Maintenance Management: CMMS Software Selection Tips

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maintenance technician fixing equipmentMaintenance management is quite a wide field since ongoing maintenance is required for a variety of equipment and facilities. Having a CMMS software program that can keep track of such maintenance and schedule work orders becomes very useful. A maintenance software program is not only useful in locations with a lot of machines (e.g. manufacturing plants, mining operations, etc.) but useful where you have a lot of facilities needing maintenance (hotel, resorts, restaurants) as well as those with other equipment (e.g. utilities, vehicle fleets).

Does it make sense to look for software specialized to the type of maintenance requirements you have?

This may not be such a good idea if you are going to be using the same system to handle different types of maintenance e.g. at a manufacturing plant you handle maintenance of machinery as well as facilities (assembly lines, work stations, storage areas) or at a commercial facility you handle maintenance of rooms as well as equipment (HVAC, water pumps, electrical) or say a trucking company wants to handle maintenance of their truck fleet as well as other equipment (e.g. repair equipment) and facilities (e.g. loading docks, repair bays). This means that a product targeted at say fleet maintenance may not offer good facility/ equipment maintenance features. In such cases a more general purpose maintenance management product would be a better choice.

What about integration with other products e.g. an ERP system or accounting system?

A few other software suites, generally ERP systems have maintenance management modules. However, these usually do not have all the features that a CMMS software package will offer. So they can be hard to use and create user dissatisfaction. Some CMMS systems may offer integration with other systems but in all such cases I would recommend buyer beware – make sure the integration is what you want and what you need. These integrations may require you to buy expensive consulting time to setup or do not transfer the correct information between systems. Rather than depending on vendor promises make sure to test such integrations and make sure that they are genuinely useful before deciding to pay a premium for a CMMS software product that offers such integration.

With the advent of a smart mobile phones and tablets does it make sense to look for maintenance software that supports them?

Many maintenance software packages advertise mobile phone features and capabilities. Some features such as the ability to push out work orders to technicians in the field and handle their updates can be quite useful. Others can end up being dangerous – what happens if a technician can modify equipment records, makes changes and drops out of the network due to phone issues? How do you handle lost phones? Who pays for Internet access? You can learn more about these and other questions you need to consider in a related post “Mobile Phone Support In CMMS/ Maintenance Management Software“.

How useful are maintenance software reviews?

Quite a few websites and magazines offer reviews or comparisons of different CMMS software. There are a few underlying problems you need to be aware of before you put too much faith in particular reviews. For example you need to consider the target audience the review is for. If your organization/ team is not really a target or does not fall in the solution size range, the review will not be useful. Reviewers conflicts of interest are also a cause of concern. You can learn more about what you need to consider when checking reviews from “CMMS Software Reviews – How Good Are They?“.

Maintenance software selection guide

Besides the ones mentioned above a variety of other items need to be considered when selecting CMMS software for an organization e.g. hosted/ self-hosted, number of users, types of reports, scheduling features and so on. To help you consider such items we have put together a CMMS Software Selection Guide that you can download and use. It offers a checklist of different criteria that you can use to help you narrow your choice among the hundreds of products currently available.

Download CMMS Software Selection Guide

Additional resources

  1. See “50 questions to help your CMMS search” from the Plant Maintenance Resource Center for a useful checklist of CMMS features.
  2. See “Ten Pitfalls To Avoid When Selecting A CMMS/EAM” from Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation Magazine.

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