A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a tool to help schedule, plan, manage, and track maintenance activities associated with equipment, vehicles or facilities. A successful implementation process is critical to leverage the full power of a CMMS. A CMMS can enable organizations to:
- Improve your maintenance performance based on data
- Track and manage the maintenance backlog
- Automate maintenance workflows and processes
- Track projects and associated maintenance costs
- Prioritize work and manage resources
- Track and control use of maintenance materials
However, experts estimate that up to 80% of CMMS implementations fail to meet expectations. This is due in large part to a lack of preplanning and preparation prior to jumping into implementation. Most CMMS solutions also fail shortly after the novelty of implementation wears away, and the spotlight moves to another important and interesting industry project.
What Causes CMMS Implementation Failure?
Many organizations mistake a CMMS implementation as a technology project. A great deal of time, as much as a year if not longer, is taken to make sure the software meets specific criteria. Selecting the right software is important, however CMMS projects are more about preparation and change management than about technology. The main causes of CMMS implementation failure are:
- Poor or insufficient project management
- Lack of vision for the future
Many organizations fail in project and change management because they do not ensure that their project plans are comprehensive. The plan must be documented, followed, and used to track and analyze progress. Implementations fail because teams are often not held responsible for their tasks, or accountable for the results.
A lack of vision for the future is another reason why implementations falter. An aspect of change management is developing goals and a vision of how maintenance will function with a CMMS fully implemented. It is important to document and communicate goals for the role of maintenance in facilitating organizational success, the company’s approach to maintenance, and how a CMMS will support business processes.
Cintas Corporation is a top manufacturer of corporate identity uniforms, entrance mats, document management services and more to over 800,000 businesses, through 430 distributed facilities in the US and Canada. After a few years using eMaint, the Cintas team realized that they needed to focus on fundamental data to achieve their goals. For Cintas, this meant performing the labor of loading 28,000 assets into the system after the team was already using the system. Otherwise, they could not get eMaint CMMS to yield important data regarding decisions such as repair vs. replace, OEE, MTTR, MTBF, and uptime percentages in real-time. Once that work was completed, Cintas began seeing useful, accurate data to help them improve their Return on Net Assets (R.O.N.A) and much more. Regional Project Manager and Facility Management Engineer James Wagoner noted that he wished the team had incorporated this work into the implementation plan, so that they would have achieved these results earlier.
What Makes Implementations Successful?
There are a host of factors that contribute to a profitable CMMS implementation. The process requires a good deal of planning as well as the investment of time and training.
Set Organizational Needs, Wants and Wishes
Successful CMMS implementations are systematic and methodical. A useful way to begin is with a list of what your organization would like to accomplish with a CMMS from a wish/want/needs perspective. This includes:
- Identifying and documenting immediate needs THAT…
- Drive the want to…
- Feed the wishes in order to support continuous improvement.
Developing these goals and a well-rounded implementation plan is time-saving process that leads to reducing costs and meeting goals. The process revolves around prioritizing those goals to experience the full potential of a CMMS. eMaint’s Sr. Consultants note that the most successful implementations have incorporated: