14 Ways to Implement a CMMS Successfully

While most facilities can benefit from a CMMS, it’s not always clear how to implement one successfully. In fact, CMMS implementation can be a task fraught with headaches, with over 70% of new CMMS projects failing to launch, according to a survey conducted by UpKeep.

However, there are some simple steps every organization can take prior to, during, and after their CMMS implementation to make sure their system is a success.

Before implementing a new CMMS

The first steps to take happen before CMMS software is even selected. While it may be tempting to save time and jump into the first good-looking CMMS you find, a solid plan will create a more error-free end product. The time and money saved from a lack of troubleshooting will be worth it in the end.

There are some crucial details to plan prior to CMMS implementation, including...

1. Scope out the project

First, it helps to figure out the goals of your CMMS. What does the facility want to track? Which areas need this implementation the most? What features are necessary for the facility to run at maximum uptime? How much money is allocated for this CMMS project? An organization should be realistic about their costs and timeline. Having an inadequate budget could mean spending a lot of money for no end product whatsoever.

2. Select a CMMS wisely

Rather than going off of one person’s recommendation or the first search result, it’s beneficial to look at a range of different CMMS products to figure out which ones offer necessary functionality. The scope of a project will determine the needs for a CMMS.

3. Get stakeholders involved

Prior to CMMS implementation, everyone involved in this decision-making process needs to be on board. Having the approval of managers, maintenance teams, and other key stakeholders is essential for a smooth launch. These stakeholders should be aware of new developments.

CMMS Implementation

Next comes the implementation of the CMMS. This process is not so simple as installing software and configuring it. In fact, this can be the most complex step depending on the previous asset management system in place. That said, the time directly before and during the implementation is a good time to gather data and make sure the transition between old and new systems goes as smoothly as possible.

4. Have a dedicated migration team

Migration can be difficult or easy depending on the level of initial effort. For example, a facility that expects a migration to go smoothly without sifting through their data, cleaning it out, and managing assets beforehand might have a rude awakening come the day of implementation. It’s helpful to have a team dedicated to migrating assets, and there are even services to help a facility do this if the task looks too daunting. (At UpKeep, we offer data migration services to larger organizations that want to port data over from previous maintenance software.)

5. Meet with teams regularly

Plan a realistic kickoff date and make sure every involved team is aware of that date. During implementation, make sure to schedule constant meetings with key stakeholders to make sure their department is being given the attention it needs. These check-ins are vital to making sure that there’s always a finger to the CMMS’s pulse. Check-in with the CMMS provider is also important. Your account manager can help you stay on track to achieve a successful implementation.

6. Implement incrementally

It’s not always prudent to try and implement everything as quickly as possible. Adopting a CMMS has a learning curve for everyone involved, not just for the employees submitting work orders. It can be helpful to start the CMMS in one area to demonstrate its worth before rolling it out to the rest of the company.

7. Get trained

Figure out which documentation needs exist and fill those needs (training courses, operation manuals, FAQs). If they exist, use the vendor’s training services. If not, dedicate employee time to sitting with training materials. It can also be helpful to have technical writers develop material as it is being implemented so that documentation is always up to date.

Post-Implementation

The CMMS has been implemented and the job is complete, right? Well, a CMMS is like any other piece of equipment: it needs maintenance, supervision, and repairs when necessary. This can mean a lot of different things for different facilities.

8. Utilize the Data from the CMMS

Plan to use the data you gather with the CMMS to improve maintenance efforts and productivity within the entire facility. Data can be used to diagnose the operating reliability of a specific asset, an area, or even the entire facility. To reach these diagnoses, you can turn data into visual maintenance reports.

9. Improve maintenance scheduling PM/PdM improvement

Use the data gathered to improve preventive or predictive maintenance schedules. If this functionality doesn’t exist, work with the vendor on a solution.

10. Track budgets

Use the CMMS to figure out where the organization’s budget is going awry by tracking vendor costs, parts costs, and overtime. This can be a vital statistic to help an organization maintain peak profitability and lower overall maintenance costs.

Throughout the entire CMMS implementation process, lean on the CMMS vendor to help you. During pre-implementation, have them perform product demonstrations for your entire team to make sure the product is a good fit for everyone. During implementation, get their help with data migration. And during post-implementation, ask them for ways to use the data you’ve collected.

By following the steps above during implementation, you will set yourself up for success in using your CMMS. However, it is important to be aware of common ways that an implementation can fail to avoid repeating others’ mistakes!

4 Common CMMS Implementation Failures

Organizations feel using new software is easy, so they forego a lot of the critical planning and pre-implementation strategies that make CMMS adoption a success.

There are four really huge ways to mess up a CMMS implementation, and most failed projects suffer from one or more of them.

1. Lack of Planning

Planning is a vital step in the process and one that is so often foregone.

A CMMS by itself won’t fix maintenance problems that plague a facility. In order to implement a CMMS properly (or to even choose the right software), a facility needs to create an action plan that includes:

  • What kinds of data they want to track
  • What kind of functionality they need
  • What kind of budget they have
  • Stakeholder approvals and buy-in

Immediately investing in a CMMS without a plan is a massive mistake that can kill a project on arrival.

2. Implementation Mishaps

The step with the widest variety of places to fail is probably in the implementation step.

There’s more to this than installing the software and starting work orders. Implementation involves tons of critical factors:

  • How is data being migrated from previous systems?
  • Is there a PM plan designed and ready to be scheduled?
  • Has the software been tested in an area before being rolled out to the whole facility?
  • Is everyone communicating on when things are rolling out?
  • At this stage, communication, testing, and planning are still super important parts of the CMMS implementation process.

3. Little to No CMMS Training

When a new asset comes to a facility, maintenance staff need to be trained on usage and maintenance tasks. The same is true of a CMMS, but facilities still continue to look over this step.

Training should not be a one-time thing either; continuous training is incredibly important, especially if a CMMS receives updates for new features. When an organization skimps on training, maintenance staff won’t know how to use the system that’s supposed to make their job easier.

Besides, it’s proven that training increases adoption – don’t let this kill an implementation.

4. Inputting Low Quality Data into the CMMS

Finally, the data collection process can kill a CMMS with ease – if you put in garbage data, you get garbage data out.

Maintenance teams need to understand what kinds of data they need to input. Hands-on training can help with this – if technicians are shown how to populate work orders with useful, quality information, the data you get out will be actionable.

Maintenance teams need to understand what kinds of data they need to input. Hands-on training can help with this – if technicians are shown how to populate work orders with useful, quality information, the data you get out will be actionable.

Throughout the entire CMMS implementation process, lean on the CMMS vendor to help you. During pre-implementation, have them perform product demonstrations for your entire team to make sure the product is a good fit for everyone. During implementation, get their help with data migration. And during post-implementation, ask them for ways to use the data you’ve collected.

By following these steps and avoiding the most common implementation failures, you’ll join the 30% of companies that are successful in implementing a CMMS.