Facility Dude

When buildings go automated: The case for CMMS

By Kate Donnelly
Aug 05, 2014

Maintenance, Facilities Management, Energy Management, Technology, Industry News

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A building's facility manager sits at the nerve center of a site's operations. Responsible in some part for essentially every aspect of a building's maintenance needs, these professionals benefit greatly from any tool that can make keeping track of a facility's many operational requirements easier and more streamlined.

When buildings go automated: The case for CMMS One such tool that has had a tremendous impact on the FM world is the CMMS, or computerized maintenance management system - a software program that provides a convenient dashboard-style overview of all of a given building's maintenance needs. While some managers may be reluctant to delve into the world of technology-based facility management, the benefits such a system provide are significant, and warrant close consideration.

Assessing needs

The first step in exploring the possibility of CMMS is to determine what your facility's maintenance needs are, and weigh that against the efficiency of whatever current management system is being used. Software Advice, a company that evaluates CMMS work order software, conducted a survey of prospective buyers of CMMS systems to assess where the industry stood in terms of sentiment and needs. Results found that the primary concern among FMs was related to better management of preventive maintenance, though asset management and work order management were concerns that were cited almost as often.

Managing maintenance for any facility can be a daunting task, and the need for improved efficiency was the chief motivator for considering CMMS adoption, as 62 percent of FMs cited that as the reason for considering such a system. Alarmingly, 48 percent of professionals surveyed indicated they still used pen-and-paper methods for their maintenance management.

How CMMS can help

Fortunately for many facility managers, the need for better efficiency and more effective management of work orders is one of the primary functions a CMMS can help facilitate. Today's Facility Manager indicated some of the chief problems faced by constantly growing facilities and the adoption of increasingly complex systems and equipment. More specialization means that there is additional need for a well organized system of communication - this makes it possible for maintenance to exchange information with IT, security or any other departments that may need to be kept in the loop regarding repairs.

Not only is the amount of information FMs need to track growing, but the type of information is also changing. Digital information and data are becoming a more prevalent part of facility management. The ability to stay on top of such information reliably is going to be essential to effective facility management moving forward. Whether it be monitoring energy output to stay on top of energy efficiency management or tracking water or chemical consumption of sources such as plumbing or boilers and chillers, that information is essential to not only maintenance schedules but also things such as inventory tracking. Even capital planning ventures benefit from this streamlining of information - the decision to upgrade or replace older or inefficient systems is largely dependent on the perceived needs as determined through close monitoring.

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