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How to Introduce CMMS To Your Maintenance Team

By Bryan Christiansen

The average time spent on scheduled maintenance alone is 19 hours a week, with 34 percent of facilities spending over 30 hours each week to complete their scheduled maintenance tasks. With a modern computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) solution, employees can be more efficient, potentially saving employees hours every week. 

A CMMS does this by having a virtual database of information containing the entire maintenance operations of the company. This helps technicians perform their tasks more efficiently by showing them in real-time what to do and when to do it, and giving them the ability to easily mark it done. Additionally, a CMMS automates manual processes such as scheduling, inventories, and tracking. That is why CMMS is often an integral part of trying to reduce overall maintenance costs, like switching from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance.

How successful CMMS will be in your organization depends on how well the software fits your needs, as well as how your maintenance team understands its capabilities. 

• Do they know how to how to keep a check on the equipment, assets, and property through the CMMS system?

• Do they know how to read the status reports and download the complete record of maintenance activities?

• Are they able to efficiently manage work orders and use CMMS communication capabilities?

Once, CMMS solutions required months of training to understand. Today, things are changing as new modern CMMS solutions are designed for ease of use and flexibility have entered the marketplace. Catering to a variety of maintenance issues, they can help maintenance teams come up with a range of dynamic solutions that keep operations running without spending months learning the system. 

That said, implementing a CMMS is still a large project that will take some time to realize a return on investment. For many, it’s a transition from traditional methods such as paper or Excel to an advanced maintenance planner. Additionally, you need your maintenance team to rely on the CMMS solution for their everyday tasks and not look at it as an alternative system.

When looking at implementing CMMS in your organization, you need to look to identify the potential bottlenecks. One is getting distracted. The maintenance world is a chaotic place, with staff running from one disaster to the next. Another potential bottleneck is lack of technical knowledge. It’s a good idea to make them go through any needed training programs first to understand how to fully utilize the advantages that come along with using a maintenance software.

It’s important to ensure that the experience isn’t overwhelming. When you introduce the CMMS for the first time, try to follow these steps:

Step 1. Choose the CMMS that fits your workflow

The first step is to know whether a CMMS solution covers everything you need. You need a CMMS that fits right into your workflow process, to lessen friction and improve productivity. Look for one that syncs in perfectly with your workflow by answering these questions: 

• Can it monitor all of your maintenance activities?

• Can you keep records of each piece of equipment?

• How hard is it to navigate for both managers and technicians?

• Is there a well designed and easy to use mobile app component?

• Can it help you with predictive maintenance?

• Does it meet your specific company’s needs?

By choosing a solution that matches your current workflow, you eliminate the scope of changes you have to introduce into your facility which enables you to speed up the transition process.

Step 2. Explain to your team how will the CMMS make their life easier

Since your maintenance team will be responsible for using the CMMS, involve them from the very beginning. The maintenance team should be right there with you when you are reviewing CMMS solutions as they know best what features they need and what will save them the most time. Try to make them excited about the change by running return on investment calculations showing them how much time they could save and how much downtime they could reduce. Involving them in the process will help make the transition much smoother.

Step 3. Assess your employees and offer training where necessary

Employees who are working with the CMMS system need to have some technical know-how. Evaluate their skillsets to know if they are up for the task. Identify which employees could need some help and offer training accordingly. 

Modern CMMS solutions let you set up the CMMS customized for your specific organization.  Make sure you train your technicians to use the CMMS according to your company’s unique best practices.  

Step 4. Encourage open communication

For someone coming from tracking maintenance on paper to using a CMMS system for the very first time, the experience can be a little overwhelming. If they don’t have someone to turn to, it could affect their morale. 

It’s important to promote an environment which is open to change. Ask for feedback from your maintenance team regularly so you can catch any potential problems early on.  

You don’t want to end up missing crucial spare parts when you need them just because a technician didn’t know how to properly track inventory through a CMMS and felt uncomfortable to ask if he is doing it right.

Bryan Christiansen is founder and CEO at Limble CMMS.




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posted on 3/30/2018