If you’re planning on growing your business ERP is the way to go for today…and tomorrow.
There have been many articles written about the pros and cons of each of these options for handling your maintenance and facilities management functions. They range from cost, flexibility, ease of use and complexity. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you stand on, in today’s fast paced and dollar conscious work environments it’s important to pick the option that will give you both short and long term results.
Why choose an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) over a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) you ask? That’s a very good question, and to be completely transparent here, yes I support an ERP product (PeopleSoft), with a focus on Maintenance Management. I came to this role through a Facilities Management background – I’ve used both and I’ve had success with both but have found more benefits and savings and fewer headaches with an ERP.
First let’s just look at the definitions of the two different types of systems:
ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning: Business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.
CMMS – Computerized Maintenance Management System: A software package that maintains a computer database of information about an organization’s maintenance operations.
For me, the limitations of a CMMS are stated clearly and simply by its name – it’s a single, stand-alone application.
If you aren’t using any portion of an ERP system and your current systems are giving you the reporting and analysis that you need then it may be to your advantage to stick with what you’re using. But having a stand-alone system isn’t like marriage – you’re not committed to it forever. You have choices and as technology improves it’s a good idea to explore an ERP option just to make sure that what you’ve got is the best that you can have for your business today…and tomorrow.
If you are integrating multiple systems, you know the headaches this can create. Here is a “simple” view of a multisystem integration map. Just looking at it is mind boggling and combining data for analysis can be as challenging, and frustrating, as reading this map.
On the other hand, if you’re using any module of PeopleSoft ERP today with a stand-alone, non-integrated CMMS you’re not getting the full potential out of either system. You have some data in one application, other data in others – and most of the time that information has to be merged together for accurate reporting and analysis. What system is your source of truth?
In my opinion, one of the primary benefits of an integrated solution is cost savings. Cost savings through the elimination of custom integrations and the time savings achieved through having all of your data in one application. This is especially important when it relates to your maintenance and facilities management – the ability to tie all of your work order costs to an asset to get a true picture of overall performance and costs is invaluable. Imagine having your purchasing, your asset management and your preventive/maintenance management functions all in one application. This alone is well worth the time to explore the advantages of PeopleSoft’s ERP system.
Unlike the mind-boggling map above showing integrations of multiple systems, this map of the Maintenance Management module in PeopleSoft displays clean connections with other modules of the application. The integration points that are so critical to analyzing your costs and assets is built in for you. This is your source of truth.
At the end of the day you may be exactly where you need to be and your current solutions are the best choice for you – you’ll never know unless you compare. Remember, you’re not married to your current stand-alone system, so it’s ok to do a little looking around for the right system for you today…and tomorrow all in one application.