions:

3 Free CMMS Products

The following vendors are the three highest-rated maintenance vendors, based on our real-user reviews, that also offer a completely free open source system or a free version of a paid system.

1. UpKeep

UpKeep, a newer player in the maintenance software world, has gained a respectable customer base in a short time, offering a “mobile-first” CMMS focused on making the work order management process simpler.

The free system serves as a work order system for smaller teams that need a convenient way to manage tasks, with unlimited work orders and communication tools through the app, like direct messaging and email or mobile notifications.

The desktop view of work orders in UpKeep

UpKeep’s free version allows for integration with barcoding hardware to make scanning dozens of items much quicker. Though limited, it also lets users take photos of assets to add to work orders.

UpKeep Free lets an unlimited number of users create and track unlimited work orders, locations, assets and spare parts. Self-service support resources are included.

2. Fiix

Fiix offers paid systems, but also a free CMMS with plenty of functionality to help smaller teams get started with automated maintenance. Create, assign and track work orders; schedule and prioritize tasks on a drag-and-drop calendar; and track your assets for free.

Users can upgrade to enhance the tool’s capabilities, but the free system contains the core features to get started, including spare parts management to optimize inventory levels and reduce carrying costs.

A color-coded work order list in Fiix

Like the others, Fiix offers access to its mobile version of the CMMS with the free version, so technicians in the field can view their assignments and update asset information on-the-go, e.g., adding meter readings or images.

Fiix’s free work order software allows a single user, up to 20 assets, 25 work orders per month, 10 scheduled maintenance tasks and 500 spare parts.

3. ManWinWin

ManWinWin is a CMMS and asset tracking system designed to help any type of team manage maintenance for machinery, buildings or fleet vehicles. Schedule work orders, tie equipment profiles to each and review real-time data in dashboards.

Work orders are displayed on a calendar to drag-and-drop tasks easily, and the system will collect data on asset availability, downtime and maintenance costs to generate useful reports.

A list of assets in ManWinWin

The company offers full on-premise and cloud-based systems in addition to the free software— All versions are available in multiple languages and include documentation to help with implementation.

ManWinWin’s free version includes the functionality to manage work orders and schedule tasks for up to 50 assets with a single user. The download also includes free online updates to the system.

Find the Right CMMS for Your Maintenance Needs, Paid or Free

Free software can offer a big boost in efficiency and convenience for smaller teams that don’t need advanced maintenance functionality, but you’ll likely find that growth and pressure to reduce costs will push you to scale your automation.

But today, even a fully featured CMMS is affordable for smaller teams. Carefully lay out the goals and technology needs of your department before evaluating software—This list can help you determine whether a free system is sufficient.

Here are some next steps that are also totally free of charge:

  • For more help, you can call our advisors at (855) 998-8505 for a personalized consultation and a short list of products to meet your needs.

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