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By David Berger
There has been a lot going on in the kitchen since last year’s CMMS/EAM software review. Incremental gains in CMMS features and functions have made many packages better at handling the myriad and specialized requirements of particular industries and facilities. But the big news has been the plethora of vendor mergers and acquisitions, which have left plant professionals concerned about whether and how their current system or future selection will be supported.
Increased software capabilities in 2006 prompted us to expand the scope of the Plant Services CMMS/EAM Software Review, our detailed hands-on comparison of current offerings. The Review is now far too comprehensive to fit on the pages of the magazine – it resides on a purpose-built Web site at www.PlantServices.com/CMMS_Review. There, you can find detailed information in the form of verified answers to a detailed questionnaire covering 30 areas of vendor profile and package capabilities (see sidebar, “Characteristics quantified”). You can assign weight to every aspect to reflect its importance in your facility, and the site will rank the packages according to how well they fit your requirements.
This year, along with incorporating new owners and package names two-thirds of the listings being new or revised. There is now data on 13 packages from 12 vendors (Table 1). More continue to be added as they launch new versions and choose to participate.
The site also offers many resources and solid information for anyone who wants to better understand CMMS/EAM capabilities, solve an application problem or more fully use an existing system. But before you rush off for a hearty dose of data at www.PlantServices.com/CMMS_Review, enjoy this year’s juicy bits of background for an appetizer.
In the entire history of the CMMS industry, North America has never seen such a merger and acquisition frenzy as we have witnessed during the past few years. Best-of-breed vendors both big and small have been snapped up by companies representing quite a wide range of industries, including:
There are several theories about what is transpiring to cause this heightened activity:
Time will tell whether this increased merger and acquisition activity is in the best interests of the market. Certainly, if it means a greater pool of capital is available for areas such as research and development, and if competition remains healthy enough that prices don’t begin to climb, then it’s likely a good thing. This, of course, presupposes the CMMS industry remains a growth industry, and thus the acquirers of the CMMS vendors can extract a return on their investment. A shrinking market would likely require a reduction in the number of CMMS vendors for any of them to turn a profit.
Although some might argue that industry and product specialization are more marketing gimmicks than real value to the customer, there’s no question that it’s a recent trend. I would say that companies are simply looking for a CMMS package that meets their unique needs, and a vendor that understands their industry. Some examples are as follows:
PlantServices.com is an MRO (maintain, repair, replace, retrofit, overhaul and operations) resource site that features problem-solving articles and editorials for plant maintenance professionals.