8 Steps to Successful CMMS Implementation
You have gone through the demos, selected the vendor, and negotiated the purchase of your new CMMS – now what? The truth is you are only getting started. Over the next weeks and months you’ll need to work closely with your vendor to ensure your CMMS is configured to work well with the way you do maintenance. Here are 8 things you can do to make sure your CMMS implementation is smooth and your new system meets your needs.
1. Take Inventory / Do Your Homework. This is a good time to take inventory by going through and listing your buildings, equipment, vehicles, and parts that you want to track in your CMMS. Consider any unique situations you may have – such as naming conventions for easy searching or determining how you will identify sections of linear assets. Many CMMS implementations fail because the database is improperly set up.
2. Pull Together your PMs. Every equipment manufacturer has recommended maintenance schedules, but no one knows better than you what is necessary to keep your equipment up and running. Can’t afford unplanned downtime? Schedule PMs and inspections more frequently. Can’t access areas during peak use times? Schedule maintenance around holidays and breaks. Have major events at your facility? Schedule PMs 30-60 days prior to ensure you have time to take care of any issues. One of the main sources of cost savings from a CMMS is through managing PMs and inspections to reduce failures and emergencies and increase the usable life of your assets.
3. Consult your IT Department. Even if you implement a hosted solution, you may still need some support from IT to ensure your network can deliver good performance times at peak times. Are you using smartphones or other handheld devices? Who will provide support when issues arise? Understanding all the IT needs of your CMMS will help you isolate issues and avoid delays.
4. Prepare your Data. Whether you are converting years of history from an existing CMMS or starting from scratch, the cleaner your incoming data is, the faster you will be up and running. Helping you prepare for, and then performing the data import is one area where you CMMS vendor can add significant value. Make sure you understand what is required of your new system before you promise a “go live” date. CMMS implementations are often delayed when parties don’t fully communicate data import requirements.
5. Test your Hardware and Software. The last thing you want to have happen is for your CMMS trainer to show up and have your new system not working, wasting valuable time. Every CMMS vendor has stories about arriving on site to train and having to start by taking the server out of the box. Make good use of your training dollars by having hardware in place and software installed prior to scheduled training.
6. Determine your Reporting Needs. Before you start implementation and training for your new CMMS, sit down with your staff, managers, and accounting department and discuss the types of reports they would like to see out of the new system. Who will receive regularly scheduled reports? How often will you issue reports? Which reports are the most critical to your organization? Thinking about reports ahead of time will help ensure that the system is set up, configured, and used in a way that will get you the information you need. This exercise will also help you determine if any customization is required. Set up your CMMS to automatically produce the reports you need.
7. Get Trained. When designing your training plan, make sure you consider both breadth and depth. You’ll want to get enough people trained so they can help each other with daily tasks and a few people trained on all aspects of the system and its administration. Also consider planning for future training, perhaps 6 months after you go-live, when you have experience actually using the system in your organization. Make sure you are getting the most out of your CMMS by adequately training all users.
8. Audit your CMMS. Schedule a PM for your CMMS! Every six months plan to spend a few hours checking your CMMS. Use this time to make sure you have the latest version of the software, are getting the reports you need, and that you are taking full advantage of the your CMMS’s capabilities. This is also a good time to check in with users and see if anyone has questions or if there are new employees who would benefit from formal training. Performing periodic PMs on your CMMS protects your investment and maximizes the maintenance savings for the organization.