Valentine’s Day is around the corner and along with showering your significant other, friend, or family with hearts and kisses on this lovely-duvey day, we here at Hippo CMMS think it’s important to show love to your faithful CMMS software. Your maintenance management software might be feeling left out if you haven’t created a work order or updated your equipment records in a while- so what better time to re-organize and get back on track than right now?
To get you in the mood, we surveyed our lovely data integration and training team on ways to better streamline your existing CMMS system. They came up with some common issues that clients have when they don’t spend enough time with their software and simple ways to remedy this.
1. LOVE IS PATIENT- It takes time to setup your account
If you’ve just purchased a CMMS software for your maintenance department, be prepared to spend a lot of time with it. Proper CMMS implementation requires a systematic process to ensure that all users, assets, equipment, inventory, and corresponding documents, ID tags and images are added. What takes the most time is collecting all of this data and then inputting it into your database. Be patient with this process and understand that your timeline depends on four main factors; whether or not you have an existing maintenance software, your implementation budget, the required timeframe, and if you have a dedicated internal resource or not. Our post on four factors affecting setup explains these items in more detail.
In addition to ensuring patience in the setup phase, you should also consider the lengthy time it could take to get all your users properly trained in the system. If you have a larger maintenance team, scheduling sessions relevant to each job role can take time and having an employee master important software features let alone ALL modules, requires a significant investment of man-hours. Our post on how to optimize training for your team offers great suggestions on how to get your staff up and running with a CMMS in the least amount of time.
The point here is to understand that new systems can take time to setup and diffuse knowledge to the rest of your team. Believing that you will have a fully functional CMMS within one month after purchasing may not be realistic. Apply reasonable timeframes to both training and setup, and be patient with progress.
2. LOVE SHOULDN'T BE COMPLICATED- Declutter your database
Is your CMMS full of outdated equipment, users that have been retired for 2 years, and a list of preventive maintenance tasks that you’ve completed months ago? If that sounds like your database, then it’s time to implement some winter cleaning. Staying on top of departmental changes means updating your CMMS to mimic current practices, after all your software should be a digital reflection of your maintenance operations. For proper CMMS implementation take time (we recommend once a month) to remove old equipment from the system, update user contact information, and change the frequency at which your PM’s are generating. Our post on CMMS pitfalls, explains best practices to de-clutter your database and get your system back on track.
3. LOVE IS CONSISTENT AND FREQUENT- Add consistent data formatting, frequently
A well functioning user friendly CMMS gets the attention it deserves on a frequent basis. Your system should be incorporated in everyday maintenance activities and not a last minute after thought. This will help you to avoid double entry or playing catch-up on work order modifications, checking off tasks on your list, and tracking your labor hours. Using a mobile CMMS app to input data is a simple way to ensure consistent and timely updates of your system, as information updated through the app is diffused across the entire system instantaneously.
Apart from frequent use of your system, you should do your best to maintain consistency when entering data. This can be as granular as ensuring all equipment uses the same naming convention i.e. Air Handler Unit instead of AIR HANDLER unit, or it can be larger scale like making sure each PM has a proper task checklist or that work order priority levels are always used. Determine proper inputs when you first add data to your system and stick to that formatting. Proof read your information before saving or have a dedicated employee to enter information consistently. This will make finding information much easier and will turn a cluttered eye sore into an informative list.
4. LOVE IS KIND- Show your maintenance team some love
Beyond being kind to your CMMS is taking the time to appreciate your staff. Your team works hard to ensure that daily tasks are completed and the overall facility runs smoothly, so show them some love once in awhile. Our post on 31 ways to motivate your maintenance department has some great ideas on fun team outings or instilling ownership and purpose in your employees. Recognizing your team’s efforts can be as simple as writing a short note to your maintenance tech in the comments section of a work order or taking them out for lunch to celebrate a special achievement. A happy workforce is key to ensuring productivity and higher work quality.
5. LOVE IS IN THE DETAILS- Add documents, images, ID tags and more to your database
Are you frequently searching for O&M manuals or paper-based data sheets in your filing cabinets? Do you get confused between one air handler unit and another? If you’re spending an ounce of effort searching for information, then you should seriously re-assess your process. One of the best parts of a CMMS software is the ability to associate documents, ID tags and images to their respective asset or equipment. Information that is attached to equipment can quickly and easily be accessed through the system. You can attach invoices, contracts and more to each work order so these documents never get lost in a series of folders or cabinets. Take time to add important materials to assets that you use frequently. A good rule of thumb is to add a document/ image to the system if you have ever required it more than once. To make this process more manageable, give yourself document/ image input goals such as adding five new frequently used documents a day to your system. Spending more time upfront will save you valuable time in the future.
Bonus Tip: Instead of combing through your office to find and scan important documents like O&M manuals or spending hours walking around your facility to take pictures of equipment/ ID tags, search for them online. Most instructions and O&M manuals can be downloaded from the supplier’s website, while equipment images require a simple Google image search. Trust us, it’s a huge time saver and your tech’s will thank you for supplying them with more info at their fingertips.
6. LOVE HAS ITS LIMITS- Know your system's limitations
Like all good things, a CMMS system has its limitations. Software is only as good as the data that you put into it. It won’t magically display your work orders by telepathy- someone needs to manually enter data into the fields and hit save. Although voice recognition software and automatic writing tools have come a long way, nothing is quite as good as a human. The point is, understand the features and functions of your system before you purchase it. Know which data automatically updates and which needs to be manually inputted so you have clear expectations of the software’s capabilities.
If your software doesn’t offer you all the functionality that your business requires, you may need to re-access your software choice or perhaps it’s a matter of spending a little more money on data integration. Most CMMS vendors offer full data integration services, where the vendor is responsible for data collection (uploading your O&M manuals, taking stock of your spare parts inventory, adding all equipment, etc.) as well as account setup. Hiring out this work can save your organization a lot of time and ensure that your database is set up properly and optimized right off the bat. Custom development may also overcome your system’s current limitations. Many vendors will work with you to create custom modules for your organization at a price. If this new tool shows value for other clients, the vendor may agree to split the development fee. Explore your options and understand how best to deal with limitations.
7. LOVE IS ADVENTUROUS- Take a new module for a spin
Technology is constantly evolving, becoming more streamlined and user-friendly for all types of technical skill levels. Make sure you’re in the know of new features that your CMMS vendor has developed since you initially purchased the system. It may be the case where you can leverage exceptional value from a bar-coding system or interactive floor plans without having to pay more for the feature. If you don’t feel adventurous enough to use advanced features, try taking advantage of a more basic feature that you haven’t had time to dig into. Powerful reporting tools can provide insight into all aspects of your maintenance operations and, even better, they are very easy to create. You can even “set it and forget it” by triggering report emails at a frequency of your choice. Take a walk on the wild side and dive into a new feature, your company is sure to see benefit from utilizing features beyond simple work order management.
Showing love to your system will allow you to get more out of it, be it leveraging new features or tightening up database maintenance. By spending more time upfront properly adding asset information and cleaning out a cluttered interface, you and your team will work much more efficiently later on. Remember, everyone likes to feel appreciated, and your CMMS software is no exception.
To learn more about optimizing your CMMS, contact our friendly support team.