Lean Manufacturing Blog


What is CMMS Software, and Why Do You Need It?

Leading2Lean May 15, 2019

Before the Internet of Things (IoT) ever made its way into the people’s homes (you know her as Alexa or Siri), it began as most technologies do: on the floor of an organization, trying to connect business goals to greater efficiencies and revenues.

These goals have remained unchanged since the era of Taylorism and scientific management during the first Industrial Revolution.

But things have come a long way since then.

The epoch has changed. You’re now sitting on the leading edge of Industry 4.0, and this means a complete shift in methods, focus, and potential.

It’s called “human resources” for a reason: humans were the resources. Now, humans have become the connectors, builders, managers, and creators. And those resources look very different for Industry 4.0

Why? Because now, there’s a focus on tech.

Industry 4.0 is all about tech resources with humans as decision-makers. For example, all of the following eight technology drivers are at the heart of the future of production, and they all have one thing in common — software.

What is CRM and why do I need it_eight technology drivers impact upon future production

The Boston Consulting Group

These essential eight rely on a combination of connectivity and data. Collecting, collating, ordering, analyzing, predicting, and using data is what software is all about.

So the efficacy measurement of software relies on the shoulders of data.

What does this mean for your manufacturing organization? Namely that any…

  • Innovations
  • Efficiencies
  • Lean automation processes
  • Connectivity
  • Revenues
  • Quality control procedures

...will first require the presence of robust, complex software architecture.

This software architecture also needs to be user-friendly enough for workers to access and collaborate across, for truly aligned decision making.

Put simply, in the era of Industry 4.0 failing to understand or harness a CMMS could put you at risk of getting left behind.


What is CMMS?

So what is CMMS software? CMMS software stands for “Computerized Maintenance Management System.” It’s a software that allows managers to control, streamline, and anticipate their manufacturing needs — including performing preventative maintenance, work order scheduling, parts ordering, and more.

A great example is when equipment needs to be serviced. Under a manual system, servicing equipment is reactionary. When something breaks, you fix it.

CMMS systems allow you to take a proactive stance though, based on data, projections, and past performance.

And then to make sure this service is carried out in an orderly manner, a manager can use CMMS software to not only schedule and control these maintenance operations, but also to affect these changes to equipment in all related spheres.

What is CRM and why do I need it_almost every company has numerous equipment that should be managed and serviced

Andriy Popov

The result is a much more efficient process with minimal downtime.

Today’s CMMS systems are highly sophisticated and lend themselves as easily to production, lean management principles, and quality control.

They come with a core range of functions that are flexible enough to be used in a variety of operations, including:

  • Asset tracking
  • Preventative maintenance functionality
  • Enterprise maintenance information systems

It’s an entire ecosystem of interconnected requirements that CMMS software is responsible for linking and managing. And this makes the “system” part of CMMS incredibly important.

Any CMMS software is designed to perform a baseline set of operations:

  • Control the company’s list of maintainable assets through an asset register
  • Control accounting of assets, purchase price, depreciation rates, etc.
  • Control preventative maintenance procedures and documentation
  • Control the issue and documentation of planned and unplanned maintenance work
  • Organize the maintenance personnel database including shift work schedules
  • Schedule calibration for gauges and instruments
  • Control portable appliance testing
  • Assist in maintenance project management
  • Provide maintenance budgeting and costing statistics
  • Control maintenance inventory
  • Process condition monitoring inputs
  • Provide analysis tools for maintenance performance

It’s a robust set of requirements that calls for a connection between various, sometimes disparate parts your operations, accounting, and production pipelines.

Often, manufacturing businesses that have manual systems switch over to a CMMS because there’s a lack of data transparency. It’s simply too complex to view all these 12 far-reaching but intricately connected operations without a computer-powered component to management.

And that’s what happens when systems converge through the power of software.


What Are the Benefits of Using a CMMS Software?

When you consider that...

  • 33% of facility managers are looking for a simple way method for an asset, equipment, and inventory tracking
  • 86% of businesses use CMMS software to be proactive in maintenance repair
  • 58% do not have a maintenance tracking system established before looking into CMMS

...It’s clear that CMMSs are the definitive next step for many businesses.

What CMMSs are providing is a method for problem-solving and troubleshooting. It allows the four core aspects of manufacturing to “speak” to each other.

What is CRM and why do I need it_what do businesses want from CMMS

Infographics Archive

And while CMMS functionally power these four areas, they also empower data-driven decision-making, removing subjectivity from the equation.

It’s all available right there in the data. And, to add to its efficacy, this data is available in real-time.

It’s the sheer ease and flexibility of computerized data collection that makes CMMS software more powerful than manual methods. These usually become tedious and difficult over time, and then managers frequently face:

  • A lack of proficient tools at a higher level
  • A lack of procedures when operations become more complex
  • A lack of communication across facilities

Industrial companies that run along the Lean Manufacturing method need to eliminate waste and reduce overproduction.

A failure, malfunction, or poorly-performing piece of equipment on the floor dramatically affects overall productivity.

The key to improving equipment performance and productivity while reducing these failures is a CMMS that provides timely and accurate data.

And that’s part of the benefit CMMS software can provide.

At base, CMMSs are designed to improve maintenance, connectivity between factories, production results, and induce effective asset/equipment management.

What do you have to gain by:

  • Improving asset performance and output?
  • Reducing maintenance costs?
  • Improving labor productivity?
  • Reducing capital expenditure (because of a more automated, lean, but intelligent system)?

The numbers speak for themselves and include costs on quality, workforce involvement, and engagement, as well as CI suggestions (continuous improvement).

What is CRM and why do I need it_what you could achieve


And while these benefits are incredibly promising, manufacturers always face a thorn in their side when looking for and adopting the right CMMS: customizability.

Facility managers are often left scratching their heads, trying to find a lightweight solution that is flexible and responsive. User-friendliness, for example, is a huge consideration: 75% of businesses say this is a deciding point for finding and using the right CMMS.

Part of measuring why you need a CMMS is understanding whether the transition will be a worthwhile decision, resulting in tangible benefits. So you need to be able to calculate a measurable ROI for the organization.


Is Transitioning to CMMS Software Worth It?

How long should you operate with a new system before you can expect a return on the initial investment?

Because a CMMS touches and ties together multiple aspects of operations and production, calculating an ROI will need to similarly incorporate value provided in more than a few areas, including:

  • Asset life
  • Downtime
  • Parts/inventory
  • Purchasing
  • Quality costs (scraps and rework)
  • Overtime
  • Productivity
  • Utilities

With Leading2Lean, for example, this evaluation is part of the implementation. Facility managers and decision-makers can expect a consistent and measurable ROI at 6 to 9 months.

What is CRM and why do I need it_deployment and ROI timeline


Perhaps the most useful and quantifiable area of CMMS ROI calculation is preventative measurement. How much value could your organization realize with preventative maintenance placed on auto?

The stats may surprise you:

Over time, this ROI figure should become increasingly refined. In other words, the benefits of a CMMS are likely to become more significant over time. That’s the kind of ROI that makes CMMS software a no-brainer for many companies these days.



Multiple areas of operations and production mean multiple points of decision-making.

As automation and connectivity streamline and link a manufacturing plant’s functions together, the key to effective use of a CMMS is balancing decisions.

The role of a human employee and manager are changing.

In the context of lean manufacturing principles and the inevitability of Industry 4.0, CMMS solutions can help catapult entire organizations to their new role in a changing global production environment: That of decision-maker, implementer, and investigator.