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CMMS Systems Integration  ...

CMMS integration with current systems, solutions - implementation.

By Bryan Weir of Perspective CMMS

CMMS systems integration with current systems

CMMS Systems Integration Article:

CMMS Systems Integration Solutions

Integrating your CMMS or Maintenance Management System with inventory, accounting, purchasing systems and other enterprise management systems may be necessary in your organization. In larger companies Enterprise Asset Management systems like SAP and J.D. Edwards may already include a CMMS module integrated within the larger system. In smaller companies, integration with current systems may have to be organized as a separate function of two or more specific software systems.

If considering integration with current systems, you must bear in mind that it may not be easy to accomplish without skilled IT people. Unless you have the IT resources available in house it may involve the employment of two or more external software agencies with the resulting financial overheads.

Some examples of CMMS Systems and Accounting systems integration solutions are provided below.


What is CMMS Systems Integration?

CMMS software integration (or for that matter any software systems integration solutions) is the process of enabling two or more software systems to talk to each other by making common data available to each system and facilitating the exchange of this data between the systems. The data exchange can involve each system reading the other's data, writing to it or both.

An obvious example is the integration of CMMS systems with a purchasing system. Most companies already have a purchasing system but almost all CMMS systems now come with their own. In all but the smallest companies the accounts and purchasing departments will already have their own financial, purchasing and inventory systems in place and they will not accept any move to the CMMS purchasing system.

The maintenance department (via the CMMS/Maintenance Management Systems) may require that the availability of spare parts is checked before planned maintenance work orders are issued. To do this the CMMS software must be able to check the stock levels in the existing inventory software system. The systems integration solution in this case would mean making the spare parts database fields in the purchasing system readable by the CMMS software.

It may also involve making the fields of the database writeable by the CMMS software in a situation where it is to be allowed to adjust spare parts inventory.

Accounting Systems Integration with the CMMS

The above scenario describes a situation where CMMS systems or maintenance management systems require information be held in a separate inventory system. There may also be a requirement for the accounting system to read or "pull" data from the CMMS system.

Let's say that the accounting system needs to calculate the overall cost of maintenance work for the general ledger. To do so it will need to have information like how many hours were spent on a job, the cost of materials used and perhaps the cost of any equipment downtime involved. Most modern CMMS systems will be able to provide this information. The actual systems integration solution will require the software integrator to make the requisite data in the CMMS database readable by the accounting system.

CMMS Software Data

CMMS Software Integration with Third Party Systems

Modern stock control systems often include functionality that allows integration with vendors' systems. This facilitates the automatic placement of orders to the appropriate vendor when stock levels reach the pre-defined minimum.

Clearly this is a good solution since it does not rely on any human input. The chance of error is therefore minimized.

It also reduces labor costs since there is no requirement for purchasing people to spend time manually raising the purchase orders. In systems where the CMMS is to be used for purchasing there may be a requirement for direct integration with the vendors' systems.

Other potential integration opportunities exist with shop floor data systems and SCADA applications. Shop floor data systems in a manufacturing organization can offer data on production schedules and the availability of equipment for maintenance. Maintenance work orders can then be planned based on this information. SCADA software can deliver signals indicating the status of equipment or systems and corrective work orders can be raised based on the data received.

So in essence software systems integration just means the exchange of data or making data from two or more systems available to the other(s).


Problems with CMMS Systems Integration Solutions

Essentially, systems integration solutions require people with the required IT skills to make the links between the databases of the systems. This can only be done on open databases. These are databases within software applications that have been programmed to allow access from other applications that are suitable for integration and that permit the required data transfer.

When the system has been properly integrated it should work seamlessly with no errors but problems may arise in future if one of the software applications is upgraded or changed to a new version. The potential for problems in this area clearly increases with the number of systems that are included in the CMMS system integration but the company making the change will generally assist by providing information for any modifications that become necessary as a result of the change.

Thank you Bryan Weir of Perspective CMMS, for donating this article.

Thank you readers for your interest.

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