Different computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) offer a different set of features and characteristics. Some are stronger in workflow management while others focus on asset management. Some emphasize ease of use while others pack in so many functions that they become difficult to understand. Based on our experience building a CMMS system and interactions with our clients, we believe these are the 5 most important features that you should look out for, particularly if this is the first time you are considering procuring a CMMS software.
In 2021, given the prevalence of mobile phones, most users expect a mobile experience. Fault reporters expect to be able to report issues through their mobile phones, rather than having to make a call, or even worse, fill up a paper form. Responders, which could include technicians, cleaners, receptionists or contractors, also reasonably expect to be able to be notified on their mobile phone and update status of work orders through their mobile phone.
Therefore, check if mobile apps are available as part of the CMMS system. Or even better, as we have done with FacilityBot, see if the CMMS system is integrated with popular messaging platforms, making the CMMS not only mobile-first, but messaging-first.
The availability of a mobile app also means that the CMMS software developers focus on providing a great user experience. This augurs well that other parts of the CMMS system are also user friendly.
(2) Ability to Upload Photos and Video Evidence
One of the key advantages of deploying a CMMS system for facility managers is that it acts as a system of record and a single source of truth. All parties (and there can be many in a typical facilities management operations) can refer to the same set of data and agree on whether tasks were completed, the condition of equipment and other asset records.
Photo and video evidence play a critical role as part of these records. Allowing a fault reporter to easily attach a photo to the fault report gives the technician a great idea of what could be the issue before he heads down to the location, allowing him to bring the correct tools and saving precious time. Facilitating the attachment of job completion photos by the technician through his mobile phone ensures that both photos of the “before” and “after” rectification condition of the equipment is captured as evidence of job completion.
Photos and videos are also invaluable records of preventive maintenance checklist completion.
(3) Digital Checklists
Preventive maintenance is a crucial aspect of facilities management. Checklists form the backbone of preventive maintenance operations. CMMS systems should support the easy creation of digital checklists and allow these checklists to be scheduled at prescribed intervals corresponding to the preventive maintenance schedule.
Given the wide range of equipment and services involved in facilities management, the CMMS system should support the creation of all types of checklist. Even better if there are templates of common checklists available in a checklist library from which facilities managers can start. Of course, accessing and completing these checklists on the move is also important to support the mobile nature of technicians’ jobs.
(4) Configurable Workflows
The ground operations of each facilities management operations differ depending on factors such as equipment to be maintained, in-house policies, regulations and skill level of individual technicians. Therefore the workflows of each ground operation differs. The CMMS system should offer configurable workflows so that the system can be made to adapt to the ground realities rather than the other way around.
Even better if the workflow automations can be configured, for example, to automatically assign tasks when they arise, to alert the assigned party as needed and to escalate tasks which are unresolved.
(5) Configurable Reporting Dashboards
The CMMS system would naturally gather many sets of facilities management related data, such as fault reports, checklists, asset records and even expenditure data. Management and facilities management would typically want to view data in different ways depending on the contract requirements and priorities.
Reporting is also a key role of the facilities manager as these reports often represent the aggregate result of the team’s efforts.
Therefore the CMMS software should simplify reporting. This can be done through 3 methods
- Offering common charts and tables as pre-set options, with appropriate filters
- Integration with a data analytics software to allow more complex custom data visualizations
- Allow export to CSV to allow separate manipulation in excel if necessary
The software should also allow the creation of thresholds for response times for each service type so you can automatically compare collected response times against the KPIs that have been set.
Choosing the Right CMMS system
Ultimately, choosing the right CMMS system involves more considerations than simply feature inspection. Price would clearly be another consideration.
However, in the context of modern CMMS systems, we think the above list would give you a good start on what features to look out for. At FacilityBot, we re-imagined a CMMS system from the perspective of the user. And through many iterations with facility managers, we have focused on a messaging-first, highly configurable, easy to setup and easy to use approach.