by Erin Ouellette, COGZ Systems, LLC
Good Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) that schedules preventive maintenance work orders on your equipment is an integral component of any efficient maintenance department. Preventive and scheduled maintenance, efficiently scheduled, will not only reduce your maintenance costs, but will minimize emergency repairs and downtime, resulting in an increase in overall profitability. A few years ago, choosing the right CMMS Software was a much simpler venture. With only a few programs to choose from, you could do minimal research and > be on your way to implementing a simple and effective system. But, with the explosion of the maintenance software industry in recent years, selecting your software has become a far more complex task. One that involves extensive investigation and evaluation. Some of the most important issues to consider when deciding which CMMS is right for you are cost, stability of the vendor, program features, fast implementation, support availability, and last but not least availability of a demonstration program.
Cost is possibly the most important consideration in the hunt for a CMMS. Quite simply, the most useful preventive maintenance software in the world is of no use to you if your company cannot afford the purchase price. For the maintenance manager on a budget the key to finding the best software is value. A great strategy for a company selecting their first CMMS is to look for maintenance management software that offers low initial cost, as well as expandability, resulting in the delivery of the greatest value for your dollar.
Another important factor that is frequently overlooked by CMMS buyers is the stability of the vendor developing and distributing the preventive maintenance software. It is vital to ask how long the vendor has been in business and if this is the only product that they sell. Choose a system only from a company that has been in business for a number of years and that sells only one line of products. This will minimize the possibility of the company going out of business or abandoning the product line for one of their other ventures. After all, a new program or one from a start up company may seem like a great deal, but if your support system disappears your maintenance software investment will quickly become worthless.
Program features are another important component of choosing a CMMS. Determine what your maintenance goals are and look for a program that will meet them. For the simplest of operations you will need to list your equipment, enter preventive maintenance tasks on that equipment and then be able to generate and print work orders. For more complex operations there may be a need bar coding for inventory and customizable reporting. Some distributors offer a base program with the option of adding modules, which are available immediately or as needed in the future. This is a great option to have as your maintenance operation becomes more efficient and additional features and customizations are desired.
Implementation must be quick and efficient. After all, a CMMS that will be cumbersome to get up and running will only tie up more time and resources. Features like wizards or other automated entry will make implementation exponentially faster and will have you on your way to maintenance efficiency in very little time.
Technical support for implementation must be available and personnel should be on hand on an ongoing basis for any future challenges that may arise. Part of this support should be periodic update releases to keep your technology current in this fast paced digital age. Remember, CMMS is an investment in the productivity of your maintenance department. A maintenance software distributor should be reputable and have been in business for a number of years to insure that your software will serve its purpose for many years to come.
A fully working demonstration of the program is probably the most useful tool that you will have in your evaluation of any CMMS. Install the program that you are considering and begin implementing it. This will give you a solid idea of all of the issues we have discussed in this article. You will be able to find out what kind of time frame to expect for implementation and may evaluate the usefulness and availability of the features that you need. While evaluating demonstration software you may call the distributor with questions and see for yourself what kind of support is available and if it will readily meet your requirements.
As you know, good Computerized Maintenance Management Software can be the backbone of your maintenance department. Be sure that you choose the right CMMS to fit your department’s needs and start optimizing today!