Should I use an ERP for maintenance?
Whether you use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for maintenance depends on how large your business is. ERPs are known for their complexity, so they’re not usually worth implementing unless the size of your company warrants it.
Also, ERP software tends to be designed more for storing data rather than engaging with it. This means that while you might be able to track data related to your equipment, the software won’t give you many maintenance management tools that are readily accessible. For example, if you wanted to schedule work orders based on asset health, most ERPs wouldn’t make that easy on you.
For these reasons, I’d recommend using a simple CMMS to manage your maintenance tasks. These types of programs are designed to facilitate each facet of maintenance planning. Just a few of their features include:
- Work requests and work order management
- Asset tracking, including warranties, downtime, and depreciation
- Maintenance scheduling
- Inventory management
- Mobile apps
And the list goes on. Even free CMMS packages will come with many of these features, and a full suite will still tend to be simpler to implement than ERP software. You’d ultimately get more features that are relevant to maintenance planning without the complex infrastructure.
As such, I’d recommend using a CMMS until you’ve grown enough to start considering an ERP. Even then, you might still retain your CMMS by integrating it into your ERP suite. That way, you keep the maintenance management capabilities of the CMMS while also gaining the data continuity provided by enterprise resource planning software.
Now, if you already have an ERP in place, you could adapt it for use in maintenance planning. Again, let me point out that an ERP is designed to store data and make it accessible. Typically, it will do this by connecting software systems used in each of your company’s departments, making it more of an intermediary than an actual maintenance planning tool.
Because of this, you’d have to either:
- Build more functionality into it (perhaps by integrating maintenance management software), or
- Rely on processes outside of the software itself.
Basically, an ERP can be a powerful tool in maintenance management, but there are better options that can get more done for less.
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