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Digital technology at the service of maintenance

Digital technology at the service of maintenance

Friday 01 may 2020

The very first maintenance management software appeared in the 1960s. Lubrication plan, inventory management, equipment listing, the functionalities remained limited and without any real impact on the organization of maintenance teams. At the time of the first step on the moon, a whole room was still needed to house a computer and the software was reserved for very large companies.

> Why a CMMS?

All that has changed and although we no longer walk on the moon, CMMS, with the advent of the cloud and mobile, have been both considerably enriched in terms of functionalities and totally democratized. Let's take a few moments to go back over the history of this software and take stock of current trends.

CMMS: back to the future

Since their appearance at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, CMMSs have constantly evolved to deliver more and more services to their users and have taken advantage of the evolution of hardware: first available on mainframes and minicomputers, they were increasingly introduced into companies with the first microcomputer revolution of the 1980s. Developed at that time in dBase, Foxpro or Access, they did not yet have mobile functions. To find out more, you can read: CMMS: back to the future.

In the mid-2000s, three major technological disruptions totally overturned the maintenance software sector: the deployment of wireless networks, the release of the iPhone 3 in 2007 and its 3G version in 2008, and the new virtual server architectures leading to the emergence of datacenters.

This time, apart from a few pioneers who, rapidly understanding the impact that these disruptions would have on CMMS applications, launched mobility on smartphones without delay and adopted SaaS, publishers in the sector were slow to follow suit. Fifteen years later, few vendors are still offering solutions that take full advantage of the benefits of these technological advances.

Understanding Computer-Aided Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

We've been talking about CMMS since the beginning of this article. So it's time to tell you a little more. What exactly does a CMMS cover? What are the advantages of installing it in a maintenance department? What are the challenges associated with mobility? What are the benefits for your customers? These are just some of the questions we answer in the article Understanding Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), which we invite you to read. From the management of installed technical equipment, to purchasing workflows, through planning, curative maintenance and preventive maintenance, you will discover the essentials of what a modern CMMS should cover.

Computer-assisted: quite a program!

CMMS, but also CAD, DAO, CAPM. Computer-Aided: these expressions appeared at the birth of the software industry in the 1960s, and it is to a researcher at MIT, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that we owe the origin of the term Computer-Aided, or Computer-Assisted as early as 1958.

CMMS for Computer-Aided Maintenance Management. In English: CAMM, Computer Aided Maintenance Management or more frequently used: CMMS, Computerized Maintenance Management System.

This expression, Computer-Aided, is still relevant nearly 60 years later. It represents exactly the contribution of IT solutions in the organization of data and processing, for the employees of the company. This support, which has never ceased to expand and become stronger since then, has now become essential if we wish to remain competitive.

You will find in the article Assisted by Computer: quite a program! more details on this terminology. We also insist on the increasingly essential role of interoperability between CMMS and CAPM software, Computer Aided Production Management.

CMMS vs ERP, the match!

The match we've been waiting for. ERPs, for Enterprise Resource Planner, have been around since the end of the 1970s. After focusing on finance, purchasing and human resources functions, they extended their functionalities to maintenance services. Their only advantage is that they offer standard integration with other company functions. On the other hand, they have many shortcomings: they are still not user-friendly and are very cumbersome to use, which considerably slows down their appropriation. As they are non-specialized, they do not cover the particularities of maintenance as well. They are still not capable of offering a satisfactory mobile application, even though this is the crux of the matter in order to properly address the operational problems specific to maintenance in the field. Last but not least, they remain very expensive. Well, even if you've been spoilt a bit, read the article CMMS vs ERP, the match! to find out more. We review the pros and cons of both approaches.

Is it necessary to distinguish between Enterprise Asset Management and CMMS?

So don't use an ERP for your maintenance if you want to quickly gain in productivity, improve the quality of customer service and make your company more competitive.

So why not an EAM? Quesako EAM? It is the Enterprise Asset Management software. It takes care of the operational and financial life cycle of the company's technical assets, but does not take care of the technicians who intervene to maintain and repair the same assets. A bit of a shame.

In recent years, most CMMSs have added these functions to their catalogue of services and they continue to take better care of the management of their technical teams. To find out more go to Do we have to distinguish EAM and CMMS solutions?

Because, yes, it is indeed people who maintain and repair machines. And that's even why we named our application Yuman.

CMMS wins Excel by a knockout!

It's all in the title of the paragraph: if you think you can continue to manage your maintenance and technical team with a spreadsheet, you've never tried CMMS.

To find out a little more about the origin of spreadsheets, which are great tools when used for what they are intended, and their limitations in the field of intervention and maintenance management click here : CMMS wins Excel by a knockout! No data centralization. Limited planning. No mobility. No connection with the field or with the customers ... the loads that weigh on spreadsheets in the field of maintenance are heavy.

You can also go directly to the bottom of this article to start your trial right away. 2 ways to convince yourself of the superiority of a modern CMMS on a spreadsheet to take charge of its maintenance management.

No connection? No problem!

We still insist: the smartphone is the absolute weapon to boost productivity in the field of maintenance. It is even possible to rank the efficiency of CMMS software by comparing the functions available on the move and the way these functions are delivered. Indeed, in maintenance 80% of employees are mobile. It is therefore essential to equip them with a complete and easy-to-use solution.

The conception and design of a mobile application have their own rules. And it is not developed in the same way as an application accessible from a PC. This is often a pitfall for many legacy CMMS solutions: not being able to offer a mobile application worthy of the name. And of course, when there is no longer a connection, the application must continue to be used. The article No connection? No Problem! presents you more about what it is possible to use, with some CMMS, even when you are in a technical room, a basement, or in a rural area.

Investing in a CMMS in times of crisis

At the time of writing this article we are entering the deconfinement phase following COVID-19. You are reading us today, so you know much more than we do about how the recovery from the crisis has unfolded. How was the economy able to rebuild or not? What was the damage caused by the crisis?

What is certain on this first day of May 2020 is that the crisis has highlighted the importance of digitalisation in the business world and will bring about lasting changes in business habits: teleworking, videoconferencing, instantaneous sharing of documents and information via the cloud, instant messaging, etc. We have changed many uses and we have realized that certain practices could be advantageously replaced by digital platforms promoting exchange and collaboration. The article Investing in CMMS in times of crisis provides a better understanding of this phenomenon applied to the maintenance sector.


By the way, 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 !

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