Identifying the best CMMS for your company is often a process fraught with pitfalls. The solutions proposed are many and varied, and the stakes are high, especially for SMEs.
To find the best CMMS software, you must first understand the available offer, then study it in the light of certain key criteria. Here are a few tips to guide you.
Understanding the latest CMMS developments
Before choosing software, it is useful to understand the current state of development of computer-aided maintenance management.
Traditional CMMS Software
In most companies, paper-based maintenance management has given way to the use of spreadsheets such as Excel and, in some cases, the purchase of professional CMMS software. These software programs have represented a considerable advance for maintenance because they are specifically designed to facilitate and optimize interventions, their follow-up, machine maintenance, etc.
However, CMMS software of this generation has many drawbacks. Very expensive to purchase (and in training courses), long and complicated to set up, difficult to use by maintenance teams and therefore a source of demotivation, rarely updated, this type of solution has been, and still is, the cause of many problems in many plants.
The next-gen CMMS solutions
Technological advances and a better consideration of users have led to the emergence, for several years now, of a new type of CMMS, often referred to as a mobile CMMS.
These new solutions can be used from any mobile device: laptop of course, but also smartphone or tablet. They allow access to all maintenance data at any time and from anywhere. The CMMS thus becomes a real tool for everyday use and provides new and more efficient answers to industrial companies.
A next-gen CMMS software is also much more accessible for all its users than older solutions that generally required extensive training. More intuitive, it is designed to win the support of maintenance teams by facilitating each of their tasks rather than complicating them as is often the case with traditional software.
Finally, these new applications run in SaaS mode. Instead of having to make a large and uncertain investment, industrial companies, especially SMEs, can now take out a limited-time subscription and do not need to host the software on their own hardware. This feature has both financial and practical advantages, since it is no longer necessary to intervene on each terminal in the event of an update, for example. Generally speaking, the deployment of these new solutions is much simpler and faster.
12 criteria for choosing the best CMMS
To determine the best CMMS for your company, here are the main criteria to consider.
1. Choosing a complete CMMS
Some editors are looking to present their intervention management solution for a real CMMS. However, these tools are limited and do not allow, for example, the management of maintenance plans, monitoring of equipment lifecycles, management of spare parts inventories, etc.
2. Native mobility
More than 80% of CMMS users are in the field all day long. The ability to access the application is such an advantage both for the comfort of the teams and for the productivity of the company that it is no longer conceivable, nowadays, to do without it. Be careful, however, some older CMMS software offers a mobile option, but an application that has integrated mobility from the outset is generally much more powerful.
3. The user experience
The ergonomics of a CMMS software is very important. If it is likely to dissuade maintenance operators from using it, it will have significant negative consequences both in terms of management and maintenance management efficiency. It is therefore advisable to opt for a solution designed on the model of everyday applications, which everyone will know how to use very quickly, rather than “old-fashioned” software with a dissuasive design and operating mode.
The agility of an application lies in the technologies it uses and the ease with which it can be parameterized. These technologies are detailed by all good software publishers on their website or in their presentation leaflet. The use of outdated technologies is generally a sign of an aging tool design and implies performance, security and compatibility risks.
5. Easy set-up
Providing users with easy-to-use administration and customization pages is important to allow easy and autonomous configuration. Otherwise, you will have to call the editor every time you want to change a parameter of the application.
6. SaaS operation
As explained above, choosing a CMMS that runs on SaaS has, with a few rare exceptions, only advantages. The best CMMS for your company can only belong to this category rather than to the category of “proprietary” software.
7. Server availability and reliability
This criterion is derived from the previous one: the application you choose must be hosted on servers that offer very serious guarantees of reliability, in order to be permanently available and 100% usable. The most recognized hosts are AWS (Amazon Web Service) and Google.
8. An efficient and responsive support service
Any serious publisher is able to give you data on the reactivity and efficiency of its support service. Don’t hesitate to ask for them to help you choose the best CMMS.
9. Unlimited data and users
A good CMMS solution offers an unlimited amount of data and an unlimited number of users. Any limitation is necessarily a sign that the proposed tool is outdated.
10. A public API
The API, or Application Program Interface, makes it possible to easily integrate the CMMS into the plant’s entire information system and to connect it with other applications and software, when it is public.
11. Regular updates according to users
The best CMMS software at a specific moment will not remain so for long if it does not adapt to the needs of its users by regularly taking their feedback into account and providing them with updates that take them into account. A good editor knows how to make improvements to its application according to the demands of its customers.
12. A community-based functioning
Some next-gen CMMS provide access to maintenance communities. These communities bring together all the personnel of a plant or industrial group concerned with maintenance, or even all the users of the application. These communities facilitate the exchange of information and the sharing of experience, and therefore promote the optimization of maintenance management.
You now have (almost) all the cards in hand to choose the best CMMS for your business! The most important thing is to find the solution that best suits your needs, which means that the best CMMS software is often the one that best suits your expectations.