Who Should Manage Your CMMS System? Part 1


I’m often asked who in an organization should have primary responsibility for managing its Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). There’s not one answer that fits for every organization, but there are several things every organization should consider before making the decision. In this 2-part article, I’ll attempt to walk you through some of the key elements you need to think about before you decide who should manage yours.

In Part 1, we’ll review the core functions performed by a CMMS. In Part 2, we’ll weigh how those functions align with your organization’s usage of maintenance software, and how that points to the right CMMS “owner.”

Any CMMS worth its salt performs four basic functions:

  1. Preventive Maintenance (PM) Scheduling: Reminds maintenance engineers when to perform preventive checks and services on assets.
  2. Service Request Management: A way for your customers to submit repair requests, and for you to track them and provide updates.
  3. Work Logging: A way to document what planned (PMs) or unplanned (repairs) maintenance has occurred.
  4. Inventory Tracking: A means for tracking the use of repair parts or consumables, like lubricants or filters.

What ties all these functions together? In virtually every CMMS, the “document of record” is the Work Order.

  1. PMs generate planned work orders.
  2. Service requests generate unplanned work orders.
  3. Work completed is logged on the work order.
  4. Inventory consumption is documented on the work order.

Regardless of how the work order is initiated, it must have data drawn from (or written to) various data tables in the CMMS database. A well-prepared work order will contain the following data:

  • Dates: created, due, started, finished, closed
  • Work Classifications: priority, type, group, and planning category
  • Asset Identification: name and/or ID number
  • Personnel: initiator, planners, and executors (technicians and engineers)
  • Instructions: work and safety
  • Hours: estimated, actual, and machine downtime
  • Inventory: items consumed and associated costs

And once a work order is complete, then what good does all this data do us? Well, at that point, the work order becomes the source of actionable information. It feeds the reporting and analysis that drives decision-making to improve your maintenance operation.

Often the person making those decisions—the user or “consumer” of that information—is a likely candidate for CMMS owner. But not in all cases. Next month, we’ll look at a list of likely suspects:

  • The Maintenance Manager/Supervisor/Lead
  • The Maintenance Planner
  • A dedicated Maintenance Secretary/Administrator/Clerk
  • The Inventory Control manager

I’ll write about the each of these positions next time, and I’ll suggest the pros and cons of making each the owner of your CMMS.

In the interim, I’d love to hear your suggestions. Who should it be? Reply in the comments section below this article, or on my Twitter feed @MaintMaven with hashtag #whoownsyourcmms.