CMMS: Don't Implement Button-Pushing Training
Perhaps the step in the CMMS implementation process that gets the least amount of attention and respect from the majority of managers is training. Ideally, training should focus 20 percent on the software and 80 percent on the customer's business processes, Miller says.
But training cannot smooth out all of the rough spots. If a department's current process is flawed because it does not properly collect data from work orders, for example, implementing a CMMS will only automate, not solve, a flawed process.
"Software doesn't improve the process," he says.
One key element of any successful implementation involves setting, understanding and communicating the project's goals to all parties.
"You want to work backward from the desired outcomes," Squires says. "If you don't know what those are, you can't make the right decisions along the way."
For various reasons, managers tend to view training to use the CMMS effectively as a relatively low priority.
"Training is not considered vital," Conroy says, adding that instead of putting the system's users through three or four days of training, many customers downplay it and maybe do online training only.
Customers tend to minimize the training they purchase as a way to hold down the project's cost, Squires says.
"Most software clients are looking for the least amount of service possible," he says, adding that his company now mandates that at least 30 percent of a project's cost must cover training. The reasoning behind the emphasis is simple.
"If the users are not trained properly, the system is not going to work properly," Squire says.
Once a manager commits to providing proper training for the system's users, the next step is deciding on its structure, content and timing.
Successful training flows from the user permission levels managers set early in the implementation process, Reyna says. Not all users require access to the same areas of the software and data, so the training should not be the same for all.
"You're going to have all different levels of users," he says. "What does each level of user need? You don't want to overload the group during training with information they're not going to need."
Miller advises managers to make certain the developer does not provide cookie-cutter training, but instead tailors it to the organization's specific needs.
"Basic button-pushing training is what everybody offers," he says, so managers should seek training that addresses facility-specific issues.
The duration and frequency of training also can present problems for busy departments. For users who will work with the CMMS most frequently, such as system administrators, Squires recommends training a group of five-ten people for three-four hours at a time because training that lasts longer than that is not as effective.
"A full day of training is a waste of a half a day," he says.
For technicians, he recommends off-site training to minimize, and ideally prevent, the inevitable interruptions from maintenance emergencies.
"Something is going to break; it always does," he says.
Conroy even recommends spacing out training sessions, adding that the most successful training involves two separate components — a general overview at implementation and another once the CMMS has been in operation, perhaps after 90 days.
CMMS developers stress that managers will need patience and a long-term commitment to ensure a successful implementation.
"Implementation is ongoing," Miller says. "It's not going to end."