CMMS Systems: Benefits & Limitations

By L2L
13 Jun 19

Cabinets overflowing with records that are hardly ever glanced at. Somewhere in there are the only records of repairs that exist—on paper. Spare parts are gathering dust in a forgotten corner. There’s an endless maze of emails, whiteboards, and calendars, but the plant manager still isn’t sure which technicians completed which tasks. If that sounds like your manufacturing plant, you may be in need of a CMMS system

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)  is a software system that manages maintenance operations in a manufacturing plant.

Despite its capabilities, CMMS is still limited. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits and limitations of CMMS—and why it’s critical that plants choose a maintenance software solution that’s designed not just for today, but for the future.


The Benefits of a CMMS System

A CMMS system helps a plant with equipment maintenance, spare parts, regulatory compliance, and costs related to day-to-day maintenance functions. It can also ensure technicians complete maintenance tasks in a timely manner.

By providing users with a central hub for data and management, factories are able to optimize their plant floors. Plants with CMMS systems should enjoy:


  • Reduced downtime
  • Improved asset output
  • Less waste
  • Better insights into operations
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Improved employee productivity
  • Greater compliance with standards and regulations
  • Reduced capital expenditure (because of a more lean, intelligent system)


(Psst...with a next-generation maintenance solution, your plant could also save millions.)


Despite the many benefits, some plants are hesitant about adopting a CMMS system because it can be expensive. How long should you operate with a new system before you can expect a return on the initial investment?

Because a CMMS system helps to manage the equipment used to produce product, a range of factors must be considered when calculating ROI including:

  • Asset life
  • Downtime
  • Parts/inventory
  • Purchasing
  • Quality costs (scraps and rework)
  • Overtime
  • Productivity
  • Utilities


With a next-generation maintenance solution, facility managers and decision-makers can expect a consistent and measurable ROI at 6 to 9 months. With traditional CMMS systems, it may take a couple of years. This is in part because of how long traditional systems take to deploy—one of several limitations you should be aware of.


The Limitations of a Traditional CMMS System

In addition to a slow launch time, a traditional CMMS system doesn’t provide real-time data. As a result, most maintenance is reactive. Maintenance teams spend a lot of time fixing machines only after they’ve broken.

The traditional CMMS system may help with preventative (routinely scheduled) maintenance, but it typically doesn’t integrate with machine sensors that enable predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance uses real-time data to provide the current status of a given machine or production line.

In fact the lack of accurate, real-time data is one of the biggest drawbacks of a traditional CMMS system. It affects the maintenance of machines, as well as the maintenance team itself:

  • Many CMMS systems come with a limited number of licenses that only permit system experts to input data, creating a bottleneck and late data

  • Alternatively, plant workers have access but find the new technology difficult to use and don’t properly input data

  • Workers do not understand how data is used, so they may put in the bare minimum


Consequently, in a traditional CMMS system, reactive maintenance is not well-captured and input rarely matches operations’ account of downtime. It doesn’t create visibility and get everyone on the same page. Quite the opposite: it creates silos between departments, with fingers often pointed at maintenance.

It stands to reason, then, that a next-generation solution would solve all of these problems. It would:

  • Deploy quickly 
  • Create a ROI within a reasonable time frame
  • Enable predictive maintenance
  • Empower users with real-time, transparent data
  • Break down silos and unite all departments behind a common cause: production
  • Tie your maintenance and other existing systems together (i.e., ERP, CMMS, MES, QMS, etc.)


A CMMS System for the Future

We know that a digital maintenance system is necessary for the modern manufacturing plant. However, traditional CMMS systems aren’t enough for the plant that wants to win the day, every day. A next-generation maintenance solution is needed in order to achieve true operational excellence.

Leading2Lean’s CloudDISPATCH is a cloud-based solution with the next-generation maintenance capabilities that help manufacturers create a culture of sustainable continuous improvement. If you want to learn how CloudDISPATCH can revolutionize your plant floor and your bottom line, watch this short video from  an operations manager at West Liberty Foods.

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