9 myths about CMMS systems

19 February 2017

CMMS systems are experiencing a real boom in Poland and a number of companies which implement such solutions in their maintenance departments is constantly increasing. IT support for the manufacturing operation is no longer a luxury that only some companies can afford and has become a necessary standard. The technological progress is advancing all the time. Unfortunately, in spite of a lot of positive changes quite a lot of mistaken beliefs still exist in the world of manufacturing. Here we present the most often repeated myths about CMMS systems for maintenance.

CMMS systems – 9 myths

 

The implementation of a system will automatically improve indicators (e.g. MTBF or MTTR).

Companies struggling with problems related to maintenance often believe that the implementation of an IT solution will solve them immediately and will improve results. Unfortunately, it’s not the case. We should remember that CMMS systems are tools which help to improve work processes but their installation and leaving will not change anything. In order to achieve satisfactory results changes must go deeper and should cover the whole organisation and the philosophy of the operation of the maintenance department.

 

A CMMS system can be successfully replaced with a module of an ERP system.

When looking for savings, sometimes companies decide to purchase a module that adds some elements of maintenance to their ERP system and resign investing in a professional CMMS system. Unfortunately, the savings are only apparent because no module of this kind is able to fully replace a program dedicated to this department. CMMS is much more than only a register of equipment and monitoring spare parts inventories. In consequence, it turns out that results achieved when using an ERP module are unsatisfactory. Then the reinvestment in a real CMMS system is necessary.

 

CMMS systems are solutions only for large and affluent manufacturing companies.

Such opinions are still expressed. However, they have nothing in common with the current reality. CMMS systems are successfully used by smaller plants, which largely benefit from them. A system for maintenance can be used effectively in a multi-site corporation as well as in a plant which operates locally. It is also worth noting that prices of such solutions offered in Poland are adjusted to the possibilities of companies operating on the Polish market and their costs are not so high.

 

The operation of a system is a time-consuming and complicated task.

This is another myth, which creates a false picture not only of CMMS systems, but also IT solutions for the industry. Software developers realise that the time spent on operating a tool should be as short as possible and its using should be intuitive because technicians are not employed to enter data. CMMS systems (at least the Polish Queris solution) are adjusted to users and user-friendly. If someone can use a computer or smartphone, they will also be able to use CMMS software.

 

Older employees will not deal with functional complexity of a CMMS system.

This is a myth similar to the one that CMMS systems are complicated software. At present, almost everyone uses mobile devices or computers on everyday basis. So, one should not worry that employees with many years of service will not deal with operating a new program. Modern CMMS systems are intuitive and very easy to use. Moreover, during the implementation process training is always provided, during which functions of a program and using it are discussed in a detailed and easy to understand way.

 

A great amount of data is needed to start up a CMMS system and its preparing will take a lot of time.

It is true that in order that a CMMS system can be effectively used, it must be fed with a suitable amount of data, but it is not as difficult as some people present. First of all, the import of data should be guaranteed by the software vendor, who can carry it out very quickly using correctly prepared data. Gathering and ordering data carried out by a customer should not take more than a few working days, and if data was gathered earlier in an electronic form (e.g. in Excel spreadsheets), its preparing takes much less time. Besides, in some cases data can be loaded gradually, when the system is in use.

 

Implementation of CMMS systems is not profitable because they only improve maintenance.

The implementation of a system in the maintenance area does not mean that only this department will feel the difference. The effects of higher performance and improvements are felt by the whole company, including the production department. The reorganisation of work of technicians helps to achieve higher availability of machines, which in turn has a positive effect on production results and eventually – on a company’s profits.

 

Breakdowns will always happen and improvement of availability of machines by a few per cents will not change a lot.

One of the most serious investment errors is ignoring potential advantages, which seem to be unprofitable in comparison to the necessary expenditures. In fact, it turns out that availability of machines at the level of 85-90% is dramatically low, and the manufacturers who know this problem well use preventive maintenance and fight for every additional per cent of availability of machines using CMMS systems. There are companies in which an increase in machines’ work time by 1% has brought additional revenues equal to their maintenance department’s annual budget. It’s worth realising that more efficient work of technicians, a smaller number of breakdowns, faster repairs and better spare parts management eventually translate into measurable, financial benefits.

 

CMMS is an absolute necessity, without which a company will not survive.

The myth that a CMMS system is absolutely necessary is also worth discussing. It’s not true that producers will not be able to operate without this tool. A manufacturing company is able to operate without software in the maintenance department but it’s important to realise that in such a situation implementation of the philosophy of activities aimed at optimising processes and generating larger profits, such as WCM, TPM, preventive maintenance or lean manufacturing, is impossible. Without the IT support the improvement of maintenance indicators and of the effectiveness of activities carried out is more difficult. In spite of these limitations a company is able to survive and operate but probably with lower dynamics than competitors who invest in optimisation of these processes.

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