CMMS versus EAM

Plant Services Contributing Editor David Berger, P.Eng., says it’s the most frequently asked question during the past decade.

By David Berger, Contributing Editor to Plant Services

What is the difference between a CMMS and an EAM system? It’s a fair question, indeed. These acronyms appear repeatedly in articles, seminars and advertising, in association with numerous products and services. Read on as I attempt to provide you with an answer to this and related questions, including, “Why should I care?”

The Early Days
A key difference between CMMS and EAM is that CMMS has a significantly longer history, which explains the reluctance among the more experienced maintenance professionals to cease using the term. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have been around for more than 30 years. The first CMMS software ran on large mainframe computers and was affordable only to the very largest of companies with a heavy asset management focus. The CMMS was essentially a computerized version of the manual maintenance management systems of the time. This included four basic modules:

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