A Computerized Maintenance Management System, or CMMS, is a software platform designed to help facilities managers streamline their maintenance operations by tracking assets, scheduling repairs, monitoring work orders, managing costs, and adhering to compliance standards. CMMS is also known as an enterprise asset management (EAM) system or a facilities asset management system (FAMS).

To help break down what a CMMS is and how it works, we’ve outlined key benefits, potential challenges, commonly asked questions, and additional resources below.

Key Benefits of a CMMS

When implemented successfully, a CMMS can have a number of benefits. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits of a CMMS:

Gain Greater Visibility & Reporting

A CMMS provides visibility and transparency into repair and maintenance programs and facilitates the sharing of that information across an organization. With an improved workflow and efficiency, CMMS enables facilities managers to easily schedule, assign, and close work orders with ease. Create automatic reports to receive and review on a daily schedule and find reports as needed in order to get a specific understanding of any potential concerns.

Implement Preventive Maintenance Programs

With proper and effective scheduling and a preventive maintenance program in place, facilities managers can easily manage and reduce the headcount of your staff. With fewer breakdowns to worry about, facilities managers won’t need to include so many technicians and engineers, and will spend less time on maintenance issues.

Utilize Mobile Capabilities

Efficiently incorporating mobility into the workforce is key for a successfully maintenance function. CMMS mobile app resources provide improved management of staff across all teams and allow dispatch, job handling and more to be accomplished easily on a remote basis. While mobility helps to increase staff productivity through either in-house or in a contracting situation, it also sends safety compliance elements directly to the workforce.

Increase Safety

A CMMS is the ideal tool for any facilities manager looking to improve the safety of their organization, as the software assists businesses in regularly checking and maintaining equipment, while also adhering to the safety standards set in order to properly prevent any malfunctions or potentially critical mistakes. This helps to reduce the loss of work time due accidents, while simultaneously making your equipment safer for the operator.

Potential CMMS Challenges

Integrating CMMS software can be a great asset for facilities managers, but no system is without its flaws. Let’s look at a few of the potential challenges that revolve around CMMS and plan how to address them.

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Wi-Fi Dead Spots

Without a dependable Internet connection in place, CMMS will have trouble locating and accessing databases of information or properly updating the status of these assets. However, CMMS can still be utilized without a connection to Wi-Fi by using a mobile devices 4G capabilities or a local connection.

Mobile Adoption

It can be a challenge to implement CMMS within mobile devices. Instead of trying to completely replace the desktop application, look for a way to include a move from mobile device to desktop application without any unnecessary problems. For example, install CMMS software on a mobile device that the maintenance management worker either owns or is already familiar with.

Employee Training

It’s crucial that the CMMS software be easy to use and that employees are comfortable using the mobile device application for their work in maintenance management. CMMS software is essentially useless if users do not have a proper understanding of the application itself, so prioritize employee training around the software.

Implementation

CMMS software is sophisticated technology, so implementation can be challenging. To ensure implementation success, utilize a CMMS provider that has implementation services and ongoing support.

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Scalability

For businesses that have more than one location, managing them and their unique needs can be a challenge. To address this, select a CMMS software platform that is highly scalable and adaptable.

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Communication

Numerous departments — facilities management, IT, finance, and more — use CMMS software. This means that a single decision can have widespread effects. To keep operations running smoothly with your CMMS, prioritize interdepartmental communication.

CMMS Frequently Asked Questions

As with any facilities management software available, questions around CMMS frequently arise. Here are some of the most common FAQs and answers:

Will a CMMS Function with My Existing System?

The answer to this question is largely dependent on the quality of the CMMS implementation. Before the maintenance audit and software selection process, you'll need to consider what the requirements are of maintaining your existing systems. Depending on whether your current processes are built on modern practices and are fairly unrestrictive, there is a good chance they'll be able to be accommodated in the implementation.

How Does Mobile CMMS Help Improve Maintenance Operations?

As previously mentioned, mobile is one of the most popular topics surrounding maintenance management software today. FM's are constantly looking for ways to streamline their daily tasks, and incorporating a mobile CMMS can help improve efficiency. Along with saving valuable time, FMs receive oversight on preventive maintenance tasks and work orders from wherever.

Is CMMS Software User-Friendly?

Much like any other software system, usability is key. If an employee struggles to learn the new system, they might incorrectly input work orders or overlook maintenance updates, which in turn could be extremely costly. CMMS should essentially become an assistant to the maintenance department. The software that is used at each stage of the maintenance process should be collecting all information needed to analyze and report on critical areas.

What Are the Key Feature Differences between CMMS & Facility Management Software?

  • Contractor Sourcing – CMMS software does not connect with third-party contractors and therefore lacks the functionality to create a reference directory.
  • Metrics – Most CMMS are reporting systems and are not designed to perform analytics such as identifying trends and outliers.
  • Communication – Since typical CMMS software is not connected to third-party contractors there is no mechanism for communication, feedback, and notes.
  • Third-Party Compatibility – Most CMMS are standalone software. They are not designed to work with existing hardware, databases, and systems.
  • Invoicing and Payments – CMMS are sophisticated databases, but they are limited to the asset and the repair & maintenance work. They frequently lack the integration functionality to verify, initiate, and process payments to providers
Questions to Ask FM System CMMS
Do you want someone else responsible for managing your risk? Does the vendor help you manage your risk by allowing you to track contractor compliance? Y N
Does the vendor give you spend analytics and trending? Y N
Does the vendor have an extensive network of providers across the country who are already trained and using their platform? Y N
Does the platform allow you to monitor your external contractor's Quality of Service over time? Y N
Does the platform allow your third-party contractors to participate in the work order lifecycle keeping you apprised every step of the way? Y N
Does the platform allow your contractors to batch submit invoices to you electronically? Y N
Does the platform automate your provider payments? Y N
How confident are you that your invoices accurately reflect the hours worked and the contracted rates? Y N
Does the platform allow you to control how much your vendors can invoice you for typical jobs? Y N

Learn more about what makes Service Automation, ServiceChannel’s facility management solution, unique. From sourcing to settlement, asset management to contractor compliance, ServiceChannel lets you manage your entire facilities maintenance program from a single cloud-based dashboard.

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