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Many maintenance and engineering departments have deployed computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) with a variety of benefits in mind — improved technician productivity, more effective management of maintenance tasks, and lower operating costs, among them.
Unfortunately, too few departments have maximized the CMMS investment, leaving the software underused and less beneficial than hoped for. A department can face many hurdles when selecting, implementing, and using a CMMS, but these hurdles are not unique to CMMS. Many or all are present in any new software or business process. A closer look at two of the most common challenges — along with potential solutions — can help managers and their departments overcome those challenges.
Choosing the wrong software is one of the easiest mistakes to make. To make matters worse, realizing the software is incorrect for the needs of the department might take months or years. The issue has less to do with choosing the wrong software vendor and more to do with choosing the wrong type of software.
That is not to say that choosing the correct vendor is not important. Rather, the difference between a CMMS, an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), computer-aided facility management (CAFM), enterprise asset management (EAM), and asset performance management (APM) can be staggering but appear negligible. The developers and vendors of these software systems claim that their software can meet department needs and then some, and often it can.
So what is the problem? This answer is all too common: The maintenance and engineering department needs a system for managing work orders and preventive maintenance (PM) to bring the organization into modern times. A request for proposals (RFP) goes out, and proposals come in.
Vendor A proposes a bare-bones CMMS that meets the need at a competitive price. Vendor B proposes a complete IWMS package, which includes PM and work order management, as well as space management, a facility condition assessment (FCA) module, and more at a higher but still affordable price. With these options, the department selects Vendor B and is excited about the way this new system will help automate different functions.
Two years pass, and the FCA and space management modules have not been implemented. To implement them would require too many resources the department cannot justify. Meanwhile, the group continues to struggle to complete even 50 percent of PM and responding to customer work orders within three days. This situation is all too common.
Vendor A’s solution meets the department’s need, but Vendor B’s solution meets the need, and it provides for future growth. Either software might work, but in this example, Vendor A likely would have been the better fit.