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CMMS vs ERP, the Match!

CMMS vs ERP, the Match!

Tuesday 17 march 2020

CMMS or ERP? This is a question sometimes asked by maintenance service providers or manufacturers who are looking to digitize their maintenance operations. But beware, when it comes to maintenance, CMMS is playing at home...

In order to increase efficiency, productivity, and quality of service, companies are primarily concerned with extending the digitalization of their processes. After having massively computerized their financial services, human resources, purchasing and production, many of them still have to deploy digital solutions to extend this digitalization to all departments such as marketing, sales, and services.

Thus, for maintenance services, companies can opt either for a CMMS [Computerized Maintenance Management System] or for an ERP [Enterprise Resource Planner] called PGI [Integrated Management Software Package].

Two very different approaches, with a decision that will have a very significant impact on the company's future performance. This, therefore, deserves some clarification and explanation.

A solution that works for every sector and every need? Does it? 🤣 

An ERP is a software package that "wants to do everything" and support all the processes of a company: 
        •   Accounting and financial management
        •   Human Resources Management
        •   Sales Management
        •   Supplier Management
        •   Order management
        •   Distribution management
        •   Inventory Management
        •    E-commerce management
        •   BtoB and BtoC Customer Relationship Management
        •   After-sales service management
ERPs thus try to offer a global and identical solution to meet all sectors of activity and the specific needs of each department. So the challenge is twofold. The success of these projects can only be achieved at the cost of considerable effort and investment during the integration and customization phases. It will be necessary to strongly constrain the tool, to extend its possibilities, to reduce the gap between its native functions and the real world of each company. And this is particularly true in the field of maintenance where, without extensive adaptations, an ERP will only respond superficially to the real needs of the field teams involved in these complex and specific processes. The maintenance sector is characterized by very "Front" processes for which the stakes of mobility are decisive. To date, ERPs remain essentially "Back", capable of satisfactorily taking over support and production functions, but much less comfortable when getting closer to customers.

A specialist, CMMS or a generalist, ERP?

CMMSs are now capitalizing on a wide range of know-how and expertise in the sector they address. The most recent and the best are increasingly meeting the real needs of the company. Their functional coverage now makes it possible to support processes such as : 
        •   Wealth and asset management :
               ‣   Sites and buildings, basis of installed equipment
        •   Troubleshooting :
               ‣   Requests for intervention and progress monitoring
        •   Equipment maintenance and servicing operations
               ‣   Preventive maintenance plans, maintenance ranges
        •   Management of KPIs (Key performance indicator) and statistics
        •   Spare parts management: catalogs, stocks, and supplies
        •   Management of installation and renovation work: estimates and building sites 
        •   Management of the invoicing of all these operations
        •   Management of the document database :
               ‣   Upload and sharing of documents, access from fixed and mobile stations
        •   The management of the customer portal :
               ‣   Sharing information with customers about them
        •   Intelligent forms management
        •   Automatic scheduling and route optimization
This broad functional scope must be covered with great care and expertise. If we find functions present in an ERP such as invoicing or the preparation of offers, CMMS will allow a much more advanced integration with the operations carried out by technicians such as curative and preventive interventions or even installation and renovation work. Given that 80% to 90% of the employees in a maintenance team are technicians (this technician/manager ratio is an excellent performance indicator since reducing the need for supervision represents a major source of savings), offering them the best software tools is a determining factor in the success of the project, improving service efficiency and the quality of customer relations. 

The colossal price of installing an ERP 😳

ERPs are often very expensive, for too few convincing results. The costs of purchasing a license and installing the software package are considerable and are always increased by integration costs that very frequently become prohibitive. These costs are divided into :
  1. The purchase of licenses: for this item alone, the price of an ERP can be calculated in thousands of euros per user.
  2. The integration project: it is with this modest formula that we call the painful phase of trying to adapt the ERP to the real needs of the company and its employees. Its cost will reach several hundred thousand euros for medium-sized companies.
  3. Change management: this is the other misleading term for training. Because yes, the pill will be bitter for the company's employees who will have to adapt to this new intruder who does not fit in well with their way of working. Psychological support to be provided.
  4. Project management: the often prohibitive salaries of the company's consultants in charge of integration must be paid.
  5. Maintenance: that's it! After several years of project, your company can start using the tool. You now have to pay for maintenance since everything is not working properly and needs to be constantly monitored and corrected. It's 20% per year of the initial project and it's upgraded every year!
Ah! we had forgotten the hardware infrastructure and its administration: recipe servers, production server with fault tolerance, back up servers, etc..
But these exorbitant sums are often spent in vain, given the lack of productivity gains from ERP and the time wasted trying to implement it. A famous example of ERP-induced cost overruns is that of a global chemical manufacturing giant. The company had invested $500 million and spent no less than seven years installing ERP software in its departments. The software proved to be obsolete from the outset. So the 500 million euros were finally invested in vain. Another striking example concerns an ERP publisher with a "strong reputation", which a few years ago was confronted with a major player in the American pharmaceutical industry who blamed it for its bankruptcy after a project to computerize the processing of its contracts failed.
Of course, CMMS also represents a cost to be taken into account, but in the vast majority of cases, it is still lower than ERP. This is particularly true with regard to setup, adaptation, change management, and training costs, as we will see in the rest of the article. 

ERP for Embarras, Employee Resistance, Weight for Activity 😖

The real cost, beyond that of installation, is that of understanding the ERP and adapting the company's organization to it. Breaking away from its previous way of producing to innovate with a software implies training its employees, adapting it to its company, testing it to know what completely corresponds to its activity and its productive entity as a whole. All this obviously generates high costs, which should, therefore, be minimized by using less complex software such as CMMS.
Using modern CMMS is much more intuitive and does not require as much training time as ERPs. In fact, they are precisely intended for employees who are not necessarily familiar with the technology, such as technicians, and their use is therefore simplified, with interfaces that are easy to grasp. As a result, training costs are lower and the adaptation time is much faster, and the system can be set up almost immediately.
Moreover, every company is different, and ERPs must be adaptable, flexible and easy to use, which is rarely the case. It should be up to the software package to adapt to the organization and not up to the organization to adapt to the software package. CMMS therefore prevail on these points because they have the advantage of being more adaptable with many options for customization, very easy and fast customization, to be able to fit as much as possible to the different client companies. 
The use of a CMMS will save a tremendous amount of time and money, gain user acceptance and avoid errors due to overly complex use of the platform.

CMMS, the key to success for boosting productivity 😎

The indispensable quality of a maintenance management software is mobility. ERPs are software that have become obsolete mainly due to their inability to get out of the office and follow technicians in the field. Indeed, real-time communication has become a necessity for the optimization of the activity of maintenance companies. It offers greater transparency of information, better organization and improved quality of service. 
Thanks to mobility, latest-generation CMMS offer a user-friendly solution that improves communication between all the members of the productive entity by relying on the latest technologies: 3G/4G/5G, cloud and mobile devices whose costs have fallen drastically in recent years.
Mobility and the cloud are major developments in the IT sector that companies will soon be unable to do without. The main reason for this is that they are able to respond to the crucial issues of collaboration, productivity, and data security, which are increasingly important in our 4.0 society.


Advantages of ERP

        •   Unified technologies
        •   Single user interface
        •   Limitation of inter-application connectors
 The minus of the ERP
        •   Licensing and deployment costs
        •   Functional spectrum too general and poorly adapted
        •   Additional costs and delays for integration
        •   "Native" maladjustment leading to user rejection
        •   Maintenance module often neglected in an ERP project
        •   Too strong a financial focus
        •   No or very rudimentary mobile application
        •   Generalist and non-specialist consultants
Advantages of CMMS
        •   Dedicated solution oriented to the maintenance business
        •   Very good handling of operations
        •   Priority mobile application (for modern CMMS) 
        •   Better control of the budget
        •   Faster appropriation by users because it is better adapted to their needs
        •   Specialist Consultants
The minus of CMMS
        •   Must be integrated with existing accounting software
        •   That's his only flaw...
CMMS is undoubtedly an immediate productivity gain when ERPs are still struggling to offer effective front-office solutions and are still unable to deliver satisfactory business mobile applications. For companies that project their employees on mobility in the field, such as those found mainly in maintenance departments, this deficiency of ERPs remains crippling.

By the way, at Yuman our ambition is to offer an unparalleled user experience. Check it out right away: try CMMS for free. Within 2 minutes, the time it takes to create your account, you'll discover what's newest in this category of software.

You can also benefit from a demonstration led by one of our consultants: book a videoconference

Good discovery and see you soon on Yuman.


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