CMMS Reliability Software

Use CMMS To Improve Reliability

EP Editorial Staff | May 1, 2022

More about people than machines, the power of a CMMS can help your organization experience major positive change.

By John Bernet, Fluke Reliability

The maintenance world has undergone a transformation for some time with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), yet many maintenance teams still face roadblocks to implementing a Reliability-Centered Maintenance plan. RCM embraces the principles of risk and asset-life-cycle management, and it lets maintenance professionals leverage new techniques for avoiding machine failures. One method to fast track this reliability journey is through properly implemented Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software.

CMMS software can standardize maintenance practices, increase PM on-time completion rates, and manage parts inventory to increase uptime. It also offers reporting and dashboards to document work-order histories, failures, and trends, and to collect and centralize data for analysis. With critical information accessible from anywhere there’s internet service, CMMS software eliminates data gaps and silos. As a result, maintenance managers can make data-based decisions about asset health and priorities.

Once assets are set up in a CMMS, operators can enter work orders and have them automatically assigned to available technicians. Instead of a calendar, maintenance teams can determine the best time to act. With asset criticality rankings and asset hierarchies in place, maintenance teams can be sure that important assets and critical work are prioritized. The software also tracks maintenance KPIs and aligns those metrics with business goals. 

Influence Culture

It’s not only about the tools connected in the software, but also about their effect on your team. The power of a CMMS can help your organization experience significant positive change in a maintenance culture because it enhances a team’s understanding of the cause of maintenance issues, and it helps create a more focused approach to reliability. The correct maintenance-management system, properly implemented and used, tells the story of maintenance. Ultimately, that story will influence culture and drive an organization toward excellence.

Many manufacturers standardize maintenance across all their sites, yet it’s still common to have multiple systems spread across several independently operated plants. These software systems are often incompatible, which makes standardization impossible. The correct CMMS will offer a strong multi-site toolkit that makes it much easier to start with a single-site implementation. Once you have a solid foundation, you can build a roadmap for connected maintenance and reliability teams to adopt across many sites. 

Thanks to CMMS user-friendly tools, maintenance managers can focus on increasing their work completion rates, evaluating each plant’s maintenance practices, and bringing them in line. Another common focus is to help increase plant accountability and improve adherence to standards. This is often accomplished by setting up gatekeepers and training individual site champions to be standard-bearers and avoid unauthorized changes.

Some CMMS software can integrate with technology such as vibration and power-monitoring sensors to amplify asset management.

Effective inventory

Uptime is often the primary goal in today’s plants. That uptime depends on having an effective inventory-management system in place to decrease the lead time for critical spare parts. Successfully managing spare parts inventory is about having the right parts on hand and getting them to the right person when they’re needed.

A modern CMMS offers parts inventory management, as well as reports and dashboards to help track parts usage and lifespan. To do that, a CMMS identifies where parts belong in a physical inventory environment. Those parts can also be assigned different levels of criticality and be stocked using those levels. With increased availability for critical spare parts, maintenance managers often find they can help significantly increase plant reliability.

Harnessing predictive-maintenance strategies and gaining actionable insights depends on IIoT connectivity. With condition-monitoring sensors and software, potential failures are flagged before damage or downtime occurs.

The right CMMS software seamlessly integrates with technology such as vibration and power-monitoring sensors to amplify asset management. By viewing condition-monitoring data in your CMMS, you can help lower costs, reduce asset failures, and ultimately extend asset lifespan.

Track KPIs

It’s difficult to measurably improve plant reliability without tracking maintenance metrics. Maintenance KPIs (key performance indicators) help teams compare their performance with goals tied to a variety of factors, including machine failures, repair times, work backlogs, and maintenance costs.

A CMMS is among the best ways to track maintenance KPIs because it lets users create baselines to measure against and reveals opportunities for improvement. If you already use a CMMS, you can likely transform your existing data into measurable insights that help empower data-based decisions and ultimately improve reliability.

Maintenance KPIs can be bucketed into leading and lagging indicators. Leading indicators are about future events and include maintenance metrics such as Preventive Maintenance Compliance or Estimate vs. Actual Performance. A lagging indicator includes metrics such as Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR). To drive the greatest increases in reliability, CMMS KPI tracking should include a mix of both.

Improve reliability

To ensure your CMMS is a success and that you get the most out of your system, follow these key steps:

Document standard work processes. It’s easier to identify potential failure and prep for compliance audits if your team has detailed documentation. Get started by setting priorities based on asset criticality, establishing work control functions, and defining and accounting for all labor and parts.

Plan and schedule work. Establish a planning and scheduling process. Monitor how much proactive work your team is doing and develop work schedules for planned work.

Manage MRO materials. Bridge the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) reliability gap by designating critical and/or capital spare parts, tracking warranty information, and documenting processes for refurbishment/repair.

Audit processes for continuous improvement. Treat your CMMS as your most valuable asset. Evaluate ongoing improvements year after year and conduct regular reviews of processes, workflows, and data to maximize value. EP

As a mechanical application and product specialist with Fluke Reliability, Everett, WA (, John Bernet works with customers from all industries to successfully implement their reliability programs. He has more than 30 years of experience in the maintenance and operation of commercial machinery and as a nuclear-power-plant electrician in the U.S. Navy. He holds a Category II Vibration Analyst certification and is a CMRP.


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