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The Maintenance Management Blog

January 06, 2014

7 CMMS Software Myths Busted

Scheduled Maintenance System at Coney Island Yard

When it comes to computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), there are plenty of myths and fallacies afoot. Some of this misinformation is spread through competing vendors (in particular online versus offline software providers). CMMS myths can also be spread from lack of proper training and instructional materials. We are going to try to set the record straight on some of the more common misnomers in the maintenance management software industry in today"s blog post, as we seek to bust 7 of the most popular CMMS software myths.

CMMS Software Myth Busted

CMMS Software Will Improve Your Maintenance

This is both a fact and a myth. Employing a CMMS will indeed help you to improve your maintenance, but it is not as simple as just installing the software and inputting your data. For your maintenance system to truly improve, you and your team must learn to effectively handle your CMMS and take advantage of the reporting and alert mechanisms, following through with the upkeep of your software, just as you would your equipment. If the information in your database is incorrect, then your reports and alerts will be as well, leading to an overall breakdown in the maintenance system.

That being said, the CMMS will definitely help improve your maintenance if used properly - and you should use it properly; after all, that is one of the main reasons you are purchasing one!

CMMS Software Will Lower Your Cost

As with improving your maintenance, improving your costs will also only work if you use the CMMS properly. For example, if you keep getting alerts that a piece of machinery has a part that is nearing its end-of-life, and you continually ignore them, this may eventually result in the part busting, and, potentially, lead to a shutdown. Shutdowns, as we all know, can be very costly. If the part was replaced when the CMMS alerted you, however, you could have avoided the cost of a shutdown with a little preventative maintenance, which, in turn, would lower your costs.

Each Department Needs Its Own CMMS

If that is the attitude of your company, you could be missing out on the true benefits of a CMMS. Segmenting out your CMMS by department has many downsides - the least of which is cost. Why have separate systems when you can all work from - and benefit from - the same one? Picture a grocery store that uses a different cash register and ordering software for each department. Seems inefficient right?

With multiple CMMS in one company, you have to buy a license for each version, and then train employees on separate versions as well. In addition, you will need multiple administrators running your systems, meaning more man power on the administrative side. Consolidate your CMMS to one system for the whole company and you will save yourself time, money, and grief.

CMMS Can Be Run by a Single Person

This is another of those statements that waivers between fact and fiction. Yes, you could technically have one person run your CMMS. But there are many pitfalls with going down this path. For starters, what happens if the one person that knows your system is out with a cold, a short-term disability, or worse, suddenly leaves your company? That can cause a complete shutdown of your CMMS and can take weeks to recover from, as your new hire will have to learn the system and input the data from the date it was last updated. On top of that, what happens while you have no one monitoring your equipment? What if you need some spare parts, but their location is in the CMMS and the one person who knows how to use it is out of the office?

It is also good to have multiple people know or be familiar with the CMMS because there are multiple functions that a CMMS performs. If you own a large company with a ton of equipment and machinery, it may be more than a full-time job to enter in data, run reports, respond to alerts, keep up with logs, and run queries against the database (i.e.; for parts information or warranty data).

CMMS Are Only Good for Preventative Maintenance

Unfortunately this is a viewpoint from a lot of people that are both new and veteran maintenance management users. The truth is CMMS" offer many benefits on top of preventative maintenance. When implemented properly, they help reduce costs, track parts, provide warranty information, track assets, and schedule maintenance and jobs - just to name a few. Don't be blinded into believing this common myth - you'll miss out on the real power of a maintenance management system.

CMMS Software Works For All Situations

Sometimes you will hear that a CMMS is cookie-cutter and that it will work in any given situation. This is not always the case. Not every industry or business is suited to a CMMS and many times you may need to modify it to work for your situation. If I purchase a CMMS that caters to construction equipment, I cannot necessarily rely on the fact that it will also work for an aviation parts replacement company. Thoroughly examine the features of any CMMS to see if it truly fits your company"s needs.

CMMS Is a Waste of Money/Can Be Achieved Via Other Methods

I could not agree less. Even a small company can benefit from the use of a CMMS - so long as you choose the right one. Do you need to implement the same one that NASA uses for your company? Odds are, not likely. But if you have a decent amount of equipment/machinery that requires maintenance, parts, replacements, and so forth, then you need a system other than "up here in my brain" or "over there on that piece of paper". An Excel spreadsheet is no match for a CMMS. Equipment is expensive - treat it that way.


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Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: Scheduled Maintenance, CMMS — Lisa Richards on January 06, 2014