Free CMMS software? Sure, you can find one. And since it's free, it’s tempting. Yet, is it really interesting? Should we take advantage of it, or should we be wary of what could be a delusion?
From in-house maintenance management to free versions of otherwise paying software and open source solutions, here are the advantages and disadvantages of free CMMS. But also the (good) reasons to invest some money to make maintenance easier and more efficient.
ARE CMMS TOOLS FREE?
There are several solutions out there for those who want to adopt a free CMMS. Here are the most well-known.
Managing maintenance without any CMMS
A paper, a pen, and that's it! The cheapest technique is also the oldest: "paper" maintenance. Each intervention is recorded in a notebook or on sheets, and we thus have a complete follow-up of the operations.
Testimony: Well, I created my own maintenance software
However, in practice, this solution has many disadvantages. Sharing information is complicated, consulting the interventions’ history is tedious (because it is only accessible on a single document) and tracking every intervention seems unfeasible.
The real cost - in terms of time in particular - is therefore very high compared to other existing solutions. In practice, the fact that it’s free is completely illusory.
Many companies use Excel, which they have anyway, to manage their maintenance without a dedicated software. Compared to paper maintenance, this technique greatly facilitates the follow-up of interventions and especially the consultation of actions carried out.
Mobility Work CMMS comes with several tools to follow tasks and activities performed in your network
However, access to information, operational planning and use remain very limited. Maintenance teams actually have a hard time using Excel as it’s tedious and does not encourage careful monitoring. Again, the actual comparative cost is much higher than the apparent free cost.
Open source software
As in most IT fields, there are open source maintenance management software. However, their use is reserved for insiders, as they require advanced computer skills and are difficult to handle.
In practice, this type of software may be suitable for small businesses where only a few people with computer skills are required to manage maintenance. For larger teams, open source solutions are just not working.
Free versions of professional software
Some publishers offer free versions of their software. These allow you to acquire a dedicated solution without paying a cent.
They are actually more intended for testing than for sustainable use. Limited number of users, restricted functionalities, etc.: the disadvantages of these "software" appear very quickly.
Free CMMS limitations
It is therefore proven that all free CMMS solutions have limitations that make them unsuitable for an effective professional use. Their main benefit (the fact that it’s free) masks hidden costs, in terms of unnecessary work, unwillingness to take charge of them because they’re not user-friendly, or in terms of charged functionalities.
In addition, the use of free CMMS software generally requires many settings, for which you may need time or even an external service provider. However, the major thing missing with this kind of solutions is support.
WHY PAY TO MANAGE ONE’S MAINTENANCE THANKS TO A CMMS?
Compared to free CMMS, charged solutions have many advantages. Their real cost is often even lower in the end.
Many features to manage maintenance
The first point may seem obvious, but it is important: offers for which you have to pay provide much more features than free CMMS software.
In fact, they are much better adapted to the specificities of the company and facilitate the follow-up of maintenance operations. In addition, their several features allow for the implementation of advanced maintenance management, such as predictive maintenance.
Companies selling maintenance management solutions generally provide support for the installation of the software as well as during the entire period of use.
This support saves users valuable time and avoids being "stuck" with a tool that is supposed to facilitate the work of maintenance teams.
A still affordable price
While many "traditional" software products cost between 50,000 and 200,000 dollars, there are nowadays applications whose price is much lower, which makes it possible to avoid such a significant investment.
Mobility Work, for example, is a community-based maintenance management platform that will cost you 35$ per maintenance user for its mobile CMMS application.
Access to latest innovations
This is a major advantage of using such solution: it allows you to benefit from the latest innovations in maintenance management. At a time where new technologies allow the permanent improvement of IT tools, this asset is considerable if you’re looking forward to achieve better productivity and therefore better competitiveness.
For example, this mobile CMMS does not exist in a free version. This Mobility Work’s innovation allows, via a dedicated application, to consult and enter machine maintenance information at any time and from anywhere on a tablet or smartphone.
Thanks to a mobile CMMS tool, you can create your tasks while on the field and scan equipment’s QR codes in order to access equipment sheets
In addition, these latest generation tools are regularly updated to take user feedback into account. This ensures that they are easy to use and are efficient, as traditional software (whether free or paid for) are unable to meet these needs.
It can therefore be concluded that there isn’t much space for free solutions when it comes to CMMS. They lack features and are very rarely adapted to the challenges that companies face when they want to improve their productivity.
Choosing a paying solution allows you to acquire a tool adapted to your company, to be accompanied by quality support and to benefit from a regular evolution of functionalities.