Lachance on CMMS


Founded in 2002, Smartware Group, Inc. is focused on serving the software needs of maintenance operations professionals through its solution, Bigfoot CMMS.

The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group. Lachance has been developing and perfecting the company’s CMMS solution for the maintenance professional for 18 years. Contact Paul at paul.lachance@bigfootcmms.com.


Tie best of breed CMMS with your ERP and reap the business benefits

July 02, 2013

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Most corporate departments think of maintenance when they need the thermostat adjusted in the conference room. But maintenance management and CMMS are an integral part of ERP, which runs 80% of Fortune 1000 companies. CMMS is an essential tool for managing operations and maintaining assets across the enterprise. CMMS drives quality production, ensures regulatory compliance and controls operating costs.

So how do you run a smooth maintenance operation, keep assets humming and integrate with the company’s ERP system? Before you start coding a new ERP interface, weigh the issues. Is the CMMS integration a desire for the maintenance department or a directive from the COO? How can CMMS and ERP integration reduce operating costs and contribute to business performance?

Once you answer the big picture questions and decide to move forward, consider these guidelines from someone who’s been there, done that…

First, make sure you think through your points of integration. Synchronize part quantities vs. share a completed purchase order (PO)—this is an important debate. Some ERP systems make it difficult to share a whole purchase order, so perhaps synchronizing spare parts in your CMMS with the ERP POs is a better approach.

Do you have internal expertise, or at least affordable consulting on the ERP side? These costs can add up. It is likely your ERP system will need configuration support to make this interface work.

Don’t rush into the integration. Get to know your CMMS first, for a few weeks or even several months before finalizing your integration plans. Product experience will influence interface approach/design, and is a safer, less expensive endeavor than building the interface in advance.

Assess your CMMS needs. Understand that although a CMMS vendor may have interface capabilities off-the-shelf, the interface will always need to be configured for the organization’s environment—either on the CMMS or ERP side, or both. Configuration depends on the IT environment, ERP system and version, desired integration points, in-house ERP expertise, etc. Automated interfaces should be considered semi-configured (in some cases total custom) projects.

In theory, a quality CMMS vendor should have the technological capabilities to allow any information to be passed to and from an ERP system. Most common interfaces I have developed are related to spare parts. Others include sharing “finished” purchase orders/requisitions, asset information (status, location, costs, etc.), and employee data, typically labor rates or department information.

Most importantly, have the discussion with your maintenance team. Define the business goals. Identify the integration points. Your CMMS vendor won’t be able to discuss development costs unless you have thought through the project. Do your homework upfront so CMMS and ERP can make the connection a lasting one.


Comments

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Krista

Thursday, 11-07-13 01:50

Hi. You really describe well the content in your blog. Could you please describe more in detail for the Technical Consulting Services for the power plant management?

 

Paul Lachance

Thursday, 11-07-13 18:48

Thanks! Our firm wil focus more on the CMMS aspect in terms of consulting. I believe that it is important to marry the expertise of the customer's team with our CMMS team. A combination of the 2 should provide good guidance for a strong CMMS implementation. So we don't have in-depth industry specific expertise, but are great at listening to our clients goals and objectives, and collaborating to get the CMMS off the ground.

 
 

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