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By Devon Maresco
The realm of software for building and facilities management is growing to include more specialized, targeted platforms. While you can still find most major facility management tools inside an IWMS and most space planning tools in a CAFM platform, you’ll need to look beyond when it comes to asset management and building maintenance. It comes down to a question of CMMS vs. EAM, and how to best-leverage them both into better operations.
While they may just seem like two more acronyms, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system are two very different pieces of software. They offer completely different suites of tools and resources to facility professionals. That said, they’re often used in tandem, to produce results that keep facilities and everything in them running smoothly.
Here’s a look at the differences between CMMS and EAM, how they function independently, and what the benefits are to using both of them together.
What is a computerized maintenance management system?
A CMMS system is a platform for managing work requests, service tickets, upkeep responsibilities, repair projects, and more. It’s an organizational system for asset management that’s feature-rich to ensure quickness, cost efficiency, and better outcomes from asset maintenance.
On the surface, a CMMS acts as a queue. Support tickets or manual tasks appear with relevant information for in-house maintenance teams to field. The system allows managers to assign these tasks to appropriate craftspeople or vendors, and track the status of the job through completion. Afterwards, it’s archived and sorted as part of a comprehensive record-keeping system.
The entire CMMS system—from ticket submission to archival—creates a documented record of maintenance and upkeep, which informs a better approach to everything from budgeting to asset decision-making. Facility maintenance professionals have access to job-specific and historical data which informs them on better, more cost-efficient asset upkeep in the future.
What is an enterprise asset management system?
An EAM gives facility professionals a complete overview of assets under management. This can include the building and its capital systems, as well as individual assets that are part of everyday operations. There are also varying levels of EAM sophistication, ranging from full digital twins to simple records of each asset as a cost center.
The primary function of EAM software is to better-inform asset managers of the status of assets. This can include the service record and service information, annual cost of ownership, age and condition of the asset, and much more. The purpose is to provide an at-a-glance understanding, with the option to drill down into specific information that might be useful for decision-making. Do you buy a new company car or maintain the one you already have? When was the elevator last serviced? What is the total cost of upkeep for the break room appliances?
EAM systems are increasingly robust, and can go beyond informing managers about the pertinent facts of an asset. For example, machine learning can glean upkeep data from EAM software to help create a preventive maintenance schedule for a particular asset. Or, IoT integration can make real-time asset tracking possible. The result is a new level of asset oversight, resulting in better ROI.
What’s the difference between CMMS and EAM?
The primary difference between CMMS and EAM is their function. While both pertain to facility assets, they deal with different perspectives of asset management. EAM focuses more on understanding assets and learning about them in the context of their use, cost, and needs. CMMS focuses more on the action of upkeep, to ensure they’re well-maintained and properly serviced. Both are imperative for maximum ROI; they’re adjacent in asset management.
For example, an EAM with machine learning may recognize the need for HVAC service every 68 days (average). The EAM will establish the service record of the building’s HVAC stack and organize the information associated with prior maintenance and costs, as well as any other information needed to facilitate better upkeep. The actual task of upkeep will occur through the CMMS, in the form of a recurring support ticket every 68 days (or sooner), to ensure there’s a system of record.
If it wasn’t already apparent, there’s significant integration opportunity for CMMS and EAM. Both can use the data of the other system, and leverage it into better asset management and ROI.
The benefits of CMMS and EAM together
CMMS and EAM software naturally complement each other. When you consider buildings and their systems as assets, and the need for upkeep across all assets managed within that building, these platforms go hand-in-hand to facilitate a continuum of care and maintenance. EAM tracks the condition of the HVAC system, or the elevator, or the A/V projector—CMMS ensures these assets get the regular and routine upkeep and repair they need to stay functional.
The result of using CMMS and EAM together is a workplace that stays functional ta the highest levels. Less downtime, fewer unexpected problems, and better longevity are all direct results of understanding and attending to assets. CMMS and EAM link understanding to action when it comes to building and asset upkeep.
Keep reading: How the Top CMMS Software Providers Stand Out