Updated: Oct 26, 2022
This new article aims to take a step back on the future of Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). How, in 2020, will CMMS software, users and machine manufacturers (OEM) adapt to the evolution of manufacturing Industry 4.0 and emerging technologies?
1. CMMS = Aging technology?
There are these kinds of things that cannot be explained, as they are ingrained in our manners. Here are three examples related to our use of CMMS:
1.1 - "Empty shell" - Everyone knows that the new machine has not been in the CMMS for 6 months ...
First of all, let me explain what I mean by the expression "empty shell": by default, the vast majority of CMMS software is delivered without data or pre-loaded parameters. You must therefore build, by hand or with the help of a consultant, the assets and hierarchy of your site, buildings, machines, equipment, spare parts ... In addition, you must create maintenance strategies, processes and plans, create all your preventive maintenance and train users ...
It is a tedious and costly project that must be done for each software of each industrial company wishing to improve the management of their industrial or facilities maintenance.
Why, knowing that this first step will pose latent problems for the next 20 years, we continue to pay for this model in 2020?
1.2 - Not ergonomic & smart - Obsolete parts, incomplete BOMs, inaccurate description/location...
Beyond that, most CMMS software ages and are not ergonomic, or even intelligent. Blocked in their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), implemented in the 1990s, most large industrial companies find themselves trapped in an often complex and obsolete ecosystem. They find themselves pushed to the wall, faced with massive investments and the impact on their production, to set up a replacement software or a cloud move. The losses linked to the ineffectiveness of these cases represent billions of dollars across the industrial world.
What should these companies do?
Looking more closely, the new CMMS (startups), cloud-based, become increasingly simple and ergonomic. Fantastic! But what about functionalities or intelligent potential? Quite low ... Leaving the big companies in a dead end (Complexity but obsolescence against simplicity for less functionality).
Current technologies should allow much more for these companies and at a lower cost.
1.3 - Low use of data - Nobody trusts CMMS data
This naturally brings us to the use of data. When I hear the name: "Crystal Report" these days, my blood freezes! The industry collects tons of data without using it dynamically. Despite the rise of new data analysis software, it is strange to note that the majority of the big bosses of industrial companies devote little or no time to innovation in Industrial Maintenance. Budgets appear to be spent only on critical repairs and production lines.
Is this linked to the lack, to a systematic disbelief of maintenance data? Or perhaps a lack of hindsight or access linked to the emerging technologies that remain in industrial maintenance?
Are we just waiting for the 4th industrial revolution to solve all the problems without preparing for a transition? This kind of thing does not fall from the sky.
"Automated" data entry, budget cross-functional data warehouse and new cloud software platforms should be a minimum today.
Note: A technological development monitoring for your CMMS software is strongly recommended every 5 years. Software is like cars, they age badly! So, yes changing CMMS software can be expensive but waiting can be even more ...
2. Industry 4.0
2.1 - Is industry 4.0 ready?
One thing is certain, it is that the fourth industrial revolution has not yet exploded. We can see a lot of demos at industry fairs and isolated (not standard) cases of digital factories.
Can we reconcile CMMS software connected to a sensor as a revolution? No.
The digitization of factories is still too complex and inaccessible for most users.
2.2 - Who should get Industry 4.0 ready?
From my point of view, the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) should take the first step. However, most of them (small OEM) do not have the structure, knowledge or resources, especially IT, to generate secure "plug and play" access (operation and maintenance instructions, spare parts...). It could also be very difficult for them to justify an expense for a concept whose economic benefits and use cases are still unknown. In my opinion, the demand is there.
And to paraphrase Rupert Murdoch: “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the FAST beating the slow.”
Does the fashion phenomenon take everything in its path, so much so that nobody believes it anymore? No, because young thinkers, from many startups, may be ready to take on the challenge.
2.3 - When industry 4.0 will be ready?
Assumptions: Soon, very soon, we can hear it coming... No one will wait for industries or their "aging bosses" to transform. Startups don't lace up. They develop niche products very quickly and begin to attract curious industrial minded people in their nets, thanks to the Cloud for their attractive prices. They are also very close to their customers and develop their products WITH them. When everything begins to unify between products, IT, network stability and security, things will accelerate. Next comes the standardisation of communication protocols.
When we get there, the manufacturers will offer the Machines as a Service (leasing) including Maintenance as a Service. Industry 4.0 will take shape and CMMS software will start to be in danger as everything will be embedded in the machines...
CMMS still has a bright future in a saturated market. BUT THINGS MUST CHANGE. Whether through third-party platforms or integrated software, OEMs will provide Industrial Maintenance as a Service (#IMaas) and charge monthly subscriptions in a close future. Naturally, in order to reduce the costs of "human" customer service, Industry 4.0 will play an important role. Standardisation could finally, as usual, happen last (It will only depend on you!)...
I hope this article sheds some light on the subject.
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This article is based on suggestions and personal studies aimed at generalising information. Please be respectful in your comments.