Traditional methods for sourcing maintenance software can be confusing, expensive, time consuming, and incomplete. At last count there were more than 400 CMMS and EAM software publishers and dozens of independent Web-hosted solutions. That is a lot of software to choose from.
When I Goggled “CMMS” I got 514,000 Web pages delivered. “Computerized Maintenance Management” returned 656,000 pages, and “Enterprise Asset Management” returned 3,890,000 pages. That is a lot of Web surfing. Besides, search engines like Google are now in the paid listing game—so the top results are not often the most relevant.
One good way to start your search is by learning what others are doing to be successful with CMMS and EAM. For details visit Maintenancebenchmarking.com. Look for the CMMS Best Practices link on the home page and download the pdf version. This study was conducted with more than 650 companies sharing what worked and, just as important, what did not work with their maintenance software implementations.
There are dozens of online CMMS software directories such as the MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY directory, the MaintenanceResources.com directory , and Cmmscity.
In addition to these Internet directories, the Web offers a new breed of helpful tools that include searchable databases of CMMS and EAM vendors and active comparison charting features that allow you to change the importance of several variables and more.
Software Evaluation is a new site that features a free spreadsheet that includes more CMMS/EAM software evaluation categories than you could want. It also suggests a scoring system. You can pare the list down to reflect the elements and issues that are important to you. The people behind this site have extensive experience with maintenance software and it shows. They also offer CMMS/EAM consulting services over the Web and e-mail at very reasonable prices.
Cmmscity has partnered with Technology Evaluation Center to create an intelligent CMMS knowledge base.
To use the service, you must register for a no-cost trial. Start by answering questions related to your specific software needs and desires. You can set the importance level of one element over another depending upon your requirements. Once you complete the questionnaire the knowledge base displays all the CMMS and EAM vendors who met your criteria.
You can select up to five vendors and dig even deeper into their capabilities and see how each supplier stacks up as you change the importance of the criteria you chose earlier. For example, if accounting integration was rated as less important during the initial software selection, you can change it to very important and see how that affects the recommendations about each of the five selected vendors.
There are also several good books on the subject that should be considered when evaluating new maintenance software. The connection to this Web column is that you can order them online. Visit Industrial Press and select the maintenance category. Check out Computerized Maintenance Management Systems by Terry Wireman (ISBN: 0-8311-3054-7) and Managing Factory Maintenance by Joel Levitt (ISBN: 0-8311-3189-6). Of course, Amazon.com also offers these books.
You also can attend conferences and learning events like the new SAP-centric EAM 2005 March 20-23, 2005 in Tucson, AZ; MARTS 2005—The Maintenance and Reliability Technology Summit May 23-26, 2005 in Chicago, IL; or CMMS 2005—The Computerized Maintenance Management Summit July 26-29, 2005 in Indianapolis, IN, to learn from peers and industry experts in a networked educational environment. MT