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The Maintenance Management Blog

April 19, 2022

What a CMMS should do for you

While there are several forms of maintenance management systems (spreadsheets, paper notes, etc.) and a variety of computerized systems, one has to look at what the right CMMS should do for one's company, whether that company is a large facility with several locations or a smaller business such as a church or library.

While the following list of benefits of a desirable CMMS may seem obvious, they're worthy of further study, especially for those still on the spreadsheet/paper system. While those systems have their uses, are they doing all that is needed?

The seven aspects/benefits of a quality CMMS are:

Cost efficiency

Increased Productivity

Assets/Inventory tracking





Innovation, Improvement, Evolution

Image: hand with coins1. Cost Efficiency

"Superficial efficiency seems cheaper at first, but it costs more in the long run, with the cost being pushed off onto someone other than the one who saves a few bucks." - M. Perman

Before diving too deeply into this first aspect, we need to understand the difference between effective and efficient. To paraphrase a simplified definition, being effective is doing the right thing, while being efficient is doing things right. If the right product is purchased but is used incorrectly, the cost efficiency is diminished. Effective does not always equate to efficient. It's important to know the difference.

This holds true for business. Of course, the ideal would be to have both effectiveness and efficiency working together for success and lower costs. For four examples on how to be more cost efficient see Simplicable

You want a CMMS that is both effective and helps efficiency and with proper utilization, can help cost efficiency. While details of every component cannot be detailed here, an explanation of four would provide a good beginning.

A. Preventive maintenance

No matter the size of your organization or business, equipment of some sort exists. This could range from company vehicles to an HVAC system to large processors and drilling equipment. The upkeep (preventive maintenance) on these helps ensures proper operation and increased life. Oil or tire changes, lubrication, filter replacement and repairing/replacing worn out parts.

Preventive maintenance is vital to cost efficiency, but the right PM can be cost effective. Setting up a PM should be easy: Name of the PM, setting the Work Order Status, setting the Type of PM, and giving it a Priority designation.

Other options would allow for more detailed information, but for smaller businesses, these may not be needed. (Labor, Crew, Craft, Shift, Materials and Tools needed, Cycles, are all options your CMMS should have.) Having a way to upload images or a link to video instructions could be beneficial for many companies and help the worker be efficient with time.

Another option for staying efficient are checklists if the PM has steps the must be completed in a particular order. Along with checklists are safety procedures. These can be set up when creating the individual pieces of equipment.

B. Purchase Orders

Of course, this one is obvious in relation to Cost Efficiency, but how does a CMMS help? For businesses of any size, it should offer several reports and options to keep purchase orders in line.

Creating blanket purchase orders (where many items are bought from the same vendor)

Which vendors give discounts.

Tracking invoice discrepancies.

Not only Purchase Orders but requisitions. A worker could request certain items and a supervisor authorizes or denies that purchase.

A Human Resources Module would offer a series of reports on employees, crews, craft, and shifts. Again, smaller companies may not need all these reports, because they don't have that type of workforce. A small to mid-size company may benefit, however, from tracking employees, timecards, hours worked, etc.

Overlaps of the seven general categories can exist, but one can see some imbricating factors here. Labor costs may be affected by PMs, safety procedures, and checklists.

2. Increased Productivity

"Focus on being productive instead of busy." - T. Ferriss

Many people strive for better productivity in their everyday lives. Accomplishing more either in less time or the time allotted. For helpful hints see:


Indeed (15 examples to help in the workplaces)

The Balance

• Zen Lemons

Each of these provides different ways to better your productivity. Many are similar and it's up to the individual to determine which work, don't work, or can be adapted/altered to work.

A CMMS, as with cost efficiency, should provide plenty of ways to help a company improve productivity. For this discussion, six can be highlighted.

A. Work Orders

With so many options regarding this topic, there is no proper place to start. A good place is the initiation of a work order. Putting aside requisitions and just focusing on work orders, a CMMS should make it easy to create a work order. Whether a large or small operation, some of the basics include:

An assigned or system generated work order number.

Type – Is this a repair, an overhaul, an inspection?

Priority – Increase productivity by knowing what needs done first.

Is it for a piece of equipment, for a location, part of a route? Choose, then define it.

Provide a site or zone. For smaller companies and organizations, this is easy because they might have only one site/zone.

B. Assets/Inventory

Another overlap with cost efficiency is tracking inventory, especially critical spare parts, which increases productivity. Part and tool locations down to stockroom, aisle, shelf, bin can be inputted into a CMMS. Knowing where parts are located saves time searching.

C. User/Groups

Returning to the HR module for a brief second, you'd want to create your employee list. That doesn't mean all of them are users of the CMMS. You might create Group Profiles for certain departments.

D. Crews

Operations may have crews of workers who are assigned to a job or bigger project. A crew is a select group of employees that can be from various crafts and specialties who all work the same shift. For instance, at your local car mechanic, when you take your car in for its seasonal maintenance, one person inspects the car over for needed maintenance, various mechanics with particular specialties complete maintenance tasks or repairs, and usually another to call you when it's done and hand you the bill. That team of workers with various specialties that all work on the same project, can be considered a crew. Setting up crews beforehand and utilizing them correctly (doing the right thing) can be cost effective and help productivity.

E. Tool Groups

Instead of gathering tool by tool for a job, then doing it again next time, group the tools. As an example, you might create a set of specialized tools for calibration purposes. Again, knowing where everything is and knowing they're needed as a set keeps the workflow moving along.

F. Checklists/Safety Procedures

Yes, these were mentioned before, but are important—and potentially vital—for better productivity. Not having them or not following them may result in injury, downtime, and costs beyond equipment.

Image: reports on desk3. Reports

"Business reporting is not dealing with objects, it is dealing with relationships between objects." - H. Plattner

Adequate reporting for a CMMS helps achieve the previous two discussion points. You should have plenty of filters hone the reports further, making everyone, including auditors, happy.

All reports can be exported to a spreadsheet, a pdf file, printed or emailed.

4. Adaptabilityy

"Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win." - M. McKeown

Customers of a CMMS should be able to tailor it to their needs. Can a spreadsheet offer this? Yes, but in very limited ways. So, too, paper documents and notes.

It needs to be a comprehensive system, offering modules, menus, and reports for all sizes of companies, facilities, and operations. From large ethanol plants and manufacturers to hotels, resorts, and schools.

5. Training

"Confidence comes from discipline and training." - R. Kiyosaki

What good is a CMMS if one can't use it? The CMMS company should offer a variety of training options, including online, on-site, and in-house. https://www.mapcon.com/us-en/cmms-training

Image: shadowy computer keyboard6. Support

"Your support network is the solid ground from which you can propel yourself upwards." - A. Barnes

Service after the sale. A CMMS company can't just let you drift. How cost effective would that be? How would productivity increase without backup? You should be able to rely on your CMMS provider to help configure the software to meet the needs of your operation. There could be a better feature available you are unaware of, so don't be afraid to call them and discuss your process.

7. Innovation, Improvement, Evolution

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it." - T. Edison

Technology and business are constantly changing. One hopes all that change improves lives both personal and in the workplaces. A CMMS can't be stagnant. Spreadsheets are spreadsheets, and there can't be much improvement made, but with a quality CMMS, evolution should be ongoing. Programmers should always be looking for new ways to provide better service and to improve the product. Does your CMMS company offer tailored features?

What a CMMS should do for you is exactly what you want it to do. You plan your operations and what you need better control over. You decide what features you want for your size and type of industry.

If you're considering a CMMS, or looking for something better, consider Mapcon. Call 800-922-4336 to talk with a representative on what the system can do for you.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: maintenance, cost efficiency, innovation — Stephen Brayton on April 19, 2022