Most CMMS’ Fail at the Implementation Phase, Don’t Let This Be You

4165234217_f57e23d49b_zMost organizations only use 50% of their CMMS’s capabilities.  This is for a variety of reasons, but one of the largest reasons, is that the CMMS was not setup, configured or implemented correctly.  If the implementation of the CMMS was not done properly, the usability and information in the CMMS limits its potential.

How can you prevent the implementation from failing or delivering sub-par results?  There are a few ways to ensure a successful CMMS implementation.  This post will cover the 2 main ways to ensure a successful implementation.

Get Expert Support

This approach is often used when the business does not have the expertise or resources to perform the implementation.  There are typically 2 options when using Experts;

  1. The first is to use a consultant with experience in implementing a CMMS.  The consultant could be a maintenance consultant such as Eruditio, LLC.
  2. The other option would be to use the implementation support/service from the vendor.  This is why you should look at the support and training available from the vendor during the CMMS selection phase.

Sometimes this is not an option due to budget constraints.  And that is perfectly acceptable, as long as you have resources and expertise to support the implementation.

Leverage Your Expertise & Resources

If you have decided to implement the CMMS on your own, get ready for a major project.  But do not fear, many CMMS have been successfully implemented with internal resources and delivered results to the business.  To improve your chances of success, there should be a few things that are kept in mind;

  • Project Management, this is a project and as such it should be managed as one.  Include timelines, resource schedules, and performance measures.  Use good project management techniques to ensure the implementation stays on track.
  • Resources are the most critical to the success of the implementation.  Resources are used for collecting, reviewing, validating data and testing of the CMMS.   It is estimated that a typical size plant with 4500 pieces of equipment will need approximately 33,900 man hours.  This will decrease dramatically if there are good data records in place already.
  • Configuration ensures the CMMS will do what the users want it to do.  Often times the configuration is not thought through and key functionality or ease of reporting is scarified.  For example, if you have the ability to define failure coding based on the equipment type, you will be more likely to get quality failure data, and make it usable.  Also if you have been using RCM, be sure to align the failure codes with the modes, causes and effects in the analysis. This further integrates the RCM into everyday maintenance. Be sure to understand all the options in the CMMS, and with a cross sectional team, configure the CMMS for success.
  • Data Gathering / Cleansing will consume the majority of the resources.  Be sure to have defined templates and data standards ready. These standards will include taxonomy for the naming of systems, equipment and materials.  This will facilitate all of the data analysis and supporting down the road, so don’t overlook it.  Each piece of equipment or material may take approximately 1 hour to gather the information and put it into the right format for upload into the CMMS.
  • Training is one of the most important aspects of the CMMS, especially if there is an older workforce, or the system is not user friendly.   Initial training should be provided, followed by addition routine training on new features and to ensure everyone still meets the initial level of competency.  It is often best to develop one or two CMMS experts / trainers to assist with this.   One activity that has proved itself over and over again is the development of customer work instructions for the CMMS.  Develop work instructions for how to do all activities in your CMMS, but do so with screenshots and the configuration from your setup.  Often time the vendor will supply generic work instructions, but they are often too generic to be used effectively by the site.
  • Accountability is the same as Performance Management.  Be sure to measure the use of the CMMS and its users.  Track the use and identify opportunities.  If you find the frontline staff are not accessing the system, find out why and change it.   Be sure to establish clear targets for everyone that uses the system.
  • Improve the use of the CMMS.  This final step is all about continuous improvement of the system to yield the greatest benefits from it.  Use a cross sectional team to identify and improve the data, use of the system or configuration of the system.  Use the PDCA loop for this activity.

Regardless of the approach you take to implement a CMMS, ensure you have the resources, expertise and oversight to make it successful.  No matter what, you cannot skimp or fly through the implementation as it will affect the results seen with the CMMS.   If you need any help with your CMMS implementation do not hesitate to contact us.  Eruditio, LLC can provide resources free of charge or services if required to assist your implementation.  Software Advice has another article on implementing a CMMS, it is definitely worth looking at if you plan to implement yourself.

Remember, to find success, you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results.

I’m James Kovacevic
Where Education Meets Application


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