When you are looking for CMMS software you frequently will have to provide a justification for the purchase in terms of expected costs and benefits. This can be hard to do and quite tedious. You need to understand both the possible costs involved as well as the benefits to make the right decision on not just to purchase CMMS software but the type of product you want as well as the budget you should have for it.
What are the CMMS software costs?
Purchasing and using CMMS software for your maintenance management will incur a variety of costs. These costs are not just financial but are a variety of other costs incurred by your organization covering implementation, training, on-going use and so on.
- Software license costs: This represents the cost of the software license – typically a one-time cost unless you are looking at buying upgrades.
- Ongoing support costs: This will be the cost of software support agreements that will usually involve maintenance and updates from the software vendor. Generally such software support includes updates/ upgrades besides support if you run into issues using the software.
- Consulting & training costs: You may need to get on site consultants (from the software vendor or some other company) to setup the software, perform other configuration or provide training to employees. You need to budget the actual costs for such consulting time plus things like employee time spent learning to use the software, your Information Technology department costs for setting up any hardware or other initial setup and so on.
- Other software & hardware costs: To run the software and its database you will need computers & servers. You may also need to purchase other third-party software to run the system e.g. database software, operating system licenses, web server software and so on. If you are using bar coding you may need to buy bar code readers and other software.
- Annual/ monthly subscription costs: If you are buying Software As A Service (SAAS) where you login and use a hosted solution you will be paying a monthly/ annual fee rather than a one-time license fee. Generally support costs & updates are included with such fees.
- Data migration costs: This involves the cost of transferring data from an existing system or copying data from spread sheets or paper into the new system. While this is something the maintenance team may do themselves there is still a cost due to the labor hours spent doing this.
- System management costs: The costs involved for someone to maintain the software system itself e.g. taking regular backups, set up users, provide help desk support & other administration on an ongoing basis.
What about the benefits?
- Reductions in equipment breakdowns due to better maintenance: Since equipment maintenance will be planned better and preventive maintenance is less likely to be skipped, you should start to see fewer equipment breakdowns over time.
- Reductions in overtime costs due to fewer breakdowns: Fewer equipment breakdowns means fewer maintenance "emergencies" when all hands are needed on the deck to fix things fast. So you should see lower overtime costs since maintenance technicians should be doing less overtime to fix critical equipment that has broken down.
- Improved maintenance backlog management: Maintenance backlog represents outstanding maintenance that has not been done. With CMMS software you will better be able to keep track of maintenance work due as well as items that slipped through the "cracks". You can learn more about this from "Maintenance Backlog Management For Equipment & Facilities".
- Reductions in schedule conflicts due to maintenance being planned at the same time equipment is needed by operations: This can be a big benefit. If you have planned critical maintenance on an equipment but it clashes with schedules of production/ operations you are not going to be very popular. Equipment maintenance calendars created from your CMMS software can help you plan future maintenance and reschedule as needed. You can learn more about this from "Equipment Maintenance Calendars & Scheduling Preventive Maintenance".
- Reduced costs due to longer asset/ equipment life: Due to better maintenance most equipment is going to last longer before it needs to be replaced. This reduces the capital costs of buying new equipment over time.
- Improved inventory management: Better inventory management is a significant source of savings. Due to better maintenance planning you will keep fewer unneeded and possibly expensive spares around, you will reduce delays fixing breakdowns because you do not have spare parts and you will better be able to evaluate part vendors for quality and reliability.
- Improved analysis of problems and better reporting to management: Maintenance software will help you generate statistics on your performance that can be shared with management so that they have better insight into how the maintenance department is doing as well as get warnings on potential problems (e.g. unexplainable maintenance backlog increases, rising equipment maintenance costs, etc.). You can learn more about these statistics and how to use them from "Key Maintenance Management Statistics For Maintenance Planners".
- Standardization of maintenance work due to task templates: With good CMMS software you can create standard maintenance task templates to create work orders. Instructions on how to complete the maintenance can be standardized in these templates. This makes it easier to train new technicians as well as improve maintenance standards.
- Improved user/ customer satisfaction: Reductions in equipment breakdowns and better planning or preventive maintenance will create a better impression. Maintenance plans are less likely to interfere with operations or delay product delivery.
You can see a sample case study "CMMS justification, benefits & return on investment (ROI)" that actually tells you how to put dollar figures on all the above benefits to help you calculate the Return on Investment of your CMMS software.
Looking for suitable CMMS software?
If you are currently looking at trying to justify the costs of buying a CMMS software product you may find it useful to try out the 30-day fully functional trial of the FastMaint software that we have available. It will give you a chance to evaluate the costs and benefits involved in using maintenance management software and hopefully make a better case to your management on why you should purchase it!
"Break down maintenance planning" certainly does sound like an oxymoron! How can one plan for break down maintenance which by its very nature is unpredictable? However, there are some things that you can do to make your maintenance team more effective in handling unplanned equipment breakdowns and other maintenance emergencies.
- Prioritize your preventive maintenance tasks into "High" – must complete on time, "Medium" – must complete but can be rescheduled, "Low" – good to do, can be skipped once in a while. Using your maintenance software try to put together a preventive maintenance plan that includes all these types of tasks during your working day. Then when something unexpected and urgent comes up you can reschedule or skip preventive maintenance work of "Low" and "Medium" priority so as to make time to attend to unplanned break down maintenance.
- Analyze your historical work orders to see if there are trends when equipment tends to break down e.g. you may see a seasonal variation when the weather turns hotter/ colder or during a busy season when equipment is heavily used and so on. Once you can confirm such trends you can make sure that your maintenance staffing levels are adequate during those periods – encourage people to take vacations during less busy periods, schedule training during quieter periods, hire temporary staff and so on.
- Prioritize equipment that can break down based on whether delays in fixing them are acceptable. For example if one machine of several similar machines fail it may not be so much of an emergency if the other machines can handle the lost production. Alternatively you may be able to "borrow" a replacement from the vendor. This will give you some flexibility in deciding when to fix equipment break downs.
- Use historical data to identify equipment that breaks down frequently. Identify the most common causes and see if regular preventive maintenance would have reduced these breakdowns. You may also want to consider replacing such equipment especially if more reliable alternatives are available. See the article "Analyzing Machine/ Equipment Breakdown Reports From CMMS Software" for more information on using these reports.
- Use historical data to identify the most common types of break downs. Ensure that they are not occurring because of user/ operator errors e.g. overloading a machine, ignoring equipment warnings and so on. Make sure that technicians are properly trained to fix such break downs quickly. This will ensure a rapid turn-around of such problems and greatly increase customer/ end user satisfaction.
- Spare parts availability can be a problem since breakdowns are unpredictable. Not having required spares to fix a break down will results in delays. On the other hand keeping a large supply of (possibly expensive) spare parts on hand adds significantly to maintenance expenses. Again historical data can be useful to give you an idea of spares you need to have on hand to handle most types of common break downs. You may also be able to identify vendors who can get you spares and supplies quickly as needed. The article "6 Ways CMMS/ Maintenance Software Can Improve Vendor Management" has some useful information.
- Review manufacturer recommendations periodically to make sure that you are following recommended practices when performing maintenance. Some missed maintenance steps could be the reason for certain equipment failures.
Do you have problems collecting this information?
These suggestions require you to collect and analyze quite a bit of maintenance data using your CMMS/ maintenance software program. If you do not have CMMS software or find the reports provided by your existing solution inadequate you can download a fully functional 30-day trial of FastMaint CMMS software. The import feature can be used to import much of your equipment from comma delimited files. You can then try out various reports to see how it can be used for better breakdown maintenance planning.
Maintenance backlog refers to maintenance work that is overdue. It is usually measured in hours or days. It represents the total estimated time it would take to complete the pending maintenance work orders. As a facilities/ maintenance manager or maintenance planner this is something you need to keep an eye on and make sure that it does not go out of control.
Maintenance work orders can remain incomplete for a variety of reasons:
- Spare parts not available to complete the work: If these are preventive maintenance work orders you should be able to predict in advance spares & supplies that may be needed using maintenance work order reports for future periods in your CMMS software. Based on previous unplanned/ breakdown work orders you may be able to identify equipment that breaks down frequently and the parts that need to be available so that work can be completed. Keep track of vendors and try to have alternative vendors for all parts so that you have other vendors to go to in case of supply problems from some vendors. You may find the vendor management tips in "6 Ways CMMS/ Maintenance Software Can Improve Vendor Management" useful.
- Maintenance technicians (with required skills) not available for the job: This can happen when equipment needs specialized skills to fix/ troubleshoot but the technicians with those skills are too busy or not available because of sickness/ vacation/ other work. If this is one off or infrequent you probably can live with this. However, if you see it happen quite frequently you should plan to upgrade the skills of other technicians so that someone else can step in as needed.
- Equipment problems that require troubleshooting from vendor/ outside specialist: While similar to previously mentioned problems of technicians not being available, this is something you have less control over. If this occurs often to certain equipment, try to escalate the issues with equipment vendors so that they will send you help faster. Also see if it makes sense to replace equipment because it is too old or can be replaced with more reliable equipment. The article "Analyzing Machine/ Equipment Breakdown Reports From CMMS Software" may be useful in helping you do this.
- Task dropped because a higher priority task came up: This is something that can happen quite frequently. In fact in our "Maintenance Management – Tips For Success" e-booklet we recommend organizing a schedule where it is possible to drop lower priority tasks when higher priority unplanned/ breakdown tasks come up. For such dropped tasks you should try to catch up when you can and make sure that they get completed/ canceled in a reasonable time period.
- Work order no longer needed: For example you may have a monthly preventive maintenance check where a filter is replaced. The equipment breaks down just before this check is due and as part of the service the technician replaces the filter and does the other steps in the preventive maintenance check. The check is no longer required this month. Another cause could be that the equipment on which the work is being done is no longer in service or is out of service for other reasons. In such cases you need to cancel these unneeded work orders.
- Unable to get access to the equipment/ location because it is in use: You may be unable to complete work because another department (e.g. operations) is using the equipment and cannot afford to have it shut down for maintenance. If this is critical maintenance that is being delayed you need to escalate this to management because such delayed maintenance may result in premature equipment failures. At this point the maintenance department will most likely take the blame! Ideally you should use something like the Equipment Calendar Report to identify and schedule maintenance with other departments to reduce such missed work. Read the article "Equipment Maintenance Calendars & Scheduling Preventive Maintenance" for more information.
- Someone forgot about it: This can happen more often than not especially when you have many work orders to track. This is where CMMS software can be really useful and can help you keep track of missed maintenance as well as give you reminders as needed.
It is important to have a way to keep track of your maintenance backlog. Ideally over time it should decrease but due to factors mentioned above you may see jumps in some periods. CMMS software can be very useful to keep track of such pending/ past due work orders and help you ensure that they are closed/ canceled as needed.
Looking for CMMS/ maintenance software?
You can download a 30-day fully functional trial of FastMaint CMMS software and see how you can use it to manage your maintenance backlog. The one page Statistics report available from the main screen/ Home page (Web edition) shows how much backlog you have as well as check for pending work orders from prior periods. The maintenance work order history report can be used to locate only pending/past-due work orders so that you can complete/ cancel them as needed.
Maintenance management is quite a wide field since ongoing maintenance is required for a variety of equipment and facilities. Having a CMMS software program that can keep track of such maintenance and schedule work orders becomes very useful. A maintenance software program is not only useful in locations with a lot of machines (e.g. manufacturing plants, mining operations, etc.) but useful where you have a lot of facilities needing maintenance (hotel, resorts, restaurants) as well as those with other equipment (e.g. utilities, vehicle fleets).
Does it make sense to look for software specialized to the type of maintenance requirements you have?
This may not be such a good idea if you are going to be using the same system to handle different types of maintenance e.g. at a manufacturing plant you handle maintenance of machinery as well as facilities (assembly lines, work stations, storage areas) or at a commercial facility you handle maintenance of rooms as well as equipment (HVAC, water pumps, electrical) or say a trucking company wants to handle maintenance of their truck fleet as well as other equipment (e.g. repair equipment) and facilities (e.g. loading docks, repair bays). This means that a product targeted at say fleet maintenance may not offer good facility/ equipment maintenance features. In such cases a more general purpose maintenance management product would be a better choice.
What about integration with other products e.g. an ERP system or accounting system?
A few other software suites, generally ERP systems have maintenance management modules. However, these usually do not have all the features that a CMMS software package will offer. So they can be hard to use and create user dissatisfaction. Some CMMS systems may offer integration with other systems but in all such cases I would recommend buyer beware – make sure the integration is what you want and what you need. These integrations may require you to buy expensive consulting time to setup or do not transfer the correct information between systems. Rather than depending on vendor promises make sure to test such integrations and make sure that they are genuinely useful before deciding to pay a premium for a CMMS software product that offers such integration.
With the advent of a smart mobile phones and tablets does it make sense to look for maintenance software that supports them?
Many maintenance software packages advertise mobile phone features and capabilities. Some features such as the ability to push out work orders to technicians in the field and handle their updates can be quite useful. Others can end up being dangerous – what happens if a technician can modify equipment records, makes changes and drops out of the network due to phone issues? How do you handle lost phones? Who pays for Internet access? You can learn more about these and other questions you need to consider in a related post "Mobile Phone Support In CMMS/ Maintenance Management Software".
How useful are maintenance software reviews?
Quite a few websites and magazines offer reviews or comparisons of different CMMS software. There are a few underlying problems you need to be aware of before you put too much faith in particular reviews. For example you need to consider the target audience the review is for. If your organization/ team is not really a target or does not fall in the solution size range, the review will not be useful. Reviewers conflicts of interest are also a cause of concern. You can learn more about what you need to consider when checking reviews from "CMMS Software Reviews – How Good Are They?".
Maintenance software selection guide
Besides the ones mentioned above a variety of other items need to be considered when selecting CMMS software for an organization e.g. hosted/ self-hosted, number of users, types of reports, scheduling features and so on. To help you consider such items we have put together a “CMMS Software Selection Guide” that you can download and use. It offers a checklist of different criteria that you can use to help you narrow your choice among the hundreds of products currently available.
It is the start of a new year and time to get an idea of maintenance due for the coming months. You especially want to see if too much work is being clubbed in some weeks while nothing much is scheduled during other weeks. Low periods could also be time some of your maintenance technicians could take time off or go for additional training. When you have several hundred equipment it can be hard to get an idea of preventive maintenance that is due for all the different equipment. This is where reports from your CMMS/ maintenance software can be quite helpful. You may find a report called Equipment Maintenance Calendar or Maintenance Calendar. Use it to get an idea of preventative maintenance due in the coming months week by week.
Watch out for:
- Remember that unplanned maintenance probably will still come up during some weeks due to equipment breakdowns or other issues. So make sure that you have maintenance technicians available with required skills even during weeks that not much maintenance is being planned. Having a look at prior year breakdown work orders can give you an idea of the possible work load – but remember that it probably is not accurate since unplanned maintenance due to equipment breakdown is quite unpredictable!
- Some adjustments may be needed in the maintenance calendar if old equipment is going to be replaced during the course of the year or new equipment is expected to be installed.
- Check carefully and make sure that planned workloads are not unreasonable and you have the staff to do them. You will need to change your maintenance task scheduling if you are going to be overloaded in some weeks.
- Discuss with operations staff if it is acceptable to remove some equipment from service at certain periods – you may find it is a busy period and the worst time to do any planned maintenance! You can tweak settings on maintenance task schedules to ensure that planned maintenance dates are adjusted to accommodate such needs.
- It is also be a good time to get an idea of expected maintenance spare parts demands over the coming months. This will help you order items early from suppliers as well as give you an idea of quantities needed so that you will be eligible for applicable discounts. CMMS software reports on work orders for future periods may have an option to calculate parts usage and availability. This can come in useful to get an idea of spares you need and when you will need them. You can see "6 Ways CMMS/ Maintenance Software Can Improve Vendor Management" and "3 Ways To Improve Maintenance Spare Parts Management" for some additional spare parts management tips.
Have a look at a related article "CMMS Software Tip: Why You Need An Equipment Maintenance Calendar" for more information.
Looking for CMMS software?
If you do not have a maintenance software package or are dissatisfied with your current maintenance program you can download a fully functional 30-day trial of FastMaint CMMS Maintenance Management software and see how it works for you. Use the import feature to load in your equipment and maintenance tasks. You can then try the Maintenance Calendar Report to get an idea of the preventive maintenance due in the coming months.
As an operations manager or maintenance manager one of the things you need to look out for is problem equipment that is causing operational problems or incurring significant maintenance costs. When you have hundreds of equipment it can be quite difficult to identify equipment that needs to be investigated. This is where equipment breakdown reports or similar reports from your CMMS/ maintenance management software can be helpful.
How to identify problem equipment
- Maintenance costs by equipment: Use reports from your CMMS software to get an idea of the total maintenance costs for unplanned as well as planned maintenance over preceding twelve months. While looking over a shorter period may be easier, costs will tend to get skewed if any equipment needs specific maintenance only during certain times of the year. Based on costs identify the most expensive equipment. Review the costs to see if anything seems out of line. Consider manufacturers cost estimates and prior years data to see if costs seem unusual.
- Equipment downtime duration: Similarly use reports from your CMMS software to look at equipment downtime over the past twelve months. Note that downtime can unusually high for some equipment because it took a long time to fix – maybe parts were not available or maintenance personnel were shifted to higher priority jobs.
- Complaints history/ work requests: Look at reported complaints and work requests over the past twelve months. Identify equipment that has an unusual number of complaints or problems.
- Equipment statistics (e.g. MTBF, MTTF): While statistics on equipment can be useful they may not be very helpful when you have a variety of different equipment and you are trying to pinpoint equipment that need investigation. However, they can be helpful if you have many similar equipment used in operationally similar ways – any equipment that has statistics way out of line needs to be investigated.
Identify causes of equipment breakdowns and fixes
Once you have a list of problem equipment you should investigate further on what are the underlying causes. Equipment that breaks down frequently could be failing due to a variety of reasons e.g.
- Close to end of life: While it may be theoretically possible to keep on using equipment with a lot of ongoing maintenance, at some point it becomes too expensive to continue doing so. Internal metal fatigue, non availability of spare parts, lack of maintenance skills or newer equipment with better productivity/ efficiency are reasons to consider removing equipment. Any equipment in your list that falls into this category probably should be replaced.
- Poor maintenance practices: This means that preventive maintenance is being skipped or your maintenance team is inadequately trained to do maintenance on this equipment or poor quality spares are being used. Check if the same spares keep being replaced or maintenance personnel are reporting issues during maintenance using some parts. Identify if preventive maintenance is being skipped. Check work orders to make sure that maintenance procedures are being properly followed. Any equipment in your list that falls into this category probably needs a better preventive maintenance plan or improved training for maintenance personnel. If poor quality spare parts are causing the problems it is time to look for vendors offering better quality.
- Poor operational practices: This means that equipment operators are not using the equipment properly or the equipment is not designed for the loads being put on it. Improper operation can be signaled by comments about operator errors in feedback from maintenance technicians. Improved operator training can help here. Equipment that is considered critical and fails frequently even if maintenance was properly done could be a sign of over loading of equipment. You may need to buy additional equipment or look at making changes in operational flow to reduce peak loads.
- Poorly designed or built: This means that the equipment has internal flaws that cause it to fail frequently (e.g. over heating because of inadequate cooling). If you have many similar equipment and they all seem to have frequent failures due to the same problem it could be sign of design/ build issues. Do some research to find if other organizations using this equipment are also reporting similar problems. You may need to get the manufacturer to fix these issues or seriously consider buying alternative equipment from another vendor.
- Incorrectly installed or setup: The equipment was not installed as per manufacturer’s recommendations or was damaged during installation/ initial startup. This may show up similarly to equipment with poor design/ build, however, it will usually be isolated to only a few equipment out of many similar ones. Also any research you do on other organizations reporting similar problems may not result in many similar complaints about the equipment. Comparing equipment statistics to manufacturers recommendations can also provide clues. Such equipment will need to be inspected and may need a complete re-install.
Unable to get equipment breakdown reports?
As explained above you will need to collect a lot of data from different reports from your maintenance management software. If you do not have CMMS software or find the reports provided by your existing solution inadequate you can download a fully functional 30-day trial of FastMaint CMMS software. You can use the import feature to import much of your equipment from comma delimited files and try out the different reports to see how to analyze equipment breakdown data.
If you are a maintenance planner or maintenance manager at a large commercial and industrial facility one of your jobs will be to prepare a maintenance budget and get it approved. This will decide how much money you have available for maintenance management, hiring employees and training. This can be a daunting task to do especially since you will have no way of predicting the costs of future equipment breakdowns. Maintenance management typically involves a lot of money due to the costs of labor, materials and other charges. A good maintenance software package (CMMS software) can help you get a handle on such costs that will help you prepare a more realistic budget.
What You Should Consider When Making Your Maintenance Budget
- Preventive maintenance costs: These costs are more predictable since once you define the maintenance tasks and the frequency you want them done, the CMMS software can calculate future scheduled dates and expected costs for parts and labor. You can use maintenance software reports for future periods to get an idea of expected costs. For example in our FastMaint CMMS maintenance software we have a Location History report that could be used to calculate future maintenance costs by Location.
- Breakdown maintenance costs:These costs are by their very nature unpredictable – since you cannot know when equipment will breakdown and what you have to do to fix it. Here using historical data from your CMMS software will be useful to get an idea of possible costs.
- Employee & contractor costs: In many cases employee costs for maintenance work are rolled up labor costs in work orders. Costs for contractors can be calculated from work orders that are done by them. Employee costs for a salary or regular wages need to be calculated separately.
- Training costs: These are additional costs incurred for sending employees/ contractors on training – maintenance related or not.
- Parts & supplies costs:These costs can be estimated from costs for parts and supplies used on work orders – both preventive and breakdown. Again look for reports in your maintenance software that can allow you to estimate part costs – historical and in the future.
- Tool replacement costs: These are costs incurred in replacing tools that have become damaged or no longer useful. Estimating these costs can be harder but you can use historical data to get an idea of when tools need to be replaced and how much it will cost.
- Miscellaneous costs: These encompass costs of travel, food, phone, subscriptions, insurance, warranties, office supplies, software and so on.
Once you are able to get estimates for costs under these different heads you will be able to put together a budget estimate. You will need to justify expenses under each head and provide fairly strong justification of why you need money for a particular expense. Otherwise management has a habit of cutting items they do not understand especially when they are under pressure to reduce unnecessary expenses!
Using Reports From Your CMMS/ Maintenance Software
If you do not currently have maintenance software or are unable to get these reports from software you currently have, you can download a fully functional 30-day trial of FastMaint CMMS. Use it to set up the preventive maintenance tasks you expect for the next year. Once done you can try to generate work order reports/ assorted item history reports for future dates to get an idea of scheduled preventive maintenance works orders and the expected costs.
If you are responsible for managing maintenance at a large facility or industrial plant you will be handling a lot of requests for maintenance work. Most will be of the emergency or breakdown kind where requesters want immediate fixes. Some will be of the planned maintenance kind where requesters want you to do maintenance that keeps equipment running in top condition e.g. changing filters, oil changes, calibration and so on.
You need to have some way to manage and track and satisfy such requests. You also have to have a way to inform requesters when work is complete or if there are any problems. Traditional ways where people catch you in the hallways or give you a call can end up being a real nightmare especially if there are a lot of such requests to handle!
Useful Maintenance Request Management Features
You need to have an organized way of handling such requests. Good control of maintenance work request management will go a long way to ensure high end user satisfaction and fewer complaints about the maintenance department. Most CMMS software packages have maintenance requests modules that are part of the software or available as an add-on. Some useful features to look for are:
- Request submission: Allow non-maintenance personnel/ customers to make maintenance requests on their own. Requesters may be able to choose specific maintenance tasks or equipment/ locations and request specific maintenance.
- Support for alerts: The CMMS system may also be able to send you an email/ text alert when work requests are submitted. This will allow you to attend immediately to the important ones as well as defer or close out items that are not so urgent or are not really required.
- Work request review: You should be able to review a work request and decide what to do with it. Many work requests especially for emergency maintenance could be requesting the same work since more than one person could be submitting the request. Other requests could requests for several different kinds of maintenance. So you need a way to convert these requests to work orders or close out duplicates. Directly converting each and every maintenance request into a work order will result in a lot of duplicates or work orders that span several maintenance jobs and can be difficult to manage and track.
- Checking request status: As work orders get done or completed you need to have a way to inform requesters of the status automatically. This is much preferable to you having to contact each person individually to tell them what you are doing or have done! Most CMMS software have request status checking features that enable requesters to check the status of work requests they have made or check the status of specific maintenance jobs.
- Reporting & statistics collection: Report on all the work requests received and processed. This will help you catch requests that are overdue or pending and make sure that they are handled or closed. Besides this you can collect statistics on maintenance department performance over time e.g. requests received in a specific period, average days to complete a request and so on. Such statistics are useful to see if you are falling behind in handling requests or keeping up with them.
Looking for CMMS/ maintenance management software?
If you are looking for a CMMS package that can also handle maintenance requests you may want to have a look at a free 30-day trial of the FastMaint CMMS software. The maintenance request module is part of the FastMaint Web edition and is available as an optional add on to the FastMaint Professional edition. You will be able to submit & process maintenance requests, collect statistics and reports and see how useful it will be to you.
If your organization is looking for a CMMS/ maintenance software solution you need to be aware of common mistakes that can happen during the selection process. This post is a continuation of the previous post “CMMS Software / Maintenance Software Selection Mistakes” that explored a few of these pitfalls. In this second part we discuss a few more pitfalls that one should watch out for.
More CMMS software selection pitfalls!
- Having unclear objectives of what you want to accomplish or having overly ambitious objectives: The maintenance software is a tool that can help you accomplish specific objectives. It is not a magic bullet to fix maintenance program problems. Once you understand this, define clearly achievable goals which are measurable e.g. complete most outstanding work orders in 2 days (average days to complete), reduce work order backlog by 10%, reduce equipment downtime by 10%, reduce unplanned/ breakdown maintenance by 20% and so on. Make sure that everyone agrees on these objectives. Prune out items that require too much effort and commitment from maintenance technicians – either they will not get done or the technicians will fill up the system with useless information to meet targets resulting in the classic “garbage in, results in garbage out”. You may want to see the post “Key Maintenance Management Statistics For Maintenance Planners” for information on useful maintenance management statistics that can be collected to help you define realistic goals.
- Giving too much importance to maintenance software reviews: While CMMS software reviews can be useful one must understand who did the reviews and the target audience for these reviews. Have a look at a previous post “CMMS Software Reviews – How Good Are They?” for more details on the use & misuse of such reviews.
- Not trying the software before you buy: Avoid making decisions based on a pretty demo or slick presentation from sales staff. Each organization is slightly different. What will work really well for one may not work as well for another. So you really need to have your people try an actual working copy of the software before you make a decision. Most maintenance software companies offer trials of their software that you can download and evaluate. This will help you identify potential issues at your site based on your use of the software.
- Focusing too much on a budget to select the software: You may have been given a fixed amount within which you can buy CMMS software e.g. $1,000. Avoid using this number to throw out solutions that cost say $1,500 or even $2,000. The additional features or better work flow of the more expensive product may pay for itself in a short time. For example we have an example case study called “CMMS justification, benefits & return on investment (ROI)“ that shows a payback of nine months for most editions of FastMaint CMMS software. Utilize something like this case study to see if you can justify a higher purchase cost if you find something better but just out of your budget.
Have a look at our recently updated CMMS Software guide for more information on criteria to use when selecting maintenance software for your organization. It covers 15 different questions to ask to help you identify the right maintenance software for your organization. With hundreds of products available identifying the right one for your organization can be a challenge!
If your organization looking for a CMMS/ maintenance software solution? If it is, you need to be aware of common pitfalls that can happen during the selection process and make your final choice a nightmare to use. Depending on the background of who is making the selection, one or more of these pitfalls can trip up the selection process. CMMS software selection can be driven by someone from the IT department, someone from the maintenance department or someone from operations/ administration. Not being familiar with CMMS software and it’s uses can result in the user making the selection being blindsided to potential problems that will make the final software selected not being very useful to the organization. In this two part post we will discuss common selection mistakes and how to avoid them.
What are these pitfalls?
- Seduced by the lower cost and easy deployment of a web hosted CMMS: Here a vendor offers maintenance management software product that is available as a service (Software as a Service - SaaS). Monthly fees are lower and charged by the number of users. Deployment is easier because you just need an Internet connection and a web browser to access it. What is there not to like about this! The problem is that you are now locked into paying monthly fees forever. If you want to add more users you start paying significantly more. You need to compare the costs of paying a one-time license fee against about three years of the subscription cost of a hosted solution to get an idea of comparable costs. You also need to consider future migration costs. What happens to your data if you decide to switch to another provider? How will you get your data and how will you be able to load it into the new system? Who owns your data? What happens to you if the vendor goes out of business or faces other problems providing service?
- Selecting a great looking solution that has a lot of bells and whistles: This is something that can bite someone who is not too familiar with maintenance management – typically a person from the IT department or administration/ operations who is selecting CMMS software. In such cases make sure that the maintenance workflow provide by the CMMS software is something your maintenance team can use. Make sure that it does not force them to completely change their maintenance practices to accommodate the CMMS software. Some changes in maintenance practices may be helpful to accommodate future goals but major changes are usually difficult to accommodate and will probably just be ignored. You must review such workflows with the maintenance manager, maintenance planners and maintenance technicians to make sure that they will work.
- Thinking that solutions that offer a lot of training and hands on support must be good. CMMS software products that require training before use should raise a red flag – they typically are more complex products. Such products are generally harder to use and getting training is going to eat up a lot of maintenance department time! What happens when people leave and you get new employees on board – who pays for the training? Will maintenance department performance suffer when new employees are being brought up to speed on the CMMS software?
More pitfalls ahead (discussed in Part 2)!
In the second part of this post "CMMS Software Selection Mistakes (Part 2)" we cover a few more pitfalls that can trip up the best selection processes. You may also want to have a look at our recently updated “CMMS/ Maintenance Software Selection Guide” for additional hints and advice on selecting the right CMMS software for your organization.