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11/24/2008 12:00:00 AM
Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff
Properly specified, installed and used, facility maintenance software can be a powerful asset to better manage facilities. Often known as computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), facility maintenance software can perform a host of functions.
Still, finding the right facility maintenance software can be a challenge. That's because effective facility maintenance is actually a process rather than a piece of software. Ideally, this process drives the selection of software, and the software is specified and implemented to fit the process. This process can assist in ensuring facilities remain in a good state of repair.
Buying Facility Maintenance Software: Focus On Process
Making sure that facility maintenance software fulfills the needs of all affected parties requires a team effort, involving experts from the field, including consultants; designers; the owner; maintenance and engineering managers; plant operations and maintenance staff; and information technology (IT) managers and technicians.
The team’s goal should be to provide maintenance technicians with a consistent, effective tool to track and schedule PM, identify areas for process improvement, and target better ways to spend maintenance dollars. Pulling together as a team and developing, understanding and committing to a process can provide a good foundation upon which to build the software.
Managers will need to keep a few things to keep in mind when considering purchasing or upgrading facility maintenance software. Perhaps most importantly, the cost of implementation is greater than the initial cost. Once the software is in place, the department still needs to set it up and populate it with the facilities’ data. This process generally is expensive and time-consuming.
The next step is to determine the specific needs of the organization, its facilities and the department. What areas require the largest and most pressing improvements? To determine needs, consider these steps:
Assess strengths and weaknesses. What are the organization’s IT capabilities? What is the computer literacy of the staff? Can a manager add employees or change maintenance staff’s configuration? Is the staff ready and willing to take a different approach to maintenance and repair operations? Does management believe in the benefits of facility maintenance software?
Determine the status of maintenance. What is the current status of maintenance in the organization? Is the department properly tracking work being done in the facility? Is there a PM plan in effect? If so, how is it monitored? Answering these questions will go a long way in determining how much up-front time and money must be spent to improve these systems.
Is the department staffed properly? If an organization is implementing a CMMS, chances are it has deferred maintenance due to low staffing levels, a situation that will become a major problem. Is the department prepared to deal with this workload? Does it have the time and money to allocate to this project? This question might be the most important. The successful implementation of a CMMS requires a top-down commitment from management and the support of the entire organization.
Determine the goals and objectives of upgrading the CMMS. Managers need to define these goals before purchase and installation. By setting goals before beginning with the purchase and implementation of a CMMS, managers are clearly defining the conditions of success for the CMMS.
Making the Case For Facility Software
CMMS Solution: Build on the Basics
Why a CMMS Fails (And How To Prevent It)