How to successfully run a CMMS project?
There is more to the success of your CMMS project than the initial choice of the right software. Below are a few tips for project managers:
Preparation is key
A poorly prepared or supported CMMS deployment can lead to an abysmal failure. Insufficient preparation, organization, or employee involvement, are the most common causes of an unsuccessful CMMS deployment.
However, don’t let these deter you from your project! On the contrary: being aware of them will help you implement the different steps to avoid common pitfalls.
Key factors for a successful CMMS project
As an IT manager, you will be at the heart of the project and closely work for a few months with the maintenance team.
A CMMS project must be thought out in advance
It is commonly known that when a project is not adequately framed, the risks for its failure increase. Given your central role in implementing and deploying the solution, you have a comprehensive view of the work to be done for the digitalization of your maintenance function.
Four points, in particular, deserve your attention to reduce dropout risks:
- your ability to organize the implementation of the CMMS project;
- the human resources necessary to build the database and operate the tool effectively;
- the methodology used to define functional processes and ways to enforce it;
- your managerial capacity to operate the CMMS once it is operational.
Don’t forget that your CMMS must be scaled to the size of your organization. This is where your knowledge of your company will prove to be a significant asset.
Appointing a CMMS project manager
To move forward, you must appoint a CMMS project manager. It could be you, a member of your IT team, or any person from the maintenance department who can manage an IT project.
Given how critical his role is, the project manager must have all the skills required to successfully implement the CMMS and work closely with both the maintenance team and other departments for the successful adoption of the solution.
Considering the CMMS in an organization’s information system
It is important to consider how the CMMS will stand relative to the existing information system (IS).
Based on this analysis, you will be able to avoid software on the market that can be in duplication or ones that could quickly become obsolete.
Once you have chosen a solution, which subscriptions or custom features should you keep or modify?
It will probably be useful to integrate the CMMS with your existing software (ERP, HR software, SCADA, MES, etc.) to prevent duplicate entry and increase productivity.
Why some people fail to implement a CMMS project
Poor preparation is the leading cause behind the failure of CMMS projects. In fact, any CMMS implementation should only take place after a thorough reflection phase and the identification of the key people who will be in charge of the project’s progress.
Never hesitate to seek advice from recognized CMMS players. They are best-informed to help you find a solution adapted to the size of your company and your actual needs.
What are the key steps for a successful CMMS project?
One of the roles of the CMMS project manager is to understand the scale and applicability of the project and use this knowledge to estimate objectives and obstacles.
Turning the CMMS project into a business project
The deployment of CMMS must become a company project. To do this, effective internal communication is primordial.
Too many people believe that the CMMS implementation affects only the maintenance department: this is not true! The CMMS is a supportive tool for the smooth running of the entire organization.
Maintenance does not only affect technicians and production personnel. Its importance is strategic: it ensures the availability of assets and infrastructure but also improves working conditions in terms of safety, hygiene, pollution, environment, etc.
Maintenance is undeniably central to the company.
To turn a CMMS project into a company project, it is necessary to rely on three pillars:
- exhaustive and transversal specifications;
- a 360° risk analysis;
- a dashboard with indicators reflecting time, financial and human resources.
Removing human obstacles
A comprehensive risk analysis will inevitably address human obstacles.
Identify sticking points
The project manager needs to be fully aware of these and find solutions to circumvent them.
Sticking points mainly stem from:
- the “magnifying glass” effect, when employees question the project’s transparency and transversality;
- the need to define and standardize the working methodology so that everything fits neatly inside the software’s categories;
- the natural resistance to change, which may be a result of seniority, corporate culture, or personal character.
Removing the human obstacles to the adoption of a CMMS
The first step is to meet with each of the stakeholders and explain why such a project is being implemented in the first place and what the benefits will be. More often than not, holding formal or informal meetings will have a positive impact.
As with any project, you should not hesitate to get everyone’s fears out in the open (and therefore listen).
The second step is to separate the CMMS end-users into different groups. These workgroups will guarantee the project’s transversality and comprehensiveness while allowing everyone to see things from the perspective of colleagues coming from other professions.
The third and last step consists of showing each end-user the personal benefits they will unlock if they make good use of the CMMS. This step might appear redundant with the education and training employees previously went through, but it is crucial to remove the most deeply entrenched obstacles, particularly the sensation of being monitored.
We rated the success of our CMMS project in terms of the level of solution appropriation shown by users from both the maintenance and the requesting sides of the firm. The former displayed better organization and effective task sharing, while the latter demonstrated remarkable ease for handling the software. New corporate habits developed as a result. Data historicization has also become crucial in the event of a core employee being absent during an audit.
José GARCIA, Maintenance Manager – Alsys
Prepare master data to fill in the CMMS tool
In the beginning, before the tool truly becomes representative of your firm, your CMMS will be an empty shell that you will have to fill in as you go along.
Not all profiles will need the same level of information: management will want access to essential data, while production will want to see when their machine was last serviced. As for the maintenance technicians, they will need to have access to all the data, including management of the spare parts warehouse.
Preparing and entering data into the CMMS can be a complex process.
As a CMMS project manager, you will need to:
identify and calibrate the assets’ bills of materials
correctly assign a code for the various components
define operational processes precisely