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What Is a CMMS and How Does It Transform Operations? [A Comprehensive Guide]

What Is a CMMS and How Does It Transform Operations? [A Comprehensive Guide]

Anywhere there is a piece of machinery, maintenance and downtime are involved. And no one realizes this better than organizations running factories and production facilities. 

With downtime costing most factories between 5% and 15% of their productive capacity, or an average of 8% of revenue, there is a way to reduce these costs and remain competitive.

The answer lies in a CMMS – a way of reducing waste in energy, materials and spare parts.

But what is a CMMS? How did it evolve and how does it work? Why should you use it and what factors should you base your decision on?

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the answers to these questions

What Is a CMMS and How Does It Transform Operations? [A Comprehensive Guide]

What Is a CMMS?

A CMMS stands for computerized maintenance management system and is an intelligent software that helps organizations maintain proper operations by reducing maintenance-related downtime and costs.

Often referred to as preventive maintenance or work order software, it is a sophisticated communication system for digitalization of maintenance.

History of CMMS and Evolutionary Timeline

CMMS hasn’t always been around, affordable or easily accessible. To find out more about its development, we go back in time to get a brief historical overview.

  • 1960s–1970s

The earliest launch of a CMMS can be traced back to 1965. It was used by large manufacturers that owned IBM mainframe computers. However, it was neither readily available nor affordable. Before this, many plants, factories and production facilities had their information buried in paper files until the punch card came along in the 1970s.

  • 1980s–1990s

The 1980s rolled around and we saw smaller businesses adopting the so-called “mini-computers”. They were smaller, more affordable and more widely distributed. Connectivity helped the cause of CMMS adoption with the introduction of local area networks (LANs). There was also the development of Excel spreadsheets.

  • 2000s–present

With the adoption of intranets and web-based connectivity, CMMS started adapting for mobile device and tablet use at remote field operations. Modern technology means that some CMMS options are cloud-based and highly mobile. 

CMMS solutions continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. Through the introduction of web-based technology and increased use of the internet, organizations now have greater mobility and real-time data access.

What Does a CMMS Do?

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CMMS eliminates reliance on paper records, reduces wasted resources and is better equipped to handle unexpected malfunctions or breakdowns.

It works as follows: A new order is created with a description and assignment of the priority of the task, along with the order type and the responsible team member. However, some tasks don’t have to be input manually as they can be initiated at specified intervals.

The CMMS also serves as an inventory management tool as it facilitates the tracking and distribution of spare parts and consumables required to carry out the repair.

The assigned team member works on the task and completes it. Automatic reporting is generated instantly, enabling insights to base decisions on. There is a maintenance history, which is a log of all the changes or actions performed on a task. And you can also track inventory costs.

Key CMMS Features

As a comprehensive and sophisticated platform, a CMMS must have several core features, among which are the following:

Work Order Management

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Work order management revolves around the management of work requests for maintenance or repair tasks.

It starts with the manual creation of a new work order by the relevant personnel. Usually, that's the maintenance manager. They could also automate this step, depending on specific triggers and system settings.

The maintenance work order is assigned to the responsible person (e.g. the technician) with a time frame for the task’s completion. When the specialist receives the work order, they will also receive a series of details to make their job easier. It’s also possible to attach images to the relevant task for greater levels of clarity.

One of the most convenient aspects of work scheduling is the ability to integrate it with calendar systems so that the person assigned can receive task notifications, reminders and updates straight on a mobile device and/or email. 

Once the job is completed, work orders are marked as closed or completed. 

Work order management comes with significant benefits for everyone on the team, helping them to: 

  • Streamline, structure and coordinate the entire workflow.
  • Plan, prioritize and execute maintenance tasks efficiently.
  • Improve communication between all stakeholders.
  • Ensure proper documentation.
  • Reduce response times, therefore increasing productivity.
  • Promote transparency and accountability.
  • Keep a record of maintenance costs for further analysis.
  • Track asset performance over time.
  • Gain valuable information from the work order history.

Preventive Maintenance

Prevention is at the heart of maintenance because it catches potential issues before they arise. This process is typically automated and can be scheduled based on time, meter or measurement/condition-based triggers. However, it is also possible to initiate preventative maintenance based on asset usage, manufacturer guidelines, industry standards or regulatory requirements.

Automated scheduling is a key functionality of preventative maintenance. In the task description, you can add safety protocols, spare parts, guidelines and best practices, recommended procedures, tools, etc. Following specialized checklists can streamline the maintenance process and minimize potential oversights.

The benefits of preventive maintenance are many and they include:

  • Reduced equipment downtime
  • Organized assets across multiple orders
  • Unplanned breakdowns reduction
  • Extended machine lifespans
  • Maximized equipment reliability
  • Reduced disruption of regular operations

Spare Parts and Inventory Management

A CMMS can handle an organization’s materials and spare part management processes, which is especially useful for inventory control and optimization.

As part of the centralized inventory, you can create a list of all spare parts stocks. This record contains valuable information, including the part’s model, quantity and location.

Additionally, the costs of restocking inventory will be immediately available and visible to the relevant person. This way, automatic resupply can take place in a timely manner without costing the organization unnecessary downtime.

It also enables decision-makers to decide on retiring or upgrading a piece of machinery when the time comes.

Reporting and Analysis

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CMMS’s functionalities extend even further to providing detailed reports, giving rise to insights to base future decisions on. By enabling users to track key metrics and analyze CMMS trends, decision-makers become much more adept at recognizing areas for improvement, cost savings, and efficiencies. This, in turn, leads to more effective resource allocation and higher productivity.

This functionality also enables organizations to better measure how effective their maintenance strategies are. They can also track performance against key performance indicators (KPIs) and, as such, drive efforts toward continuous organizational growth.

Based on customizable reports and dashboards, organizations can select the area of focus at any given moment to identify patterns, enabling a proactive approach. These reports can be produced and show data in real time through accurate visualizations. In this article on CMMS report examples you can review them in detail.

Compliance and Safety Management

Because safety management is a critical aspect of organizations’ responsibility, aspects such as safety protocols and compliance standards (e.g. ISO and ITF) must be taken into account to keep staff safe and ensure conformity with regulatory organs.

With a CMMS at your side, you will be able to generate compliance reports that capture aspects such as adherence to safety and regulatory requirements. These reports can create an important audit trail that helps to ensure accountability and even identify areas that need improvement.

Labor and Resource Management

Through a CMMS, organizations can manage their labor resources. For example, it is possible to track which staff members are available to carry out the maintenance task and assign them work orders.

However, a CMMS goes beyond this as it can also organize and monitor shifts. Furthermore, employees can create time logs for more accurate labor tracking.

Mobile App

Having access to the CMMS platform on a mobile phone or tablet means that maintenance teams can manage tasks on the go conveniently and easily. With real-time updates, paperwork is eliminated while collaboration is optimized.

Through mobile devices, it’s also possible to upload and attach images, documents, and files that are related to the assigned work order. 

In addition, with mobile CMMS apps, you can scan barcodes or QR codes to enable easier and quicker identification of assets, spare parts and other relevant information. It allows for better tracking of inventory as a spare part is removed from storage and put into operation. 

Mobile apps can often include offline functionality in areas without access to the internet. This means that work is never halted and can continue in the most efficient manner possible.

Modern CMMS vs. Traditional Maintenance Management

Traditional maintenance management is considered a non-digital maintenance management system. When comparing digital CMMS with traditional systems, CMMS wins hands down. That’s because modern management software offers access to real-time data as opposed to working with a paper trail system that is sluggish and inefficient.

Factors to Consider When Choosing CMMS Software

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Choosing your organization’s CMMS software should be based on a careful assessment of several important factors. Here are some you should consider:

  • Integration and requirements: Assess where your organization’s current technical requirements can be improved upon and whether the CMMS will be easy to integrate.
  • Data handling: Check if your CMMS platform can address the challenges of increasing data and whether it can yield accurate, real-time, reliable reports and analytics.
  • Resource allocation: Make sure that your CMMS offers strategies that align your staffing and resource inventories.
  • Modernization: Determine the benefits of your organization in terms of transitioning from legacy systems.
  • Cloud-based solutions: A cloud-hosted CMMS can help to effectively manage your operations, even remotely or from different locations.

Check out this guide on best CMMS software for more insights.

Why Does Your Business Need a CMMS?

Many production facilities and factories rely on machinery to ensure smooth operations. However, when a machine malfunctions or breaks down, this can cost you a lot of downtime and resources. That’s why a CMMS can help a multitude of industries in their daily operations through modernising processes and streamlining preventative maintenance operations. 

CMMS Implementation and Integration

Examples of challenges that may arise with the implementation and integration of a CMMS include ownership of the maintenance software, lack of support and complex navigation that your staff may be resistant to.

However, best practices for successful CMMS integration cover each of these pain points. You can seamlessly transition to your CMMS by ensuring you have the technical support and pre-training for your team.

CMMS Training and User Adoption

User adoption is a critical component of effective CMMS implementation. Training employees to use your CMMS effectively becomes a key aspect of your processes.

To ensure that you achieve high user adoption rates, we recommend that you invite your CMMS provider to carry out training for all your staff members to ensure that everyone is on board and can ask clarifying questions.

CMMS Case Studies

Case Study: ABB Bulgaria

ABB Bulgaria, an international manufacturing plant with over 1,200 employees, struggled to organize its maintenance processes, resulting in increased maintenance costs and unexpected downtime. Its existing ERPs did not meet the diverse activity requirements in a manufacturing plant. That’s why they turned to us for help.

At Fabrico, we leveraged our platform and tailored it with upgrades specific to the client’s needs. As part of our bespoke approach, we implemented QR code scanners into existing processes.

This improved productivity and reduced the time for analyzing data and completing maintenance tasks. Using the intuitive mobile version of Fabrico, employees received on-the-go system access and real-time updates, which was a game-changer for them.

The result: Efficiency was significantly enhanced and the number of emergencies declined by a remarkable 15%.

Fabrico CMMS Services: How Can We Help?

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At Fabrico, we are committed to providing a solution for a broad range of organizations in need of a CMMS platform.

✔ Our software is multilingual – English, German, Polish, and Bulgarian. 

✔ The convenient and intuitive interface makes it easy to use and navigate. 

✔ Importing existing data is lightning-fast.

✔ Our pricing is based on a plant and not per user.

We also offer a mobile application with connectivity to smart devices to help you:

  • Organize all your production processes
  • Improve team task organization and team communication
  • Facilitate accountability
  • Digitize the process of servicing and repairing machines
  • Reduce the costs of unplanned repairs and machine downtime

Reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to assist you with your organization’s maintenance scheduling needs. Get in touch today!

Conclusion

Modern maintenance operations require a modern approach. This means exploring CMMS solutions that will be the right fit for your organization. With so many benefits associated with integrating a CMMS into your daily operations, it’s worth considering as an option that will save you considerable time and resources.

FAQs

What is an example of a CMMS?

An example of a CMMS is a centralized software platform that enables professionals to carry out machinery maintenance while assigning work orders, accessing historical data in real-time, managing spare parts storage, predictive maintenance and everything else related to the maintenance process. This results in seamless operations, ensuring a wide range of benefits, such as increased machine uptime and reduced maintenance costs.

What types of organizations use CMMS systems?

CMMS systems are commonly used in many industries, including facility management, electronics, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, textiles, furniture and glass manufacturing, machinery and metal manufacturing, etc.

What information does a CMMS database contain?

A CMMS database contains information related to every aspect of your machinery asset repository, staff and labor resources, documentation and relevant attachments such as images, and many more.

How can I get expert guidance on implementing CMMS in my organization?

You can contact an experienced and knowledgeable CMMS company representative who will help you reach an informed decision by taking your organizational maintenance needs into account.

Get in touch with a Fabrico CMMS expert by leaving your details on this page.

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