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How to Choose the Best CMMS for Your Maintenance Team

By Lindsey Walker, marketing manager, NEXGEN

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a software solution that helps maintenance teams keep records of the assets they work with. It helps teams map the assets they are responsible for, track and schedule maintenance activities and keep a historical record of the work performed. If you are planning to implement a CMMS, then you need to analyze which one works the best for you.

The CMMS functions to allow businesses to make better and informed decisions. It has three primary functions:

Organizing. A CMMS organizes all the data associated with assets in a central database. You can organize several documents such as work orders, warranties, and asset maintenance information in one place and access it with ease from any location. You can document and organize the entire journey of an asset, from implementation to replacement or until it is discarded.

Planning. Managers can plan the maintenance aspect ahead of time, based on your maintenance strategy, which can be predictive, preventive or condition-based. CMMS helps in automating tasks such as scheduling. It has different features that help in reducing the downtime and increasing the asset’s life cycle, which makes production more competent and efficient.

Auditing. The CMMS allows managers to audit, monitor, and follow-up regularly. The system sends notifications to the concerned maintenance staff when these tasks have to be performed or when they are completed.

Implementing a CMMS in your company is a big step and quite an important business decision. You should consider a variety of options and compare them before reaching a final decision. The process can be time-consuming and confusing when trying reach a decision. Adopt a systematic approach and ask the right questions at different stages to evaluate CMMS, such as:

Understanding your business’s need. Every business is different and has unique requirements. Be clear about what you want to achieve through CMMS and how will it help your business. Consider factors like:

•The size of the company
•Number of people who would use CMMS programs
•The number of assets you need to keep track of
•Whether your maintenance staff works near a computer or mainly carry a mobile device.

List all of your requirements. Once you have a clear understanding of your business needs, start listing all those requirements. Categorize them as absolutely essential, things you would want but aren't that necessary and things that you don’t need. Reevaluate this list through the evaluation process.

Compare. The first two steps will help in narrowing down your options. Once you have shortlisted a few, compare them on various points and choose the one that suits your business the best.

Price Model. Different CMMS systems have different price models which can be categorized into two options: Cloud subscription cost and on-premise upfront cost. Additionally, there will be miscellaneous costs such as training fees, set-up fees etc. which will contribute to the total cost of adopting a CMMS.

Once you have satisfactory answers at the end of these steps, you will have a concrete answer on which CMMS system to implement. It is not advisable for making just one person responsible for this task; rather assign a team who is capable of making the right decisions. Once you have bought the chosen CMMS asset management, the next step is to ensure that you follow the right steps necessary for implementation for it to be a success.

Lindsey Walker is the marketing manager for NEXGEN, a Sacramento-based industry leader in designing advanced computerized maintenance management systems and asset management software tools for utilities, facilities, public works, manufacturing, and fleet industries.

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posted on 6/16/2016