How do we get management on board for a CMMS implementation?

There are a ton of ways to mess up a CMMS implementation, and one way that often gets overlooked is managerial buy-in despite the fact that this factor is usually seen (according to surveys) as one of the most important pieces of implementation. It can be difficult to justify maintenance costs to managers, who don’t see as much obvious value from CMMS software.

The “crawl, walk, then run” mentality
With a new CMMS, it’s useful to have a gradual “crawl, walk, run” implementation strategy. This means that you start small with a CMMS, rather than trying to convert an entire facility at the same time.

This strategy accomplishes two important objectives: one, it makes the overall implementation process smoother, allowing you to work through growing pains in a smaller control area. But even more importantly, starting small allows you to demonstrate value to managers, making it easier to bring them on board.

Plan everything out
A manager probably doesn’t want to hear a half-baked CMMS implementation scheme, but their minds may be more likely to change if your plan is fleshed out.

At the end of the day, a maintenance manager wants to know that their budget is being used effectively. For CMMS implementation, this means that you need to create an in-depth budget plan, as well as an implementation timeline, intended maintenance strategies, planned failure codes, and a host of other elements.

For managers to buy in, they need to understand exactly what they are buying in to, and creating a sort of holistic schematic for your CMMS implementation is a good step towards building that understanding.

Communication is key
It’s important to remember that “buy-in” is not a static concept. A manager may approve a CMMS but balk later based on how well they perceive the process to be going. At this stage in the process, it’s necessary to constantly communicate status and updates not only to managers but to everyone involved with CMMS implementation.

This can take a lot of forms – maybe there’s a weekly progress meeting or a series of constantly updated graphs that show implementation percentages by area. It may be necessary to have different meetings with different information depending on manager level – for example, area-level managers probably don’t need to see as much of the high-end budget information as facility managers.

Just remember: just like a CMMS increases the communication between your assets and maintenance team, you need to keep those same channels open between your team and your managers.