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TABLE OF CONTENTS

8 Essential Features to Look for in a CMMS

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Introduction

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) were once thought of as software solutions that only applied to businesses with complex maintenance operations, in manufacturing, or with heavy industrial equipment. Today, however, this is not the case. Organizations from a variety of industries are using CMMS software to optimize their maintenance operations. Organizations in retail, education, hospitality, food processing, healthcare, nursing homes, and property management, among other industries, look to CMMS software as a solution for managing their assets, work orders, and preventive maintenance. This article explores the most essential CMMS software features businesses should look for. 

CMMS is software designed to streamline and optimize organizational maintenance management activities. Its main attraction to modern business operations lies in its ability to centralize maintenance-related data within its system. It provides real-time data that automatically deploys maintenance crews, provides detailed information about work orders, alerts maintenance managers to potential problems as they arise, and ensures that all assets comply with regulatory requirements. This is a short list of its wide-ranging capabilities.

Over the years, CMMS software adoption has rapidly increased across various industries. This is primarily because CMMS offers great benefits regardless of the industry sector.

To begin, CMMS helps prevent costly equipment breakdowns in manufacturing by scheduling routine maintenance and tracking equipment performance metrics. For example, In healthcare facilities, CMMS ensures critical medical equipment is always in working condition, thus enhancing patient care and safety. In the hospitality sector, CMMS is critical in managing facilities and assets like HVAC systems,  plumbing, and electrical fixtures, optimizing guest satisfaction, and reducing operational costs. Similarly, in facilities management, CMMS software assists in managing maintenance for buildings, utilities, and infrastructure, ensuring smooth operations and prolonging the lifespan of assets.

 

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Now, let’s explore the most essential CMMS features maintenance and facilities leaders should consider when researching these systems.

8 Essential Features to Look for in a CMMS:

1. Work Order Management

Work order facilitation is the mainstay of any organization’s maintenance operations. For this reason, CMMS plays a pivotal role in organizing and prioritizing work orders. CMMSs allow users to create, assign, and track work orders efficiently. The work order software organizes work orders based on pre-set parameters such as urgency, asset criticality, and available resources. CMMS streamlines the process by providing automated workflows that guide the creation, assignment, and execution of work orders. CMMS can also categorize work orders based on preventive, corrective, or predictive maintenance, enabling maintenance teams to prioritize tasks effectively. 

the work orders interface of the cmms software

One of the key benefits of CMMS in work order management is its automated work order generation and tracking that can program work orders based on predefined triggers such as time-based schedules, meter readings, or equipment failures. This automation eliminates manual intervention, reducing human error and ensuring timely maintenance. In addition to these capabilities, CMMS provides real-time tracking of work orders, keeping maintenance teams notified of work order progress, allocating resources efficiently, and responding promptly to critical issues. CMMS’s robust automated work order generation and tracking enhances overall operational efficiency, minimizes downtime, and prolongs asset lifespan.

Check out our blog on A Guide to Building Your Work Order Process to gain in-depth knowledge on creating your very own work order.

2. Preventive Maintenance

While CMMS automated work orders enhance maintenance operations efficiency, preventive maintenance is crucial in minimizing downtime and extending an organization's assets' lifespan. These benefits translate into potentially huge cost savings.

Preventive maintenance helps prevent costly breakdowns and unplanned downtime by proactively addressing potential issues before they escalate into major problems. With preventive maintenance, managers can regularly schedule maintenance tasks such as equipment inspections, lubrication, and parts replacement. These efforts ensure that assets operate at peak performance levels, reducing the likelihood of unexpected failures. Following best practices for using preventive maintenance is a proactive approach that saves time and resources in the long term and enhances overall operational efficiency by maintaining consistent production levels and avoiding disruptions to business operations.

Scheduling recurring maintenance tasks and inspections is a fundamental aspect of preventive maintenance. As noted in work order management, CMMS software automates the scheduling and tracking of maintenance activities. Organizations can set up predefined maintenance schedules through CMMS based on factors like equipment usage, manufacturer recommendations, and historical data. These schedules trigger automated work orders for maintenance tasks at regular intervals, ensuring that assets are properly maintained without manual intervention. By scheduling recurring inspections and maintenance tasks, organizations can identify and address potential issues early, prolonging the lifespan of assets and minimizing the risk of unexpected failures. 

Preventive maintenance reduces downtime, optimizes asset performance, and lowers maintenance costs in the long run.

the preventive maintenance interface of the cmms software

3. Asset Management

CMMS asset management involves the systematic tracking and management of physical assets throughout their lifecycle within an organization. CMMS software helps with asset tracking by assigning unique identifiers, and relevant information such as purchase date, warranty details, maintenance history, and current status is recorded and updated regularly. With this information, asset management modules in CMMS enable users to monitor asset performance, schedule maintenance activities, track depreciation, and manage costs, reliability, and asset performance effectively.

The benefits of CMMS asset tracking extend to inventory control and cost management. By accurately tracking assets and their associated parts and components, organizations can optimize inventory levels, reduce stockouts, and optimize inventory costs.  Organizations can identify cost-saving opportunities by monitoring asset usage and maintenance history, such as optimizing maintenance schedules, extending asset lifespan, and reducing unnecessary purchases. 

CMMS asset tracking facilitates better decision-making, improves operational efficiency, and helps organizations maximize the return on investment in their assets. 

the asset management interface of the cmms software

4. Inventory Management

CMMS is critical in inventory management because it offers robust tools to manage spare parts and inventory levels efficiently. With these tools, organizations can accurately track spare parts usage through CMMS software, monitor stock levels, and maintain optimal inventory levels to support maintenance activities. 

CMMS enables users to assign spare parts to specific assets, track usage, and automatically update inventory levels as parts are consumed or replenished based on these Inventory Management KPIs. It also facilitates automated reordering of spare parts by setting up reorder points and trigger thresholds. 

the parts and inventory interface of the cmms software

When inventory levels fall below a pre-set threshold, some CMMS systems automatically generate purchase requisitions or work orders to replenish stock, ensuring that critical spare parts are always available when needed. The software also provides inventory optimization features that enable organizations to analyze usage patterns, forecast future requirements, and adjust inventory levels accordingly, helping to minimize carrying costs while ensuring adequate stock availability to support maintenance operations. 

The result is a streamlined inventory management process, reduced stockouts, and optimized inventory levels. This translates into enhanced operational efficiency and reduced costs.

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5. Vendor and Supplier Management

Managing relationships with vendors and suppliers is critical to ensuring operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness in any organization. This is where CMMSs excel. The software can enhance vendor and supplier management by integrating features like comprehensive supplier databases, which provide a centralized repository of supplier information. This enables better tracking, evaluation, and comparison of suppliers based on performance metrics, ensuring that reliable and high-quality sources support maintenance activities. 

Many CMMS systems allow users to upload supplier contracts enabling users quick access to contracts. This allows users to refer to contracts to ensure compliance with terms and facilitate renewals or renegotiations. By streamlining administrative processes and fostering stronger partnerships, a CMMS enhances negotiation power and mitigates risks associated with supply chain disruptions. 

The upshot of this CMMS feature is the potential for increased partnership stability and profitability for an organization by ensuring that maintenance operations are efficiently and effectively supported.

the vendor management interface of the cmms software

6. Labor and Resource Management

Another way a CMMS helps maintain an organization’s operational efficiency is through its labor and resource management feature. The software assists in scheduling and allocating resources by providing tools that automate the assignment of tasks based on availability, priority, and skill requirements. This ensures that the right personnel and resources are deployed at the right time and place and fulfill the required tasks efficiently, minimizing downtime and optimizing productivity. 

Additionally, CMMS tracks labor hours and skill sets, offering detailed insights into workforce utilization and performance. By capturing and analyzing this data, organizations can identify training needs, balance workloads, and make informed decisions about staffing levels. This leads to improved accountability, enhanced worker productivity, and a more accurate allocation of labor costs. 

the resource management interface of the cmms software

CMMS facilitates a more streamlined and effective labor and resource management approach, driving operational efficiency and cost savings.

7. Reports and KPIs

It’s one thing to have a CMMS that oversees maintenance operations; it’s another thing to be assured that the system provides measurable benefits to an organization. The way to find out is through tracking maintenance KPIs because it provides valuable insights into maintenance activities' efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance. 

By monitoring KPIs, such as equipment uptime, mean time to repair (MTTR), and maintenance costs, organizations can identify areas for improvement, optimize resource allocation, and make data-driven decisions to enhance equipment reliability and productivity. CMMS software offers comprehensive reports and analytics to facilitate KPI tracking, including work order history reports, asset performance dashboards, and predictive maintenance analytics. 

CMMS KPI tracking and reports tools enable maintenance managers to analyze trends, identify patterns, and pinpoint potential issues before they escalate. This ultimately helps organizations streamline maintenance processes, reduce downtime, and maximize asset lifespan. The software’s customizable reports further benefit maintenance managers by allowing them to tailor analyses based on specific organizational needs, ensuring that maintenance strategies are aligned with overarching business objectives. 

the reports interface of the cmms software

8. Mobile Access

CMMS with mobile features is a game-changer for maintenance teams primarily because it allows them to communicate and access information wherever they may be. This significantly enhances their efficiency and responsiveness. 

Accessing CMMS data and functionalities via mobile devices allows technicians to update work orders, check inventory levels, and log maintenance activities in real time, regardless of location. This level of accessibility eliminates the need to wait until later to complete activities and more. It ensures that maintenance operations continue smoothly and that critical information is always up-to-date. 

The benefits of mobile access extend beyond convenience. With mobile-enabled CMMS, maintenance teams can quickly respond to unexpected issues, perform inspections, and carry out repairs with all necessary information at their fingertips. This leads to faster resolution times and improved asset reliability. 

the reports interface of the cmms software

In essence, increasing CMMS mobile adoption empowers maintenance teams to be more agile, informed, and efficient, leading to improved maintenance outcomes and operational efficiency.

Honorable Mentions - Advanced CMMS Features to Consider

Beyond the described CMMS features, the system has other features for organizations needing a more advanced approach.

QR Code Scanning:

Many CMMS systems have the ability of using QR codes with CMMS for assets, parts, and locations. QR code scanning is usually done through the CMMS mobile app, where users can scan an asset and instantly see asset details, open work orders, and work order history. In addition, by scanning the asset QR code, users can create a work order or request in seconds without having to search a long list. The same applies to locations and rooms. By scanning a QR code on a location, a request or work order can be created instantly.

the QR code interface of the cmms software

Integration with Other Business Applications

CMMS can now easily integrate with other business applications, such as ERP systems, accounting software, and supply chain management tools. This capability is crucial for creating a unified and efficient operational environment. 

This CMMS function ensures that maintenance activities are aligned with broader organizational processes, such as procurement, inventory management, and human resources. Like other CMMS features, it offers real-time data exchange, enabling maintenance teams to access up-to-date inventory levels, streamline parts ordering, and synchronize scheduling with production timelines. The benefits are reducing redundancies, preventing stock outs of critical spare parts, and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Incorporating CMMS with accounting and financial systems also brings substantial benefits, particularly cost control and financial transparency. By linking maintenance expenditures directly to financial records, organizations can gain accurate insights into maintenance costs, including labor, materials, and outsourced services. This integration facilitates detailed cost tracking and budget management, ensuring maintenance activities are within allocated financial limits. 

image of integration of cmms software with other business applications

Furthermore, it supports robust financial reporting and auditing processes, clearly showing the return on investment for maintenance initiatives and helping justify maintenance budgets to stakeholders.

Integrating CMMS with other software systems,  such as IoT platforms and condition monitoring tools, enhances predictive maintenance capabilities. By leveraging data from various sources, organizations can use advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to predict equipment failures before they occur. This proactive approach minimizes unplanned downtime, extends asset lifespans, and optimizes maintenance schedules. 

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Conclusion 

CMMS software is indispensable in modern maintenance operations. It offers robust tools to streamline workflows, enhance equipment reliability, and drive cost efficiency. Maintenance managers should prioritize the essential features reviewed in this article to maximize the benefits of their maintenance strategies. In doing so, they can be assured that their maintenance teams will be well-equipped to meet the demands of their operational environments. Selecting the right CMMS that best fits an organization is no easy feat. It’s important for buyers to do their due diligence to ensure that they get the best CMMS for their business operations.

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