It's time for our final installment of our series Back To Basics: The Ultimate CMMS Guide. We're covering everything you need to know about a CMMS system. Click here if you missed Part 1, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3.
In today's post we'll discuss how to find the right fit between your CMMS and organization by determining the best questions to ask.
Read on for Part 4- Three important questions to ask when researching the right CMMS for your organization.
Like all purchases, be it buying a car or selecting the perfect pair of shoes, you have to ask the right questions to make an informed buying decision. A critical assessment must be made in order to truly understand the benefits of one product over another. If you don't compare a mix of products, how can you be sure that you've truly found the right fit?
In today's post, we uncover three essential questions that you should ask to find the best CMMS. Before buying CMMS software, your organization should assemble a team to ask:
- Who needs to use the software,
- What it needs to do, and,
- What benefits they expect.
1) Who Needs To Use the Software?
Start with the size, distribution, structure and skill sets of your maintenance department. Do you have a small team doing general repairs on a single facility, a large team of specialists working across dozens of buildings, or something in between? Do you get monthly shipments from a single vendor, or work on a daily basis with an assortment of vendors and outside technicians?
What about non-maintenance users? Do you want a portal that lets other workers in your company file work order requests? Are upper management going to use the CMMS for evaluating the maintenance department? And will this evaluation occur across multiple facilities? Will HR use it to evaluate performance? The answers to these questions will directly impact the scope of your CMMS and available software pricing structures.
2) What Does the Software Need To Do?
A small facility management and building maintenance department will have different needs than a large company in the manufacturing industry. Some organizations just need simple CMMS apps to create and track work orders. Others companies need a comprehensive set of tools, including preventive maintenance, tracking and vendor management.
Don’t forget to think about mobility and ease of use. What features do workers need to access in the field? Does your computerized maintenance management software need to be accessible to computer illiterate or non-English speaking workers? A simple visual UI might not be crucial for a team of IT technicians, but it could be make-or-break in an organization that employs low-skill workers or immigrants with limited English fluency.
You should also think about what the provider needs to do. Do you need a CMMS partner that can install and configure the CMMS software, or provide training? What level of support do you need if you run into a bug? Can you afford to have the software go down for a few days while you sort out software issues, or do you need customer support that will get back to you immediately?
3) What Benefits Do You Expect From CMMS Software?
Are you aiming for increased productivity? Better tracking and spend control? More standardized processes across your organization? Or are you trying to solve specific problems, like a lack of preventive maintenance, disorganization or poor inventory control?
It’s crucial that both management and the maintenance department have a voice in choosing CMMS software. If management makes the decision alone, they may focus on flashy features, while neglecting accessibility, mobility, and other features that are crucial to the maintenance department. If the maintenance department makes the decision alone on the other hand, they could disregard the tracking and reporting features management needs. Ideally, you should also talk to other stakeholders, such as workers who need to file maintenance requests or (in facilities management) tenants.
Putting it Together: The Situation Revisited
Remember that real life situation that we described at the beginning of Part 1? Without the help of a standardized CMMS, a broken conveyor belt can wreak havoc on your overall operations. Once a CMMS is implemented, that once complicated situation is streamlined and remedied almost immediately. Here is how it would play out with a CMMS in place:
Your phone beeps, as a maintenance request comes in, marked urgent. Seeing that the conveyor belt has broken down, you quickly approve the request to create a work order for its repair. You access a list of technicians, showing exactly where everyone is and what work order they’re executing. You find a worker who has just completed a task, and send him or her the work order, marked urgent.
Although the worker hasn’t worked on the belt, he brings up the O&M manual that’s attached to the work order, and uses it to help diagnose the problem. Once the worker realizes what the problem is (thanks to the manual!) he is able to search for the correct part in your inventory. Thankfully, months ago when the company contacted yours to report a known issue with the conveyor belt, your maintenance manager made sure to stick that notice in the system (along with two of the parts required for repair).
Your operation isn’t down for a day – instead, this time, the repair takes thirty minutes, and then your shop is back in action. Thanks to your adoption of a CMMS, you were prepared.
Revolutionize your maintenance department. There are challenges with any computerized maintenance management system. It can be tough to find the best option, and many companies end up with a lot of push back from maintenance departments if software doesn’t have the right workflow.
We encourage you to ask a lot of questions, and make sure you’re on the right track, so you can find a system that meets everyone’s needs.