Every company is trying to do more with less. This is especially true for the maintenance department. If you are a maintenance director or manager, you know exactly what I am talking about. Management doesn’t want to spend money on anything that doesn’t directly affect the bottom line.
This provides a problem for a maintenance professional who intuitively sees the value of a good CMMS but doesn’t know how to get his management to approve a new software purchase. However, there is a simple solution — show your management how much money a CMMS is going to save the company by calculating CMMS ROI (Return on investment).
While giving hard numbers is impossible since calculating ROI pre-implementation is just an estimate, you should do your best to make that estimate as accurate as possible.
Wondering how to do that? Keep reading this article.
Below, we outline 3 main areas in which you can see the positive effects of CMMS implementation and how to get realistic numbers.
DISCLAIMER: If you calculate CMMS ROI after actual implementation, you can obviously use the real numbers. For those that are looking for pre-implementation estimates, you have two options. One is to ask your CMMS provider if they have relevant cost savings averages from their current clients. If you can’t get that or if the numbers seem suspicious, you can always try to look for industry averages.
This article will show you the average savings Limble users experience so you can use those numbers for reference.
1) Productivity gains
CMMS solutions are often able to vastly improve and speed up your current workflow by giving everyone a firm structure to follow, quick access to important asset information, and uninterrupted communication flow.
To calculate productivity gains, you need to know 4 things:
What is your hourly cost per employee?
What is the number of people that will be using the CMMS?
How many hours can CMMS software save you in a given timeframe?
What is the number of working days per year (or a quarter/month if you want to calculate CMMS ROI for a shorter time period)
You can get the hourly cost of every employee by adding an hourly salary with hourly benefits.
The number of people that will be using the software is self-explanatory.
To calculate savings, you need to know how much time can a CMMS actually save you. Limble customers, for instance, measure time savings of 1 to 3 hours every day for each Limble user.
“On average, Limble saves me an hour to two hours a day, depending on the workload. The biggest thing for me is that I can do things on my phone on the fly.” – Rob Siler, Maintenance Technician, MYGN
Multiplying the number of people that will be using the software with their hourly cost, the number of working days, and the average hours saved per person will tell you how much money you can potentially save in a given time period.
Let’s show that on an example with the following setup:
Number of hours CMMS saves per user each day = 2 hours (which in translation means making your technicians 25% more productive when based on an 8-hour shift schedule)
Working days in one quarter (3 months) = 66
Calculation = $40 * 8 * 2 * 66 = $42 240 (or you can look at it as 1056 working hours saved)
With the setup we used in this example, a company could save $42 240 in labor costs by eliminating 1056 hours of work.
2) Savings as a result of decreased downtime
For many businesses, a CMMS is a stepping stone towards proactive maintenance. Simply put, CMMS gives you the ability to quickly (re)schedule and track all maintenance work, improve communication flow, and stay on top of your inventory, all of which can be considered pillars upon which successful proactive maintenance programs are built.
To calculate downtime savings, you need to know 3 things:
How much does downtime cost you (per hour)?
How much downtime do you experience on a monthly basis?
How much downtime are you expecting to eliminate with a CMMS?
The hardest ones to get a real number for is downtime costs as unplanned downtime can have many negative impacts on labor costs, productivity, asset lifespan, brand reputation, and so on. Here’s a decent resource on how to calculate your downtime costs if you’re interested in learning more.
To simplify this, we advise you not to go into too many details as you’re only going to get lost. Focus on high-priority assets as their downtime is usually directly connected to losses in revenue, which is the biggest part of the downtime cost calculation anyway.
Point number two is just a matter of tracking how many downtime hours did the assets experience.
In regards to decreasing downtime with a CMMS, that will vary from provider to provider. To give you a rough number to wor can te losses l /Stronghat Limble users have measured an average decrease in downtime of 26%.
“After about a month of using Limble, we. . . witnessed a drop in our downtime. After using Limble for over a year, I can say that it is paying for itself and worth every area of implementation.” – Ethan Closson, Little Giant Ladder System
3) Spare parts inventory cost savings
To calculate spare parts inventory cost savings, you need to know 2 things:
How much do you spend on spare parts inventory each month?
How much savings can you expect with a CMMS?
Keeping a lot of spare parts in stock is not free. The room in which they are stored must be maintained and even kept under certain conditions (lighting/temperature). At a minimum, this will be reflected in the increased cost of your utilities. Here is a decent resource that could help you calculate your spare parts inventory cost more accurately.
Again, your savings could differ depending on the software solution you’re using. For reference, Limble customers reduce their inventory spend by an average of 17% when using Limble inventory management features (like stock level notifications, automatic part usage tracking, barcode lookup, etc.).
“With Limble, I can track all of our supplies that come in, how they are getting used, look at the usage rates, and then also be able to forecast budgets for next year. It has dropped my budget tremendously; I was actually able to hire another guy because of what we were able to save.” – Benjamin Scott, Facilities Supervisor, Intercontinental Hotels Group
4) Additional value
There are many other indirect cost savings you can take advantage of if you implement a modern CMMS.
Two that are worth mentioning the most are increased asset lifespan and decreased labor costs. Both of these come as a result of fewer unexpected breakdowns. Fewer breakdowns, combined with proactive maintenance, are known to increase asset lifespan. Unsurprisingly, the fewer breakdowns you experience, the lower your labor costs will be (be it because you have less overtime to pay or fewer calls to expensive independent contractors).
While these are often considered optional and rarely put into ROI calculations, it is important to keep in mind.
What is the total cost of running a CMMS?
Implementation costs and the cost of licenses are probably the first things that come to mind when you think about the investments you need to implement a CMMS.
While those things alone can give you a rough number to work with, you can find a detailed cost breakdown below for those who want to be really precise.
1) Implementation costs
Implementation costs usually come in the form of time rather than money. To use even the basic features of any CMMS, you need to feed it some data. In translation, you need to:
import all assets you want to keep on your proactive maintenance plans
Many CMMS vendors will have tutorials and customer support that will help you speed up this process. To get an accurate estimate, ask your provider for a time estimate based on the number of items you need to enter.
When you get that number, you need to multiply it with the hourly wage of the person that will be entering this data into your brand new CMMS. And voila, you have the cost of your time investment spent on the implementation process.
If you’re switching from an old CMMS, there is a possibility you can just export/import asset information, but that is something you will need to review on a case-to-case basis.
Many CMMS vendors offer (or even require) an initial setup, but that is because they offer poor user experience, and customers can’t use their software without someone to train them or help them with the setup. While we do offer implementation service because people ask for it now and then, we sell them VERY rarely because people get a hand of the software very quickly by themselves.
2) Cost of the software itself
This is the easiest cost to calculate. As most CMMS providers base their pricing plans on the number of users, you can multiply the number of people using the CMMS with the select pricing model. You can check Limble’s pricing here.
You should pay attention to whether the pricing is based on a monthly or yearly subscription. The yearly subscription is always cheaper, but it does mean a higher upfront cost as you are basically paying to use the software for the whole year ahead.
Here is an example to help you picture this.
Let’s imagine you have 13 technicians and 1 maintenance manager that will be using the software. You decided you want our Professional plan on a Yearly subscription.
The total cost of the running Limble CMMS, in this scenario, is: number of users (14) * cost of the license ($49) * months of use (12) = $8232 per year (or $686 per month)
We also offer custom pricing plans for non-profits, businesses who need a license only for a few months every year and/or manage seasonal workers, and other unique scenarios. Contact us for more info.
One last thing you can do is to check with the provider for any hidden costs like:
paid add-on features
on-going support fees
This is mostly to ensure you’re not going to get surprised with additional costs later down the road.
3) Onboarding costs
Onboarding is another cost that comes in the form of time you need to spend on it. What it boils down to is the number of working hours people who will be using the software need to spend on learning how to use it.
This is again something you need to consult with your CMMS provider. They probably have some average numbers regarding the onboarding process.
The onboarding process can consist of activities like:
watching video tutorials
watching live webinars
participating in scheduled training programs
To help with the onboarding process, every one of our clients gets a free dedicated Customer Success manager whose sole purpose is to ease the transition process by answering questions and delivering needed materials.
To get the total onboarding costs, simply estimate the total time one person will spend on the above-mentioned activities, multiply that by the number of people that need to be onboarded, and multiply that again with the average hourly salary of those employees.
4) Hardware costs
If you plan to implement mobile maintenance software (and I do not see why anyone would look at desktop-only solutions), there can be some hardware costs involved.
This cost can come in two forms:
setting up a decent wireless network (might not be necessary if your facility has good enough coverage so people can use data plans)
Let’s review what we’ve covered so far. We have the CMMS ROI formula:
CMMS savings can be calculated by adding productivity gains, downtime savings, and spare parts inventory savings.
CMMS costs can be calculated by adding together implementation costs, cost of the software itself, onboarding costs, and the potential hardware costs.
For this article, let’s imagine that the total savings due to the implementation of the CMMS in one year are $360 000 and that the costs of implementation and running the software for one year are $41 000.
Under these conditions, CMMS ROI = ($360 000 – $41 000) / $41 000 = 7.78
This would mean that return on an investment after a single year is almost 8 times (or 778%) its value.
(Limble) CMMS ROI calculator
We know that writing all the numbers down and doing the calculations can be a drag. To speed things up, we created an interactive online calculator you can see below.
Before you start throwing in your numbers, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Some fields will be automatically populated with numbers that reflect average savings Limble users have measured in the past.
These numbers are there to give you an idea of realistic savings you can expect to see yourself.
If, for whatever reason, you expect to see different numbers, feel free to change them.
When you’re finished entering the numbers, just write in your email address and we will send you the whole cost/savings breakdown to your email, as well as give you the link with full access to the calculator which you can use to test different scenarios.
All calculations are based on the time span of 1 year and they show you what your return on investment could be one year after implementation of Limble CMMS.
These days, implementing a CMMS is not nearly a hassle as it used to be.
Modern solutions are built to be user-friendly, so it doesn’t take ages for technicians to get accustomed to new software. Implementation costs are minimal, and the software itself is not highly expensive, which means that upfront costs usually aren’t a barrier to entry.
What is probably best of all is that CMMS solutions are built for preventive maintenance as all of their options help you start an effective preventive maintenance program. Implementing a CMMS can be a great way to start reducing the amount of reactive maintenance you might be doing at the moment.
"Limble is very easy to get involved in and no contracts, with simple monthly billing. I have auditioned other CMMS companies and they make it too difficult, to try out. Limble strategy is very simple - here is our software, you can customize it in most categories and let us know if you have any questions. As a multiple building County Facilities Director, I highly recommend trying it!"
— Michael Boursier
Very easy to use, functionality is great
"I can track my inventory and it sends me emails when I'm running low on an item. Also that I can track how much time I'm spending on certain jobs over an extended period of time."
— Cody Jensen
Great Product, Even better support!
"I started using Limble after trying out many other off the shelf CMMS software and I quickly fell in love with the ease of use, intuitiveness yet the power this tool provided me and my team. The ability to see automatically generated and customized reports meant that I could choose whether I wanted to see things at a micro level or a macro one, or both of them together."
— Mohammad Hassaan Akram
Great time saver
"On average, [Limble] saves me an hour to two hours a day, depending on the workload. The biggest thing for me is being able to do things on my phone, on the fly."
— Rob Siler
Five star program
"This is one of the most easiest CMM Systems I have used. With unbelievable response times to questions. The Limble staff is very helpful. With this system, our equipment downtime has been cut by 20%."
— Gordon Shanks
Sunbelt Forest Products
I spent a long time evaluating systems I'm so glad I chose Limble
"Limble is super easy to use. For technicians receiving work orders, it requires almost no training. The app makes it quick and easy to create work orders (with pictures) from your phone. PM's are also very easy to set up. Limble is also the least expensive."