Four steps to succeed in your CMMS project : DS SMITH tells us how

CMMS has become an essential part of a company's information system. Discover today, thanks to the testimony of DS SMITH, the 4 steps to a successful CMMS project.

The CMMS has become an essential brick in the company’s IS.

The software helps maintenance teams carry out their operational mission on site and maintain the company’s equipment, buildings and strategic assets.

The solution can be deployed in a large number of business sectors: industrial, hospital, transport, logistics, tourism, etc. It’s also a knowledge base that stores information, and a tool for communication, process management and team planning that offers traceability and cost monitoring.

Finally, it’s a decision support tool whose implementation requires a few precautions. The feedback from Laurent Arfeuillère, maintenance and new works manager and Baptiste Teigne, Maintenance apprentice, shed light on the steps they followed within the framework of deploying the DIMO Maint CMMS within DS Smith, one of the main suppliers of sustainable packaging solutions, paper and recycling services.

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Step No. 1: defining needs

You must draw up specifications, get people onboard with the project, obtain management’s approval and benchmark the solutions on the market.

At DS Smith, the maintenance teams lacked organisation at the outset. There was no CMMS tool.

Laurent Arfeuillère (DS Smith) remembers: “We no longer knew who was doing what and the whole business had to be structured. We also needed the support of management, which understood perfectly well that reorganising the entity into sectors involved using a CMMS tool: it was impossible for a company of 200 people to function without the right tools. The CMMS therefore manages all the works, up to the investments. It offers rigorous monitoring for buildings, which is required by our insurers and the Sprinkler regulation. We took the basic minimum training, because the tool is very user-friendly. After having defined the major works, including the tree structure, we had to transfer it all into our system. We didn’t want to lose anything from SAP. We therefore made imports into our CMMS, in a transparent way. The DIMO Maint MX CMMS is scalable and excellent value for money. The investment was therefore easy to defend.”

Step 2: data population

Configuring the software and creating the repository was crucial for DS Smith and took a lot of time.

Baptiste Teigne carried out the spare part and partner imports: “It was quite simple because it was all done based on Excel, in a table and column format that was easy to convert, as files in .csv format don’t require in-depth IT knowledge. The major work was preparing the data. I exported all of our stock hard-coded from SAP in Excel. Then, sorting and mapping are important in imports. You have to cleanse the data properly. The tree structure for assets was already created by region.”

Laurent Arfeuillère adds: “It took 3 or 4 training sessions but we were able to become independent quite quickly. Good division is the system’s core. In this way, the corrugator – a part that is several hundred metres long – bears on a whole region. We were able to assign part of the software to its maintenance. We created groups – regions – managed by the CMMS independently, with advisors for each region. The CMMS gave us something that didn’t exist in our company before: a weekly preventive maintenance schedule and a schedule for each operation, whether it was preventive maintenance, improvement or miscellaneous works. The team has a complete listing taken from the CMMS for the region. The improvements take place gradually over time. Between Excel imports/exports and adding items, everything is linked in the different phases of the software.”

Step 3: training users

Ensuring that users make the most of the CMMS is a vast topic! This concerns the Maintenance team as well as production, or even administrative employees who use it to declare breakdowns or submit work requests to the maintenance teams via web or mobile interfaces to collect these requests.


Laurent Arfeuillère says: “The work request is crucial. Even if its processing is forgotten, it remains visible in the system and the requester and production are aware of it. This is sometimes what generates stock discrepancies and inconsistencies. We’re in the middle of deploying the mobile part and we want to assign it to the production teams. They often face a one-off problem and don’t necessarily have the time to monitor the actions. They therefore need instant feedback. The smartphone enables you to attach photos integrated directly in the work request. The breakdown is collected directly in the system.”

Baptiste has trained the four region managers and the preventive maintenance works are starting to be put in place autonomously because it’s not just about breakdowns.

Step 4: managing and exploiting data

 “The maintenance team must take ownership of the functionality, because another software program enables you to manage production. The CMMS has, however, provided clear and simple traceability of what is done every day and every month. Analyses enable us to know everything about a given asset and the work orders generated. For the time being, we’re more in a phase of raising awareness of the information to inject in the CMMS such as the causes of faults, observations or error messages. The more experience staff have really understood the use of giving relevant and explicit descriptions. The indicators will come by themselves. In this way, every morning, we display a list of what was requested the day before and done by the team.”


Laurent Arfeuillère adds: “We’re also carrying out a cost analysis for maintenance, specifically for the Christmas and Ascension shutdowns. We’re valuing the work of external service providers and parts. The CMMS enables us to identify the full cost of a maintenance job. It’s much more complicated in SAP because the granularity is different. For example, finding a supplier’s contact details only take a few seconds with the CMMS as against five minutes in SAP. The ergonomics is very important.”

Other questions :


How long does it take to deploy a CMMS on a site?

For DS Smith, the implementation time was very short because there was willingness and information available: “The imports enabled us to put in place many processes. We started the project in three months and we had great assistance from DIMO Maint support. We chose to implement it all at the same time (stocks, preventive maintenance, etc.) even if it was done imperfectly.”

Why did you not use the SAP Maintenance Planner?

DS Smith feels that the module is far to cumbersome for its use: “It must be simple to learn and the information must be quick to access. The DIMO Maint MX CMMS provided the answer we were looking for and we didn’t really explore the topic in SAP.”

What are the traps to avoid in terms of CMMS project management?

Baptiste Teigne says: “You must not rush the data import to avoid upsetting the stock. It’s useful to import into a test environment, before importing into a production environment.” Laurent Arfeuillère adds to this observation: “We were interested in crucial production equipment, without going into great detail. Production, energy, environment, storage – everything that makes our site run. It’s unnecessary to put too much in the CMMS.”


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