Modern CMMS/EAM software packages are fairly flexible and adaptable. Regardless of a company’s size, industry, location and technical requirements, there should be at least one CMMS solution out there that meets your needs, in whole or in part. That’s the theory, but, of course, it assumes users know what to do with the software once in their possession.
Simply purchasing and installing software doesn’t automatically translate into realizing its benefits. For example, a long-term partnership with a CMMS vendor is critical to ensure the software is configured to best meet your needs. As well, your choice of technology should fit well with your current architecture and your long-term strategic plan. Finally, the features and functions of your selected CMMS should be sufficient to meet your requirements today and long into the future. As your business grows, and as you continue to demand more advanced functionality, your CMMS vendor partner and its software solution must continue to flex with your ever-changing needs.
Many CMMS users, when planning to purchase a new CMMS package, upgrade an existing CMMS or get more out of the existing package, demand seamless connectivity, realize that businesses are unique, need tools that are easy to use and want a price tag that fits their budget.
Seamless connectivity: A key trend in the CMMS industry is the increasing degree to which integration takes place along multiple dimensions. Seamless connectivity is required at the facility level both horizontally across departments and vertically from shop floor to plant management. It’s also required at the enterprise level, where information is shared across multiple plants. Another dimension is integration along the supply chain, which brings in suppliers, third-party contractors, partners and customers. Technology integration is yet another dimension, especially for the best-of-breed CMMS applications that must integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and factory automation software. For all CMMS packages, there are numerous points of integration from a technology perspective. Examples are e-business applications, GIS, spreadsheets, project management software, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), wireless and handheld-based applications, workflow and many other applications that might be running externally to the CMMS.
Probably the most important, but by far the most difficult dimension for the customer, is using the CMMS as a tool to better integrate process, people and technology. Implementing a CMMS package brings minimal return on investment, unless it’s used to support substantial improvements to processes and a real change in personnel behavior.
Unique businesses: As software functionality and user needs become more sophisticated, CMMS vendors have developed niche features, modules or whole product lines that cater to a given industry. For some industries such as nuclear and pharmaceutical, the driver is compliance with more stringent regulatory requirements. For others such as transportation, municipalities or contract maintenance providers, it’s the unique requirements of the business.
Most CMMS vendors began by servicing a given industry or asset classification such as plant, facility, fleet, IT assets or infrastructure such as roads, pipelines or bridges. Growth was achieved by broadening into related industries and classifications until most CMMS vendors claimed their packages were relevant to all five maintenance classifications and most industries. Today, increased competition and regulatory pressures are driving the vendors to return to industry specialization as a means of differentiating their products.