by Terry Taylor
Like everyone else, I get too many emails to read so my daily routine each morning is to do a quick glance at all my new emails and immediately make a decision. The decision is to keep them or delete them. Recently, one in particular caught my eye because I saw the words, “Be More Productive with CMMS.”
Having started on the Reliability journey many years ago- without a CMMS (i.e. Computerized Maintenance Management System) of any kind, I have a very good understanding of just what a CMMS is and what it is not. Fundamentally, it is only a tool. What it is not is a “Maintenance Program” as many managers that I encounter believe it to be. In its primary function as a tool, the CMMS program assists a maintenance department in organizing the various maintenance activities especially with respect to the Planning and Scheduling of maintenance. It can also provide the organization with the reporting of critical information that helps drive better business decisions in the future.
Being curious, I went online and searched “CMMS” to see what I would get. As you can imagine it returned a lot of sites related to CMMS. One site listed 63 different CMMS systems and included a top 10 list of the 63 systems. Out of the 63, I know of 2 clients that I have worked with that use two of the systems that were listed. However, the remaining 61 systems I have never heard of. There are also other CMMS systems I have encountered that were not on the list. Perhaps this was not meant to be an exhaustive list. But it was interesting to me that not one of the major systems that are commonly seen in the workplace made the list of 63. Examples of those major systems would be SAP, Maximo, Ventyx (i.e. Ellipse), etc. These major systems, referred to as EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) systems, are more comprehensive than only a CMMS system. These systems also include financials, purchasing, materials management and most of these even include programming for tracking time and attendance of employees. But for the fundamental management of maintenance activities only, a simple CMMS system is all that is required.
The common denominator of all the systems that I have encountered is that each has its own list of pros and cons. I can say that I have never seen a system that does not have a list of complaints from the various users. This list of complaints that comes from the “Super-users” is usually shorter than the list from the “Casual-users.” Super-users tend to be able to deal with the complexities of any system simply because they spend so much time navigating through the system. Whereas the casual-users spend a limited amount of time with the CMMS and unless the system is very intuitive, the list of complaints is usually very long. And the more “User-unfriendly” a system is, the poorer the data going in it is going to be. Therefore the output of the system will be affected accordingly.
What’s the point you should take away? There should be a lot of consideration on what the business needs for the organization from a maintenance management perspective are before selecting a CMMS system. The selection must meet those needs knowing that the entire organization should be engaged at inputting information into that system. It is this information that will be used to assist the organization in making good business decisions for the management of maintenance. Remember, the CMMS is only a tool.
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