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What is the best CMMS?

Erik Hupje

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The best CMMS is the one that you can put to use with less effort than it takes to actually do the physical work it requires.

SO MANY... CMMS require maintenance techs to provide hours of  trivial data input and offer little to actually help them do their jobs.

Great CMMS systems provide:

Instant snapshots (or dashboards) of the status of  ALL your plant's machinery/equipment

Distribute  current Work Order's to respective technicians prioritized to support  the production priorities

Instructions, access to tech manuals, videos etc. for any planned procedure from a tech's phone or tablet

Identify planned work and notify purchasing/stockroom of all required parts so they're available when needed

KPI's to show the entire maintenance department is performing over time.

It's actually more important to understand HOW to put a CMMS system to use to improve your operations than any specific product recommendation.






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Hi! Ahmad,

Its upto the organization's vision, what level of expertise want to achieve, SAP is much more integrated in business prospective and Asset Management prospective. Maximo has its limitations and it has got some advantage over customized report. SAP is a knowledge based and much higher level of ERP and its own report. One step ahead SAP can be used over mobile phone and all transactions can be checked and more transparent. It's up to you to decide which ERP you use. EAM could be easily achieved by using SAP.

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Hi! Frank,

In my opinion why CMMS is not effective, because CMMS should be used by Operation/Maintenance/ Process/ Finance/ logistic/ EHS/ HR, if it is a maintenance domain then its a failure to the organization's vision. It's not only maintenance domain.

Wish you a very happy new year 2019. 

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  • Founder
On 12/31/2018 at 9:17 PM, Frank said:

It's actually more important to understand HOW to put a CMMS system to use to improve your operations than any specific product recommendation.


Very true @Frank! I also like your point that too many CMMS's out there force technicians to enter trivial data that is never used... 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Erik, Great question.

I’ve used SAP and Maximo extensively and been involved in multiple roll outs, implementations, upgrades and training around the same for several middle and major companies.

I think the answer aligns with the one to the age old macho question: It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it.

What I’ve seen in the past is that a company purchases or is sold a new CCMS EAM or ERP system on the premise that it will bring significant improvement into the business. While this can be true the opposite is also possible.

In more than one instance (pretty much all) I’ve found that the company are largely unaware of what the system is capable of and to overlay it on suboptimal processes. In addition, the provider usually ends up delivering or subcontracting non-specific training on the system and shows merely what it is capable of but not what the individual end users should do with it. The result is an under used, misunderstood and usually poorly configured system foisted on an under trained workforce.

The next natural step is diversification of system use, usually with one department being well served, (let’s say finance) and the other departments following a course of action that brings them little or no value.

The best result I’ve seen was in my last company where we re-wrote all the PM processes for the UK and then made some limited changes (as it was a global system) to SAP to align with the processes. We also introduced a work planning role and revamped the scheduling role as part of the process  It was successful enough that the company adopted our processes and developed them into one global solution. This led to deeper and more beneficial changes to SAP where most of the PM processes were fully integrated and automated, (creation of follow on notifications and work orders, deferral notifications, SCE fail recording etc.) We integrated the scheduling process with IAP, Logistics and MM and introduced a scheduling tool as a final addition. Following roll out and training the improvement to productivity and efficiency in the company was massively significant.

The PM end users changed their outlook from “SAP’s Sh1t” to enjoying the benefits of having full visibility and being in full control of the planning scheduling and execution of their work.

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3 minutes ago, Erik Hupje said:

Great post @Peter McMahon I think you hit the nail on the head. It does make you wonder though why companies that sell CMMS, EAM, ERP solutions don't focus more on ensuring customer success?

I think previously the target was on sales not customer satisfaction. If the seller got more business from demo or training, then that was a bonus. The training would have been a generic system outline as the seller's understanding of the client business and associated processes may have been lacking in depth.

It's a bit like going into the computer store to buy a new PC or laptop and the (young) beardie, nerdy guy asks for details on what you're going to use it for. At this point you don't know the exact details of use (no defined business process); machine and system functionality / capability (no one told you exactly what it can do. Its an ERP / EAM / CMMS system and you're not going to tell him you don't really know what that means. You're buying it so you must have a clue??). So puppy eyes engaged and you look at him for a solution.

So you get the machine, a quick start guide and a massive licence fee. Then the head scrathcing starts and you ask around the departments expecting someone to know what it's going to be used for. After many frustrating conversations it's back to the drawing board to redesign processes and align the system with them. Shame it didn't happen in a different order.   

I've filled that void on a few occasions and provided a translation between business and system, delivering significant value. I think some of the smaller companies are recognising the value of that service but not all. 

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Everyone, Hi Erik, thanks for bringing up this topic.

Radically speaking, the best CMMS can only be made by yourself, either assisted or not. This is because only you know the 100% of functionality and ergonomic requirements needed.

I'm happy to share what we DIYed in house for integrity inspections data management. That is 'just' IDMS, not a full blown CMMS. But it does exactly what we wanted for RBI and besides.

This is a web-app with SQL database backend. Let's start the hackathon to see what we made differently:

1. The IDMS is online deployed in a secure manner. Any device with a browser can be used to access it.

2. There is a sound plant equipment hierarchy, sutable for registering and documenting any bolt at you plant.

3. Multi-roles enable using technicians for straight populating the data and exchanging it to the office instantly. That is that 'paperless reporting'.

4. Approval role is built in for a fast data acceptance, or messaging follow-up requests back to the field. Analyst only sees approved data. Filtering and charting helps in selecting scope work.

5. Basic calculations and analysis routines are built it. Conclusive analysis is left for persons though. We don't attempt automating everything - only those number crunching tasks which computers can do. This helps.

6. Most importantly, this philosophy enables storing and treating any kind of numeric data: let it be corrosion measurements, TTF, annual frequencies, stress levels - whatever!

7. And since the conclusive analysis is left outside - any methods can be applied for data treatment. Do we want descriptive statistics, strength analysis, Weibull parameters? It can be automated as far as it is safe to automate. Humans applied otherwise.

8. Ergonomics: made possibly intuitive. A 2 hours video tutor should be enough to start from scratch. Screen not clogged. All colorful, see photo - minor thing, but nice to use.

We currently use this IDMS in-house, but happy to share it with you. Keep your SAP - this is a planner's software. For engineering you may need a software with engineering mind (as opposed to IT minds). You can DIY with us. Fun guaranteed 😀

I prevously posted a LinkedIn artice with more info in it, with other links:


May I ask: which of the above listed features you liked/disliked most? How do you feel about the whole bundle? How does it compare to big vendors? What would you like to add to it?

Share you thoughts and Good luck


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Like the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, each phone delivers the same core functionality and your CMMS is no different. I have implemented homegrown and vendor CMMS packages. However, from a pure maintenance perspective they deliver the same planning and scheduling information. The process depends upon the end-users and the software selection comes down to their specific features advantages and benefits to your organization. Getting the CMMS closest to the end-user requirements is the real key. Minimizing customization and drive configuration as much as possible. Interface management is also a contributing factor and the change management effort required.

However, the main challenge today (in my opinion) with CMMS programs is that they are static and all have lagging indicators. Criticality is dynamic based (especially for offshore rigs for example) and operational conditions dictate criticality. Another, is we need the flexibility to add leading indicators that would help our predictive maintenance. Hierarchy trees and standards are another that requires a lot of thought. ISO 14224 is a good document but there are gaps and criticality is not addressed.

Basically it takes a lot of effort up front and the more work you in the planning stage helps execution for the best end result!

Good luck


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I enjoy maximo especially for producing different reports because it can be integrated with other systems. The other part i enjoy mostly about maximo you can attach the test results before closing the work orders. The test results will be there for records purposes once they are attached on the work order all employees can access them anytime when opening the relevant work order. Let me mention the inventory management the stock level inventories and OEM information management.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • Community Leader

Hello everyone,

I have worked with SAP for my entire career. In my opinion, this is a really powerful tool, which can make a huge difference when it comes to Asset Management when properly used.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to lead a project in a big mining company, which we should map over 16,000 assets and register each one of them on SAP, including respective data-sheets, spare parts list, criticality, task lists and maintenance plans. Although quite challenging, it was really rewarding at the same time, as we could not only improve our knowledge about the sites, but also create a dynamic environment, where any staff member of the company could quickly find all information regarding any equipment of the company. As a result, both P&S process and Engineering analyses, such as RCA's or RAM's, became more efficient.

However, during the project, one big concern was how we would transform one project that had a specific team working on mapping information and uploading it to the system, would become a process that would keep all that data up to date by different areas (we worked on three sites, and each site had their own P&S and Engineering teams). 

For our surprise, we noticed that our teams had different levels of knowledge about the CMMS. On one hand, we could find Planners that could work on every single SAP standard tool, while on the other hand, others did not know how to create a maintenance plan. In order to tackle this issue, we invested on training, training and more training.

To conclude, I would compare choosing a CMMS to buying a car, although Ferraris and Lamborghinis are all great cars, they are not the best rally options, as well as rally cars could perform really poorly in speedy races. Although I believe that SAP can be a really benefitial system for a business, as long as the entire team have a high level of knowledge about the tool, choosing the best CMMS really depends on the business and its strategy goals.


Raul Martins






Edited by Raul Martins
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/25/2018 at 2:44 AM, Narender Kumar said:

Dear All

I have used few CMMS tools. In the end, my feelings are that like any other tool, best CMMS depends on user.

I have following reasons to justify my answer:

  • I have seen very good report through Macro based Excel files & very bad reports through MAXIMO or EMS
  • I have seen most of the tools fields empty for many reasons which basically doesn't give you information
  • I have seen wrong entries giving you wrong information.
  • They are made so heavy that people are not able to enter everything.

Generally CMMS is chosen based on many reasons sometimes out of even Maint Mgr scope like client want you to have particular system etc.  There are following factors which makes any CMMS good or bad:

  • How you have implemented it. I would say a person who has a knowledge of hands on should be in the implementation team. A lot of exercise is required on reporting & expectation from CMMS so that implementing team can be able to incorporate them.
  • How users are trained: Most of CMMS fail because of this part. Either people are not trained, they are unwilling or don't like to enter everything. It shall be ensured that every level the fields are entered, counterchecked & saved. Responsibilities shall be very much given & followed.
  • How many reports are generated: Once you have the data, how you are using them, Is the data giving you expected results, if not, make changes that are required.
  • How it is AUDITED - In the end, even CMMS shall be audited. Generally I have seen people saying, " we are following all data & maintenance through XXXX & we don't need to audit. On the contrary, we must audit the reports & data otherwise the reports will be corrupt & will be useless.

In the last, I would say an old saying I read somewhere " In the hands of an expert, a stick is powerful than sword & in the hands of an novice, a sword is weaker than a stick"


I am not a CMMS / EAM "user" per se, but I do work with a lot who are, using a variety of systems from SAP (at the high end) to some relatively unknown cloud based packages that are best suited to a single shop operation. I would agree with Narender. The actually software you choose / use isn't really all that important - it's all about the user and how they use it. I've seen SAP used poorly and hated (more often than not) but also where it's been used very effectively and liked (I haven't found anyone that truly "loves" it yet). Likewise for Maximo, Infor and dozens of others. In speaking with the CEO of one of those software companies (a big one), he described his product as a box - you put stuff in, shake it up, pull stuff out. He pretty much described any data base for any purpose and that was his point - it's just another tool. 

What I observe in many cases is that companies are data distracted. The tool is not really a tool then, and maintainers don't have a lot of time to spend mucking about with a computer that isn't helping them get their real job done. 

It is critical to know what you want to do with it before you commit to the tool. Implementation processes usually start with business processes. Wrong!!!! Do those before you select the tool, then get the closest match, don't trust what the salesperson says, they must demonstrate to prove capability. Their promises about functionality are often based on what is in development, not what actually exists.  Don't cheap out on implementation effort and training - both can kill the best of systems. 

I'd sum it up to say that it probably doesn't really matter which software you use, so long as it has some basic work management and reporting capability and is easy to use. 

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What CMMS do you use? SAP

Do you love it or hate it? Neutral

Would you recommend it to others? Not for Maintenance

And if not, why not? Even though most large corporations has gravitated to SAP over the past two decades for their end all be all system for Finance, Quality, Production, Procurement (Direct & Indirect) and Maintenance it does not compare to a CMMS specifically designed for Maintenance. 

Having installed and implemented numerous CMMS software packages across a very diverse client base, I personally like systems like eMaint X4 cloud based and other SaaS systems like UpKeep for a Maintenance application. These systems are specifically designed with all the functions needed to manage and report for a maintenance program.

A caveat for a CMMS to be successful however is proper installation, data entry and management of the system. The point is, no matter how robust or good a system is, if we do not utilize it to its fullest potential then it will struggle.




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