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Making a CMMS Software System Work Over the Long Term

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Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

In today’s maintenance environment, a CMMS software system — also known as a computerized maintenance management system — has become one of the most important tools to proactively manage maintenance and engineering operations. But making a CMMS software system work over the long term does come with some challenges.

Here are some of the common problems that can cause a CMMS software system to fail over the long term:

Data Problems Can Kill a CMMS Software System

Many departments do not adhere to — and in some cases, do not have — work flows or processes related to maintenance data. These processes are critical for ensuring that the CMMS software system captures necessary data and that users seamlessly integrate it into the daily activities.

The goal in implementing a CMMS software system is to make it easier to collect, enter and use the maintenance data. Managers must evaluate progress by discussing flows and processes with workers to determine if they understand or have even seen them.

Lack of Training Can Starve a CMMS Software System

One common problem area that leads to the deterioration of maintenance management data is a lack of system training for users. Unfortunately, too many managers feel that the best cost-saving measure is omitting system or user training.

While this strategy does reduce the up-front costs, the long-term impact can be dramatic. Many departments purchase and implement a new CMMS with the goal of finding the right user-friendly system when, in reality, user training on the existing system might have been more cost-effective.

It is equally critical to train users on the established work flows and processes. Users must be trained based on their interface requirements with maintenance activities and the CMMS.

Managers can enhance CMMS performance by identifying the maintenance and CMMS interface requirements for all software users at the site or facility and providing training based on those requirements.

Avoiding CMMS Access Problems
Managers must determine the way any user will use the CMMS. Anyone who identifies needed maintenance work should have some level of access to the CMMS. Building occupants should have access to the system to document maintenance issues they identify at the facility. They must be trained on the correct procedures for using the established workflow or process.

Next, anyone who performs maintenance should have access. These individuals are the true users of the system. A CMMS will succeed and generate meaningful data only when these individuals enter pertinent failure, cause and action codes through work orders they complete. Reinforcing the use of work flows and processes at this level ensures the system contains information to generate maintenance management data.

Finally, all who must make informed maintenance management decisions should have access to the system, and they must receive training on how to efficiently use the system to analyze information. These individuals are the true users of the information within the CMMS.

As one can clearly see, if building occupants have no training on how to properly input requests, maintenance workers might not have the necessary means to document their results. As a result, those who must make informed decisions will have no maintenance management data available.

CMMS Solution: Build on the Basics by Michael Santangelo

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