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Computerized Maintenance Management Systems

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are a type of management software that perform functions in support of operations and maintenance (O&M) programs. The software automates most of the logistical functions performed by O&M staff.

Capabilities

Typical CMMS functions depend on the complexity of the system chosen. Examples include:

  • Work order generation, prioritization, and tracking by equipment and/or component. Work orders often can be sorted by equipment, date, person responding, etc.
  • Tracking scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities
  • Storing technical documentation and maintenance procedures by component, as well as equipment warranty information
  • Real-time reports of ongoing work activity
  • Calendar- or run-time-based preventive maintenance work order generation
  • Capital and labor cost tracking by component, as well as shortest, median, and longest times to close a work order by component
  • Complete parts and materials inventory control with automated reorder capability.

Many computerized maintenance management system programs can now interface with existing energy management and control systems and property management systems. Coupling these capabilities allows condition-based monitoring and the generation of component energy use profiles.

Benefits

One of the greatest CMMS benefits is the elimination of paperwork and manual tracking activities, saving time and allowing staff to remain productive. This is only true if the CMMS can collect and store information in an easily retrievable format.

Additional benefits of a computerized maintenance management system include:

  • Detection of impending problems before a failure occurs, resulting in fewer failures and customer complaints
  • Achieving a higher level of planned maintenance activities that enables a more efficient use of staff resources
  • Affecting inventory control, enabling better spare parts forecasting to eliminate shortages and minimize existing inventory
  • Maintaining optimal equipment performance, reducing downtime and elongating equipment life.

Disadvantages

While a CMMS can greatly improve O&M program efficiency, there are some common pitfalls. These include:

  • Improper selection of a CMMS vendor. Time must be taken to evaluate initial needs and look for the proper match in terms of system and service provider

  • Inadequate training of O&M staff on proper use of the CMMS. Staff must receive dedicated training on input, function, and maintenance for the CMMS. This training typically takes place at the Federal facility after the system has been installed

  • Lack of commitment to properly implement the CMMS. A commitment needs to be in place for the implementation of the CMMS. Most vendors provide this as a service, which is almost always worth the expense

  • Lack of commitment to CMMS use and integration. While CMMS provides significant advantages, they need to be maintained. Most successful CMMS installations have a champion who encourages its continued use.