A huge perk when you implement a CMMS is having the ability to store all of your maintenance information digitally. This is incredibly useful when you’re checking the preventative maintenance history of an asset but it’s even more useful when that dreaded 5-letter word is being whispered throughout your facility’s corridors. Audit.
Of course, there’s even more auditors with different guidelines and rules and regulations to comply to, but there’s one thing that all auditors have in common: their need for documented proof.
Proof, for example, that a certain preventative maintenance task was performed every 120 days. A CMMS can provide a report for that. It can also provide reports on tracking incidents, ensuring inspections are done when needed, work history, and just about anything else maintenance related that may be audited.
Generating reports instead of hastily compiling paper records is a baseline of competence that maintenance teams should strive for. Beyond surviving audits, recording the daily records of maintenance can help enable a cultural shift.
Someone once said, “Excellence is a habit.” To get the most out of a CMMS, it needs to be part of your maintenance team’s daily habits. A CMMS acts as a hub and reminder for tasks that otherwise may get lost in the shuffle. It keeps your team accountable and ensures the little things, like preventative maintenance, that prevent the big things – like asset failure, get done.
So, in a way, a CMMS can act as an internal audit for maintenance team’s practices so they can pass a real audit when the time comes. It’s ultimately up to the maintenance team to perform the protocols and best practices that will ensure compliance, but a CMMS is a fantastic tool for companies that want to get ahead of the game.
EAM is a term you may have come across if you’re in a maintenance, repair, and operations role. It stands for Enterprise Asset Management, which does explain the initials but offers little guidance on how an EAM executes or how it’s delivered. Is it software? A team of managers? A very strong robot? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out.
Via Wikipedia, “Enterprise asset management involves the management of the maintenance of physical assets of an organization throughout each asset’s life cycle. EAM is used to plan, optimize, execute, and track the needed maintenance activities with the associated priorities, skills, materials, tools, and information.”
Ah, that’s better. Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve most likely heard of or even use CMMS software (if not, here’s our brief description). Functionally, Wikipedia’s description of an EAM sounds awfully similar to a CMMS.
And if you’ve done a fair amount of research into CMMS or EAM software you may see that they’re used synonymously.
Heck, we use them synonymously on this website!
So, is there a difference between the two or is this a Kleenex versus tissue type situation?
In order to understand the differences and why the two phrases exist, we have to look back at their origins.
History of CMMS and EAM
Despite their status as an all-in-one hub for asset and maintenance management, Computerized Maintenance Management Systems have humble beginnings.
The first iterations of CMMS software can be traced back as far as the 1960’s and came in the form of punch cards. Maintenance workers would record their completed maintenance tasks onto punch cards which were then fed into mainframes.
Image via Wikipedia
Luckily for maintenance teams and businesses everywhere, CMMS continued to evolve, as did businesses and maintenance practices. Jeff O’Brien from American Machinist does a fantastic job here of breaking down each iteration of CMMS technology into delineated generations.
Somewhere in the 4th generation of CMMS evolution, the term EAM started popping up.
According to this article via Plant Services, EAM was likely coined as a marketing phrase.
This makes a lot of sense – up until this point, somewhere between the late 80’s and early 90’s, CMMS software was associated with simply managing maintenance tasks.
At this time there were incredible advances in computers and networking, as well as changing views on maintenance. Once considered a necessary evil, it was now seen as an opportunity to gather valuable data and cut expenses.
As a result, CMMS software and EAM software was more fully integrated into business operations. Now, instead of just issuing work orders for maintenance teams, C-level employees could utilize CMMS/EAM software to monitor the status of their valuable assets.
The companies that could offer these features wanted to differentiate themselves from their simple maintenance management CMMS competitors, hence the term Enterprise Asset Management.
So, we know why the term was coined but does that differentiator still exist today? Well, not exactly.
Today, a quality CMMS software is expected to offer the features that once set EAM apart. In 2019, if a company offers maintenance management software, whether it’s categorized under Enterprise Asset Management or Computerized Maintenance Management System, it needs to have a certain number of features in order to compete on the open market.
Our CMMS software has come a long way over the years, and as we head into the 4th Industrial Revolution, CMMS software will continue to evolve to better serve the needs of maintenance teams and businesses. This constant evolution will continue to blur the line that once differentiated EAM from CMMS.
Pair that with the reported 28.3% increase in maintenance productivity and 19.4% savings in lower material costs and it’s obvious that a CMMS, given enough time, will pay for itself. In fact, according to that same survey, it took an average of only 14.5 months for a CMMS to pay back the initial investment. Imagine if all of your investments paid off that quick! You wouldn’t have that storage unit full of beanie babies anymore!
So, with everything we know about how effective CMMS software can be, why is it that some CMMS implementations just don’t work?
Conveniently enough, that same U.S. D.O.E. report covers the common pitfalls of an unsuccessful CMMS implementation. Let’s break them down:
Improper selection of a CMMS vendor
Every CMMS has its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to assess your maintenance team’s needs and your business needs to select the appropriate CMMS. Does your company have multiple facilities with sensitive customer data? Then an on-premise CMMS would be the right fit. It’ll help keep your data in-house and will more easily integrate with existing business software.
On the other hand, if your maintenance team is small and needs basic work order software, a lightweight Software as a Service (Saas) is most likely the right choice.
You can mitigate the chances of improper selection by conducting extensive research, every business has different needs and every CMMS is unique.
Inadequate training of the O&M administrative staff on proper use of the CMMS.
Unfortunately, some organizations like to cut corners by skirting costs they may see as superfluous, such as training. They must have never watched Rocky. At Ashcom Technologies, we may be a little biased, but we speak from decades of experience when we say that one of the biggest indicators of whether a CMMS implementation will be successful is the number of training hours utilized.
If you’re a maintenance professional then you’ve most likely taken some sort of formalized or safety training. You understand exactly how important training is when it comes to properly utilize your tools.
Software is just another tool at your disposal. Unlike, say a forklift, a lack of CMMS training is unlikely to end with a hole in your warehouse wall, but it’s important nonetheless.
Lack of commitment to properly implement the CMMS and lack of commitment to persist in CMMS use and integration.
One of the biggest barriers to making any large-scale change in an organization is getting the staff on-board. Whether a CMMS is committed to, both in implementation and use, is largely determined by that organization’s culture.
If company culture is a progressive one, where change and improvements are encouraged, then adopting a CMMS should be relatively painless. On the other hand, implementing a CMMS in a work culture with an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ideology can be a bit more of a challenge.
This report does a wonderful job capturing some of the challenges we face at Ashcom when integrating CMMS software. If you want to successfully launch a CMMS and reap the long-term benefits, we find it’s helpful to remember these three basic rules: schedule the necessary training, research CMMS vendors to find the best fit, and make sure your team is ready to commit to using a CMMS in their day-to-day operations.
So, if we analyze these common pitfalls and flip them on their head, we can then build 3 Rules For a Successful CMMS Implementation.
Rule #1: Research CMMS vendors extensively.
Reading reviews and visiting company websites is a solid first step but in order to find out whether a CMMS is going to work for your specific situation, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Get on the phone with a sales rep or CMMS engineer and explain your business problems. Then, evaluate each CMMS based on its effectiveness at solving those particular problems.
Rule #2: Schedule necessary training.
Once you’ve found a CMMS that aligns with your needs, you’ll need to actually use it!
Most CMMS providers offer different training options. Determining the best option for your team often depends on a number of factors like travel logistics and which type of training the CMMS provider offers. If available, on-site training at your facility is usually the most effective – it offers a direct look at how the CMMS will function within your business.
Other common options include in-house training, where CMMS companies host your employees at their training facilities and online training.
Rule #3: Ready yourself and your team to commit to using a CMMS.
A CMMS can be a culture shock to an entrenched maintenance team. Adding new work processes to a busy workforce can be met with pushback and without the support of the users, a CMMS will fail. It’s incredibly important to ready your team to reassess their daily activities and determine how a CMMS can be incorporated into their responsibilities.
Illustrate the increased efficiency and work processes that come with a CMMS implementation. There is an initial time investment that must be paid, but given enough time it will lighten the maintenance team’s workload.
Look at that – turning lemons into lemonade! These 3 rules should help you avoid the common pitfalls, outlined above, as you navigate the CMMS shopping and implementation process.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” You’ve probably heard this phrase before and for most situations this is a sound piece of advice. Take, for example, the common kitchen stove; attempting repairs on a functioning stove will most likely just result in concerned looks from your significant other.
But! There are numerous situations where “fixing” or performing maintenance on something that’s not broken is the right thing to do. We call this “preventative maintenance” and it’s one of the core values of any successful industrial company.
Alternatively, performing maintenance on an asset or item that is broken is called “reactive maintenance.” This is a perfectly suitable solution for your stove but an incredibly less effective method for manufacturers and other large-scale operations.
Unlike the common stove, manufacturing plants are an interconnected web of machines, tools, and employees all working together to produce an item in the most efficient method possible. So, when one of those machines or tools stops working, it affects everything else in that web and efficiency plummets.
This is called downtime and it’s very, very bad. When downtime occurs, it costs the company time because production is halted while reactive repairs are performed. It costs the company money because product is not being manufactured. Ultimately, it creates an unsafe, unstable and stressful environment for employees.
An effective preventative maintenance program is a systematic approach to reducing downtime and addresses each of the aforementioned issues. Typically, preventative maintenance is performed through scheduled routine inspections and processes that ensure and preserve the functionality of an asset. Reducing downtime isn’t the only benefit of preventative maintenance; here’s a few more for consideration.
Cost Savings & Improved Efficiency
One of the common knocks on preventative maintenance is that it takes time out of day-to day operations to implement. While there may be an initial investment of time during implementation, the payoff in the future more than makes up for it. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, an organization using preventative maintenance can expect a 12 – 18% cost savings over reactive maintenance*. That’s no small potatoes.
Along with the incredible amount of money that can be saved from preventing downtime, it can also provide your maintenance team with a surplus of hours that can be utilized in more effective ways. Instead of spending hours or days performing unexpected repairs on a malfunctioning asset, they now perform routine maintenance for a few minutes in a scheduled routine.
Employee Safety & Well-Being
Besides preventing downtime, preventative maintenance can also extend the life of your valuable assets. Just like car owners perform regular maintenance (such as an oil change to extend the life of a vehicle) so should manufacturers perform regular maintenance to extend the life of their machines.
Besides the obvious cost savings and improved time utilization, preventative maintenance is also beneficial to your employees. Properly maintained and functioning equipment creates a much more stable and safe working environment, which at the end of the day, should be your top priority.
This applies to mental health as well as physical. A malfunctioning machine may cause bodily harm, but a regularly malfunctioning asset will create a stressful environment for even the staunchest of maintenance teams.
With preventative maintenance, your workers now enjoy the peace of mind that comes with operating in an environment with properly functioning equipment, a surplus of hours to perform their duties, and less stress on their mental well-being.
So, when we consider all the benefits of preventative maintenance; saving money, saving time, safer and more harmonious work environments, happier employees, and more efficient production, it’s hard to think of any reason not to adopt a preventative maintenance strategy. Maybe it’s time to retire the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and adopt something less catchy but more practical like, “If it ain’t broke, just make sure.”
The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and more and more organizations are adopting data-driven solutions by combining the physical elements of manufacturing with the digital elements of the Internet of Things (IoT).
This advanced approach to industry further encourages integration across all “cyber-physical” systems. Companies use the information that digital systems gather (e.g. CMMS) about their physical systems (e.g. manufacturing equipment) to make decisions that are best for the organization as a whole.
But as the IoT grows so does the number of systems that have to be able to speak to one another. This means if you work for an organization on the cutting edge of facility management, it may take a dedicated team willing to lay the necessary groundwork to spearhead a successful CMMS implementation.
Alternatively, if you work for a smaller organization you may not need to focus on the perils of integrating a CMMS into a larger enterprise system. Smaller organizations should be more focused on making sure their workforce is prepared to be trained on new software and how it will affect their day-to-day operations.
The team here at Ashcom Technologies wants you to be prepared to implement your CMMS no matter the size of organization or business. So, whether it’s a maintenance team of one or a corporation of 4,000 here are 4 things to consider before you implement a CMMS.
1. Evaluate Infrastructure
Well designed CMMS software becomes pervasive in an organization and often acts as a central communication hub for your maintenance team. So in order to properly implement CMMS software an organization has to identify the number of physical locations and the number of maintenance technicians that will be utilizing the system. This not only includes maintenance techs that complete work orders but any employees that would need access to a CMMS to request a work order.
Like we said above, companies are much more than just a collection of facilities and workers. In Industry 4.0, with integrated systems and data coursing throughout, organizations are much more akin to a living, breathing organism.
2. Hosting On-Site or in the Cloud
One of the biggest decisions you may face when implementing a CMMS is whether to host on-site or “in the cloud”. Hosting a CMMS on-site may be preferable for companies or organizations that have secure and stable server infrastructure and an on-site IT team. On-site hosting is the preferred method for certain data-sensitive industries.
That’s not necessarily true for most organizations; if your company is smaller in scale and doesn’t have its own server system or employs a smaller maintenance team then cloud-based hosting may be right for you.
With cloud hosting, smaller businesses don’t have to worry about server maintenance, IT hours, or anything else that may pull resources away from actual maintenance work. With a cloud-based CMMS, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), all you will need is a computer capable of accessing an internet browser and a CMMS license.
3. Time Allocation & Training
Implementing a CMMS is an investment not only in money but also in time, one that will undoubtedly return dividends. But, when you’re incorporating a new system into a pre-established workforce, it’s likely that some of your day-to-day operations may have to take a back seat.
In order to squeeze the most juice out of your CMMS, you’ll have to make sure the users are using the system properly and efficiently, which requires training. As an organization, be prepared to get creative with your team’s work hours so you can allow for CMMS training time.
Luckily, most CMMS companies offer a few ways to become certified by offering on-site training, online training, and off-site training. There are advantages to each and the right choice depends on your organization. On-site training is valuable for larger organizations because it allows the CMMS experts conducting the training a direct look into facilities and overall operations so they can determine best practices on a case by case basis.
Off-site training, where users learn the ins and outs of a CMMS at a remote training facility, may be better suited for companies that already understand how a CMMS will be incorporated into their facilities and simply want their workers to be proficient users of the CMMS software.
Online training allows users to learn at their convenience but may not be as in-depth or expansive as the other two options. No matter your preferred method of training, it is absolutely necessary that your maintenance team is trained on their CMMS software.
4. Data Migration
Necessity is the mother of invention. If your organization is considering implementing a CMMS, it’s most likely that the need has arisen from your current system not providing enough data or your organization producing more data than can be handled via traditional methods.
If so, the next step in preparing your organization for CMMS implementation is gathering the current data on your organization’s equipment, assets, tools, employees, inventory and anything else that may be useful down the road. The more data the better – not only will your CMMS be able to operate more efficiently, it’ll allow your company to make smarter decisions for the future and that, at the end of the day, is what makes a CMMS a great tool for any organization.
So now that you’ve gathered your data, allocated time for training, decided how your CMMS should be hosted, and evaluated your existing infrastructure you’re ready to implement your CMMS. This is exciting! For a lot of organizations, progressing from traditional pen and paper to a CMMS system is the maintenance equivalent of going from a flip phone to a smartphone, and we’re glad that Ashcom Technologies could be a part of that very cool journey.
A CMMS, short for Computerized Maintenance Management System, manages and automates the daily tasks necessary to operate a maintenance department. A CMMS is also sometimes referred to as EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) because one of the primary features of a CMMS is the ability to track and record data on assets including the location, repair history, and operating status of those assets.
Today, CMMSs are implemented in organizations all over the world but they were first introduced in the 1960’s. Like most computer systems at the time they were based on a punch card system. Nowadays, CMMSs are hosted via an internet connection and are typically utilized in the form of SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS allows a CMMS to be accessed from any device with an internet connection. An on-site maintenance technician has all the data he needs, right at his fingertips.
As we move into Industry 4.0, organizations are better equipped to understand the value of preventative maintenance and data-driven decisions but the value of a Computerized Maintenance Management System goes much deeper than that. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of a CMMS, follow the link.
A CMMS is the ultimate tool in a maintenance technician’s tool belt – a cure for the tedious tasks and daily issues of a maintenance department. While a maintenance technician will see immediate value in a CMMS, the decision to implement is oftentimes determined by business owners or managers.
In most organizations, management isn’t likely to use a CMMS in their daily tasks; they may not think the system is a necessity. But, as our more cunning readers may have deduced from the title, a CMMS provides much more value outside of just assisting the maintenance team, it improves the entire organization! Without further ado, here are our Top Four Big Picture Benefits of a CMMS.
1. Improved Employee Morale
Let’s walk through a day in the life of Marty the maintenance tech. Marty spends most of his day repairing machinery. In order to start his work day, Marty must find his first work order. He searches through the maintenance desk but no luck; someone must’ve misplaced today’s work orders. Now, poor Marty has to locate his supervisor. After searching the sprawling facility for quite some time and then calling over the P.A., Marty finally finds him.
Now, with a work order in hand, he can start his work day. Marty heads to the stock room to find the part he needs to begin his work order, but he’s not able to locate it because the stock room is loosely organized. He finds the proper place for the part but alas, it’s empty. He talks to the stock room attendant, “Yeah, that part should’ve been ordered a while ago, we didn’t know we were out,” says Dave, the stock room attendant. Marty is getting frustrated, with these constant delays he’ll have to stay late tonight.
This feeling of having more issues to address than time can leave even the staunchest of technicians, like Marty, feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. A CMMS eliminates that overwhelming feeling, data is organized, problems are identified and technicians feel in control. Their tasks are scheduled in the most efficient order and their resources are easily located. This leaves employees with the assurance that they’ll be able to complete their job in a timely and satisfactory manner. It’s not rocket science that a happy employee works better; it’s just smart business. With a CMMS implemented, Marty can leave work on time.
2. Cost Savings
Speaking of smart business, implementing a CMMS can increase a maintenance department’s efficiency which, in turn, promotes cost savings. According to ReliabilityWeb.com, “maintenance management generally makes up 40 percent to 50 percent of operational budgets; the savings made possible from increased efficiency and reduction of waste is staggering.”
So how does a CMMS reduce waste? A CMMS will allow the user to schedule preventative maintenance. Now, Marty’s maintenance tasks become proactive instead of reactive. Just like an oil change extends the life of your car, preventative maintenance extends the life of your businesses’ assets. This means you replace fewer machines and you waste fewer parts attempting to put band-aid solutions over faulty machinery.
Preventative maintenance also leads to less downtime. When you maintain a machine properly it’s less likely to break down. It’s pretty simple – decreased downtime equals more uptime. More uptime means more productivity. Producing more in less time equals cost savings.
3. Improved Workflow & Productivity
Our buddy, Marty, can speak extensively on workflows as his workday was not particularly efficient. Implementing a CMMS would alleviate him of his aforementioned daily issues. It eliminates the need to find physical work orders, that information is stored in a CMMS. It eliminates the need to search for inventory because a CMMS can provide a map of your stock room, and it can even order parts when they’re out of stock. It doesn’t just help Marty either, now Dave, our cavalier stockroom attendant, knows when he should order parts.
Good communication is incredibly important to a maintenance team’s success and a CMMS will often act as a communication hub. All important maintenance information whether it be repairs, preventative maintenance, inventory, inventory location, or purchase orders can be managed and recorded within a CMMS. With that wealth of information now readily available, team workflows are executed in a more efficient manner.
4. Maintain Compliance & Track Trends
With all maintenance data stored in one place, management can now easily identify trends and issues occurring in the workplace. The machines causing the most downtime can be isolated and either repaired or replaced. They can identify the parts most commonly used and where employees work most efficiently. A CMMS can also record the historical data of your equipment. If your organization is required to comply with industry standards or is placed into an audit, they’ll have documentation to support compliance.
The ability to look at your organization’s operations through an analytical lens like a CMMS is incredibly valuable. As we head towards Industry 4.0 companies will make more efficient and data-driven decisions, which makes a simple and prudent solution like a CMMS the baseline for industry 4.0 competency.
There you have it, our 4 Big Picture Benefits of a CMMS; improved employee morale, less costly operations, improved workflows and productivity, and more data to make decisions with. It’s truly incredible the amount of value a CMMS can provide, not only to the employees who use it but the organization as a whole. If you’re a company that wants to reexamine how it can better position itself in a changing business landscape, look no further than a CMMS. Marty will send his thanks.
About Ashcom Technologies, Inc.
Ashcom Technologies has been providing innovative CMMS (Computerized Management Maintenance Software) solutions since 1985. Ashcom was one of the first CMMS providers to develop a completely web-based “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model for more rapid implementation at a lower total cost of ownership.
Our growing client base consists of over 13,000 users worldwide across multiple sites ranging from small & medium-sized organizations to Fortune 500 corporations including manufacturers, service providers, fleet operators, energy and utility companies, health care facilities, universities, municipalities, and facility and property managers, among others.
Shopping for a CMMS can be intimidating. You have to navigate the many features and services a CMMS offers while considering your businesses’ needs. Luckily, Ashcom Technologies prides itself on keeping things simple and easy to understand. We’re here to be your Sherpa, guiding you through the vast and intimidating mountainside of maintenance software. Read below for a list of absolute must-have features in a CMMS.
The Work Order module in a CMMS grants the user the ability to schedule maintenance or repairs on equipment and then assign them to employees.
Work Orders make for a better organized business; they provide records of assigned tasks, are easily located by an assigned code, and also provide relevant information to the assigned employee.
Speaking of scheduling, to ensure you get the most coin out of your incredibly valuable assets you’ll want to make sure your CMMS has a Preventative Maintenance feature. Preventative Maintenance allows you to register assets, say for example a rocket ship, create maintenance schedules for your rocket ship, and then also track the cost of maintaining your rocket ship.
If you’re building rocket ships maintaining those valuable assets can save your company an incredible amount of money. The same goes for tracking your inventory.
It also saves you from an incredible number of headaches as it’ll allow you to track parts, equipment, and tools including the quantity, location, and cost.
A good CMMS will undoubtedly save your organization a lot of cash. The Purchase Order feature will help you spend it! This module allows you to keep track of vendors, invoices, issue and automate purchase orders, authorize shipping, and keep track of all past purchase orders.
A huge component of maintenance is being well prepared with tools, equipment, and parts. The Purchase Order feature allows you to do just that.
You’ve kept tabs on your equipment, tools, parts, purchase orders, vendors, and just about everything else in your maintenance department. Now you need a way to schedule your most important asset, the people!
A Timecard feature allows you to create schedules for your employees and track where labor hours are spent.
There you have it; the must-have features in a CMMS that’ll have the biggest impact on your maintenance department. We told you we’d keep it simple! Once you have these features implemented into your organization, you’ll be building rocket ships in no time.
We recently found a great article about best practices in Factory Maintenance, check it out at EET-Asia:
It is possible to establish best practices in production factory maintenance but to achieve this requires the great effort from electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). What makes this goal so difficult and why are manufacturers still running at a reactive model? Read more
The maintenance department and the operation side of a business are often disconnected. While both groups significantly impact an organization and its success, more often than not the two departments act like opponents rather than members of the same team. This prompts questions including, why is it common for these two groups to bump heads? And what can you do to foster a better working relationship and improve the overall operation?