CMMS

What is CMMS?

What is CMMS?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System Helps You:

  • Manage work orders
  • Plan preventive maintenance
  • Monitor assets
  • Manage labor
  • Track inventory
  • Improve ROI

If you’ve got assets and equipment, odds are you have a maintenance routine. But every routine could be better — and in your search for betterment, you’ve likely come across the acronym CMMS. But what does CMMS stand for? Why does it have other names like EAM and FM? If you’re a little confused, no worries. We get it, and we’re here to help! So what is CMMS?

CMMS definition

CMMS stands for computerized maintenance management system or software, depending on who’s answering. In other words, it’s a computerized system (aka a piece of software) that streamlines the management of various maintenance tasks and operations. Keep in mind that CMMS is only for internal maintenance — if you’re looking to maintain client equipment and manage your on-the-go operations, you’ll want field service management software.

A CMMS system helps manage equipment, inventory and entire maintenance teams at a single location or across global organizations. It offers a combination of work order management, inventory management and maintenance scheduling features that cover all the bases for any organization with facilities, machines or other assets that need maintaining.

Maintenance departments typically use CMMS as their main maintenance software, as it covers a wide range of functionality, but others can opt for an enterprise asset management system (EAM) or facilities management software (FM) if they have specialized needs.

Definition of CMMS

Manage work orders

One of the most crucial CMMS features is work order management. Thanks to the proliferation of personal devices and computer literacy among the workforce. the digital realm is virtually always better for organizing and storing work orders than pen and paper.

You never want to lose track of your work orders; especially not your recent ones. CMMS’s work order management features drastically reduce this possibility since they’re all stored within a searchable database. When you log in, you can view the status of all your work orders — which are yet to be started, which are in progress and which are done.

In addition to simply tracking maintenance, you can also see who’s assigned to each work order and whether or not it’s been completed. After all, it’s useful to know who’s responsible for a poor maintenance job, as well as who’s responsible for an exceptional one.

Plan preventive maintenance

One of the most important tasks for a business with heavy equipment or machinery is preventive maintenance. Nobody wants to experience extended downtime of an important asset when it could have been avoided with a little preventive upkeep. In order to help businesses get proactive with their maintenance, CMMS enables users to schedule regular maintenance before equipment breaks down. This can be performed on any and all assets that need it.

Additionally, CMMS preventive maintenance software can connect with and “talk to” your various assets. Using the internet of things, sensors integrated with your equipment can detect when issues arise, both major and minor. This creates an alert that automatically goes out to the necessary parties so you can address the issue right away. This is another proactive measure to ensure that your equipment continues to run smoothly.

Monitor assets

Preventive maintenance isn’t the only way to protect your assets. The asset management features of CMMS allow you to follow various data points related to all of your assets. Some of the more basic data it tracks includes purchase dates, warranty information and asset specifications. But the more powerful data that CMMS tracks include expected lifetime and service history.

The service histories of your assets, in particular, are important. This keeps a record of every bit of maintenance performed on an asset, so you know when and if maintenance occurred. In addition, you can use this information to predict when issues will arise. Analyzing the service history data may also reveal patterns in certain issues, such as a part breaking down every 10 months. In turn, you can plan your maintenance accordingly.

Manage labor

Maintenance managers can also use CMMS to schedule their maintenance team. As anyone who’s created a schedule manually can attest, it’s a time-consuming and difficult process. CMMS helps automate the process by scheduling maintenance workers for not only shifts, but specific tasks during their shifts. With an automated schedule, maintenance managers can rest assured that every maintenance activity will get done when it needs to.

Users can set CMMS systems to send out scheduled maintenance alerts when different triggers occur, such as an interval of time, a component failure, warranty expiration, etc. This takes some of the burden of remembering to schedule maintenance off of administrative staff.

Track inventory

CMMS isn’t a substitute for a standalone inventory management system. However, the inventory management features available in a CMMS are still quite useful. While an inventory management system maintains inventory control over products and other items that are distributed from a warehouse, CMMS inventory management manages your spare parts. These parts are the ones used to repair and perform maintenance on your equipment and other assets.

The worst thing that can happen during maintenance is realizing that you’re out of a part that you need, resulting in extended downtime. CMMS inventory management automatically tracks how much of each part you have left, and alerts you when you get below a predetermined threshold. This way, you can order more spare parts before you run out.

Improve ROI

All these features combine to equal one particularly significant benefit — improved return on investment. CMMS will usually set you back (unless you opt for an open-source CMMS solution, which has many downsides) thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars over a system’s lifetime, so it must have some pretty significant perks for your wallet to make it worth it. Here are some ways that CMMS returns profits to your pocket:

  • Decreased asset downtime
  • More efficient workforce
  • Fewer catastrophic failures
  • Optimized asset performance
  • Accurate budgeting and forecasting
  • Prevents inventory overstocking
  • Prevent emergency inventory reorders
  • Increase asset lifespan

Mobile Access

Almost everyone in the modern age constantly has their face buried in their phone already, so you might as well continue the trend with business software. I’m kidding — but the convenience and versatility of mobile CMMS systems do warrant some discussion.

Cloud-based CMMS typically come with mobile capabilities so you can take the system with you wherever you go. Although we doubt anybody would access their CMMS on their mobile device for pure entertainment on their off hours, it’s incredibly useful while on the job. With mobile CMMS, maintenance managers that oversee multiple facilities can jot down notes directly into the system, no matter which facility they’re at.

Mobile access is also convenient for a maintenance worker or manager that works at a single facility. Without it, any notes or maintenance updates that need to be made in a CMMS have to wait until they’re in front of a computer. When they have mobile access, however, they can update work orders as they complete them and write down maintenance notes while they’re doing it. This also opens up options for company-owned tablets or similar devices to ensure security and ease-of-access.

What Does CMMS Do?

Advantages of CMMS

These features of computerized maintenance management systems all add up to several big bonuses for your organization. They help your technicians stay organized with breakdowns of responsibility and maintenance appointment reminders. Users can track and manage tools or equipment, reducing the likelihood that they will be lost or damaged. Overall, the goal of CMMS is to help users calculate expenses, manage maintenance, track assets and allocate resources more efficiently.

CMMS can come in a variety of pricing packages from open source to premium, so there will always be a system that fits your budget and your needs. CMMS can also be deployed in multiple ways — this means that CMMS systems can be hosted either on-site at your location via hardware, hosted in the cloud via the vendor’s servers, or a combination of the two.

These advantages will only continue to grow: CMMS is marching towards the future in a number of innovative ways. From artificial intelligence to the IoT to asset performance management (APM), the future of CMMS will continue to bring advancements and innovations to the field of maintenance management.

To sum up, CMMS software is a maintenance management platform that helps users streamline maintenance, asset management, inventory and work order processes. It replaces paper-and-pen tracking, punch cards, or Excel spreadsheets and combines those processes with internal messaging and other useful features in a single convenient interface.vNow you should be able to answer the question “what is CMMS” confidently and thoroughly! If you do have any more questions, please leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to address them.

FAQs

What Does CMMS Stand for?

The simplest CMMS definition is “computerized maintenance management system.” It includes a range of software solutions that deal with managing assets, facilities and maintenance. It typically includes modules for work order management, preventive maintenance, asset management, inventory management and others.

Where Do You Install CMMS?

CMMS can be deployed in three different environments — on-premise, cloud, or hybrid. On-premise CMMS is housed on the user’s servers on their premises and is typically kept up by the organization’s own IT department. Cloud- or web-based CMMS is hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed via an internet connection. Hybrid is some combination of these two options.

Who Uses CMMS?

A huge range of industries can utilize CMMS, but it is mostly adopted by asset-heavy industries with large physical assets in need of maintaining. These include manufacturing, life sciences, education, healthcare, municipalities, government, retail, construction, food and beverage, and many more.

What Are the Types of CMMS?

CMMS is the larger name for a category of software solutions. It often crosses over with or includes features of enterprise asset management (EAM), facilities management (FM), warehouse management systems (WMS) and inventory management (IM).

Enterprise Asset Management

Enterprise asset management, or EAM software, is used mostly for asset management. The main goal of an EAM is to extend the life cycle of your equipment in order to maximize your ROI. It does this through a variety of methods including depreciation method calculations, tracking mean time between failures (MTBF) and more. More often than not, EAM software is used to manage large, expensive pieces of equipment that would create a high cost if the turnover rate gets too high.

Historically, EAM and CMMS were very different. Where CMMS performed only general maintenance management, EAM was associated with more advanced analytics and management features. However, as CMMS became more advanced, it began to offer the same features as EAM software. Now the two are often used interchangeably today: that’s why you’ll see EAM platforms on our CMMS leaderboard, and vice versa. Both could be equally useful to your organization, so make sure not to count a platform out without doing research.

Computer-Aided Facilities Management

Computer-aided facilities management, or CAFM software, is a type of CMMS that — surprise! — focuses on the management of your facility. Also known simply as facilities management or FM software, it helps plan and manage everything about a facility, including the processes that go on inside it. For example, some CAFM systems let you remotely control windows, lights and thermostats to save energy or prevent break-ins. More commonly FM software offers features such as property maintenance, life cycle management and space utilization/resource allocation.

Asset Performance Management

Asset performance management is considered by many to be the next step after EAM in the evolution of asset and maintenance management systems. Its goal is to improve the availability and reliability of assets while mitigating operating costs and risks. This is more of a future step than a current one, but any savvy business person should keep an eye on this rapidly growing area of CMMS.

What Is the Difference Between CMMS and EAM?

Both EAM and CMMS perform similar tasks, and occasionally the terms are used interchangeably. The main difference is in scope — EAM performs all of the tasks that CMMS does, and some additional asset management features. For a more in-depth look into this subject, this article explains the difference between EAM and CMMS.

What Is the Difference Between CMMS and Facilities Management?

CMMS includes many facility management features, but facility management software tends to be more focused and less broad. For a deeper look, check out these articles on CMMS vs. property management or CMMS vs. plant management.

Recent Articles

CMMS Software Reports and Research

Confidence Comes from Data

CMMS selection is complex and beset with problems for both IT buyers and solution providers. We do 3 things to make it fast and simple:

FREE Software Selection Platform

Our platform provides best-practices, including requirements templates & vendor comparisons, to help you make the right decisions for your unique needs, in a fraction of the time. Try it FREE.

Aggregated Reviews

We have collected every software review available online, crunched every last word using our proprietary Sentiment Analysis algorithms, all so we can tell you how a software product is viewed in its marketplace, retrospectively.

Professional Analysis

We relentlessly collect and analyze data about software, then compile and share it so every company has the same access to the information. The information we gain is then used in our Software Selection platform to help you find the right software.

Your Guides

Our industry journalists proudly distill the helpful information you read on SelectHub, always on the mission to share what matters so you can make your best decisions independently.

CMMS articles are written and edited by:

Mariah Hansen

Lead Editor

As the lead editor at SelectHub, Mariah edits and manages content for more than 40 different software categories, as well as writing for a couple of them herself.

Show More

Thought Leaders

SelectHub has sought out and invited thought leaders to contribute to our CMMS industry articles and resources. These thought leaders ensure we deliver quality content with the most accurate information, focusing on what matters most. No thought leader is compensated for their contributions but shares our belief that information should be democratized so everyone can make the best decision.

Deb Noller

Deb Noller

CEO and co-founder, Switch Automation

Deb Noller is the dynamic CEO and co-founder of Switch Automation, a smart building software company specializing in building performance optimization.

Show More
Ryan Chan

Ryan Chan

CEO and founder, UpKeep CMMS

Ryan Chan is the CEO and founder at UpKeep CMMS. He’s a chemical engineer from UC Berkeley and was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Manufacturing in 2018.

Show More
Daniel Golub

Daniel Golub

Chief Operating Officer, Hippo CMMS

Daniel Golub is the Chief Operating Officer at Hippo CMMS, a Canadian based software company

Show More
Steven Kyriakidis

Steven Kyriakidis

Co-Founder, Maxpanda CMMS

Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.

Show More
Jack Fuller

Jack Fuller

Senior Marketing Operations Analyst, IFS North America

I am multifaceted, efficient and a reliable marketing professional who works to organically grow an industry leading ERP, EAM

Show More

The Best Power Plant Software For 2020

1 comment
Power plants are not to be messed with. They’re incredibly important to our everyday lives, filled with energy and, most importantly, they can be dangerous. Power plants simply can’t afford to make errors, which means that maintenance and management has to be top notch. And organizing all of that work is tough — if not impossible — to do manually. So how can you handle the day-to-day operations at peak efficiency? With power plant software (aka CMMS software).

Pratiksha ThayilThe Best Power Plant Software For 2020
read more

Most Affordable and Free CMMS Software of 2020

8 comments
A computerized maintenance management system (aka, CMMS software) is many things – a digital repository, a vital communication channel, an audit log and a business investment to name a few. But one thing it usually isn’t is free. Luckily, there are some excellent free CMMS software solutions on the market. To help you in your search, we’ve made a list of the best free maintenance management software for the upcoming year.

Zachary TotahMost Affordable and Free CMMS Software of 2020
read more

The Best Building Maintenance System Software For 2020

1 comment
Buildings aren’t eternal – what goes up will eventually come down without proper upkeep. From schools to skyscrapers to sawmills, every building needs regular maintenance to live a long and healthy life. Back when this was a manual process, it was often lengthy and difficult to perform properly. Luckily, facility management software automates and digitizes every step of the building maintenance process. Our analysts identified the best building maintenance system software to help facility managers optimize their maintenance tasks from start to finish.

Bergen AdairThe Best Building Maintenance System Software For 2020
read more

The Best Property Maintenance Management Software For 2020

1 comment
Home may be where the heart is, but the walls around you shouldn’t be neglected lest they fall into disrepair. Property maintenance software (also known as facility management software) helps make maintaining those walls just a little easier. But what is property management maintenance software? What features does it offer? What is the best property maintenance software in the current year? This article will answer these questions and more, so let’s get started.

Bergen AdairThe Best Property Maintenance Management Software For 2020
read more

Facilities Management Trends: The Future of Facilities Management

1 comment

The 2020s are an era we have approached with apprehension, excitement, uncertainty and ingenuity as technology races forward at breakneck speed. Software technology is no exception, and facility management software is taking big and exciting strides. FM software helps track, manage and maintain commercial facilities like power plants, factories or rental properties. We asked some experts to weigh in on what facilities management software trends we can expect to see in 2020 and beyond.

Bergen AdairFacilities Management Trends: The Future of Facilities Management
read more

Asset Tracking Software: A Comprehensive Overview and the Best Solutions in 2020

1 comment

We are deep into the age of information. Gathering information is easier than ever, and organizations taking advantage of that have a competitive edge over their competitors. Tracking assets, for example, is a cost-effective way to utilize information to optimize a facility’s operations from the ground up and to put enterprise asset management software and practices to work. In this article, we’ll talk about what asset tracking software does, its features, and the best asset tracking software solutions for the coming year.

Bergen AdairAsset Tracking Software: A Comprehensive Overview and the Best Solutions in 2020
read more

CMMS Trends: The Future of CMMS for 2020

4 comments

A new year means a new you: and new best practices for your maintenance management! Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) — a category which also includes enterprise asset management (EAM) software and facilities management (FM or CAFM) — is stepping confidently into the future. This article investigates the CMMS market, CMMS software trends for the 2020s, and expert input on what CMMS trends to expect in the coming years.

Bergen AdairCMMS Trends: The Future of CMMS for 2020
read more

Insights into the 2020 Enterprise Asset Management Software Market

2 comments

The year is 2020, and the enterprise asset management market (EAM software) is booming. As the focus has moved from simple maintenance management to organization-wide asset management, the market has changed accordingly. We asked industry experts for their insight into current and near-future EAM market trends, EAM market size, the state of the market and more.

Bergen AdairInsights into the 2020 Enterprise Asset Management Software Market
read more

CMMS Open Source: Is It Worth It?

1 comment

Companies looking for CMMS software, or Computerized Maintenance Management Systems, can face some significant decisions. This type of enterprise resource can be tremendously valuable and save enormous amounts of time, effort and money. One of the most significant choices that goes into considering a CMMS system is whether to go with proprietary licensed products or CMMS open source software.

Bergen AdairCMMS Open Source: Is It Worth It?
read more

Best Work Order Management Software For 2020

No comments

Work order management software is a specific kind of asset management solution that helps to create and manage service requests and — you guessed it — work orders. So, what is a work order exactly? Usually, these are for various types of maintenance tasks. Work order software is often folded into a category called computerized maintenance management systems, or CMMS software. But you can also find the appropriate functionality from field service management, or FSM software.

Kim O'ShaughnessyBest Work Order Management Software For 2020
read more

8 Key Benefits of Preventive Maintenance Software

3 comments

The benefits of preventive maintenance software (a common feature of CMMS software) offers users a wide range of capabilities and perks. Mainly, it helps assess and evaluate assets in order to ensure they are operating at peak performance for the enterprise. In many ways, CMMS functions as a decision support tool for maintenance. It helps promote predictive and preventive maintenance to steer users away from relying on simply reactive maintenance routines. Here are eight key preventive maintenance benefits from using the software:

Bergen Adair8 Key Benefits of Preventive Maintenance Software
read more

Top CMMS Selection Requirements And Functions

1 comment

The advances of mobile technology and web-based software have provided users with on-the-go and round-the-clock access to software programs like never before. These tech trends allow niche B2B systems such as the ever-growing CMMS software market to increase in popularity. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) no longer adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, CMMS is made up of custom features delivered through flexible platforms. But which CMMS requirements do most platforms offer?

Hippo CMMSTop CMMS Selection Requirements And Functions
read more

Infor vs IFS vs Oracle: Which CMMS Software is the Winner?

No comments

The world of maintenance management software (better known as CMMS or EAM) is vast, and it can be confusing. Choosing the right CMMS/EAM system for your business is crucial to getting the most out of this kind of business software. But how do you choose? Comparing industry leaders can help, so we’re breaking down the performance of Infor vs IFS vs Oracle, several top solutions in the EAM/CMMS space.

Bergen AdairInfor vs IFS vs Oracle: Which CMMS Software is the Winner?
read more

Best CMMS For Hotels

No comments

The world of hotel management is a complex puzzle of interlocking parts, and keeping that jigsaw organized can feel like an impossible task. Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) is like the guide on the back of that jigsaw puzzle — it offers hotel managers a system of organization, a guide, a plan and a way to make sure everything is done properly. We’ve compiled a list of the best CMMS for hotels so you can find the best of the best for your organization.

Bergen AdairBest CMMS For Hotels
read more

CMMS Implementation: 5 Effective Steps to Make the Process A Success

No comments

Investing in CMMS software is a long process. It’s not uncommon to dedicate months, or even years, to comparing vendors, pricing, features, and usability until a clear winner emerges. Once you’ve selected the right option, it can feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Time to sit back and watch the results roll in, right? Well, not exactly.

The fact is, an estimated 74% of all IT projects fail. That’s no small number! What’s more, there are many factors that can derail a successful CMMS implementation, whether it’s improper training, bad data being put into the system, misconfiguring the system, employees failing to take responsibility for the implementation process, or technicians refusing to adopt the new technology.

Sarah BellstedtCMMS Implementation: 5 Effective Steps to Make the Process A Success
read more

IBM Maximo vs SAP: Which EAM Software Is The Winner?

6 comments

Flaunting your assets can have several meanings — but it remains true that to flaunt them, you’ve got to take care of them! In business, you also have to manage those assets in order to maintain their value and keep them up and running. Luckily, you don’t have to work hard to keep them working when you use enterprise asset management software.

Bergen AdairIBM Maximo vs SAP: Which EAM Software Is The Winner?
read more

Benefits of CMMS Software: Understanding CMMS Advantages And Disadvantages

3 comments

In the modern era of voice-recognition virtual assistants, self-driving cars and smartphones, it makes no sense to be doing something as crucial as maintenance manually. Luckily, there’s software for that! Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of CMMS software (Computerized Maintenance Management System), so you have a clear understanding of the benefits of CMMS.

Bergen AdairBenefits of CMMS Software: Understanding CMMS Advantages And Disadvantages
read more

Enterprise Asset Management Checklist And System Requirements Template

1 comment

There’s nothing more important to a business than managing its assets, and we know it can be overwhelming to tackle. Enterprise asset management software (EAM) undertakes this task so you can get back to the business of running your business.  If you’re considering purchasing an EAM platform, it’s crucial to know what to expect from EAM vendors and to know exactly which features you need. We’ve made this helpful asset management checklist and system requirements to help you in your selection process.

Bergen AdairEnterprise Asset Management Checklist And System Requirements Template
read more