Asset Management

What is CMMS? Absolutely everything you need to know

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Way back when, maintenance records were kept on paper.  People also used to use paper maps for driving directions and walked uphill to school both ways. Thankfully, times have changed and so have the way you manage your maintenance operations. At its core, CMMS is a tool that enables more effective maintenance operations – no more greasy notebooks or spreadsheets. Before we go into too much depth, let’s get back to the basics.

What does CMMS stand for?

CMMS, short for computerized maintenance management system, is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a software program (computerized) that maintains a database (system) of information on the maintenance operations of an organization (maintenance management).  But a CMMS is not simply about data storage. It also improves workflows and generates valuable insights to take your operations to the next level.

This system allows workers to understand what assets need maintenance and where inventory is stored. It also helps management make more informed decisions around how they spend their maintenance dollars and where to allocate their resources. A CMMS also improves your ability to adhere to compliance standards within your industry. It eliminates the complexity of notebooks and spreadsheets by organizing the information you need at your fingertips to have world-class maintenance operations.

CMMS adds value to your organization

To put the value of a CMMS into perspective, consider this scenario. You own one vehicle. It’s not too hard to remember to change the oil every 3 months or keep up with basic maintenance needs.

Now you have five vehicles. Maybe you have a little notebook where you keep track of when each needs an oil change, new wiper blades, an inspection, or a new set of tires. Not too bad as long as you remember to write everything down and keep an eye on things when you drive each vehicle.

Now you have 50 vehicles. That notebook is getting crowded and confusing. Did you remember to write down when vehicle 27 went into the shop for new brake pads? Is vehicle 33 due for an oil change – or is that vehicle 34? Oh boy, you just spilled coffee on your handy notebook. There goes all your notes on vehicles 17-24.

Now you have 500 vehicles. You’re beginning to see the issues that start to arise. If only you had a database where you could easily track all of this information with no risk of it getting lost or misplaced! This is exactly the purpose a CMMS serves. A CMMS helps your business reduce costs associated with maintenance by organizing workflows and giving insight into the status of each asset. This ultimately improves the bottom line of your organization by ensuring all maintenance is performed at the most optimal time.

How did CMMS come to be?

The earliest versions of CMMS systems have been around since the 1960’s but the technology didn’t really hit its stride until the 80’s and 90’s with the emergence of affordable computing and increased network access. As the technology has evolved, so too have its capabilities and the value it can provide.

IBM was at the forefront of the first form of CMMS. In the 1960’s, maintenance technicians would use punch cards with IBM mainframes to handle maintenance tasks. As mainframes evolved into the 1970’s, it enabled organizations to move from using punch cards to paper to feed their CMMS. Maintenance technicians would hand in paper checklists at the end of their shifts for submission into the CMMS.

As computers began to get smaller and more powerful in the 80’s, CMMS technology became more accessible and affordable to small and mid-size organizations. The 1990’s brought customization and the ability to share information across a local-area network (LAN). In the 2000’s, we saw the emergence of the inter-webs, allowing development of CMMS to expand on any internet-connected device. These advancements led to access to billions of individuals.

The latest generation of CMMS is cloud-based and mobile. Having a cloud-based solution has multiple benefits, not the least of which is speedy implementation (in as little as 30 minutes!), easy upgrades, and data security.

Introducing Project Mitchell, our CMMS early adopter program

IBM is launching a new CMMS solution to help you optimize your maintenance operations. Built on the IBM Cloud, it is a simple, inexpensive, no-frills approach to reducing the complexity around your maintenance needs.

Ready to take a leap into CMMS? Explore our early adopter program.  As an early adopter, you may qualify for an additional six months free once the software is available.

 

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