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CMMS vs. EAM : Which should my businesses choose?

When it comes to the right software for tracking your asset’s maintenance history, you have a few options ahead of you. There are several powerful tools across the board, however, the two most common you’ll encounter are a CMMS and an EAM. These programs are an essential piece for a growing business to track their maintenance and asset’s span, so choosing the correct one can mean all the difference for your business.
At its core, a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) is a system used to track work orders, maintenance history, and preventive maintenance schedules for assets related to your businesses.
Maintenance teams use a CMMS to quickly discover everything about an asset, from where it is located to knowing who has work on it and when. This insight helps centralize all maintenance information in one system helping teams improve their productivity. A CMMS also helps streamline maintenance processes by providing visibility to all parties involved. Maintenance managers can view and track work order statuses assigned to technicians, as well as quickly notifying technicians of new tasks.
In contrast to the primary maintenance tracking a CMMS provides, an EAM’s (Enterprise Asset Management) primary function is to focus on up-time, planning, and asset workflow for all devices across a large-scale company. It is used to track every part of an asset’s life cycle, from procurement to disposal, combining both the features of a CMMS with powerful utilities covering accounting, asset’s cost and profits, and operations. With an EAM, your business can see exactly how much an asset both produces and costs, allowing you to make accurate projections while simultaneously seeing where certain assets need more focus to ensure profitability. Downtime, a dreaded occurrence on all high-value assets, can even be accurately tracked within the tools it provides.
EAM software also adds the benefit of streamlined financial reports, allowing you to see a breakdown of all costs incurred by your appliances. These reports can be a blessing during an audit and allow your financial team an easy look at your current assets without having to train them in the full use of your EAM software. If you’re only using a CMMS software, integrations with accounting software may be limited. Most EAMs will automatically integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks, allowing the reports to be automatically generated and transferred at the push of a button.
CMMS and EAM sound quite similar, don’t they? While superficially they may appear to show the same function, the improvements of an EAM’s additional features on top of CMMS present an attractive option for businesses that have grown beyond one or two locations. How do you determine if you need a CMMS or an EAM software? Here are a few key questions to ask when determining which software is right for your business.
How large is your maintenance team?
If you are currently at a few locations with less than ten technicians on duty, a CMMS software is usually more than sufficient to track each of your asset’s maintenance history. The proximity allows your maintenance team to easily see and track when assets are purchased or on the verge of breaking down, allowing a more hands-on approach to tracking their life cycle. You will also likely have no issue handling the financial aspect and budget tracking with your repairs until you begin to expand.
If you have a multitude of locations and a sizable team, the power of an EAM software allows your teams to see an eagle-eye view of all of your appliances without having to visit each location or contact that location’s supervisor for updates. Over all, if your maintenance teams are not split into more than a handful of locations while only having a maintenance team size of less than ten, the use of a CMMS would be more cost effective than transitioning to an EAM.
Do you own and manage 500+ assets?
Eventually there comes a time when it becomes too time consuming for you to personally manage each asset over multiple programs. This tipping point can occur at various times in a business’s lifespan. Once you reach near the 500+ asset mark, you’re going to have more eyes on your assets than just your maintenance teams. Your financial team may be looking at an asset to determine if it’s still profitable, while your compliance team will be concerned with the asset’s safety through its lifespan.
With an EAM, every team can take control of their particular specialty, from your finance and production teams to your maintenance and compliance team. An EAM allows them each to utilize their own workflow, optimizing the time spent scrutinizing your assets to look for cost savings and improvements. Your financial team, production team, and especially your compliance team all benefit from the EAM’s ability to segment specialized tools for their tasks, making the cost of the system and training much more efficient than each team doing it by hand.
So which should you choose for your business?
Despite the similarities of the products, the true difference between an EAM and a CMMS comes down to the scale of your business. While large businesses may find themselves in the position of an EAM suite being necessary, most small business owners can breathe easy knowing a CMMS will likely suit their needs just fine. Small businesses often can justify using multiple programs in conjunction with a CMMS to both save on budget, while the complexities of owning thousands of assets can make the EAM a must for management to have the all-in-one solution at their fingertips.
Moving from CMMS to EAM is not one to be undertaken lightly, but not as difficult as many business owners imagine. Owners will start to plan for the change when their assets begin to pass the thousand mark over multiple locations. Consult with your core team of your asset manager, maintenance manager, maintenance technician, and CMMS vendor to determine when the upgrade is optimal for your business and your future profits.