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What is the best CMMS?

Erik Hupje

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On 12/4/2019 at 4:27 PM, UptimeJim said:

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 agree.

May I add one most important feature - its database access as one extend option and functions - give new dimensions (for example I have using open source ERP ADempiere with libero manufacturing and looking every day at the database oracle/postgresql and UI forms to solve problems as standard work, and SQL give me all information's so database give to me ALL DATES and I know how, when, where, why ......etc and in this way I dont have 'black box' in front of my eyes, I have all clear information's)

regards Gordan


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  • 4 weeks later...
On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 10:04 PM, Corry said:

What a question... over my time in P&S Systems, I've had very brief experience with Pulse and JDE, and a lot of experience with SAP, and I am now with a business that is using Ellipse.

I'm unable to comment on Pulse, JDE or others, like Maximo etc, as my exposure to them isn't enough to give them fair judgement. As a SAP P&S Trainer, I love SAP. Like most others, you need to be using it to learn and retain your skills. There is a lot it can do, and can be a lot friendlier to the end user than others I've seen.

Now I've been using Ellipse for a touch over 2 years, and what can I say... damn I miss SAP. What I could do in a normal day with SAP, now takes, I would say, up to 30% longer to do, and it isn't what I would call user friendly.

In saying that, the most critical thing to get right is your Master Data, if your foundations aren't there, you don't have anything stable to build on. Depending on the business, and what you are wanting to get out of your CMMS, nearly any of them would suffice, but from what I've seen, for online support, third party software compatibility and end user experience, I don't think you can go past SAP.

Cheers, Corry


Hello! I have never used SAP but I have used a few different CMMS software system over the past 3 decades. At one time, I had created a 13 page detailing all the attributes I had been looking for in a CMMS software package. Following this I had reviewed over 20 systems and what I discovered was that very few actually focused on gathering data of  what I considered the basics of gathering repair history information.

To add to this, most of the software trainers actually had limited knowledge or experience of maintenance / engineering in order to build rapport with the trainees. In addition, an inability to provide a business purpose for using various software functionality to assist with defect elimination, PM optimization, KPIs use and/or planning & scheduling.

Regarding your thoughts around getting the master data correct, I totally agree with you. Does the software meet the business needs to establish a foundation of good usable data  that can be used to make good business decisions and can be expanded upon. From my experiences, ALL of us are looking for the same base information required to make good business decisions.

In summary, maybe the best CMMS system is the system that meets the company's or the project manager's business needs.





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My first CMMS was a home grown system called, "Dynamic Equipment Information Systems" (DEIS) at the PetroChemical complex where I worked as a maintenance engineer. It was a very basic work order system that provided job plan details, parts lists and history. Each job was recorded in text fields and all the history was printed with any work order. The thickness of the work order print out was an indicator of troublesome equipment, or a long BOM. Our refinery (next door) was using a paper based system. Both worked well for work management and since discipline of recording what was found wrong and corrected was actually pretty good, both systems had fairly useful information for reliability purposes. I put that down to the discipline our craftsmen had and the attention that we paid to what they wrote.

My consulting days began some 7 years later, when CMMS were still largely replacing paper based systems. They were more complex and feature rich and even handled spares inventory. Some handled automated buying and other functions. However, our customers seemed to be struggling far more than I did with getting good information to make reliability decisions. I've probably seen hundreds of different systems, some easy to use, some that were user hostile, some with very basic functionality working very well and some that were feature and functionally rich but under-utilized. I've only seen one or two that I thought were bad for the job they had to do in the customer's working environment. Most work well but most are also poorly implemented, poorly (or not) supported, operated by poorly trained or untrained maintainers, and incapable of generating needed reports without extra programming, extra software bolted on or a lot of effort manipulating data on spreadsheets. Most customers today are more "data distracted" than "informed". Their CMMS' add cost but little real value. I do not blame the software (in most cases). The problems usually arise from poor implementation, poorly thought out business processes (automating the old and not taking advantage of new functionality), poor fit of functionality to requirements, poorly stated requirements (e.g.: focused on technical specs rather than functionality), lack of training, no training, training by the person sitting next to you (learning others' bad habits), rushed implementations (out of budget, time), etc. In some cases the systems are far too complex for maintenance and reliability purposes.

The systems available are not well designed to give basic failure and proactive maintenance related history information (e.g.: did it fail? what was failed? what was the failure mode? can you identify the cause of the failure? if it hadn't yet failed, would it have failed soon? was the job a result of some PdM finding? etc.). Designers of these systems are not reliability engineers so the data being gathered doesn't answer the questions that need to be asked. All too often the data being gathered does not provide information that is fit for purpose. 

In "our world" of maintainers too few really understand failure modes and failure management strategies. Although we are supposed to deliver "reliability" we focus on "maintenance". Arguably we have the emphasis in the wrong area - the means, not the ends. We don't use RCM as much as we probably should. We've failed to inform the programmers who design these systems of what we really need (many of us really couldn't define it well anyway) and for the most part the programmers don't know what they don't know. 

The end result is a myriad of systems with a lot of unused functionality, little of which (used or unused) actually helps us to improve reliability and reduce unwanted breakdowns that in most cases (by far) could have been foreseen.

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Good morning Jim! - Well written respond to CMMS systems. I have experienced the issues you have stated and most certainly agree that most of our issues are not a software but implementation issues. In addition and on the topic of implementation, I had added a few notes of information under the heading of leadership regarding culture and also my own personal take on implementation via a chocolate cake analogy. You can find it under the topic heading "New position, new journey".

Thanks again for the well written and insightful view on maintenance management.

Have a great day!


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  • 4 months later...

I had been using SAP for 18 years in the power industry and it is a very powerful tool, but since changing jobs am now using Microsoft Dynamics AX. This is also a powerful tool but not so user friendly as SAP.

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  • 2 weeks later...

With my five (5) years experience, i have only worked with SAP. Its the best and i highly recommend it. Its just unfortunate that i have not had an opportunity to work on other CMMS for comparison.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've used SAP, JD Edwards, MP2 and MP2 with a custom GUI on top of it. 


Both SAP and JDE are a struggle.  Both REQUIRE power users, lots of upfront and continuous training, integration support, etc.  If you don't have lots of money to throw at it to set it up in the beginning, don't even try.  Also, without a financial commitment to go mobile, you are likely stuck with salaried folks or power users writing and processing all work orders.  If your industry processes a lot of short repairs, you can quickly get overwhelmed with the volume if you don't have enough people assets to write, add time, process and close WOs.

Mature organizations that have a developed Maintenance Strategy with PMs, Plans, Processes already in place and just want more power to really dig and get to the next level of data mining, scheduling, RCM, etc. will like the powerful ERP type software packages like SAP. You will need a team with people dedicated to this transformation only. You can't do it by yourself no matter how computer savvy you are.  You can't do it without outside help. It is a big deal.

If you want a maintenance only package, pick a dedicated CMMS software and get a little help to integrate it.  Pick one that has been developed fairly recently. Older packages just keep updating their code. It needs to be written using a modern language with a simple, easy to navigate GUI, that has templates to help you build PMs and Routes, not just offer to let you attach one. Things like printing, adding tech time, etc. should be easily completed and accessed from one page. Think of Amazon, their prices aren't the best, but we use them anyway because their GUI make sit easy to do business with them.  If you want your people to use the CMMS, make it easy to use, enter, and retrieve data.

SAP and JDE are not those.  Like the Federal Government, they are big and powerful; it takes a big bureaucracy to run it; it is difficult to get anything done; once you are in the system, it is impossible to get out.


Good luck.

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Good morning!

I have used a few different CMMS packages as indicated by others on this thread. In addition, I was fortunate enough to be on two CMMS design & development projects teams.

In short, there are several CMMS packages to choose from and, of course, each claims to be better than the other. As Darrell had stated in the response above, latest code and ease of use is very important.

In general, all CMMS systems are designed to do the following

1. Create work orders and capture work order history.

2. Allow for PM inspections to be scheduled and generated (creation of inspections included).

3. Allow for Material Management activities to occur - setup of items, issues & returns, physical inventory count etc.

4. Capture labor activities.

5. Allow for creation of reports or use of canned reports.

6. System Administration management - code creation, security, access rights, system and user setup points etc.

7. Possibly 3rd party interfacing.

So, the general idea is that the CMMS development companies are all trying to capture the same type of information. Some use colorful screens, others use detailed KPI dashboards, others will boost their mobile applications etc. BUT, again, they are all trying to provide the same basic services.

In addition, how many of you have had training from these companies only to find that, in many cases, the trainer has no real maintenance experience. We are, in essence, trained on the functionalities of the software but not the business applications of the software.

In reality, most people have not had a voice in the purchase of the company's CMMS system or have inherited a system that is not a desired software to use. Regardless of the software used, the CMMS system can still be utilized, in an organized fashion, to capture basic data. The important aspect is to understand all the functionalities available, have a business plan of how you are going to capture data and apply the correct and necessary data in the fields necessary to facilitate results.

Aspects to consider,

1. Roles and Responsibilities: If we want to make a CMMS system as user friendly as possible than this step is massively crucial in the implementation phase or post phase (and for some reason ignored). If roles and responsibilities are in place than system configurations can be applied to, security access rights, setup and user setup, screen views, only applicable fields for data collection visible and required,  restrictions of allowed code selection etc., The goal here is "No more and no less" access rights than required. TIP: This is extremely important when training your staff.

2. Reporting: If you want to understand what it is you need in the way of data collection always start with the "end in mind" which equates to reporting requirements. In reality, we are all looking for the same basic data and the difference between departments and companies is usually the way the data is displayed. The differences usually relate to such things as column placement, sorting, sub-total value and totals, font, color etc. TIP: The person or department that requires the most detailed information will setup the reporting foundation to satisfy data requirements for other departments. Also, if possible, anticipate what you believe will be asked for in the form of data as this will help in the setup and data collection process.

3. Codes: in general, maintenance technicians and others do not want to write a story and are usually not good at spelling. In addition, I have heard statements from  upper management departments declaring that they do not want the maintenance staff spending time on PCs for data entry as they should be repairing assets. If the reporting requirements have been determined, creating and applying codes to support the reports becomes key. This will make it much easier for the technicians to use the software, collect data, support KPIs and make better business decisions.

In closing:

It is of my opinion that the CMMS systems used are not really the problem. It is the business implementation plan and strategies that fall short of the full utilization. In addition, the lack of support from all levels especially the top level. 

Have a great day!





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Hy everyone,


In the last years I have been working in several kind of businesses. In the position of setting up technical departments at different kind of factory's.

Each with their own ERP and all kind of CMMS-systems. Ultimo, Maximo, Sap, AX..." How many more do i have to mention. "

For myself at a medium size company is TDO-office working : Understandable for technical skilled people > Low cost > high output > No yearly fee. etc. etc.

It al depend on the size and business of the company itself... depending on management decisions with " their view of how maintenance works."

 All with their short-time or long-time thinking... ... in the end they will need to know there assets and costs.

I am not a specialist but I am tired to start over again each time.


" I agree with you all " It is not the kind of program you start with or the software we are dealing with........


It is my team that I need to train !! .. Technical men who are needed to train including myself > with the software that will understands my company's goal.

Technical men behind PC's  > filling in the CMMS  > Software they need to understand  > and in the end : Will it work for my technical department ??


" There is the point what is under-estimated from the beginning "  Costs are going sky-high before planning and scheduling will work in the end.

CMMS software-trainers think different than the Maintenance-department including the company's philosophy with his own structure and people.

This all with software-training > witch cost a lot of time and money > let's not even talk about yearly fees and updates. ( $$$$ ).

In the end love and hate all.






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