How to implement CMMS Software

How to Implement Your CMMS Software to ensure maximum up time. And reduce your maintenance costs.


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A study by Oxford University and McKinsey found that on average a software project has a 66% cost overrun and 33% schedule overrun. Most projects deliver 17% less benefits than the original plan.

Based on the study. It is safe to assume CMMS Software implementations too will have schedule and cost overruns. Here is an excellent synopsis on why CMMS software implementations fail.

This guide on how to implement CMMS software will help maintenance managers to leverage their CMMS implementation to change the maintenance culture of their organisation.

Step 1: Decide How You are Going to Measure CMMS Success

Whilst it is tempting to start with data import as a first step. Taking a step back is highly recommended. First decide your CMMS success factors.

Below is an example of quantitative CMMS success parameters;

Maintenance ParametersCurrent SystemTargets for New CMMS System
Number of Equipment500500
Maintenance cost per Equipment6% per annum2.5 to 4% per annum
Equipment Life4.5 years5.5 to 7 years
Maintenance Costs£200,000£160,000

Below are some examples of the detailed CMMS success parameters;

  • Cost and hours of planned maintenance vs. cost and hours of reactive maintenance.
  • Cost and hours of the percent of planned maintenance that is preventative.
  • Cost and hours of the percent of planned maintenance dedicated to projects.
  • Cost and hours of the percent of planned maintenance that is predictive.
  • Cost and hours of backlogs created during maintenance times or issues.
  • Turn overs of inventory.
  • Percent of maintenance costs dedicated to equipment replacement.
  • Cost by classes of equipment.
  • Schedule compliance maintenance costs.
  • The percentage of time the equipment is available for use.
  • The loss of production when equipment fails.
  • The loss of production when preventative maintenance is occurring.

Step 2: Map you current maintenance workflows to build your new maintenance workflows.

Most maintenance teams moving to a new CMMS tool migrate from a spreadsheet system or a dated CMMS tool.

Often existing workflows are the function of your current systems. When migrating to a new CMMS tool. Review every part of your maintenance funnel, critically.

Map your new maintenance workflows. They will make it easier for you to implement and measure your maintenance success parameters. At this step, clarify the terminologies you want to use in the system. Get rid of confusing maintenance jargon’s used in your company.

This means defining the data required to run the system efficiently. For example; how maintenance engineers will be tracked, type of work orders, type of analysis performed, type of maintenance etc.
This is also where nomenclature for standard data needs to be defined. For example; the names of each asset, location, bin, or parts that need to be standardised.

Step 3: Get to Know the Common Components of Your CMMS System.

The basic components that make up a CMMS are;

  • Labor.
  • Assets.
  • Work management.
  • Tasks or procedures.
  • Preventative maintenance.
  • Materials management.
  • Purchasing.
  • Add-ons.

These can be further detailed to describe their specific information.

Labor includes;

  • Listings of employees.
  • Certifications.
  • The ability to assign employees work.
  • Overtime Information.

Assets include;

  • Nameplate data.
  • Material lists.
  • Locations.
  • Cost codes.
  • Warranty information.
  • Meters.
  • Safety procedures.
  • User defined fields.
  • Asset assemblies.
  • Costs, and.
  • Equipment configuration.

Work management includes;

  • work order numbers.
  • descriptions.
  • type.
  • priority along with problem.
  • component.
  • cause.
  • remedy codes.

The work management component also includes;

  • Adding materials to the work order list.
  • Reserving materials and employees planned for work orders.
  • Recording an asset downtime.
  • Safety procedures.
  • User defined fields.
  • The ability to compare projected and real costs of labor.
  • and materials for maintenance activities..

The tasks and procedures component include;

  • A checklist of what’s to be done.
  • The estimated hours for the activity.
  • Where resources are coming from and being assigned to.
  • Parts lists.
  • and safety procedures.

Preventative maintenance includes;

  • The ability to attach multiple assets to one preventative maintenance record.
  • Start a maintenance event based on time or usage.
  • Set preventative maintenance on completion-based intervals.
  • Sequence work orders.
  • Create seasonal or blackout dates.
  • and generate batches of work orders for preventative maintenance.

Materials management includes;

  • Storerooms.
  • Bin locations.
  • Vendor contact information.
  • Inventory commodity codes.
  • Associated multiple part numbers.

Other components of materials management are;

  • The ability to assign inventory costs to work orders.
  • Set minimum and maximum reorder limits.
  • Look at where parts are in the storerooms as well as support cycle counting.
  • Work order issues.
  • Transferring supplies from one storeroom to another.
  • Repairing spares.
  • and issuing items not in stock to work orders.

The purchasing component includes;

  • Generating purchase orders when parts meet their maximum and minimum levels in stock.
  • Merging multiple line items into one purchase order.
  • Tracking of purchase order items that have been ordered or are on back order.
  • Maintaining the approval hierarchy for purchases.

The last component, add-ons, includes;

  • Interfacing with enterprise resource planning software.
  • Plant automation systems.
  • Customer information systems.
  • CAD programs.
  • GIS.
  • Ad hoc reporting.
  • Bar coding, and.
  • Project management systems.

Step 4: Decide on Phased or One-time Implementation.

Step 2 and Step 3 will define the complexities of your implementation. A CMMS is implemented either in phases or in a one-time event. However, a phased implementation is easier. As there’s time to develop all the required standards. Giving enough time to collect foundational data and take corrective measures.

Step 5: Tap into Your Vendor’s Industry and Implementation Expertise.

CMMS suppliers accumulate game changing knowledge about maintenance workflows. They interact with multiple industries and can deploy cost effctive solutions. It is advisable to research the team of your chosen vendor. Ensure you are getting your implementation support from the best in their team.

Workflow decisions, training decisions, reports and analytics are improved with an expert team.

Step 6: Get the data right for your CMMS System;

The two most overlooked exercises which can swing the outcome of your CMMS tool are;
1. Hiring external freelancers to cleanse your data.
2) Reviewing your data critically.

Data correctness is linked with your new workflows (Step 2), basics components of your CMMS tool (Step 3) and your reporting requirements. As a guideline, you should spend 30 to 40% of your total implementation time on data.

The one additional reason to consider phased implementation is you will get enough time to review your data for each stage of the implementation.

Step 7: Training.

Training is a continuous exercise. Most maintenance teams focus on training when a new CMMS tool is implemented.
Training is also often given before the system is made live. Whereas soft training should start once you have decided on your new maintenance workflows.
Training before Go-Live should be focused on system navigation. Training after go-live needs to focus on improving maintenance culture.
Appointing CMMS System Ambassadors and conducting regular soft training events improves overall system usage. And stimulates communication surrounding maintenance processes.

Step 8: Go-live.

The best time to schedule a “go-live” is during slow periods. Once the system is live, keep track of any problems or issues that arise. Make changes quickly to make the system work efficiently and seamlessly.

Step 9: It’s Not Over Yet, Post Implementation.

Even after going live, there are tasks and analysis that need to be done. At this point, review steps 1 to 8 to prepare gap analysis. Develop plans for when technology or equipment fails so problems can be fixed with as little impact to business as possible. Make sure there’s a person in charge who can communicate clearly to the vendor what the issues are and how they need to be changed to make the system run smoothly.