What is a CMMS? - Unlocking the Benefits of CMMS Software for Maintenance Management

9 minutes

What is a CMMS?

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a software that improves processes in creation, updating and reporting of data for maintenance work and equipment.

Alternate terms you may hear are maintenance management software and work order software.


Why use a CMMS?

If you're using paper, sticky notes or Excel sheets to keep up with your maintenance tasks, inventory or assets, then you can increase your productivity by switching to a CMMS.

The benefits of a CMMS include the ability to:

  • Increase work order efficiency

    • Find the right person with the right skills and the right availability for the work order

    • Properly balance priority – not just on single work order priority, but include the criticality of the asset as well (we call this “calculated criticality”)

    • Properly route and escalate work orders based on current conditions, shifting priorities, etc.

  • Save time on maintenance tasks

    • Have solid instructions including optional associated files like videos, pictures, documents, links, etc.

    • Quick data entry on a streamlined work order form

    • Create, modify, and close work orders with your mobile device for real-time updates

  • Streamline communication 

    • Automatic notification of work order assignments via AE dashboard, mobile chime, email, etc.

    • Intelligent routing and notification on dynamic conditions. For example: A work order Example: Work order created for Asset X automatically assigned to Terry Technician or Corey Contractor since they are the associated expert(s) on that asset.  

  • Save money with improved preventive maintenance and asset management

    • Stretch the life of the assets to help you avoid capital expenses

    • Improve quality of production (reduce “scrap/rework”) due to well-maintained assets

    • Consume less parts and energy and create less waste with well- maintained assets

  • Improve communication and transparency across your maintenance team

    • Use a dashboard to highlight work needed to be done, status of trackable KPIs, parts you are low on, etc.

    • Use a mobile app to open, close, assign and otherwise manage work orders – right in the field. Real-time updates streamline communication and shorten response time.

  • Workflow visibility and workforce management

    • Dynamic routing, workflow and configuration through numerous back-end (administration) features. This includes customized statuses, dynamic approvals, notifications, etc.

  • Accessible and customized reporting

    • Pre-prepared reports and charts with ability to use the report designer to customize

    •  Customizable key performance indicators (KPIs)

    • “Analyzer tool” offers a pivot-grid ad-hoc analysis/reporting capabilities 

    • Analytics, forecasting and predictive maintenance in one place

  • Enhance safety programs

    • Keep track of all safety-related documentation – lock-out/tag-out procedures, job safety analysis documents, standard safety procedures (PPE, COVID-19, etc.), Safety Data Sheets

    • Ability to have reviewers, expirations, etc. on all safety programs

    • Associate to any work order (PM or CM) or use as generic safety library

  • Manage compliance easier

    • Core features required by numerous compliance organizations (ISO, OSHA, etc.), including:

      • Record preventive maintenance tasks on key assets

      •  Document/verify work procedures

      • Verify safety inspections (proper and on schedule)

      • Repair or replace malfunctioning equipment

      • Reports/documentation for audits

      • Track employee health and safety, trainings and certifications

      • Archive work maintenance history

      • Document incidents

  • Automation of work and systems

    • See examples above around routing, workflow, notification, etc.

There are many ways to show how you need a CMMS, and we are here to help you show the value!

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How do you implement a CMMS?

Brightly has refined a highly streamlined implementation and communication process for our CMMS clients led by our Client Services team guiding you each step of the way. Our CMMS implementation process involves the following actions: assessing your needs, prioritizing a list of what should occur when and how, planning a cadence of tasks and communication, executing that plan, then maintaining your success with continual support.

The specific steps within that process include an orientation call, data collection and review; team training, product and feature training; and then help releasing the software to your organization. Once it's live, you will be assigned to a Client Success Representative to contact when you need help and to review your goals periodically.

We also offer on-site CMMS software implementation services to get you up and running as quickly as possible.

"Brightly was the easiest to use and implement." -John Marquette, Director of Buildings and Grounds at Fellowship Bible Church


Do you need to be in IT to use a CMMS?

By no means! If you can search or shop online, or use a smartphone app, then you have the core skills to use our user-friendly computerized maintenance management system.

In fact, our CMMS is mobile and cloud-based, so it can be accessed on any device at any time.

"I've used three different maintenance management programs, and it was by far the easiest one to use. It’s the most user-friendly program that I’ve seen." -Bonnie Read, Parkland School District

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Who uses a CMMS?

Maintenance and operations teams who are serious about being more efficient and making their work lives easier and more enjoyable. Just check out the many benefits of a cloud-based, mobile CMMS.

"Without a doubt, it’s made my job a lot easier." -Ben Nowak, Maintenance Supervisor at Aspirus Wausau Hospital


How do you use a CMMS?

A CMMS or CMMS software can help with everything from work orders to preventive maintenance to inventory and more.

  • Asset registry & management

    • Track any asset to any level of granularity 

      • Site>location>sub-location>sub-sub-location, etc.

      • Asset>sub-asset(s)>bill of materials (parts)

    • Manage all key fields (make, model, serial #, asset #, category, purchase info, emergency info, warranty and much more – including custom fields)

    • Review/manage cost-related info based on associated WOs for every asset including summarizing by category, etc.

  • Materials & inventory management

    • Manage any and all spare parts including part information, location, purchase, quantity (on hand, on order, reserved, back-ordered, etc.) and more

    • Notification if you are low on parts (email, dashboard, etc.)

    • Manage requisitions/purchase orders (procurement) lifecycle including dynamic approvals if needed

  • Work order and resource/labor management

    • As a technician:

      • Easily see a summary of all of your work (PM/CM, late WOs, etc.)

      • Build custom lists of work orders where you show all key fields. Example: A typical default view for a maintenance tech would include all “open” work orders, hopefully sorted by proper calculated criticality and include all key fields (asset, location, expected date, much more).

    • As a supervisor:

      • See your personal work orders as well as your team’s (same PM/CM, late, etc.)

      • Build custom views to manage your team exposing key work order fields

      • Look at historical lists of work orders and associated reporting to show team effectiveness

      • Use KPIs, charts and similar to make sure you are on target with your goals

    • Manage the parts for WOs – availability, costs, etc.

    • Use available reporting to analyze associated maintenance costs, metrics, trends, etc.

  • Asset maintenance operations & asset life

    • Stretch the life of assets by building robust preventive maintenance (PM) plan

    • See which assets are causing more issues and work to remedy them

    • Use a variety of reports and analysis to analyze asset effectiveness, like: 

      • Trend Analysis: This report is for a single asset and shows key data around who has worked on the asset, frequency of failure trends, maintenance costs trends and similar.

      • Asset Life Cycle Analysis: This report shows numerous assets and grades each on (A-F) based on combination of work order frequency of failure, cost trends, life of asset, etc.

      • Locate “bad actors” through various analytics.  See where a high frequency of corrective maintenance work orders based on numerous fields (category, problem code, cause code, etc.) fall.

  • Preventive maintenance

    • Build comprehensive PM plan based on a one-off event, calendar-based (daily/weekly/monthly, etc.) or usage-based (also called “meter readings” - hours run, cycle count, widgets produced, etc.)

    • Condition-based monitoring (CBM) PMs (temperature, pressure, vibration, etc.)

    • Ability to build comprehensive PMs/streamline around groups of assets, production lines, etc.

    • Detailed PM tasks/instructions, including tasks, pictures, videos, documents, etc.

    • Turbocharge with IoT (internet of things) integration

  • Reporting & analysis

    • Use graphs, KPIs and automated reports notify your maintenance teams, leaders and others (board of directors) of work that has been done, work that needs to be done and related budget needs

    • Access an analytics dashboard to see progress on KPIs

Several CMMS providers (like Brightly) offer a cloud-based CMMS software product, which ensures you, your maintenance and facility management teams are on the latest CMMS technology version which reduces IT impacts of installations, managing servers and data backups.


Industries that can benefit from a CMMS:

There are many industries that can benefit from the use of a CMMS, including:

No matter your industry, we have specific solutions designed to your needs, as well as experts to help you customize your CMMS for your organizational goals.

See it in action


How do you convince your boss you need a CMMS?

There are many ways to show how you need a CMMS, and we are here to help you show the value!

Our clients have used any number of these tactics to get the approval for a CMMS investment:

  • Invite them to a personalized demo for our products

  • Make a list of the cons of your current system and pros of a CMMS

  • Put a dollar amount to your deferred maintenance (every $1 of deferred maintenance will cost $4 of capital renewal needs in the future) and demonstrate a strong ROI, or return on investment

  • Show them some of our CMMS success stories


How many resources does it take to manage a CMMS?

The size of your organization and the level of detail you wish to track will determine this answer. The beauty of an online CMMS is the ability to "crowdsource" information by allowing multiple users or team members to enter new data, a smaller group of users to update data and the use of schedules or templates to autogenerate data. Some CMMS users have two full-time employees (FTE) to manage the system and some only use .5 FTEs.

Ready to start your journey to CMMS? Download our Buying Guide: Operations Management Software. We'll show you the 6 questions to ask when purchasing maintenance software and how to evaluate your options. Download your free Buying Guide today! Download your free copy








How long does it take to implement a CMMS?

Implementation times vary, but in many cases, you can be starting to see value within hours of use. This is especially true if you take advantage of professional services such as training, consulting, data migration, help desk, etc. Starting with a crawl/run/walk mentality, you will start to see progress right away that will continue to grow into true optimization of your maintenance operations team. A positive return on investment can happen in weeks or a few months. This is a “continuous improvement” journey that will move you from a firefighting/corrective maintenance mode into a smooth, proactive and optimized state.


What is the price of a CMMS?

CMMS software costs vary and are typically based on square footage, rooms or beds, residents, users or other increments.

To learn more about Brightly pricing, schedule a demo to see the value of software for your organization.


How to choose the best CMMS?

When choosing a CMMS, you must also consider the company or partner you will be working with. You should make sure they have a history of offering exceptional products and a strong support team.

"If you’re looking to make your life more difficult, stick with what you’re doing. If you want to make your life easy, go with Brightly." -Brandon Fowler, Plant Operations Director at Canterbury Court

At Brightly, we have 12,000+ clients using our CMMS, as well as a 97% client satisfaction rate. If you're interested in seeing how a CMMS could help you own your operations, schedule a personalized demo today!


If you're interested in seeing how a CMMS could help you own your operations, schedule a personalized demo today!