CMMS on the move: the boom in mobile applications

CMMS on the move

1. The digitalisation of maintenance

Mobility is one of the essential assets of CMMS, Computerized Maintenance Management, of which mobile applications are one of the new vectors. The digitalization of maintenance is based on a multitude of media: tablets, smartphones, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) and now via mobile applications, dedicated to CMMS. Accessing the data of one's organization at any time and anywhere becomes essential to be efficient. With the improved accessibility of online software, but also the reduction of the weight of certain versions of applications, CMMS is becoming an everyday tool. Mobile applications and new technologies are now making it possible to provide new and more efficient solutions to companies.

2. The objectives of CMMS

The main objectives of CMMS are to make maintenance more fluid, efficient and more instantaneous, even natural. Also, a real simplicity of use can only develop its use. Mobile CMMS applications are the perfect answer to this objective. The stakes in this area are high: operational efficiency, standardization of practices, planning, but also economies of scale. Today, maintenance is inconceivable without appropriate IT and software solutions. The next challenges lie in the mobile nature of these different maintenance solutions. New technologies must be at the service of maintenance. The various connected tools provide access to a plethora of services: geolocation, photo shooting, access to company mailboxes ... And all the more so as the penetration of new technologies in companies is excellent.

Also, the full web has become a must for CMMS. Today, software must be accessible from any terminal, via the Internet. Previously, in a conventional client/server architecture, CMMS software was installed on dedicated client workstations and networked. These workstations were then responsible for sending requests to a server, on which a data base was implemented.

Thanks to the full web, no more installation is necessary. To access the CMMS software, all you need is a compatible terminal, Internet access and authorization to access the software. Such a solution not only saves space (everything can be hosted directly by the software publisher), but also increases productivity. In the event of an update, for example, it is no longer necessary to update each terminal via a specific intervention. This intervention can be carried out at the server level. As no application is actually installed on the terminals, the deployment of the proposed solutions is easier and faster.


Through internet access, it is then possible for service providers or technicians to update a database, to consult a detailed history of interventions, or to consult a description of the surrounding equipment very easily. The optimization of maintenance costs and treatment processes goes in this direction. The objectives are to reduce machine or production line downtime and to optimize costs by managing equipment capital as well as possible, in order to anticipate the unexpected and improve reliability.

3. Mobility and new digital tools

The mobility and new digital CMMS tools allow technicians' activity to be monitored in real time. They can also receive instant notifications. Access to information is therefore easier and requests for assistance can also be processed in a shorter timeframe. A real monitoring of the activity (to the minute) is allowed. To be effective, maintenance must be dynamic and adapt each time in order to constantly optimize costs. The use of a CMMS tool in a company, to be effective, requires the standardization of practices. The various existing rules must be unified, and the implementation of a common maintenance language must be encouraged. The full web goes even further by developing the centralization of data but also by allowing the harmonization of the different systems used, and this via mobile applications.

In addition, thanks to the use of mobile applications, full web software helps to limit the investment race. It is no longer necessary to own the most powerful terminals to be at the cutting edge of technology since the different solutions are hosted on an independent server. The possibilities of gateway with other units of the same group can thus be multiplied. Through the full web, the Application Service Provider (ASP) allows the user to better control its costs.

4. In search of a virtuous cycle

Improving the operational efficiency of different sites requires constant optimization. A virtuous cycle: Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) must be sought. It is a critical analysis of failures and causes. However, such an organization relies above all on efficient and relevant information gathering. Simplicity of use via standardized information systems appears to be the standard for integration into a production and standardization system (SCADA). Mobility is constantly in search of simplicity but also, and above all, instantaneousness. For example, the mobility of devices can be a considerable accelerator for staff training.

The focus on specific functions allows new users to learn these functions. It also allows former experienced employees to discover new modes of action. A quick and intuitive familiarization with new functions is thus possible thanks to the implementation of relevant and adapted solutions.

5. Mobility as a serious source of savings

In addition, facilitated mobility is a serious way to save money. Since it allows an optimization of the means in relation to the needs always more adapted. Requests for interventions in the field can thus be distributed in the best possible way, via a real-time feedback of intervention orders. Decision-making is thus easier and faster.

In addition to the advantage for service technicians to benefit from the vouchers instantly (or almost instantly, depending on the connections set up), they can, via the applications set up, benefit from information and technical documentation very easily, directly from their PDA. If necessary, they can also benefit from the addition of tips for frequent reminders of the various safety instructions. Thanks to the use of CMMS and dedicated mobile applications, in addition to the successful completion of the required tasks, a follow-up of the quality of the interventions can be organized. Such a follow-up can include, for example, an obligation to take photos following an intervention. Following this, the technician's manager can directly edit the photos remotely. The immediate control of the quality of the intervention can be a vector for improving customer satisfaction.

On a more human level, it can help to quickly identify specific training needs for a technician. The documentation of the intervention via both photos and geolocation can also attest to the successful completion of the work. While mobile CMMS via dedicated applications is an excellent solution for technicians on the move, it can have many other uses. Mobile CMMS has obvious advantages in terms of inventory management and logistics. This is thanks to the inclusion of information on stock movements.

In addition to the photo taking and geolocation mentioned above, the PDA, via efficient applications, can integrate various mapping applications, but also business tools specific to the manufacturer. These solutions thus have the considerable advantage of personalization. In addition, the connected character allows the technician, after entering data on his PDA, to find his data directly on the computer.

So far, examples of an industrial nature have been mentioned. However, a conversion in the field of services is of course possible. It is possible to envisage devices for the collection and recognition of electronic signatures, as well as the integration of satisfaction questionnaires. The use of mobile applications thus makes it possible to standardise the quality of service through different service providers but also on different products. Although these solutions are innovative, they tend to become real customer expectations.

6. The emergence of new professions

The use of such technologies, close to the customer and the consumer, contributes to the development of new businesses. Indeed, mobile CMMS applications help to develop the versatility of technicians. Thanks to access to precise online documentation, technicians can see their fields of intervention expand. The ability to take photos and send them instantaneously also makes it possible to use the opinion of a third party. An expert can then take over from a distance. The expert can also make decisions that allow for the resolution of a failure that is beyond the capabilities of the technician in the field, or for which the technician has not been trained.

Thanks to CMMS applications, the technician is no longer alone in the field. He can benefit, remotely, from the support of a virtually complete logistics platform. On the business side, such solutions can once again allow companies to adapt their cost structures by centralizing expertise. At the same time, it can also be a means of mastering skills and their uses.

Finally, as part of an innovative communication approach and a youthful image, the use of new technologies and CMMS in mobility, via dedicated mobile applications in particular, makes it possible to convey an image of a dynamic company in the age of its time and evolving with customers. The adaptability of companies but above all their reactivity to precise needs are real assets. It is therefore not surprising that more and more companies are developing projects in this direction.

Emma Duverne Marketing Manager