5 Reasons Why You Need More than a CMMS

David Villarina| May 24, 2021

Even as a jack of all trades, a good facility manager knows when it’s time to call in a specialist with the right tools. After all, you don’t want to use a workaround to solve complicated electrical, plumbing, or mechanical problems.

Yet, when it comes to document management, many FMs try to do it themselves with the tools they already have. This is caused by the incorrect assumption that document management does not require specialized tools or expertise.CMMS

One of the most common instances of this that we’ve seen, is facility teams trying to use a CMMS as a document management tool. Invariably, the CMMS works much like a hammer might work if you used it to tighten a screw.

Sure, you could punch the screw in, but it won’t work the way it’s supposed to. So, in the interest of helping facilities teams get more out of their day, we’ll review the 5 reasons you need more than a CMMS.

1. A CMMS is Just One Part of a Document Management Solution

According to Gartner, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is “used to provide for work and materials management of maintenance activities.” Essentially, a CMMS helps facilities teams monitor maintenance timelines and identify currently available resources—including personnel and inventory—to complete work orders.

In other words, when you’ve pinpointed a maintenance problem, a CMMS is a valuable tool to initiate addressing the problem.

But, like a surgeon’s knife, it’s only valuable when the decision to use it is based on a well-informed and thoughtful diagnosis. Otherwise, it could do more harm than good. True document management provides the information needed to make the best decisions possible about how to manage your building.

2. Apply the Diagnostic Power of True Document Management

One thing I continue to hear when I talk to facility managers, engineers, and operations teams: “My CMMS can’t solve my challenge of knowing which drawing sets touched a specific room in my building.”

A true document management solution with a graphic interface can show the “history of the room” using overlays. That way, in a single view, you can navigate through specific plan sets that show specific areas in the building.

As we all know, in just about every industry, buildings are in a constant state of change. Whether minor modifications were made to an existing building or an entirely new structure was added, your ability to efficiently manage the building relies on knowing what has changed and when it changed.

3. You Need More than a Central Information Repository

Whether it’s in physical or digital form, putting building information in one place is not in itself a solution. Not only do you have to organize the information, but you also need an information structure that’s searchable and easy to continuously update with new documents.

Even the most well-organized CMMS will require constant upkeep and organization. So, with a CMMS, to maintain the necessary information upkeep and organization, there are three choices:

  1. Hire a records manager.
  2. Do it yourself.
  3. Assign an admin (or intern) to do it.

The first option is often prohibitively expensive. And the DIY method is costly as well, but in a different way. Facilities teams’ time and skills are valuable and using them on records management is a misappropriation of resources.

Moreover, managing essential building documents in a way that is most useful to outside vendors and facility team members requires specialized skills. Asking an inexperienced admin to manage architectural, plumbing, and electrical plans is a recipe for disaster.

4. Information is Not Always Available with a CMMS

Several key principles of information management are not properly addressed by a CMMS, especially what ARMA International labels as the “Principle of Availability.”

For example, when a work order comes in, you need access to certain documents. The CMMS doesn’t answer the question of what documents need to be retrieved and reviewed. Nor does the CMMS provide a seamless way to access those documents.

According to ARMA’s Principle of Availability, “An organization shall maintain its information assets in a manner that ensures their timely, efficient, and accurate retrieval.”

By not answering the what, where and how of your information needs, a CMMS ensures that you will not retrieve information in a “timely, efficient, and accurate” manner. Moreover, many types of CMMS don’t provide mobile accessibility, which is a must in today’s mobile-first world.

5. Ease of Integration Has Paved the Way for “Best of Breed”

In the past, it may have made economic sense for a CMMS to double as an information management tool. After all, the alternative was to purchase two systems, provide training for two systems, and establish separate procedures for using both systems. Or, you could purchase one system that addressed all issues, but lacked specialization.

But things have changed.

In addition to the rise of increasingly specialized solutions, it’s also more common for software to be designed with an open architecture. This makes integration far more cost-effective than it once was. As a result, there’s truly no reason for facilities teams to only use a CMMS when what they also need is a best of breed intelligent information management solution.

ARC Facilities Can Fill the Gap

What does best of breed look like in the world of facility information management?ARC Facilities

his makes integration far more cost-effective than it once was.It looks like a self-managed, intelligent information index that’s been designed specifically to help facilities teams make quicker, more informed decisions every day. It’s also backed by a team of construction document experts who take information management completely off your hands.

And it’s easy to use, which speeds adoption even on teams with varying levels of comfort with technology.

In fact, it looks a lot like ARC Facilities, a mobile dashboard that enables facilities teams to communicate in real-time, mark up plans on the go, access their information at any time, and much more. To learn more about how ARC Facilities will complement and enhance your CMMS, schedule a demo today.


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