Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) software is very popular in manufacturing facilities all across the nation but, would you believe that the base software involved is around 50 years old?
CMMS started out way back in the ‘60s, when we relied on math-based systems to help with standardization, documentation and verification of manufacturing processes.
Computerized Maintenance Management Systems
The original CMMS systems first appeared in 1965, and, of course, were limited to only those manufacturing firms that could afford the software.
Since those days, CMMS has expanded and changed hugely, given the massive growth of computing power and the expansion of the internet, which in turn helps to make the functionality far more accessible to small and medium-sized companies in any part of the world.
Over the past 40 years, we can identify the largest advances which have occurred every decade or so, thus making CMMS far more accessible, a lot more affordable, and so much easier to use. At the time of writing in 2015, we are just about to witness the next big advance.
First Generation: Punch cards
Punch cards were utilized in the first CMMS systems as a way to remind maintenance technicians about simplistic and recurring tasks such as changing the oil in engines used in equipment.
These punch cards would be fed into a computer through a card reader and would hold work-order data like failure codes.
The early systems would function on programming languages such as Cobol and Fortran. In turn, that would run on huge mainframe computers that were centralized. These computers were only affordable to businesses of a large scale.
Second Generation: Mainframe computers
Moving forward about ten years, and little had changed other than punch cards were now paper forms. Work orders would be printed out on paper on a daily basis, after which, they would be distributed to maintenance teams.
Once a technician had completed a task, they would fill out the work order form, then return it to data-entry clerks. The clerk would directly type the information into a mainframe computer.
Third Generation: Mini-computers
Small and medium-sized businesses to this point were unable to afford CMMS. Jumping forward another ten years or so, to the mid-1980s, the mini-computer was introduced.
Thus, CMMS software became much more affordable, at least to medium-sized businesses. At that time, data was, once more, entered by technicians when work orders were complete.
Fourth Generation: LAN and PCs
As advances were made in networking and after the personal computer was introduced during the 1990s, many home-generated Microsoft Access-based CMMS applications were used. These quickly became the foundation for a brand new CMMS software business.
The systems allowed for multiple custom-built applications, but a high degree of duplication was required, and this made it difficult to record history and to carry out updates.
Fifth Generation: Browser-based CMMS
At around the year 2000, CMMS vendors began to migrate to browser-based systems. These were accessed through a standard web browser.
Software in this generation would be run on a local server, which allowed the customer to perform upgrades locally, while vendors would upgrade remotely.
Sixth Generation: Web-hosted CMMS
CMMS applications, until this point, had been run on local servers on LANs. Thus, not much could occur outside a company’s firewall. In the early 2000s, more vendors were understanding the power of the internet, which then led to web-hosted applications.
This allows users to access their CMMS from any device that is connected to the internet.
Seventh Generation: Multi-tenant CMMS
The next evolution of CMMS software, such as that used by Q Ware CMMS the software developer specialist, is cloud computing. There is no requirement for complex server set-ups or configuration since cloud CMMS is created on multi-tenant architecture and everyone shares the same CMMS app.
This type of technology allows CMMS software to be used by the masses, regardless company budget, size, or the type of industry.