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The Maintenance Management Blog

March 21, 2018

Checklists Within a CMMS


(This article originally appeared in Engineering Maintenance Solutions Magazine)

Checklists are an invaluable feature to have within a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

This feature enables workers to be more organized and keep more complete records on repairs. Checklists can be tied to a variety of items within a CMMS, such as a piece of equipment, a location, a preventive maintenance task, or a work order.

What makes checklists such a beneficial feature?


Setting up a checklist requires administrators to think critically and plan. It forces them to consider what needs to be inspected on each piece of equipment or location. Planning and detailing exactly what needs to be done can help ensure that regular maintenance is a priority, which then leads to a savings of both time and money.

Different types.

Not all CMMS providers offer checklists, but the ones that do typically have two different types – simple and advanced (though they may be called something different). In order to understand how checklists can be beneficial, it’s important to know the difference between the two types.

What is a CMMS Checklist?

Essential Elements of a CMMS Preventive Maintenance Checklist:

  1. Checklists can and should be tied to a variety of items within a CMMS, such as a work order, a piece of equipment, a location, or a preventive maintenance task.
  2. Ensure vital tasks associated with the inspection/repair process are not missed;
  3. Tasks must be prioritized in the order in which they need to be preformed;
  4. Wherever advanced inspections or critical repairs are to be preformed, checklists must provide response types appropriate to careful oversight and precision data collection including the ability to enter meter and gauge readings, numbers, decimals, short answer, multiple choice answers, dates, and more.

A simple checklist is essentially a ‘to-do list’, meaning there are a few tasks listed with a check box next to each item that users check upon completion. If desired, tasks can be listed in a specific order based on routine or importance.

Advanced checklists are far more in-depth. Generally, these types of checklists will allow CMMS administrators to choose from a variety of different response types, rather than being limited to just having a checkbox next to each task. Response types on advanced checklists may include things like numbers, decimals, short answer, multiple choice, and dates. This allows users to gather more specific and precise information than a simple checklist does. For example, a task or question on an advanced checklist might require a temperature reading and require a numeric answer.


Many systems allow users to run reports against checklists. These reports can display important information, such as which tasks were completed, when they were done, and which employee completed them.


Once completed, checklists are generally stored in the history of a work order or preventive maintenance task. Being able to easily see historical checklists can help users identify trends based on what was fixed, which can help with important business intelligence decisions.

Mobile Integration.

For users constantly on the go, the ability to access and complete digital checklists can be invaluable within a CMMS with mobile functionality. Checklists within a mobile CMMS allow users to complete tasks on the spot, without having to trek back to a desktop computer to input vital information. Entering the data immediately can also help reduce human error since the checklist responses don’t have to be entered at a later time.

Barcode Integration.

barcode integration within a CMMS makes completing checklists even faster. A barcode can be attached to an asset, which means users can simply scan the barcode to immediately bring up any associated checklists, which can be an immense timesaver to users. Barcode integration tends to pair best with a mobile CMMS.


Checklists can be particularly beneficial when it comes to audits. When an organization needs to give details on repairs and preventive maintenance, users can easily access past checklists to prove exactly what has been done, when, and by whom. Advanced checklists can also display additional comments which can be useful for record keeping.

A good CMMS will include many useful features, but a great CMMS will include a variety of features designed to save a company both time and money in various ways. Checklists, in particular, go a long way towards increasing a company’s productivity and improving their bottom line.


Heather Wilkerson

About the Author – Heather Wilkerson

Heather graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Mapcon Technologies, Inc. She has been with the company since 2015. Heather has written industry articles that have appeared in magazines, such as Maintenance Technology, Biofuels International, and Plant Engineering.

Filed under: cmms, mapcon, checklists, maintenance management, mobile cmms, barcoding — Heather Wilkerson on March 21, 2018