CMMS Software Selection Tips For Maintenance Teams

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maintenance technician fixing equipmentCMMS Software Selection Can Be a Challenge

Maintenance management covers a wide field. Ongoing maintenance is required for facilities & equipment in different types of industries. So having a CMMS software program that can keep track of such maintenance and schedule work orders becomes very useful.

A maintenance software program is useful in locations with a lot of machinery. For instance, manufacturing plants, mining operations and so on.

However, it is also useful where you have a lot of facilities needing maintenance. This includes office buildings, hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Additionally operations with other types of equipment such as power & water utilities, fleet operators and so on.

Just think about it…

Having so many different types of equipment & facilities brings many challenges to selecting the right maintenance program.

Does specialized software for fleet maintenance, facility maintenance, etc make sense?

This may not be such a good idea if we will use the same system to handle different types of maintenance.

For instance, at a manufacturing plant we handle maintenance of machinery as well as facilities. This means assembly lines, work stations, storage areas and so on.

At a commercial facility we handle maintenance of rooms as well as equipment. For example HVAC, water pumps, electrical, etc.

A trucking company wants to handle maintenance of their truck fleet. This will often include 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 or 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!

We must make sure the integration is what we want and what we need. These integrations may require us to buy expensive consulting time to setup. They may not transfer the correct information between systems.

Rather than depending on vendor promises it is best to test such integrations first. Make sure that they are genuinely useful! We often have to pay a premium for a CMMS software product that offers such integrations.

With the advent of a smart phones 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.

But that’s just part of the story…

Other features can end up being dangerous.

What happens if a technician starts to modify an equipment but drops out of the network due to phone issues? Will everyone else be locked out of the equipment?

How do we handle lost phones? Who pays for Internet access? 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 we need to be aware of before we put too much faith in particular reviews.

For example we need to consider the target audience the review is for. If our organization or 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. Learn more about what to consider when checking reviews from “CMMS Software Reviews – How Good Are They?“.

CMMS software selection guide

In addition a variety of other items need to be considered when selecting CMMS software for an organization. For instance, hosted vs 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. It offers a checklist of different criteria. Use these to help you narrow your choice among the hundreds of products currently available.

Free 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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