Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and enterprise asset management (EAM) software can help companies accomplish many important objectives. Improving equipment reliability, reducing operating costs, improving labor efficiency, and increasing profits are some of the primary goals of implementing CMMS and EAM software. A software system alone, however, cannot accomplish goals. To fully utilize the software functionalities that are necessary to carry out objectives, companies must make certain preparations before implementing the software. Doing so helps ensure companies have the utmost advantage in achieving success with their software. This is why it’s critical to research what CMMS software services are offered by the vendor.
CMMS services may include project planning, data migration, software customization, integrations, training, ongoing customer support and audits. Maintenance management software companies should have professional services staff readily available to assist customers with all of these services.
Proper planning involves examining a maintenance department’s processes with a fine-tooth comb. Investigating on-site helps in identifying staff’s common practices, recurring challenges and areas for improvement. Project planning will include a process of clearly defining items such as:
- Company goals and core objectives
- Software interface requirements
- System requirements
- Security and reporting needs
- Data standards best practices
CMMS project planning should result in a detailed step-by-step plan for implementing maintenance management software. Steps may consist of identifying what master lists need to be populated (i.e. assets, schedules, parts, procedures, etc.) and how lists will be entered. For example, will the lists be exported from an existing system or manually entered? The project plan will include a timeline component identifying which parties are responsible for what activities, and when, leading up to and during the implementation phase.
Exporting lists from an existing program to a new CMMS/EAM system can be a challenging process. It involves data mapping from the original source to the new system and ensuring the accountability of that data so that it imports smoothly into the software. For example, it may be necessary to redefine fields when companies are moving from a legacy system to a more modern solution. This would eliminate any discrepancies and allow maintenance teams to hit the ground running with their new software. Maintenance management software vendors can help teams avoid common pitfalls and ensure a more seamless transition. Experienced data migration staff can transfer data from a variety of CMMS and non-CMMS programs.
Customizing CMMS/EAM software in order to meet an organization’s specific needs is worth exploring if that option is available. Possibilities may include developing unique application modifications, linking data with external applications and more. For example, fields and labels within an EAM solution may be renamed in various departments within an enterprise to best suit that department’s role or function. Another common example is the need for custom reports. While maintenance management software systems offer a variety of reports out of the box, it may be helpful for a company to create its own. There are many different combinations of quantifiable metrics for measuring success, or key performance indicators (KPIs). Those combinations of KPIs will obviously vary from one company to another. Tailoring a report to include only those KPIs is a surefire way to keep tabs on business performance.
Combining CMMS/EAM systems with other business applications can vastly increase the efficiency of everyday operations and processes. Integrating with other relevant organizational software helps eliminate redundant or duplicate processes. For example, staff outside of maintenance may wish to access critical information that is typically only recorded in CMMS software in order to improve accuracy and reduce the likelihood of errors. Enabling critical business software systems to share specified data with one another helps improve transparency and communication between the different departments within an organization.
Examples of systems that are commonly integrated with CMMS/EAM software include accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, condition monitoring technology, global positioning systems (GPS) or geographic information systems (GIS) like ArcGIS.
Providing CMMS/EAM software users with proper instructions on how to utilize the software is crucial for success. Data standards must be adhered to, and users must be consistent in processes to prevent discrepancies in data. Maintenance management systems can appear overwhelming to some, especially those that haven’t used any type of software. However, with adequate CMMS software training, users will learn how to navigate through the system and complete tasks needed to do their jobs. It’s also important to keep in mind the type of training that is most useful for each user’s specific job function. For example, a system administrator, or champion CMMS user, will most likely need to be trained on most of the modules, if not all. A maintenance technician, on the other hand, may only need basic training if the individual will only be utilizing a handful of modules (i.e. work orders, inventory, etc.) in daily job functions.
Also take into account what types of training methods are best suited for an organization. Many maintenance management software vendors offer online tutorials, web-based training and on-site training. If attending software workshops in a classroom-based setting will help users learn best, inquire if that is available from the CMMS/EAM vendor. If there are customizations or system integrations in place, ensure that a custom training can be arranged.
Regardless of how well a software solution works, having access to dedicated and knowledgeable support staff is imperative–especially if an organization relies on that software to function. Imagine being in a situation where a CMMS system has crashed and staff are not able to access work orders, records on assets, job procedures and other pertinent information needed to do their jobs. At the same time, CMMS support staff are either unavailable or not knowledgeable enough to help. This is a frustrating situation, and one that should be considered when evaluating software vendors. When researching CMMS/EAM vendors, determine what level of support their customers should expect. Browse through the company website and learn what exactly is included with customer support. What methods of communication are available for support–phone, email, live chat? When customers reach out to support, are they communicating with an employee who works for the software company or for a third-party?
What are the hours support is available? Read what customers have to say about support. Are the experiences mostly positive? Are the support associates seemingly knowledgeable?
After a CMMS/EAM system has been implemented and utilized over a period of time, it should be evaluated at least once, if not on a routine basis. It’s recommended to bring in the help of a professional who can determine the overall effectiveness of the software. A CMMS audit provides helpful information on how the system is currently functioning and what areas can improve. More importantly, auditing CMMS systems periodically helps ensure the software evolves as needs change. The process helps organizations plan for future goals and identify additional needs such as training or integrations. The end result of an audit is a CMMS/EAM solution that operates more efficiently.
The DPSI Professional Services Team is available to assist customers at every step, from initial setup to ongoing management of CMMS/EAM software. With over 30 years of experience offering maintenance management software solutions, we partner with customers to ensure they receive the most value from their purchase. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.