CMMS software for Facility Managers

Hey guys, just looking to get some feedback regarding the CMMS software used at your sites. What do you use? Do you even need one? when should you consider one? How has using one improved your workflow and processes? What to consider when looking for a CMMS software.

Some background on me - I am a Facility Manager at a not-for-profit in the Bronx. I run a small team of 3 maintenance workers. Looking for software to help automate processes and provide feedback and data. We currently use a work order management system already. Are there any other applications that can be downloaded and used that may be similar to a CMMS to get an idea if we really need one or not? Thanks for any feedback on this!

Hello small FM from the Bronx, I’m large FM from semiconductor manufacturer. You probably don’t need a CMMS. A lot of the tracking, reports, and admin function is really only needed for ISO compliant organizations or large manufacturing systems. Your three employees won’t keep up enough with the tasks, tracking, and data entry required to make any sort of analytics meaningful. The most common truth to why our metrics are bad on completion times, turnover, etc is that the line guys are understaffed and would rather go do meaningful work to keep the line up than spend 10 mins on paperwork at the end of every shift.

Just use Excel for logging, publish SOP’s as PDF’S on a shared drive folder, and Microsoft Outlook calendars for recurring Maintenance Schedules. Use Google Apps if you don’t pay for Microsoft licenses. If you really need something clandestine, use the freemium CMMS options, most of the big names have a free option with just a few users and basic tracking capability. The CMMS can become a paperwork headache for small crews, and I’ve used several, so until you are in manufacturing and can start linking it to SCADA/MES’ to generate work orders automatically then it’s “Just Another Data Entry Program©”.

I’ve posted this here before; for us, Asset Essentials from Brightly is just what we need for our small team of half a dozen maintenance workers and dozen custodial staff.

It allows us to create regular, reactive work orders and assign them to single or multiple workers, and also gives us the ability to set custom PM’s and auto generate a work order on the date of the PM.

For example, I set up a PM to change water fountain filters at Location A, every six months, starting on the 1st day of the sixth month, at 8:00 am, starting on January 1st, and assigned to employee X. So now, every January and June 1st at 8:00, bam, this specific employee gets a work order to change these filters. I’ve also added a task list, which tells them what exactly to do (bring 6 Elkay 513000c water filters, a bucket, a rag, and a Torx 20 bit. Turn off power with breaker #23 in panel LP1 in 2nd floor custodial closet, turn off water from tagged domestic cold water supply valve in wet wall between 2nd floor men’s and woman’s bathroom, use the Torx 20 bit to remove the cover plate, remove old filter and place in bucket, install new filter, turn water back on, turn breaker back on, run water for 1 minute, wipe down fountain, log change on filter change out sheet.)

You can also add in any safety documentation that might be relevant as well, so you can tell the employee to refer to their IAQ training or chainsaw safety inservice review paperwork or Forklift operation manual, etc.

Not gonna lie, it’s a lot of initial legwork, but once you get it all done, it’s a great way to know that your assets are being taken care of properly on a schedule you can set, your employees are given the proper set of instructions to complete a task in a timely manner that’s fair to everyone, the pertinent safety refresher to keep them safe, and a documented file of what’s been done.

The other nice thing is you can make your PM’s location based (6 fountains at Location A, one work order generates for all 6, they’re all the same fountain type) or asset based (6 fountains; asset tag numbers: 01, 02, etc., 6 work orders generated, one for each asset, the fountains are different and have separate procedures).

You can tie photos, images, hyperlinks, etc. to the PM’s, add multiple employees to them, and kinda get as deep or as simple as you want with the process.

We use them for oil changes for trucks, to take readings on boiler makeup water meters, to check for frost heaved parking block pins after cold snaps, ice machine cleanings, just a plethora of different routine maintenance work, really helps to ‘set it and forget it’ and let me focus on the reactive maintenance that pops up daily.

Even for the custodial side of the equation, it’s a great way to make sure your staff isn’t forgetting to add water to floor drains or check & add water to machine batteries, etc.

Definitely gives you the tools to expand from simple work order assignment to a broader (and more time efficient) way of handling maintenance.

PM me if you have any questions, and good luck!