Computerized Maintenance Management Systems


Facilities departments are under tremendous pressure to provide more information faster, and at a lower cost to the company. At the same time many companies have reduce staff to the bare minimum. Maintenance professional are presented with more difficult challenges today than at any previous point. The biggest obstacle of all confronting maintenance professionals is being forced to do more with fewer resources. Maintenance departments must deliver superior service, comply with regulatory requirements and provided detail financial accountably all within the confines of limited and/or reduce budgets. In order to meet these challenges, maintenance professionals are arming themselves with economical computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). In recent years flexible, dependable and economical computerized maintenance management systems have become available to help fight the never-ending struggle to operate and maintain the built environment.

But what are computerized maintenance management systems? They are management information systems that utilize the technologies of computers, telecommunications, etc. to executed the maintenance management processes and provide management with information for decisions making process.
Figure # 1 Maintenance Management Process
Work IdentificationWork PlanningWork Scheduling
AnalysisHistory RecordingWork Execution
Like any other computerize information system it is made up of the following:
We need to acknowledge at the outset that CMMS are not for every organization and that current research shows that as much as fifty percent of all CMMS start up have failed to pay back a meaningful return on investment after two years of operations. That is to say in many cases the heavy investment in CMMS information technologies have failed to live up to the much publicized benefits of automation and have delivered some disappointed results. So we do not want to give the impression that CMMS in themselves will cure all the ills of the profession and to advice against walking into the same technology trap that are endemic to the business community at large. In a rush to automate every job function that affects organizational efficiency and bottom line profits, many managers are overlooking important caveats inherent in all information technology implementations. This highlights the point that an organization needs to know how to find the right CMMS and how to implement and maintain the system. The decreasing costs of computer hardware, and the emerging power of microcomputers and software technologies, have disguised the question of feasibility. Many maintenance professionals, in their haste to keep up with contemporary information management technologies, unwittingly, neglected to evaluate these important questions before automating:
1.Do we have an information management problem, or a business management problem?
2.Have we thoroughly evaluated the real benefits and cost of a CMMS implementation?
3.Do we have the internal knowledge and commitment to complete the CMMS effort?
If an information system already exists in the organization then the concerns of integrating a new system could also be look at.
The purpose of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) seems to change constantly. The software initially was designed to assign maintenance tasks to the staff within a company in a more organized manner than the paper method. More recently, it purpose has expanded to include assuring the higher quality of equipment and facility condition and out put, as well as assisting administration and management in increasing production and overall efficiency.

To deliver maximum benefit to a facility, a CMMS has to be efficient, address a wide range of demands and be able to expand with evolving needs. With technology exploding throughout the CMMS market, planning that maximizes your system is essential.

The decision-making process managers go through in selecting an ideal computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is often formal and logical. The process includes a needs analysis relative to the CMMS architecture. A resource analysis is also required for the introduction, startup and continued support of the system.

The best way to find the right (CMMS) is to look at your current situation. Consider the following area:
Organization. An excellent system run by poorly trained or under-motivated people will be adequate at best, but well-trained people with positive attitudes can make an excellent system world class. You will need to know how many people are requesting maintenance services, who the most frequent requesters are, what there needs are, and how many and what kinds of maintenance people you have.

Equipment. Maintenance workload is determined by equipments and facilities. Find out about the numbers and kinds of equipment. Find out from client what their top 10 equipment or facility problems are. Operation people will tell you what equipment problems they have, and maintenance people will know the most frequent building system problems.

Work orders. You need to know how many work orders you generate each week. A rule of thumb is that the average work order takes an hour. From this and the number of workers, you can estimate the number of work orders per week.
After you have determined your current status and needs for computerization, you can start specifying CMMS that can deliver these benefits.

The proliferation of software targeting commercial and institutional facilities maintenance continues with no visible signs of letting up. New application and upgrades of existing CMMS appears regularly, and each new generation offers more in the way of flexibility, power and user friendliness.

When evaluating CMMS software there are eight major factors that should be considered. These factors are:
1.Comprehensive maintenance management functionality
2.Management reporting capabilities
6.Reliability centered maintenance integration
7.Harness the power of Microsoft windows
8.Proven expertise and on-going support
Comprehensive Maintenance Management Functionality
The main factor to consider when selecting a CMMS is the core product. It should be made up of three major elements: Work Management, Physical Asset Management and Resource Management. The Work Management component of the CMMS optimizes day to- day operations, manages corrective work orders and supports a preventative maintenance program. In addition, some CMMSs offer and added feature for detailed management of short duration on-demand work.

The Physical Asset Management component acts as the filing cabinet of the CMM, providing quick and easy retrieval of important information, warranty and service contracts, nameplate data, scanned documents, libraries of CAD drawing and complete descriptive information. After all, what good is all of the extensive information if you cannot access it easily?
The Resources Management component of a CMMS supports a full inventory and purchasing system. Furthermore, it tracks in-house labour and contracted service costs. Premier CMMS suppliers have field proven experience in data transfer of inventory, purchasing, and time card information to external financial systems.

A CMMS is only as good as the information that can be retrieved from it. CMMSs provide extensive management reporting capabilities that include detailed and summary report, graphical reports, and easy to use report writing tools that do not require programming knowledge.

We will want to select a system pre-loaded with mechanical and building PM procedures. This PM procedure library will minimize the start up necessary to establish and implement your PM program and provide conformance to generally accepted PM inspection schedules.

We should select a CMMS with tools that will assist in achieving compliance with an array of regulatory standards. To achieve compliance, premier maintenance management systems support the work flow process necessary to record, assign and account for both the work and the measures taken to correct and/or prevent maintenance related problems. Look for quick one button access to equipment histories and a flexible, detailed, and graphical reporting mechanism for problem and resolution trending (quality assurance) analysis
The type of CMMS we should be looking for should be capable of working together effectively and transparently with multiple systems. Direct interface between the CMMS and other diagnostic and monitoring systems such as building automation, predictive maintenance, etc can assist greatly in streamlining the maintenance process, by allowing maintenance personnel to respond to early warning signals before they escalate into critical repair problems. CMMS build upon these types of interfaces to automatically create work orders and update facilities histories based on alarms and test result received through these interfaces. CMMSs are also capable of interfacing with other technologies such as bar coding for quick and accurate data entry.

Reliability Centered Maintenance Integration
Select a CMMS system that fully integrates and takes advantages of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). RCM uses the full capabilities of the modern PC and Microsoft Windows software development environment to provide an interactive method for problem resolution. RCM provides maintenance professional with: (1) an easy to-use library of possible problems for major capital expenditure assets, (2) problem diagnostic techniques and (3) a recommendation to repair the cause of the problem and avoid wasting money fixing its symptoms.

Harness The Power of Microsoft Window
Select a PC based CMMS solution that is compatible with Microsoft Window. Look for a CMMS design that is founded on an industry standard programming architecture like Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Access, and SQL.

Todays CMMS objectives are fully realizable using the Microsoft Windows environment. User-friendly, yet powerful features such as: one button access to history, pending work orders, future PMs, electronics file folders for organization information, and notification of duplicate work orders, now allows the maintenance professional to maximize time and effort.

Proven Expertise And On-Going Support
Rounding out the eight factors for CMMS success is the expertise and support of the CMMS suppliers. The supplier of choice should be that has field proven longevity and offers a complete suite of services to complement the software system. Services to expect include: engineering consulting, data collection, data entry, training, implementation and post implementation support.

We have highlighted the eight factors we should evaluated in choose the right CMMS but before we can leave this topic we need also to briefly look at what are called Target Software Solution. These are software application targeted to very specific functions within the scope of the maintenance management process. Such task-specific application offers maintenance professional the power to address and successfully manage these often complex and involved tasks. Among the operation targeted by such software are regulatory compliance, roof inspection, space management and key-and-lock management. Task-specific software application address a range of pressing needs within facility maintenance departments, and since they focus only on one issue, the tend to do so effectively and efficiently.

Before buying a task-specific program, make sure the desired function doesnt already exist in your CMMS. Review the manufactures manuals and literature and talk with all users of the system in the facility who may be more familiar with the systems intricacies. Also, consider whether a current function or module in your CMMS can duplicate the function properly and effectively.
We should ensure that the initial design of the system encompassed all the major tasks that we are likely to meet and so diminishes our reliance on theses task-oriented software. They do however have a part to play in the continued evolution of the maintenance management process and technology. We will now look at the selection of the hardware to support the software.

When buying a computer system they are four main components you must decide upon: the operating system, the processor, the hard disk and the amount of memory.

Making a decision on these components will be either deceptively easy or nearly impossible. The decision should be guided by the type of software application you wish to use on the system. The following questions might be helpful:
Will the system be used for one function or many?
Will the system be a standalone or network?
If networked, will it be connected to an outside system, i.e. the Internet, CompuServe, a vendor etc.?
What application might you need in the near future?
What standard does your company have for hardware?
They are both like desk space no matter how much you have you will always use and need more.

A CD-ROM is recommended even if your application doesnt require it. Most software is shipped on a CD-ROM. It is less expensive to obtain it on a CD, and the manufactures usually provide additional utilities or programs on the CD version of the software.

The only way to overcome the rapidly changing, highly technical world of computers is always to get a consensus of opinions. Ask at least three vendors for three recommendations: high end, middle of the road and the least expensive. Ask for the name of the manufacture of the major components, namely:
The whole system if buying a turnkey system
Hard disk and type of disk controller
The challenge for maintenance professionals is to find a hardware system that meets departments needs and support current and future software as well as possible.

Implementation of a Computerized Maintenance Management System
The Systematic Approach to Computerized Maintenance Management is a practical strategy for designing, developing, and implementing a complete computerized maintenance management system. This comprehensive approach is comprised of two proven implementation methodologies:
1.The System Approach to Maintenance Management (SAMM)
2.The Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) Life Cycle.

These concepts have proven through practical applications in various maintenance environment, to be valuable aids to guide companies through the design and implementation of benefits-producing computerized maintenance management systems.

At the core of both the SAMM and CMMS implementation Life Cycle is the concept of developing a complete system. The SAMM model is used to establish the relationship between the individual elements that comprises the complete maintenance management system. The CMMS Implementation life cycle lay out the process or series of activities to design, develop, implement, and effectively use the system.

The system approach to maintenance management (SAMM) reference model was created for two purposes. It primary use is to guide the design and implementation of new maintenance management system. Albeit, it is equally valuable when used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate ineffective, existing, computer assisted maintenance operations. It simplicity has made it a valuable educational aid to help facility manager and maintenance industry professional identify and understand the vital elements of a complete information management system.

The SAMM reference model is centered around the holistic concept of the system. It is based on the relationship between people, process, and technology. Fundamental to this model is the concept of workflow. By definition, work flow applications automate business process that involve people working together and sharing information to accomplish a predefined set of tasks. A computerized maintenance management software program is a work flow application. Therefore, the application of this technology into a maintenance department must include all elements of the system to become an effective tool for management.

The five elements of the SAMM model are the Management Plan, System Resources, Information Technology, Data Medium, and Work Methodology.

The Management Plan establishes the policy to maintain the focus of a complete system. Information Technology are the tools energized by Resources to maintain the global asset Databases. Benefits to the organization includes standardized reporting, operational efficiency and cost savings, are enhanced via the Work Methodologies and processes that facilitate work control and data transfer throughout the maintenance environment.

The Management Plan is the ubiquitous bonding element of the SAMM model. The plan establishes the vision, business requirements, goals, and successful system use. The plan respect maintenance management fundamentals and project management principles and set the strategy for the design, development, installation, and daily use of the system, to become an effective blueprint, for achieving both short and long term goals of implementation project, the plan must be lead by senior management and endorsed by end-users.

The System Resources are the people, their time and financial investment allocated to design, develop, install, and operate the system. Each phase of the system implementation cycle will consume these resources. Therefore, these resources must be judiciously planned and allocated for each task to assure implementation success.

People the human element that energized the system, are undoubtedly the most important. Ironically, the importance of people to the system equation is often the most overlooked and taken for granted. Before the technology will be accepted into the organization, as a tool to enhance the work practices, the people who use the technology must become it owners. For user ownership to occur, the end-user must be involved in all stages of the system implementation.

Time there is never enough of it when it comes to the implementation of a CMMS. It is the resource that is often underestimated during system implementation planning. People are assigned to the project; however, in many cases their time is not. This often leads to incomplete CMMS projects.

Money is usually the first consideration when planning begins. As with any major facility project, the finical costs must be estimated and allocated to each task. The cost of computer equipment and software is often a lesser expensive. The cost for intangible services must be factored into the budget as well. These include personnel cost for planning, education and training, software development/selection, database development, and other implementation efforts.

Information technology includes computers hardware, software applications, and peripheral equipment. The SAMM model incorporates the technology as the tool of maintenance management automation. Tools that become effective instruments for managing information only when applied to the task by trained and motivated people. The benefits of automation are achieved during the process of using the computer tools to more efficiently complete maintenance work processes.
The database is the vital source of information for operating any maintenance management department. The SAMM model includes the database as a separate but related system element for these reasons:
1.The database often requires the greatest commitment of resources to develop and maintain. The efforts necessary to collect, collate, and enter data into the computer is often underestimated for the initial installation and ongoing use of the system. Therefore, it is a primary cause for many incomplete CMMS implementations.

2.Data management is a perpetual activity performed by people committed to maintaining database integrity, and trained to organize the data as a source of meaningful information.

The work methodologies include the process and procedures that control work performance and coordinate the flow of information throughout the maintenance center. This element is often not considered during the implementation of computerized systems. As a result of this egregious oversight, the efficiencies to the organization are never realized. To gain the benefits that automation provides, the existing work management practices (manual or computer-assisted) must be identified, analyzed, and re-engineered to accommodate the capabilities of the maintenance management software. Work scheduling methods, job order dispatching practices, field data collection routines, and information processing routines should all be analyze and if necessary, redefined and modified to gain optimum operational efficiency.

All five elements, and the function they server, are vital to initial start up and successful ongoing use of a CMMS. If any one element is left out of the model or becomes dysfunctional, system performance suffers and the benefits to the organization are reduced. The SAMM model makes up one half of the systematic approach by providing the template for the complete system. When used in concert with the CMMS Implementation Life Cycle, an organization has a comprehensive approach for implementing a beneficial CMMS.

The computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) Implementation Life Cycle is the related activities required to design, develop, install and improve a complete computerized maintenance system. The CMMS Implementation life cycle is organized into three sequential phases: Need Analysis, System Design, and System Installation.

The CMMS Implementation Life Cycle has these characteristics:
1.It is a fully integrated process for implementing new information management technologies into the maintenance operation of business and organizations;
2.It is a sequence of action steps presented in a natural and logical order;
3.It is a process which recycles existing maintenance management practices into new more efficient way of conducting business;
4.The central focus of the life cycle is the SAMM model the end product to be achieved from carrying out the implementation process.

The major goal of the need analysis phase is to establish the requirement of the organization for a computerized maintenance management system information system. The secondary purpose is to determine the feasibility of computerizing a paper based maintenance operation, or enhancing an existing automated system. The need analysis should pay respect to each element of the SAMM model. Ideally, the model should be used to assess the existing work management system in relation to the effort necessary to develop each element of the complete computerized maintenance management system.

Step 1 Assembling a Project Team and Advisory Committee
Assembling a project team and advisory committee, is an important step towards building awareness in the organization, and gaining political support for the CMMS implementation project. The team should be composed of allied members of the maintenance staff and related department reprehensive. The group must include maintenance manager, end users, technicians, information system professional, accountants, and senior administrators who are committed to improving department operation via automation. A dedicated project team and committed advisory committee will be a source of fresh ideas about the scope of the proposed system.

Step 2 Conducting an operation and management audit
Conducting an operation and management audit will assist to provide the justification for implementing new information technologies and management procedures. The main purpose of the audit is to identify operations within the maintenance function where efficiency can be increased through computerization. Processes that are commonly targeted for this assessment are in the areas of work order management, periodic maintenance scheduling preventive maintenance, materials management, and other paper-based or clerical intensive manual management practices.

Step 3 performing a cost vs. benefits study
Performing a cost vs. benefits study serves four purposes:
1.Provides the analysis of the feasibility of the entire project.

2.Assist to identify and evaluate all cost issues, thus eliminating future surprises.

3.Assist the committee to evaluate the expected return on the investment
4.Assist the committee to confront the real benefits of the automation project
Step 4 The CMMS implementation project plan
The CMMS implementation project plan provides the blueprint for the entire implementation project. The plan should be comprehensive and afforded the same emphasis as any other major facility capital project. The planning process should seek to achieve a consensus, among advisory committee members, of the goals for the implementation and establish expectations about the systems performance. A thorough project plan is a critical step toward the timely and successful completion of each system design, development, and installation task. The project plan also provides an additional check to insure that all resource requirements (people, time and cost) have been identified and schedule into the project.

Phase 1 Needs Assessment deliverables should include:
1.Project Mission Statement: including a summary of the CMMS goals, a set of measurable performance objectives, and list of Project Team and Advisory Committee Members.

2.Management Plan: documenting a thorough description of the functions targeted for computerization; cost/benefit study and a draft of the CMMS.

The system design phase consist of four overlapping actions steps, which build onto the results of the need analysis. The primary purpose of this phase is to analyze the work management process and information management needs of the maintenance department, and produce a detail system document, which can be used to develop and/or select the CMMS software and hardware technology. This phase of the project will focus on answering any lingering question about: why we are computerizing? the action steps in the system design phase are as follows:
Education and marketing should begin as early as possible once the decision has been reached to computerized. Education and marketing should actually be conducted as two distinct tasks with the common objective to: empower the users to become the true owner of the system. Advisory committee members should be available to provide information about why they are changing the technology. Thus preparing the user for skill enhancement training, on how to use the new computer technology. The marketing effort should address the users attitudes toward and acceptance of the new computerized maintenance system. The amount of marketing required to sell the system to the maintenance staff will be largely determined by the size of the organization and prior experience with automated systems.

Step 6 Designing Work Processes and Information Requirements
Designing work processes and information requirements is one of the most important, but often overlooked, implementation action tasks. The objective of this action step is to evaluate the existing work management system(s) in relations to the goals and performance objectives of the proposed CMMS. Efforts to design the system should be focused on the three elements of the SAMM model related to the management practices and computer technology: the work methodology (scheduling methods, paper processing practices, and performance reports); the information technology (computer hardware, software, and peripherals); and the database (text and graphical data sources).

Steps 7- Developing the CMMS Specification
Developing the CMMS specification involves documenting the entire requirement for developing a complete computerized maintenance management system. The document should be prepared in the format suitable for the type of development effort, i.e., in-house software development (system specification); or off- the shelf purchase of commercial CMMS software. It should cover the following system requirement:
Computer hardware: Mini/Micro technology; file server, terminals, CPU, peripherals.

Operating systems platform and software: LAN/WAN networks, software interfaces.

Maintenance management software: programmed functions & features, reports, & interfaces
Databases: detail of data elements, file structure, data formats for reporting
Work methodologies: re-engineering of information flow processes, procedures, controls
Resource requirements: hardware and software budgets, project time constraints, personnel
Installation Support: consulting, training, software maintenance, hardware maintenance.

Step 8 Developing or Selecting the Information Technology
Developing or selecting the information technology are two diverse means to achieving the same end procuring the maintenance management software application. It behooves business and organizations to evaluate commercially available software applications before deciding on an in-house custom software development effort. Developing maintenance management software is no small task. Custom software development should be the last resort for those organizations that have such diverse needs that no commercial available software will fulfill their requirement.

The selection of a maintenance management software program should be conducted according to standardized evaluation criteria. The system specification or formal RFP document should be prepared with this end in mind. Ample time should be allocated to evaluate as many candidate application and support services best meet the needs of the organization.

The action steps of the design phase should produce the following deliverables:
1.Concise definition of the nature of the maintenance work tasks.

2.Detailed statement of the full range of data required for these tasks.

3.Procurement (development or selection) of the computer technology to serve these tasks and provide the data in a format to facilitate decision support
The installation of the system elements is the last but not least phase of the CMMS implementation life cycle. The goal of the installation process is to position and activate new information management tools and methodologies into the work place. Four, all encompassing and overlapping, action steps provide activities to assemble together the five elements of the SAMM model as a complete and full functioning CMMS.

The technology installation should be coordinated and micro managed to the implementation schedule. This requisite planning activity should be a collaborative effort involving the entire maintenance department. The purpose is to elicit commitment throughout the department to accomplish all implementation tasks according to a predetermined schedule.
The importance of planning the system installation can not be overemphasized .the schedule should lay out the activities and allocation of resources to accomplish the following:
3.Technical installation of hardware and software
5.Establish (rearranging) and staffing the work control center
6.Initializing the computerized work management program.

Step 10 Education and Training Program
The education and training program should provide the answers to why, and how to use the computerized maintenance management system. The educational process that began during the second phase should continue to support the issue: why are we computerizing. The training program should be directed towards enhancing users skill. The main objective of training is to teach how to proficiently use the computer equipment and software technology. Comprehensive training will also provide input into the setting up the database schemes and assist the transition to new management procedures.

Step 11 Developing the Database(s)
Developing the database(s) is one of the action steps that never appear to have a distinct beginning or final ending. The reality is that the database is a dynamic medium that continually changes, usually growing with the increasing proficiency of system users. In terms of overall effort required to complete the CMMS installation, the database is generally the most resource intensive task. For this reason, consideration must be afforded to insuring that all requisite data is collected and entered into the CMMS database.

Step 12 Initializing the Work Management Program
Initializing the work management program is a comprehensive task, which completes the transition from preexisting (paper-based or semi-automated) systems to a fully computerized mode of operation. It will not happen overnight and should be conducted in phases. In other words, install one function at a time, e.g. the work order process, and get it operating to plan, before implementing the others.

Work order planning and performance tracking, preventive maintenance scheduling, and maintenance-repair operation (MRO) inventory control are among the many functions often targeted for computerization. The benefits to the organization for computerizing these work control functions will be maximized through the integration of the business processes with the information technology. Process re-engineering applied to these various work management functions will accelerate the return on the investment of the CMMS.

The benefits to be gained through computerization will not be achieved through the retooling of technology only. Throughout the CMMS implementation process, maintenance managers must continually rethink business practices and aim to break loose from outdated and inefficient work management routines. Thereby using the power inherent in the computer tools to enable more efficient means, of planning, scheduling, and directing maintenance efforts.
The CMMS is a big investment and warrants ongoing monitoring. Facilities can get the most out of their CMMSs by using them as fully as possible, measuring the benefits they add to facility operations and using that information to continue increasing overall efficiency and savings. We will now look at some of the benefits that can result from implementing and maximizing a CMMS.

Most maintenance department functions have been affected in some way by the arrivals of CMMS. Among those function affected the most are: generating work orders, tracking inventory, setting up preventative maintenance (PM) and producing reports. The CMMSs can provide can both be short- and long-term benefits. Some of these benefits are:
Standardized work order will reduce time, and paper work.

All information combined into a central location decrease work time.

Permanent, accurate records will help reduce equipment down time.

Standardized format aids organization and collection of information.

Long-term benefits should be apparent through weekly and monthly production reports. These include:
Parts and materials availability will be increase.

Maintenance labour effectiveness will increase.

More regulated preventive maintenance will increase equipment life and help to reduce emergency maintenance costs.

Production saving will increase as unscheduled downtime decrease.

Purchase costs of parts and materials will be reduced.

Outside contract costs will be reduced.

Regular report gives a more effective and up-to-date record of inventory/stores reports, work orders and physical maintenance reports, which will reduce cost of parts, inventory and labour. Reports also help increase management control.

We will now look at some of these benefits in details:
Currently most form of CMMS are based on forms printed out for use by the maintenance workers. Workers enter information on the forms, which is re-entered into the system after the work is finished. Because the work order contains data entered directly by the technician, it is the focal point of a CMMS. The ability to prioritize work orders so they can accommodate each facility and functions has helped maintenance department considerably. For example some CMMS can prioritize work orders for each day so that those designated, as high priorities will automatically be first on the list orders to complete.

Maintenance departments, therefore can more easily discern a high-priority task from one that is routine, helping organized and improve the departments efficiency.

Inventory modules on a CMMS have become especially helpful for facilities with more than one stores area. They allow the maintenance department to carefully track parts from the time they are logged in/or scanned in, in departments with bar coding capability to the time they are used. The module have been essential in helping departments set up purchasing schedules and track parts costs more carefully.

Inventory modules also help streamline maintenance departments when they are linked to work order modules. I this scenario, the work order screen can display whether the parts needed for the service work are available, saving time that would be spent checking individual parts lists or going to the stores area.

Also, the module can alert a facility when parts are almost gone, so parts can be reordered before they run out. This helps the maintenance department avoid extra downtime waiting for parts.

Setting up preventive maintenance (PM)
Maintenance departments are realizing the benefits of PM, and CMMS are essentials in helping establish such programs. The PM module reminds the maintenance department each time routine work is needs to be performed and alerts the department when a task is coming due, helping reduce the risk of missing regular maintenance work and lengthening the life of the equipment.

Developers of maintenance software, who keep a close watch on the many changes that are taking place in the maintenance management profession, say that their products in the future will continue to address and anticipate the many problems related to keeping commercial and institutional facilities operating both efficiently and cost-effectively.

Data that is collected by the CMMS including hours worked, failure codes, equipment and system downtime, repair costs, and repair time are been used to support operational decisions, such as reliability analysis to compare manufactures, maintenance effectiveness, and justification of outsourcing specific maintenance functions.

Most regulatory agencies expect to be able to review and audit regulatory compliance through a CMMS. Not that long ago, paper records were the default standard for documentation.

The latest crop of computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) tend to reflect the general advances in software that have been occurring at an exponential rate. Five years ago, Window based program were the exception rather than the rule, and larger, multi-user systems were at best serve by mainframe or mini-systems.

Todays CMMS releases are invariably 32-bits Window programs able to scale from a single-user standalone system to a 100-user client/server system.

Handheld data collection units and pen-based computer transferring data to and from a central database via the Internet are readily available, and historical data is analyzed for maintenance reliability information and for management and budgetary support.

Most CMMS started out as either work order management system or inventory control systems designed to be used by the maintenance the department to tract equipment/facility maintenance and to manage their spare parts inventories. In most cases manager made limited use of the historical information available. The role of CMMS system in many organizations, however, has started to transcend simply supporting the maintenance department. In many of todays CMMS implementations, significantly greater requirements are placed upon the CMMS to provide tangible benefits and information to the company.

What will the next generation of CMMS bring to maintenance? Developer point to advances in ease of use, ease of integration with other applications, flexibility and speed.

They also acknowledge that the rapid rise of the World Wide Web as an information resource and conduit will continue to have tremendous effects, though in concrete terms, many questions remain about precisely what shapes those development will take.

Perhaps most provocatively for maintenance departments, developers say, a future generation of CMMS will go well beyond data collection, storage, retrieval and analysis.

Future CMMS applications, developers say, will have the ability to learn within parameters preset by users and will be able to offer maintenance technicians a series of options in a particular situation.

There is a major push a among CMMS developers to eliminate paper from the maintenance process with the next generation of software.

Several developers pointed to the advent of personal digital assistants (PDAs) as an example of more accessible CMMS of the future. PDA are portable handheld computers that allow users to bring computer functionality into areas of facilities that before had not been accessible.

PDAs, a well as CMMS that operate on them, will allow the technicians to more easily take work order information into the field, access this information, as well as the departments database and collect information on the project for future downloading back into the database.

A soon-to-typical process might start with a telephone call from a building occupant reporting a problem, continue with an automatically generated work order prompted by the telephone call and end with a technician in the field receiving a message via pager alerting him of the reported problem.

Accessing the departments CMMS through a PDA, the technician finds the work order request, complete the work and downloads the completed electronic work order back into the system all without the need for paper. The process cuts down on paper handling by creating essential data that is readily available by other software applications.

The CMMS application of tomorrow will give facility executives, maintenance and engineering managers and front-line technicians an unprecedented palette of options for collecting, reconfiguring and analyzing information than ever before.

Armed with this enhanced ability, as well as additional pieces of complementary technology, developer say workers will be better able to anticipate system and equipment problems, detect trouble spots, spotlight potential saving and, in the end, prepare more effective solutions to these situation.
The impact of the Internet on future CMMS is hard to overestimate. This will result in:
Expanded data sharing capabilities. Companies with facilities miles or even thousand of miles apart will be able to use the internet to share a wide range of data related to all aspects of operations, including such key areas as inventory and project costs.

Greater access to CMMS to casual users.

More companies are realizing every day that their business performance is closely related to how they manage their facilities and workplace assets. Operating expenses can be reduced at the same time real estate assets are maximized and employee productivity and the quality of worklife are enhanced.
Facilities-related expenses represent most companies second-largest operation cost, next to personnel and their greatest capital asset. As companies look for opportunities to improve financial performance and competitiveness new opportunity have to be explore. Success will depend upon the ability to identify, communicate and manage opportunities to support the companys business objectives.
The following processes needs to be examined:
1.Monitoring how facilities are being used and managed
2.Evaluating whether facilities are best serving corporate objectives
3.Anticipating how facilities might better support the organization and respond to its changing need
The design/selection, development, implementation and monitoring of a CMMS is one opportunity which companies must take advantage if they are to succeed in the dynamic business environment.

The introduction of a CMMS and its monitoring and upgrade will enhance the companys competitive edge. Benchmarking, that is researching how best-in class have benefited from CMMS is a clear indicator that only those organization who implement proper CMMS will survive in the global market.

It is therefore imperative that organizations that have not implemented a CMMS should investigated the feasibility of implementing a system and organization with a system should ensure that the system is operating at optimum level and upgraded as required to effective and ensure that the organization is competitive.

The benefits to the organization includes:
Reduce overall facility operating costs
Boost productivity and product quality
Improve resource utilization enhance warranty tracking
Improve analysis and decision making