Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

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CMMS - Introduction

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems, also known as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or Computerized Maintenance Management Information system (CMMS), are productivity enhancing software programs used by industry to better manage capital assets.

CMMS enable companies to track the location, use, maintenance requirements and operational costs of individual machines within their processes. It can also be used to record, manage and assign day-to-day tasks to maintenance workers and generate reports related to maintenance operations.

Why CMMS is Important

Many companies relegate maintenance to a lower priority compared to operations and sales. But when they ignore the care of the equipment which makes their products, they may be setting themselves up for failure. With proper maintenance management, a company can prevent problems before they start, reduce unexpected cost of repairs thus improving the profitability.

A small business, like a Mom and Pop bakery, generally would not need a robust maintenance management system. A simple spreadsheet showing how often to oil te mixer or a simple oven cleaning schedule would be enough.

When businesses grow, there are two things they must do. Either they purchase more production machines to meet the increased demand of customers or they have to increase production from the equipment they already possess. In comparison, the more instruments there are in the orchestra, the more difficult it is to orchestrate. Likewise, the more machines a company operates the more complicated it is to manage them. A CMMS provides the means by which the company can manage the care and operations of its equipment

There are four primary functions of a Computerized Maintenance Management System:

  • Asset Management
  • Work Order Management
  • Preventive Maintenance Planning
  • Inventory Management

Asset Management

Asset Management

CMMS software is built off of the asset management database. The asset management database establishes all the background information for the machinery or other assets the company chooses to track.

The information may include date of purchase, vendor, warranty information and even include the physical location of the equipment including city, building number and department as well as photographs of the item itself. Serial number and model number registration helps simplify tracking of similar items in multiple locations.

CMMS asset management is enhanced in some cases by the use of bar coding. Frequently CMMS will have bar coding software included which makes identification of individual pieces of equipment easier.

Work Order Management

Work Order

CMMS Work order management modules allow companies to track all facets of equipment repairs and allow for establishing work order priorities.

When a piece of equipment breaks down, the typical work order module will provide a system, often email based, for non-maintenance personnel to report a problem. Some systems only allow for a simple text message such as "my machine is making a funny noise" while other programs require detailed information such as equipment serial number, location, description of problems or fault codes and whether the equipment can be used in its current condition.

CMMS assist the maintenance manager in assigning repair jobs to maintenance workers and also in tracking the status of the work orders. This information also feeds into reports and provide for a historical record of problems and repairs.

Preventive Maintenance Planning

Preventive Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is a the process of conducting routine cleaning and services per manufacturer recommendations on machinery. These services are generally based on either a calendar-based system or use-based system.

In a calendar-based system, services are performed on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. Most equipment will have specific items that must be done at each of the intervals listed if not more. A use-based system will be structured around either odometer or chronometer readings. As certain rotations/hours are reached, specific maintenance activities are required. Frequently, use-based systems also incorporate calendar-based services, too. This basic scheduling is designed to keep equipment in peak production form.

Predictive maintenance is a newer development in maintenance planning. In predictive maintenance equipment is built with internal sensor systems that monitor factors such as vibrations, filtration flow rates or fluid contaminants to determine the best time for maintenance services. This is similar to a new car generating a message for the operator when an oil change is due.

CMMS enables accurate tracking through the maintenance process. It ties repair parts used to specific assets, tracks repair work hours and monitors cumulative operational down time. CMMS allows for the end user to have ready access to preventative maintenance information, trouble shooting guides as well as a mechanism for requesting and tracking maintenance support. CMMS preventive maintenance modules work with the work order module to prioritize and assign maintenance services to technicians to ensure the machines are performing at their best.

Inventory Management

Inventory Management

Inventory management within the CMMS can include raw material, repair parts, location of materials or any other inventory the user chooses to include. This module interfaces with the work order, preventative maintenance and asset tracking modules to generate reports on historical operating costs for specific equipment or equipment lines.

Most inventory management software enable managers to establish re-order thresholds for materials, generating automated purchase orders or other notifications to designated personnel. It can also connect repair parts to the asset on which it is used, again providing a historical record of parts, time and costs which are critical for operations managers and accountants alike. This information enables owners and senior staff to make informed decisions about future equipment purchases and provides key data to determining future production forecasts.


CMMS system brings the maintenance of equipment into the operations of a company. Companies that use CMMS programs can see a range of benefits. CMMS use:

  • Lowers overhead - Reduces indirect costs or fixed expenses of operating a business
  • Reduces asset repair cost
  • Helps eliminating inventory shortages - Inventory management ensures the availability of required inventories almost all time by automatic reorder functionality
  • Reduces machines down-time which increases productivity and profitability
  • Improves control and accountability; leading to better quality of work
  • Incorporates various mechanisms to ensure efficient task execution including automatic listing of activities, reminders, alerts, escalation procedures, and easy access to information
  • Lets staff spend more time performing service activities, and less time on paperwork and data entry
  • Identifies trends and highlights potential problem areas

CMMS Software Model

Most CMMS products are modular. If a company does not require work order requesting, they do not have to purchase the work order module. That may require that maintenance personnel to manually input work order data, but it would save money for smaller companies. Likewise, many CMMS products allow for mobile or smart phone applications. Again, if a company does not currently need that service, they can skip it.

In general, CMMS packages come in one of two forms:

  • Web-based programs or Software-as-a-Service(SaaS) model
    • The software available through monthly or yearly subscriptions, hosted by the companies that sell them, and accessible from their Web sites
  • LAN-based or Licensed CMMS software packages
    • The software is purchased by companies and maintained on their own servers by their own IT department


List of CMMS Vendors

There are many major CMMS software packages on the market. The greater the size and sophistication of the package, the broader the scope of analytical resources that are provided. Below is a partial list of available programs and their websites:


  • Predictive Maintenance by Harry G. Johnston -