A Brief History of CMMS and How It Changed the Maintenance Management?

history of maintenance

The history of the CMMS system shows the rapid growth of accessibility and performance of maintenance management. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have become the common software in many developing industries today, believe it or not, it is a 50 years old concept.

Different Generations of CMMS Development

CMMS has been around since the early generation of computers. Starting from the 1960s, the first generation of CMMS used “punch cards” running on the early IBM mainframe computers. The early version of CMMS was very limited in usage, it is only for basic work orders, and the expertise is needed to run them. This system was attracted by large companies and government organizations to manage their maintenance operations.

In the late 1960s, punch cards were replaced by computer terminals. The evolution of mainframe computers made CMMS software available to many organizations, but still, it is limited to large companies and government organizations who could afford the software.

After the introduction of minicomputers in the late 1970s, the evolution of maintenance management took place with increased capabilities allowing medium and large-sized industries to use CMMS. From the late 1980s to the early 2000s, the technological advancement of the personal computer paved the way for the growth of CMMS software.

The expanded ability to connect the PCs together with the local area networks widened the usage of CMMS capabilities. After the 1990s, expressly from 2000, we saw the tremendous evolution of the internet and cloud to drive the maintenance process. This is how the history of CMMS evolved and got its biggest breakthrough that could be available anywhere in the world with internet access.

This is how CMMS has come through the maintenance operation in each industry, moving from the purchase or support model to the SaaS, software as a service model. After the introduction of the fourth industrial revolution in 2010, computer networking capabilities emerged. When wireless and cellular technologies came, cloud-based CMMS was established. This is where the on-premise CMMS model is replaced with the cloud-based CMMS model. With industry 4.0 technology, mobile CMMS has become commonplace with IoT and AI as their major contributors. This makes it more possible for system users to place work orders, track progress, and order parts remotely.

Hierarchy of CMMS

Maintenance Management: Before and After CMMS

As businesses develop in size and complexity, managers feel pressured to handle the trends and demands. As a result, they are looking to operate smarter and wiser. This means the companies are aiming for a high return on investment, resulting from better time management, reduced cost, labor management, and finally, extending the equipment life to improve operations. Businesses realize that maintenance management with paper and pencil shortfalls them in obtaining goals. Let’s have a look at maintenance management before and after CMMS systems, and how they changed small and medium-scale industries.

After the development of computerized maintenance management systems, a wide range of companies started adopting maintenance management solutions. The CMMS can monitor and track the inventory, generate work orders with accurate reports, and most importantly, it provides preventive maintenance of the required assets.

The preventive maintenance approach provides the scheduled equipment checks that act as a valued aspect of the CMMS software. Companies prefer to use preventive maintenance, rather than reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance is addressed only when problems arise, this results in unexpected shutdown and equipment failures.

Traditional maintenance management

Before the evolution of maintenance management software, maintenance management occurs through the manual spreadsheet method. This provides the limited ability to store data and the manual input takes more time to process.

No real-time tracking

They cannot maintain the specific needs of the manufacturers, such as real-time data about the maintenance progress, tracking work orders, ordering parts and access to multiple users, and so on.

Reduced productivity

As the traditional method cannot alert or remind about the maintenance operation, the maintenance manager has to do every single operation which is left including the routine maintenance check.

With these constraints, time, costs, resources, and staff allocations are done as needed, but this will not provide revenue to the company. The preventive maintenance program cuts down the equipment breakdown priorly and improves the performance of the equipment. This is where the traditional maintenance program fails.

The Perspective About the History of CMMS

The core functionalities and capabilities of CMMS maintenance software had not changed a lot from the earlier history of CMMS. The prominence of work orders, parts, assets, and acquisition has always been in CMMS . The improvement happened in the aspects of reporting, analysis, and in mobile-based CMMS . The future of CMMS will be easier and more powerful with digital transformation. Augmented reality(AR) and virtual reality(VR) for CMMS will be implemented in the upcoming years.

We are simply moving away from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance. Improved data types of usage metrics and conditions of the assets help to become more predictive. Now the CMMS software is more intelligent and accurate to manage maintenance operations. With the continuous development of technology, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) gives more perspective to maintenance.

The Revamping Responsibilities of the Maintenance team

The role of the maintenance team has changed from every perspective. They are responsible for the development and success of the organization. The maintenance team, supported by software like computerized maintenance management systems, uses a proactive approach to increase efficiency, reducing downtime, inventory management, and team safety. This helps the maintenance managers to make sure the factory is ready for adversity and demands.

CMMS Software: Preventive and Predictive

At last, the introduction of preventive maintenance management enhances facility management by making it possible to have regular maintenance checks on all the equipment. This avoids the disturbance and downtime to the manufacturer’s production cycle. All these developments made the CMMS more attractive to all types of industries. Predictive maintenance influences the IoT, where everything is monitored and connected.

Maintenance management

The maintenance management system which we are using now is totally different from the spreadsheet or paper users in the early CMMS versions.


Once CMMS is implemented, the system automates all the maintenance operations by scheduling work order flows and tasks. The technicians are no longer holding paper records about works and parts orders. All these can be accessed with a single tap of the system, and the communications are done digitally.

Mobile CMMS

Accessing the CMMS through mobile devices with camera and scanning capabilities provides real-time data to work wherever they are, this saves time and reduces error.


The great benefit of today’s CMMS is the ability to adapt to the organization rather than the organization having to adapt to the software. This means the software meets the requirements of every individual’s business, whether it is small or large, with different requirements. They can also change for the organization’s needs as they improve and reformulate.

Changes happen everywhere, the marketplace and economy gives the chance to raise CMMS program as a maintenance management system. The maintenance management approaches totally changed before and after the CMMS introduction. It is clearly visible to see how this software helps thousands of organizations to make a clear maintenance operation with more profits.

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