PROBLEMS GETTING YOUR CMMS SOFTWARE UP AND RUNNING?
Your company purchased or subscribed to a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System), went through the implementation process and have had some training. Its months later, and you’re finding that the maintenance management software is not delivering the results you expected. You did your due diligence by evaluating a handful or more of vendors, asked the right questions, shortlisted your vendors, sat through a final round of demos, negotiated on price, and signed off.
(P.S if you're not at the implementation phase yet, you may want to check out our CMMS Expert Series where we chronicle the steps to research and buy maintenance software for your business. Read the first post here.)
Now you find yourself, paying for maintenance management software that is not functioning as expected, is being resisted by your maintenance team or in some cases, no one is using it. In this instance, you may be asking yourself, what went wrong?
The reality is CMMS software implementations have low success rates. Industry sources report failure rates can range anywhere from 40%-80%*. Some sources suggest even higher failure rates. According to reliabilityweb.com, implementation failure rates can be as high as 90%. Reasons for failure can often be:
Underestimating the amount of effort required
Lack of support from your vendor
Workflows improperly defined
Lack of training on key features
There are a number of reasons for the disconnect, and most of them involve a poor implementation plan. This article focuses on how to turn things around, avoiding failure and making your CMMS a success.
STEP 1: ASSESS WHAT'S MISSING
The first step is to identify and make a list of the problems you are having with the maintenance software. Questions you should be asking;
Are you and the expected users able to access the system from their computers and other devices?
Do you have all the equipment and assets uploaded?
If you moved from a previous CMMS, do you have the history migrated?
Are all the users uploaded and are they given the correct permissions and access?
Are your preventive and scheduled maintenance work orders uploaded and scheduled?
Are all the required features enabled according to your contract?
Have you and your maintenance team had training?
Is more training needed?
The purpose of this exercise is to do a thorough assessment of what problems you are facing with your CMMS software.
STEP 2- Review the Contract with Your CMMS Vendor
Before proceeding with a game plan and assigning tasks to your internal team, refer to your contract with your vendor and see if there are any discrepancies with what was delivered. The implementation process often involves a lot of people, and responsibilities get handed down to people who were not involved in the negotiations and buying process with the vendor. You may find that your software has been fully set up with all the data integrated but the software users have not received the full training as agreed under the contract. Perhaps only one user has been trained for an hour, and then later got busy and neglected to reach out the vendor to schedule a follow up session. Even though the CMMS vendor should be proactive in following up on their clients and ensure that they get the training that was purchased, it’s best to stay on top of training and not leave it in the vendor’s hands.
If you find that the vendor has not delivered the services as agreed upon in the contract, you should set up a meeting with your account representative to clear the air and ensure that you are getting what you paid for. If they are obligated to import data, set up users, provide training and this has not been delivered, have the vendor set up a timeline to get this done.
STEP 3: Come Up with a Game Plan
Now that you have your list of CMMS implementation problems, it’s time to come up with a clear game plan and see it through. In your problem assessment you may have identified the following glitches;
Users weren’t properly set up with the right permissions
Not all equipment has been added
Preventive maintenance work orders have not been scheduled
Users are unfamiliar with the reporting tools, how to set metrics and run reports
Once you have your list, it’s time to delegate who will be responsible for resolving the issues and an acceptable timeframe for completion. This is the stage to do away with any uncertainties about what is required. Go through the tasks with those responsible for seeing them through and ensure that they understand how to complete their tasks and have the resources available to get them done. For example, if preventive maintenance schedules need to be uploaded, be sure that the person responsible knows where to find the PM schedule details, and how to compile the information in a way that can be migrated into the CMMS software.
Some of the tasks may require the software vendor. For example, your software vendor can help you with importing and reconfiguring data, and training. Be sure to connect with your account representative and include them in the process. Don’t be surprised if there are some extra fees here. If your vendor delivered as agreed upon in the contract and extra work is involved, some services fees may apply.
STEP 4: Follow Up on Progress and See It Through
Now that the tasks have been delegated and those responsible are clear on what needs to be done, be sure to follow up on the progress. It’s important to communicate that the CMMS implementation is a priority and hold people accountable for seeing it through. Since timelines have been set, it’s important to check in and get progress reports. If you want your CMMS solution to be successful, you need to treat it like other high priority projects so that people will fall in line and take it seriously. Hopefully, during your meetings, work is going as planned. If not, find out why, adjust, reassign and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
STEP 5: Final Assessment
Before saying all is done, go through your list of problems and ensure that everyone is satisfied that all issues have been resolved. Each item should be looked at closely, considering where you were when you started this process, and where you are now. Ask yourself (and other users), are you satisfied with the current state? This is the time to identify if anything is missing and not up to snuff. It may be that your team was unable to resolve the issue and you require some assistance from your vendor. Be sure to involve them and ask for help.
STEP 6: Ongoing Training
We cannot stress enough the importance of training. Training should be an ongoing process and not a one-time deal. There is only so much that you can take in at one time. As you get more comfortable and with your maintenance software, you will be in a better position to take in more features and functions. Your maintenance software is likely to be updated from time to time and it’s important that your users both know about these new features and are able to use them. Be sure to inquire with your software vendor about ongoing training, free training webinars and support. Keep the line of communication open with your vendor. It will pay off.
Ultimately a CMMS is an essential tool to improve the way your maintenance department operates.
Maintenance management software is a tool to assist managers in tracking various aspects of their maintenance operations, from labor to inventory levels, equipment downtime to preventive maintenance and more. It alone is not a solution to fix all of your maintenance problems. Too often, management sees the need for software, evaluates a number of options, and then decides on a CMMS package. What’s missing is a well-planned implementation strategy that is communicated to all maintenance software users. The company must have buy in from their entire team and users must be fully trained for implementation to be a success.
For more information on a successful implementation strategy for CMMS, read our helpful post on common maintenance software pitfalls here or contact a Hippo Software Specialist to learn more about our support services.