Everything You Need To Know About CMMS Implementation

Published on:
August 18, 2023
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However, with the proper implementation guidelines and support, you can ensure that the value of your investment is realized and your team feels comfortable and confident in using technology in their daily workflows.

What Is a CMMS?

chart of cmms features

A CMMS, or computerized maintenance management system, is a software program that is used to help businesses manage their maintenance operations more effectively. It allows users to track and manage work orders, schedule and assign maintenance tasks, and keep records of equipment and inventory. This can help businesses save time and money by ensuring that their equipment is properly maintained and by reducing downtime due to equipment failures. A CMMS streamlines and simplifies many of the tasks involved in maintaining your facility including:

  • Work order management
  • Preventive maintenance scheduling
  • Safety and quality inspections
  • Process standardization and accountability
  • Asset and parts management
  • Analytics for decision making
  • Reports for compliance

That being said, CMMS programs aren’t all the same, because of the wide array of industries that have maintenance programs. Maintenance in a hotel or school looks very different from an oil refinery or manufacturing plant. For this reason, CMMS platforms differentiate from each other in a few key areas:

  • Feature set breadth
  • Granularity of data collection
  • Customizability of reporting
  • Cost and pricing model
  • Design, ease of use and implementation

This Matters More Now Than Ever Before

As the economy continues in recession and the online review economy grows, the need for process standards and accurate data collection is a critical aspect of any business.

why your business needs a cmms in 2023

This has led to a need for management systems that are not only easy to use but also provide accurate data collection. Computerized maintenance management systems offer this functionality and more. A computerized maintenance management system allows you to create standardized processes that can be easily replicated across multiple facilities while also providing detailed information on each individual operation within your facility.

This type of system will allow you to track all aspects of each operation and quickly identify areas where improvements can be made or issues need to be addressed. This will help you meet customer expectations as well as improve overall operational efficiency which can save money in the long run by reducing downtime caused by equipment failure or other issues related directly with poor quality control procedures.

CMMS Implementation Requires The Right Fit Software

Given this landscape of CMMS options, it is essential to pair the right technology with the skills and abilities of the frontline that will be using them.  For highly technical professionals or complex mechanical systems, a heavier weight, more powerful CMMS may be warranted. But more powerful is not always better. For many industries, the added features confuse and distract the workforce leading to poor data collection and low adoption rates.

👥 Start with a Staff Assessment

To be successful in implementing software, managers must have a firm understanding of their employee skill sets and the training that will be needed to maximize success. Overlooking the risk of failed adoption is a huge mistake and it is better to overtrain than leave stones unturned.

Before you begin shopping for software, create an assessment of your staff that will be using the program. Note their technical skills and speed to learn new systems. Identify likely early adopters, and those that may need more support. Use this information to decide the level of complexity that can be onboarded effectively.

💯 Determine the Scope and Set Priorities

After you have assessed your staff, move on to listing out the assets in your facility along with details such as replacement cost, repair frequency and cost, impact of downtime, and complexity of maintenance. This will help you to understand the maintenance processes that will drive the most value in protecting your assets.

causes of unscheduled maintenance

A big risk of shopping for software is getting too caught up in side by side comparisons of features. Features are important, but typically 20% of the features drive over 80% of the usage of software. It is better to begin with the problems that your business needs to solve, prioritize them and then seek out software that solves those problems in the easiest (or cheapest) way possible. Use this list as your starting point and then look at the differentiating features to determine your final choice.

💰 Understand Your Budget and Downside Risk

How much should you be willing to pay for a CMMS software? This question is best answered by quantifying the asset assessment completed in the previous step. By understanding the scope of assets and the cost of repair, replacement and downtime impact, you can estimate the risk posed to your bottom line. Then, as a manager, you need to decide how much of that risk is preventable and how much is inevitable. You should also consider the impacts of improving process efficiency on these values as even inevitable downtime impact can be greatly reduced with improved communication processes.

Once you have an understanding of the cost of maintenance on your facility, and the amount that can be prevented or improved, you should have an idea as to the marginal return on investment of implementing a software solution. If the marginal ROI is low, you should look for a less expensive solution. If the marginal ROI is very high, you may want to consider a more comprehensive approach (as long as your team can handle it).

🆓 Use Your Free Trials to Test Software

The final piece of pre-purchase advice is to try a few of your software options and determine what you like or dislike about each one. Select a small set of employees to participate in the trial period and gather their feedback regularly. Perhaps you were overestimating their ability to make use of the software. Or maybe the complex feature you thought you needed doesn’t live up to your expectations. The only way to know these things is to test and learn.

Post Purchase CMMS Implementation Steps

Now that you have selected the right CMMS for your business, it is time for the most crucial step in the process: implementation. It is critical to not underestimate or overlook this step in the process. In order to ensure successful implementation, follow the following steps.

CMMS Implementation Chart

💲 Choose Between Paid or Self-Guided Implementation

Many CMMS platforms offer a paid implementation support period where one of their software experts will lead discussions and tutorials for how to best use the product. Since assets are different and CMMS platforms are highly customizable, this may be the best way to get started. However, paid implementation can cost thousands of dollars and provide little value if your team is not paying attention and taking it seriously. Likely, you will still need self-guided implementation to subsidize the formal training.

📲 Provide Multiple Pathways for Learning

For self-guided implementation learning, it is important to leverage multiple mediums to provide different learning experiences for staff. While some team members may learn best by reading a manual, others need a video explanation to gain understanding. Furthermore, some employees may learn by doing, thus requiring a “sandbox” environment to play around with the new tool. Other employees may learn by discussing with team members or being shown in person. The best implementation teams leverage all of these options simultaneously.

💪 Designate an Implementation Champion

As a manager, you should have a good understanding of your star performers. Select one of these individuals to lead and own the implementation effort. Provide them a small incentive to ensure that everyone is aligned on the goal and benefits of software support in daily operations. Provide the CMMS implementation champion with performance metrics to determine their impact on the program and have regular meetings with them to understand their perspective.

🙅 Communicate that Usage is NOT optional

A CMMS is only helpful when used consistently and correctly. This ensures that complete and accurate data is collected from the front line to be analyzed to drive better decision making. A manager must not allow employees to say, “I like the old way better” or “this will slow me down”.

Any new process is likely to be met with opposition by some individuals. To respond to these statements, you should compare the benefits and risks of using software vs a paper or Excel based system. You need to show how their actions directly impact the ability for the business to operate successfully. Another tactic is to explain how once trained, the time savings to the employee will start to become clear and the ability to measure work effort is greatly improved. This ensures that no employee is overlooked or ill equipped with the necessary data to seek a raise or promotion.

🏋️ Hold Weekly Trainings with Open Feedback

Training should be held regularly and frequently, especially in the initial phases of implementation. Ease into usage by focusing on one use case at a time. We recommend giving employees homework to begin using the CMMS to solve each use case, and then preparing questions and comments for the next training session. Allow for both public and private questions to ensure every employee is heard and no one feels outed or shy.

Once your team begins to understand and adopt the technology, managers can scale back the meetings from weekly to monthly. They can also move from formal training to office hours type sessions for questions.

👬 Pair Early Adopters with Usage Laggers

Once the training is underway and teams are using the software, it is important to identify early adopters and usage laggers within your organization. The purpose of this is to leverage your staff to free up training hours for management. You can do this by pairing early adopters with usage laggers and incentivizing the early adopters to help train their teammate. Often, this is a great opportunity to drive team collaboration and cohesion, which improves efficiency and retention across the department. It also provides another opportunity for shy or discouraged employees to get answers to questions without feeling embarrassed in front of management.

👿 Hold Teams and Individuals Accountable

The final advice that we have for CMMS implementation is to hold teams and individuals accountable for success. This may look different depending on the role and individual, but is essential for ensuring success. We recommend to use positive reinforcement of successful implementers as opposed to negative consequences for those lagging behind. This helps to drive a positive, growth mindset that is productive and supportive of all skill levels and team members.

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