CMMS implementation: 7 essential steps for success
A well-configured and utilized computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a powerful tool for organizations to improve maintenance effectiveness. To be successful, it is important to select a software solution that fits your needs. But that is not all there is to it. Equally important is the CMMS implementation process.
Poor preparation and implementation of maintenance software can cause frustration and rejection on the part of users. This, in turn, will lead to inaccurate data and unreliable reporting.
To get the most value out of your CMMS, it is, therefore, advisable to check out vendors’ implementation capabilities. What are the critical success factors?
1. Focus on value
Any CMMS implementation project should start with a needs’ analysis and define strategic goals to ensure that all project decisions bring real value to the organization. This entails defining your maintenance concept, preparing written standards and processes tailored to your organization, and clarifying roles and responsibilities. As well as setting measurable goals and identifying adequate performance metrics.
Without a clear value framework with the right metrics, CMMS implementation often ends up as just an asset register with a helpdesk for reactive maintenance. In our experience, a project-to-value mapping is a useful resource to link all project decisions to organizational objectives and KPIs. It ensures that all goals are well defined, understood and communicated and improves project focus. It’s also the basis for a performance dashboard that allows you to track project KPIs and quickly take corrective action if needed.
Think big but start small: work in a phased manner to avoid a long time to first value. Expect your CMMS implementation partner to bring value KPI lists and guide you through the process.
2. Scope control
Managing project scope is one of the big challenges of transformation projects. The “as-is” situation in combination with the wishes and expectations of various stakeholders can result in a tsunami of requirements, without leveraging the new capabilities offered by modern CMMS.
Start by reviewing existing systems, data sources, maintenance contracts, and processes. Look at other areas that could benefit from automation too. Determine if workflows can be improved, and streamline your processes based on industry best practices. Check if a vendor has maintenance expertise and – if they do – whether best practices have been effectively incorporated into the software.
It is advisable to define the project scope prior to purchasing a solution, as it may influence the selection process. Ask yourself what you need today but also think about future requirements and integration needs.
3. Data capture
Without complete and accurate asset data, a CMMS cannot achieve its goals. It is, therefore, crucial to get things right at the point of data capture. Look at what data you already have, what is missing and how you are going to capture it. Make a project plan and secure a budget to get all the data into the system before the go-live stage. Remember: your asset strategy is only going to be as good as the data you harness in the first place.
Ask your software vendor if they can provide guidance and tools. When implementing a new CMMS software, large data volumes need to be imported. The platform should provide a user-friendly data migration tool to import a wide range of data (assets, resources, locations, contracts, etc.) from Excel quickly and in a structured way. You also need to import data, layouts, and geometry from CAD/BIM. If you have missing or obsolete asset information – which is practically always the case – mobile apps can significantly reduce the time of entering data (asset inventory and condition, inspections, stock levels) and improve its accuracy.
It doesn’t stop with a one-time data import/export, however. Maintenance operations and assets generate a large amount of data each day. Make it easy for technicians and end users to notify defects and track operational data on the go from a smartphone or tablet. You may want to attach QR codes or barcodes to assets and locations. By scanning these with a mobile app, your technicians in the field and authorized 3rd parties will get direct access to asset information and can update it in real time. Interventions can be easily logged and stock levels automatically adjusted.
4. CMMS integration
To get the most value from CMMS software, integration is key. If your CMMS module is part of an overarching CAFM/IWMS platform, deep integration with other modules such as energy and facility management will be standard.
It’s important that your vendor can also ensure integration with external systems such as financial and ERP software, Building Management Systems (BMS) or IoT sensor networks. Such integration will enable data to flow through different platforms and touchpoints and make the experience seamless for all users. It will also allow you to gain insight into the full asset life cycle and benefit from reliable, end-to-end performance reporting.
If you outsource maintenance work to a 3rd party, the contractor should ideally also be connected to the CMMS. That way, all parties can exchange information through a single platform. This can be part of the negotiation process when appointing a contractor.
5. Software configuration (not customization)
Companies are moving away from heavily customized vendor-dependent delivery models to a flexible self-service model. Maintenance professionals today prefer a standard software that has embedded best practices and is configurable by the end-user. If users feel the software is too rigid and does not fit their way of working, they will ignore it and continue using outdated processes and tools.
Configurable templates and process flows are therefore key for successful CMMS implementation. Assess your requirements, as configuration capabilities differ from one vendor to another.
6. User adoption & change management
CMMS implementation is a change process, so expect resistance. No matter how wonderful your new solution is, it will not deliver the expected value if you can’t get people to accept it and use it correctly.
So take into account company culture and communicate to everybody why you are doing the project, before deploying it to the users. Pay special attention to key users who will be the ambassadors of the new system and the first line of support. Show all stakeholders how they will benefit from the new software.
A smart approach, with pre-configured templates, ready-to-use reporting, and user-friendly eLearning will help users get up to speed quickly and reduce the depth and length of the “valley of despair”.
7. Ongoing training and support
Make sure you thoroughly train users on the software before the go-live date. This is important to avoid demotivation and suboptimal use of the software. Keep providing flexible learning opportunities on an ongoing basis.
Interactive eLearning is a great tool to increase user adoption, enable users to achieve a high level of proficiency and prevent knowledge loss.
If you are mindful of the above implementation aspects, your investment in CMMS software will pay off more quickly.
MCS takes an integrated approach to facility maintenance with in-house maintenance experts, proven best-practice software and dynamic project engineers. If you would like to learn more, do not hesitate to contact us.