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!
- "Ten Pitfalls To Avoid When Selecting A CMMS/EAM" from Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operations magazine has some useful tips for looking for an enterprise level CMMS program.
- "50 questions to help your CMMS search" from the Plant Maintenance Resource Center.
- "Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)" also from the Plant Maintenance Resource Center for an overview of CMMS systems, use & implementation.
When you are looking for maintenance management software (CMMS software) for your organization you are probably going to be doing a lot of research. You will do a lot of web searching, look at magazines, get referrals as well as look for reviews of software. This is where it gets exhausting and highly confusing! There are over 300 CMMS/ maintenance software products out there and selecting the right one is a challenge. Like many others you may decide to look for CMMS software reviews or other research that covers different products mainly from “authority” websites.
How good are these CMMS/ maintenance management software reviews?
Being in the CMMS software marketplace I can tell you that the value of most such research is questionable or in many cases not very useful. The problem lies in the intersection of what your needs are, the target audience for the CMMS software reviews, who did the reviews and how they were compensated for the reviews.
The first issue of what your needs are is a big one. Most CMMS/ maintenance software products are targeted at very specific types of customers to serve specific needs. For example we target our FastMaint CMMS software at small to mid-size maintenance teams. Our ideal team size varies from a single person using the software to about ten to fifteen people using it on a regular basis. For such customers being able to setup a maintenance program quickly and without too much fuss at an affordable price is paramount. Unfortunately most CMMS software reviews and expert opinions are tailored at mid-range to large size enterprise solutions. The reviewer looks at a large matrix of features many of which will not be used by smaller maintenance organizations. Products that do not fit into this matrix rarely get considered or are given poor ratings. Products that they consider very highly are frequently a poor fit and overkill for a smaller size maintenance team. So when you consider such reviews make sure to understand what is the target of such reviews. Such reviews are not very useful if you are not a target user of the systems they recommend.
Who did the reviews?
Who did the reviews and how they were compensated is another item to worry about. Sometimes they are done by “maintenance experts” who frequently have their own solutions and expertise to sell. Their targets are large organizations that can afford high value solutions and have large consulting budgets. A while back we were approached by a magazine to have a software review done of our maintenance software by a “maintenance expert”. The cost of the review was $5,000! Generally software vendors selling large complex solutions with high dollar costs will get such reviews done since a single sale will completely pay for the cost of doing such a review. Unfortunately the maintenance experts also like to push such solutions since they offer the opportunity for consulting fees and other advisory services. Another class of reviews is done by software review sites. The person doing the review is usually no expert and is frequently working off a boiler plate checklist of features with no understanding of what is important. Sometimes such review sites offer a similar checklist to help visitors to the site pre-qualify different maintenance management packages. If you use it, they will often try to sell your information as a lead to several different maintenance software vendors.
Ultimately in all cases it is buyer “beware”. You need to have a clear idea of your needs and what market segment you fall into as a customer. If you are need a large to mid-range enterprise class solution looking at CMMS software reviews may be useful. You will still have to filter them for self-serving reviews! However, if you are looking for a single user or small departmental solution these reviews and checklists are basically a waste of time. Also be mindful that products in this space change over time and any data that third party sites have is frequently out of date.
Finding the right CMMS software package
So how does one find the right CMMS software package? We have put together a list of questions and criteria called the “Maintenance Software Selection Guide” that can help you define your market segment and what you should be looking for in a CMMS software package. With hundreds of packages available suitable for different requirements – using the guide can help you narrow the field and select the right one for your organization.
Good luck in your search!