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Because organizational size often dictates functional requirements in the CMMS software selection process, CEOs can more efficiently develop their list of requirements by factoring in their facility and workforce numbers. 

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At the same time, across all industries and sizes, there are universal use cases for CMMS software. 

Larger organizations often focus on the following asset management features. 

Better overall tracking with CMMS software 

Bigger means more moving parts, driving the need for dependable tracking of projects, staff, and inventory. 

Peter Drucker said it best: "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." 

Tracking inventory, even across multiple facilities 

Poor inventory control has always involved increased costs from spoilage, shrinkage, and avoidable carrying costs. 

CMMS software cuts inventory costs by keeping your inventory levels up to date. Once the maintenance department hits a customizable par level, the software sends out an alert so the department can order the required parts and materials. Because you've factored in lead times with the par levels, you can ship everything using the most cost-effective methods possible, avoiding expensive last-minute rush deliveries. 

Benchmarking maintenance metrics between sites and teams 

The right CMMS solution can show you what's working and what's not, creating opportunities to carry good practices over from one facility or team to another. The process starts with easy, automatic data capture and ends with automated reports packed with key metrics such as preventive maintenance work order completion rates. 

Preventive maintenance alone can drive savings of between 12% to 18% over reactive work order, If you have a program that works, there's a lot of value in trying to expand it across your facilities. 

Other key metrics can include labor costs and unscheduled downtime. 

During the selection process, look for software that makes it easy to leverage your data. Ideally, the software should use your raw data to build graphic-rich reports that paint the maintenance big picture, which is critical for maintenance managers as well as other departments that need to track costs and return on investment. 

Improved data safety and security with CMMS software 

CMMS software makes it easy to capture and use data, but organizations need a CMMS provider that also ensures their data remains safe and secure, protected from corruption or loss and malicious actors, both external and internal. 

Extending single sign-on 

Although superficially about convenience, single sign-on also makes your systems more secure and efficient by reducing: 

  • Password fatigue 
  • Time wasted entering passwords for each platform 
  • IT bottlenecks due to password recovery tickets 

When users are required to create and remember multiple passwords, they often develop bad habits that can lead to security breaches, including using simple, easy-to-guess passwords and using the same password across accounts. Because single sign-on means people have to remember only one, it encourages them to use a strong password. Because they only have to log in once, users save time while the IT department dedicates fewer resources to password-related tickets. 

During the selection process, ask about SSO and how and if the CMMS can tie into your existing program. 

Maintaining activity logs 

Transparency and accountability come down to being able to quickly and reliably answer two questions: "Who did it?" and "When did they do it?" 

Activity logs keep a record of everything users do inside the software. One of the benefits is that it discourages malicious behavior from disgruntled employees. It's impossible for someone to log into the software and then delete or randomly alter key data without leaving behind digital fingerprints. 

A second benefit is related to compliance, where organizations need to complete work on time and prove it. Activity logs provide an extra layer of protection against various types of liability. 

Quick note on software and compliance 

For many industry and government standards, it's impossible for the software to be compliant. Instead, the software makes it possible for your organization to create and carry out the processes that make it compliant. 

Seatbelts can be a loose analogy. In most places, there's a law that you must wear a seatbelt when driving a car, and when you wear a seatbelt while driving, you comply with the law. But the seatbelt? It doesn't make sense to ask if it is following the law or not. It's just there so that you can follow the law. 

At the same time, there are industry and government standards that apply directly to the software, and regardless of how you use it, the software can be in or out of compliance. Make sure to ask potential providers specific questions when reviewing standards that affect your industry. 

Longterm scalability for smaller organizations with CMMS software 

Although smaller outfits might currently not need many of the features that appeal to larger organizations, they need to position themselves to accommodate future growth. 

During the selection process, look for a provider who is already set up to continue to work with you as your organization grows and your requirements develop. On the most basic level, the software should make it easy to add assets, users, and even facilities. For feature sets, the provider should offer tiered versions of their platform, with each level introducing additional capabilities. When a provider can accommodate expanding requirements by simply moving you to a higher tier, they're saving you the time, cost, and uncertainty that inevitably comes with switching providers. 

In some cases, organizations outgrow a software platform completely, and the provider cannot simply move them up a tier. Here, the provider might have to move the organization to their more robust platform, which does involve additional onboarding and training. But there are still continuity advantages. You're working with the same provider, mitigating a lot of the uncertainty that comes with change; remember, 80% of implementations fail so you want to remove uncertainly and reduce your risk as much as possible. 

But support crosses all industries, transcends size for CMMS software requirement

Although there are some general trends for the relationships between organizational size and software feature requirements, there are many exceptions and outliers. A smaller company in the defense industry, for example, might have strict data security requirements. A large company might not need single sign-on for its maintenance teams. 

Regardless of any variations, the one common feature is support. Organizations of all sizes need to closely examine potential providers' support teams and then ask themselves, "How heavily has this CMMS provider invested in customers' long-term success?" 

Onboarding and training 

Support begins at onboarding, and it's important to find a provider with a flexible infrastructure that offers a variety of options. Depending on where your organization is in terms of asset data and maintenance strategies, you might need anything from a bit of help loading things into the database to a complete onsite audit of your facilities, assets, and equipment. A good provider can assess your needs and fill in any skill or labor gaps. 

The more your teams use the software, the bigger your ROI. Tailored training gets everyone off on the right foot. Make sure a provider can accommodate different types of learners with documentation, videos, and one-on-one sessions. 

Ongoing support 

After implementation, you need a provider who can provide reliable, competent, multi-faceted support. 

During the selection process, ask about the support teams hours and how many different ways there are to reach them. Is it all email based? Can you call them on the phone, or is everything done online? 

You also want there to be documentation, videos, and webinars covering new features and recent improvements. Not only does this prove the provider wants customers to get the most out of their software, but it also shows they're continually improving it. 

Next steps 

Regardless of your current size, the right CMMS software helps you control costs with streamlined workflows, better tracking, and a big-picture view of your maintenance operations. Although the size of your organization can affect which features you need to look for, support remains a universal use case for maintenance management software. 

If you don't have one, or the one you have is failing to deliver what you were promised, it's time to reach out and start talking with providers. Once they have a sense of your specific goals and where you are in the process, they can help you understand your options. 

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About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis started out writing for textbooks before branching out to video games and marketing collateral. He has a master’s degree in journalism and a certificate in technical writing.
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