Lines blurring between CMMS and EAM

The software industry is riddled with acronyms: ERP, CRM, SaaS, you get the picture. But what is not always clear for maintenance professionals, is the difference between computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software.

08/05/2013


The software industry is riddled with acronyms: ERP, CRM, SaaS, you get the picture. But what is not always clear for maintenance professionals, is the difference between computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software. Further yet, is one better for your maintenance operations than the other? Certainly there are a variety of opinions, but most experts agree on some common separation:

Age: "CMMS" as a product category has been around a lot longer than EAM, as far back as the days of Big Iron when it basically automated the mainframe maintenance task list. "EAM" appeared on the scene when wide area networks and other technologies emerged to connect computers/software across multiple facilities ("enterprise"), around the town, state, country, etc.

Feature set: In the past, CMMS was focused on operational management—work orders and preventive maintenance—of assets in specific departments; not the enterprise. Opinions vary, but numerous other features such as inventory, basic purchasing, reporting, and other functions could be included. EAM takes a global view on the entire asset inventory of an organization, typically beyond the needs of maintenance.

EAM considers the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the asset, so there are a lot more financial reporting/management functions within the software, such as lease terms and dates, maintenance costs, depreciation, contractor repair costs, repair versus replacement costs, and the calculation of total cost of ownership of assets.

Essentially, EAM and CMMS have the same goals: maintaining, managing and protecting assets. CMMS typically kicks in once the asset is purchased. EAM adds on planning, construction and procurement to the life cycle of the asset.

Today the top CMMS products perform these same functions and more. The lines between the two have blurred.

Scope: Original CMMS products were typically used for individual facilities or smaller operations. This may have been due to the limitations to share information beyond the four walls of the company.But as networks became the norm, the Internet made it possible to turn small-scale CMMS into web-based solutions to manage asset maintenance across the enterprise. Today it's not unreasonable to expect your CMMS to run a tight schedule for maintaining assets. However, it may also be capable of recording information about the lifecycle of those assets in order to drive all kinds of business decisions.

Given the development of the industry and the software systems to support it, it's not necessary to focus on the acronym. Instead, focus on what your organization needs. Then pick the right vendors and match them up against the functionality that matches your requirements.

At the end of the day, find the right product, not the "right" acronym.

Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group, producer of Bigfoot CMMS. Contact Paul at paul.lachance@bigfootcmms.com.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.