CMMS vs. EAM Software: What’s the Difference Anyway?

If you’ve heard about Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) tools, you might assume they perform the same role. And you wouldn’t be one hundred percent wrong. However, there are several differences between the two.

While some might say one wins out over the other in all situations, there’s no right or wrong answer.

Ultimately, you’ll achieve the best results if you select the right approach for your company’s current and future needs. For example, what is your company’s level of maturity? What is your budget? How many assets do you manage? You’ll need to ask these questions when figuring out which tool is best for you and your company.

Here we offer discussion points to help you evaluate CMMS/EAM software.

Mobile-First MaintainX

Finding the Right Software: EAM vs. CMMS

EAM Software Snapshot

What Is EAM?

Enterprise Asset Management CMMS collects, houses, and analyzes data from early asset procurement to end-of-life asset disposal. Instead of running EAM solutions in isolation, you can opt for cloud-based EAM software. In addition, you can integrate EAM software with an ERP system to draw richer insights into your activities.

EAM apps help large organizations manage all stages of the asset lifecycle. These include buying new equipment, monitoring current asset activity and useful life, and decommissioning expired, obsolete, and unusable assets.

Who Uses EAM?

Procurement departments, asset managers, and financial teams most frequently use EAM software.

Pros of EAM

Like robust CMMS, EAM software:

  • Helps you understand the total cost of ownership of each of your assets
  • Integrates with other business functions, including accounting/finance and Human Resources
  • Gives you detailed and accurate lifecycle cost data to inform future procurement of physical assets
  • Provides multi-site support for asset tracking across different locations

Cons of EAM

The downsides of using EAM software include the following:

  • Can be costly and requires additional set-up for integrations and ongoing support
  • Typically requires cross-department buy-in to implement
  • May be unnecessarily complex for small to mid-sized businesses
Goal CMMS EAM
Reduce Downtime Asset monitoring and preventive maintenance scheduling will help you reduce downtime Work request servicing and team communication
Decrease Parts Costs Inventory management and automatic purchase orders Purchase order processing and approval
Multi-Site Management Ability to create multiple sites and add assets/parts to their particular locations and individual budgets Project management and inventory accounting
Asset Management Online time and repair history review Warranties & Claims and energy monitoring
Team Efficiency Digital work orders, commenting, real-time data, scheduling work People Management, employee scheduling solutions

CMMS Software Snapshot

What Is a CMMS System?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System is a centralized digital platform focused on your company’s maintenance operations.

Less concerned with procurement and disposal, CMMS can do the heavy lifting for your maintenance crews and managers who are busy operating, repairing, and fixing your assets.

As with EAM, you can integrate your CMMS software with many other SaaS and ERP systems. These integrations provide the missing link between your office-based teams that order spare parts and manufacturing and maintenance departments on the factory floor or in the field.

That said, not all CMMS platforms are equal, with some offering better functionality than others. For example, a robust CMMS like MaintainX can provide you with a real-time 360-degree view across your business. From asset uptime and downtime to planned predictive maintenance, standard operating procedures, audits and inspections, and on-the-spot inventory data, the right CMMS will help streamline the range of your manufacturing maintenance activities.

“Leading players in a variety of heavy industries have used digital tools in dramatically reducing unplanned outages while boosting maintenance-labor productivity. Higher availability and a more-efficient workforce have increased profitability by 4 to 10 percent in some organizations.”
McKinsey

Who Uses CMMS?

Technicians, maintenance teams, plant managers, and business owners all use CMMS. One of the most essential attributes of a CMMS like MaintainX is that it connects workers. We use the term “connected workforce” here to describe how a CMMS helps make organizational documents, systems, and apps accessible to remote team members.

Furthermore, the term “connected workforce” has been tied to the best CMMS in recent years. A CMMS can enhance employee communication via its ability to connect your business ecosystem, including data, computing devices, apps, enterprise solutions, and stakeholders.

MaintainX Work Order Templates

Pros of CMMS

CMMS software:

  • Allows you to create, assign, monitor, and complete work orders and inspection checklists all in one place
  • Provides accurate compliance tracking via digital sign-off on completed asset maintenance tasks
  • Enables both high-level and granular MRO inventory management
  • Provides excellent communication ability for your manufacturing and maintenance operations crews, encouraging strong user adoption (MaintainX is the only CMMS with in-app chat functionality!)
  • Is simple to use at all levels of your organization (again, check out MaintainX’s G2 Awards)

Cons of CMMS

The downsides of using a CMMS:

  • May lack additional features—such as high-level accounting and HR features
  • May not automatically provide cost tracking for early design/procurement stages or decommissioning
MaintainX Integrations

When Is a CMMS the Best Choice?

A CMMS like MaintainX is ideal for businesses that want to switch from paper-based maintenance management (or siloed digital systems like spreadsheets) to a more transparent, streamlined, and efficient manufacturing and maintenance tool.

“As technology has improved, CMMS capabilities have expanded to blur the lines between enterprise asset management systems (EAM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. They are IIoT ready and contain native integration capabilities for commonly used software. . . . CMMS developers have the system knowledge to create integration hubs and ensure that the incoming data structure and naming conventions align correctly with their CMMS’s required meta-data elements.”
Efficient Plant

CMMS vs. EAM Software: Key Differences

While some CMMS platforms may be stepping stones to EAM, the best CMMS offers best-in-class functionality and an overview of your company’s maintenance management requirements. However, Enterprise Asset Management software integrates various other business processes with asset use and maintenance. (So does a CMMS like MaintainX with robust integration functionality. We’ll go deeper into this in a minute.)

Whether you manage maintenance for a large organization or are just starting your journey, a CMMS is an ideal tool for greater visibility into how to use and maintain your assets. Consequently, a CMMS focuses primarily on planned and preventive maintenance scheduling; work order management; standard operating procedures, inspections and audits, and other aspects of using, fixing, and optimizing physical assets.

We’ve heard the following from companies scaling up and opening and/or acquiring new sites:

  • That as they grow, they will “outgrow” their current CMMS;
  • That when they want to consolidate their systems across multiple departments, their current CMMS won’t scale to other use cases like safety and quality; and
  • That they are not getting enough value from their current CMMS, and “upgrading” to an EAM is the answer.

However, the right CMMS is absolutely suitable for large enterprise-level organizations when they have the features, especially when they have the features that  MaintainX does. Although EAMs offer many features, the value of an EAM/CMMS ultimately hinges on how consistently frontline teams will use it. A CMMS like MaintainX can quickly become the “hub” of an enterprise’s digital transformation, challenging the perception that CMMS is more suited to smaller organizations. It’s just not true.

As a result, for many businesses, this provides a satisfactory management system. In some cases, modern CMMS software can offer many features that overlap with enterprise asset management systems. However, if you need to track hundreds of assets from the procurement stage and incorporate complex HR and accounting functions, an EAM may be your best choice.

Which Maintenance Management Software Is Best for Your Business?

When considering options, you’ll want to start by taking stock of your current business position and overall needs. For example, how many assets do you manage? How do you presently manage your assets? What are your pain points?

Take advantage of free subscriptions, join webinars, read use cases and case studies from different providers, and of course, consider the requirements of each area of your business–from maintenance personnel to machine operators to supervisors and, ultimately, your customers. While both help automate workflows and encourage improved asset performance, the right software solution will meet your organization’s future needs. If you’d like to see if MaintainX is right for you, book a live tour. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Caroline Eisner

Caroline Eisner is a writer and editor with experience across the profit and nonprofit sectors, government, education, and financial organizations. She has held leadership positions in K16 institutions and has led large-scale digital projects, interactive websites, and a business writing consultancy.

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