Tie best of breed CMMS with your ERP and reap the business benefits

Most corporate departments think of maintenance when they need the thermostat adjusted in the conference room. But maintenance management and CMMS are an integral part of ERP, which runs 80% of Fortune 1000 companies

07/02/2013


Most corporate departments think of maintenance when they need the thermostat adjusted in the conference room. But maintenance management and CMMS are an integral part of ERP, which runs 80% of Fortune 1000 companies. CMMS is an essential tool for managing operations and maintaining assets across the enterprise. CMMS drives quality production, ensures regulatory compliance and controls operating costs.

So how do you run a smooth maintenance operation, keep assets humming and integrate with the company’s ERP system? Before you start coding a new ERP interface, weigh the issues. Is the CMMS integration a desire for the maintenance department or a directive from the COO? How can CMMS and ERP integration reduce operating costs and contribute to business performance?

Once you answer the big picture questions and decide to move forward, consider these guidelines from someone who’s been there, done that…

First, make sure you think through your points of integration. Synchronize part quantities vs. share a completed purchase order (PO)—this is an important debate. Some ERP systems make it difficult to share a whole purchase order, so perhaps synchronizing spare parts in your CMMS with the ERP POs is a better approach.

Do you have internal expertise, or at least affordable consulting on the ERP side? These costs can add up. It is likely your ERP system will need configuration support to make this interface work.

Don’t rush into the integration. Get to know your CMMS first, for a few weeks or even several months before finalizing your integration plans. Product experience will influence interface approach/design, and is a safer, less expensive endeavor than building the interface in advance.

Assess your CMMS needs. Understand that although a CMMS vendor may have interface capabilities off-the-shelf, the interface will always need to be configured for the organization’s environment—either on the CMMS or ERP side, or both. Configuration depends on the IT environment, ERP system and version, desired integration points, in-house ERP expertise, etc. Automated interfaces should be considered semi-configured (in some cases total custom) projects.

In theory, a quality CMMS vendor should have the technological capabilities to allow any information to be passed to and from an ERP system. Most common interfaces I have developed are related to spare parts. Others include sharing “finished” purchase orders/requisitions, asset information (status, location, costs, etc.), and employee data, typically labor rates or department information.

Most importantly, have the discussion with your maintenance team. Define the business goals. Identify the integration points. Your CMMS vendor won’t be able to discuss development costs unless you have thought through the project. Do your homework upfront so CMMS and ERP can make the connection a lasting one.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.