By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). That’s the simplest answer when asking, “what does CMMS stand for?” But a four-word answer doesn’t quite do justice to what a CMMS is or how it works to improve the results of facilities management.

It’s hard to imagine a facilities maintenance management strategy without a robust CMMS system. The CMMS creates a framework for ensuring facilities, assets, and installations are properly managed. Having the automation, data, and oversight of a CMMS can be the difference between reactive facilities management and a proactive plan.

CMMS vs. EAM software

Often, people confuse CMMS and EAM software. Other than being acronyms for workplace management software, the two share similarities that warrant the confusion. What is a CMMS? What is an EAM? How are they different? That all depends on how they’re used.

  • CMMS stands for “Computerized Maintenance Management System”
  • EAM stands for “Enterprise Asset Management”

The simplest distinction between them is that an EAM platform oversees and manages workplace assets, while a CMMS ensures they’re understood and maintained.

Take something as simple as the break room cappuccino maker, for example. A facility manager uses EAM software to manage it—keeping materials stocked, monitoring its condition, calculating the ROI, etc. When it breaks down and needs repairs, the CMMS kicks in. The CMMS generates the repair ticket and catalogs the repairs.

Now, instead of the cappuccino maker, imagine every major asset in the workplace! EAM and CMMS play distinct roles in keeping vital assets in functional condition.

Often, the two work in tandem. Overlapping features frequently make them interchangeable.

Creating maintenance processes

One of the biggest values of a CMMS—and the primary reason to integrate one into your workplace asset management approach—is process standardization.

CMMS platforms focus specifically on maintenance management. As a result, they offer maintenance infrastructures and automations. Features like support ticketing, preventive maintenance scheduling, and vendor management make CMMS software a must-have. The benefits available through maintenance standardization and automation are enough to pay for themselves:

  • Fewer, shorter instances of downtime
  • Longer asset lifespan
  • Better ROI through asset preservation
  • Lower proactive service costs (as opposed to reactive costs)
  • Improved vendor management
  • Quicker response to maintenance requests
  • Time savings through process automation

All these benefits stem from a drilled-down focus on asset management. With a CMMS platform, asset maintenance becomes a priority, not a passive response. Employees have a place to send support tickets. Maintenance gets executed faster. Assets are quantified and their ROI measured. In the same way Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software turns space into an asset, CMMS turns facility management into a competitive advantage.

The larger the workplace grows and the further it sprawls, the more essential it becomes. From a single floor, to the whole building, to multiple locations, and even mobile assets, CMMS scales alongside the workplace, accounting for everything requiring upkeep.

A look into facilities trends and events 

The secondary (and just as important) aspect of CMMS software is the data insights it provides. There’s categorical data for every asset under management. Understanding and using it is the job of the CMMS administrator.

What does a CMMS administrator do? They observe the data points associated with various assets to optimize management of those assets. An administrator might look at costs, timeframes, specific events, or maintenance history to determine the right course of action.

Should your company transition to LED lighting? A CMMS administrator can compile data about lighting costs, bulb replacement frequency, and retrofit costs to answer that question. Yes, we’ll save more money on lighting over the next year upgrading to LEDs. Or, no, upgrading isn’t worth the cost.

The same goes for questions about any other asset. How much money was spent on copy machine repairs and supplies last year? Which computer workstations have the most maintenance requests? How old is the fridge in the break room? CMMS quantifies as many aspects of an asset as possible, so companies have bearings when making decisions about them. It’s the difference between making impulsive, empirical decisions as opposed to confident, data-backed ones—and it affects everything from business operations to budget.

Delivering a broader understanding of facilities

The benefits of CMMS mirror other facilities management software, focused on maintenance specifically. CMMS quantifies the previously uncalculated, providing data about specific processes or assets within the office. Using this data, facilities managers make more informed decisions about how to run the workplace.

More importantly, CMMS provides process creation and control frameworks. Facilities maintenance touches so many avenues that it’s often a convoluted pain point for workplace managers. Funneling facilities maintenance requests and tasks into a CMMS organizes them. Depending on the action required, the software holds the automation capability to ensure it’s handled right.

Alongside Integrated Workplace Management Software (learn more about IWMS software) and a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platform, a CMMS solution completes the trinity of essential workplace management software.

Keep reading: Selecting the right facility management software