Enterprise asset management (EAM) and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are essential to most maintenance and reliability strategies irrespective of plant size. Maintenance information systems run on multi-platforms using mainframe, client/server, thin client, or browser-based applications. Smaller, stand-alone systems run on PCs or local area networks. Because some powerful packages can run on a single PC or networked PCs without a midrange server, the dividing line between small and large systems has blurred. Therefore, we are including all software packages in one directory.
Buying decisions begin with an analysis of how a maintenance organization operates today and what its strategy is for the future. These systems can help organizations implement their strategy to decrease downtime and increase the utilization of their resources, and can be viewed as a communication tool to help make better decisions.
Using these approaches, maintenance personnel can access information and work orders in a number of ways—dedicated terminals and PCs, or mobile Palm-type personal digital assistants (PDAs) and handheld computers running Windows CE. Other wireless and radio frequency devices to access information are also at hand. Developments including e-commerce, supply chain integration, the Internet, and wireless technologies that first were implemented in larger plants also are benefiting smaller and midsize plants.
There has been an expansion in the number of companies that are offering an application service provider (ASP) option to their programs. Users pay a monthly per-seat fee to access the software through an Internet-enabled workstation. The ASP stores the program and the data on its server. Users always have access to the most current version of the program. This delivery method eliminates the need for on-site hardware infrastructure, system administration, and associated costs at the user’s end. Another variation of this method lets users access the program through the Internet but the data resides in their own plants.
To meet the needs of the increasing number of companies that recognize the benefits of electronic transactions, some software suppliers provide web-enabled systems that support e-procurement within their own program or allow users to integrate their EAM or CMMS system with other vendor software. Another growing area is connectivity with programs having the ability to integrate with other plant ERP business applications and production automation systems. MT