By Lora Mays
A company’s real estate and facilities portfolio serves as the second largest expense behind its people. Finding the right software solution to manage an organization’s facilities can provide a significant return on investment, helping facility management leaders improve efficiency and reduce costs. The most common solution in the market today is a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). For organizations that are moving from a paper-based or manual system to a CMMS, finding the one that is the best fit can be challenging.
Before beginning the search, think about what’s important to your organization and the functionality needed to benefit your team. Here are 10 features to consider as you put together a CMMS “wish list”.
1. Work order management
As the core of maintenance management, work order management allows you to create work orders, provide updates to work, and report on the information collected through the work order process. More advanced solutions will enable users to manage both reactive and preventive maintenance requests for a comprehensive facility and maintenance management solution.
2. Asset tracking and management
Through asset tracking, you can create a centralized database of all information related to assets within the facility. Details such as asset manufacturer, warranty details, purchase date, recent maintenance requests, and location can be tracked. In addition, asset lifecycle management can be automated to track all details related to the asset from procurement to when it’s decommissioned. Having this insight can help when making key decisions, such as replace versus repair.
3. Vendor management
Beyond providing system access to vendors, CMMS solutions may also enable vendor management—including tracking key information like certificates of insurance (COIs) and activity history. There may be functionality to create a rating system, allowing stakeholders to complete performance surveys to develop a preferred vendor list.
4. Document and knowledge management
One of the main benefits of a CMMS solution comes from having a centralized database—or a single source of truth—for all of the information related to facilities operations. The entire team can access essential information about assets and facility processes through document and knowledge management within the CMMS. In doing so, you can improve the quality of work from your team while improving their efficiency in the process.
5. Resource allocation
Understanding use of time and money can help organizations make smarter decisions with their budgets. Advanced CMMS solutions may have separate modules to track employee time, as well as cost details as they complete work orders.
6. Reporting and business intelligence
CMMS solutions provide visibility into operations, which can highlight key gaps and areas for improvement. Reports may be as simple as pulling a list of work orders completed in a timeframe, or as dynamic as assessing cost leakages. Reporting functionality can be available within the application or may be accessed through a third-party service that integrates with the solution.
7. Financial management
Go beyond ad-hoc tracking of data within the solution and leverage modules to streamline tracking. In addition, financial management tools may include integrations with financial systems of record to easily share data with other departments for accounting purposes.
8. Incident and event tracking
The facility management team is often in charge of tracking issues related to safety. An incident and event tracking module offers an opportunity to track any incidents that occur on-site and automatically issues any work orders that may be needed to fix the issue, such as cleaning up broken glass in an area.
9. Emergency planning
Depending on the structure of the organization, the facility management team may be in charge of emergency planning. Leveraging a module as part of the CMMS solution, it can ensure that emergency plans and business continuity models are stored in a central location for key stakeholders to access when needed.
Some organizations have multiple locations with numerous vendors coming and going. Modules focused on visitor and security simplify the registration process and provides a single source to track all data related to building entry.
Mays is product marketing manager at Accruent, which provides real estate and facilities management solutions that include site, lease, project, facilities, asset management, and facility capital planning software and services.