CMMS Upgrade Requires Software Training
Ziegler and his staff knew that data management related to these key activities would be essential. Without proper data collection and tracking, a system's users cannot get essential information in the desired format. This shortcoming prevents managers from performing data analysis and making meaningful decisions related to maintenance operations. In such cases, a CMMS often is missing an adequate report writer.
"The biggest challenge in upgrading our new CMMS was entering the data needed for the system," Ziegler says, adding the application needed to be able to handle data on all properties and assets, the department's inventory of replacement parts and equipment, all preventive maintenance tasks, and staff and contractor activities — all of which is an ongoing process.
"The data is never complete," Ziegler says. "We continue to add as needed.
The department also has invested in electronic devices to improve the collection and management of maintenance-related data.
"As we continue to use new technology, we have provided our supervisors with laptops and iPads," he says, but he adds, "Paper work orders are still crucial because they are legal documents."
Training for success
Upgrading a CMMS involves far more than identifying needs and selecting software. It also is essential that managers include comprehensive training for system users in their purchase decisions.
"The key was ensuring all staff had proper training on the new system," Ziegler says. "As part of the RFP, training was required for all office staff. The CMMS provider came to our office and trained staff with our actual live data. It was invaluable to have a trainer on site to help us input the required data to get the system up and running. It was a very smooth transaction.
"We continue to receive training as the software is upgraded annually. Training is also offered annually, and users from around the world come together and share ideas and provide tips during the users conference."
The department's efforts in properly specifying and installing the upgraded have paid off.
"The system has performed as desired," Ziegler says. "The new system is very user-friendly and allows us to track all maintenance issues." For his department, these issues include:
- the type of work order, whether emergency, routine, or preventive
- the ability to separate in-house projects from contracted work
- scheduling preventive maintenance
- tracking expenditures by site
- useful reports, such as completed work orders by shop.
"The reports allow us to review all aspects of the department," he says, adding that the department also can more easily document repairs and record labor hours charged to a particular work order.
The department has seen additional benefits from the upgraded CMMS. For example, the upgrade has led to improved communication with school sites because all sites now can view open work orders, he says.
Maybe most importantly, the upgrade is delivering bottom-line benefits.
"We are seeing savings as we implement our scheduled preventive maintenance program," Ziegler says. "I can see the savings, but the PM program is just being implemented, and we do not have enough data at this time."
Ziegler says that he knows the upgraded CMMS is central to his department's future success.
"The key to a successful preventive maintenance program is a CMMS to track and schedule the program," he says. "I am very happy with our CMMS."