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5 Rules Anyone Implementing a CMMS Should Know

crossing_street600.jpgRules, they're everywhere, and they're pretty impossible to get away from. Usually they serve a very important purpose, to keep you or others around you safe. We've all heard things like; don't touch the stove, look both ways before you cross the street, stop jumping off the garage (was that one just me?) Well, CMMS has rules too, and while we can't enforce them to keep you safe, they are their to keep you from hurting yourself by setting up a maintenance management system that will cause problems in the future. We've rounded up our top five rules anyone working with maintenance management software should follow. You may not hurt yourself if you break these rules, but you may still pay the price in the end.



Rule #1: Only Use Good Data

This one is likely to lock you up for quite a while if you break it. Putting bad data into your CMMS means you'll have a harder time:

  • finding the equipment you want to work on

  • locating spare parts and ensuring you have the right amount of on-hand inventory

  • scheduling work to personnel

  • running meaningful reports

  • Controlling your system as it grows

Think of your data like it's fuel, good data in means good results out. Here's a few ways you can ensure that only good data gets into your system:

  • Have only one person control adding and editing equipment, parts, and other static content

  • Make sure your naming conventions make sense and are consistent

  • Get every bit of information you can from your assets and put them in your system

  • Use pre-built libraries and manufacturer information to check against your data

These are just a few tips to make sure your get good data in your system, there are many others. Make sure you don't break Rule number one. Trust us, if you do, you'll regret it down the line.

Rule #2: Get Everyone on Board

Whether you're just getting into the CMMS world, a seasoned veteran with a knowledgeable team and years working with the same product, or you're changing over to a new system, it's important that everyone in your organization is bought into the process, and we do mean everyone. If you get push back from people, from your maintenance crew to management, you'll have a harder time getting your maintenance management system going, and less room for error in doing so. We've been part of plenty of great implementations in our time as a company, and seen some excellent maintenance managers run the process. A few strategies we've seen from those mangers that worked are:

  • Be a champion! If you are really behind the process your team will have an easier time following suite

  • Provide enough training so everyone feels comfortable with the software

  • Make sure the system has a great user experience with mobile apps and a simple interface

  • Understand peoples' concerns and address them helpfully and directly.

There are several more strategies that you can use to create an environment for a successful maintenance system. What are some that have worked for you and your team? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going!


Rule #3: Don't Get Overwhelmed, Get Help

Here's the thing, your CMMS is going to take time to perfect. This is not an overnight process. However, there are plenty of tools that maintenance management software providers offer to help you out. Consulting, facility walk downs to gather asset and equipment information, training, data migration, Internet of Things integration and implementation for system automation, mobile apps, and just advice on how to get the most out of your system are all things a good provider will offer you. Our advice? Take advantage of these offerings. You may save a few pennies initially if you don't and any good company will still assist as much as possible even if you don't pay for added services, but these services can be the difference between a successful implementation that prepares you for future success, and one that just creates another headache for you to deal with down the road.

Rule #4: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Even though it's important to follow Rule number one, it's also important to make sure you actually get started and get moving. Not sweating the small stuff means that you don't get lost too much in the details. For example, when choosing an equipment naming system, simply make sure that the system works for you, works for your operation, and is consistent, and go with it. We've seen companies use sophisticated naming conventions like HVAC-TRANE-02-001 which means it's an HVAC unit from Trane (duh!) that is in building 02 and it's the first one. good work. We've also seen things like 0001758 where our customer is simply numbering their equipment and using the other fields in the software to provide the rest of the information, also good job. What really matters is that you make a decision and stick with it. The concept of not sweating the small stuff can be applied across your entire system, with things like:

  • Equipment or asset IDs (mentioned above

  • Part IDs

  • Locations

  • Building names

  • Preventive maintenance master job Ids

  • Task names

  • Equipment and asset hierarchy

These are just a few examples. Essentially, remember that as long as you keep things consistent, you can always add or remove here and there to make your life easier when you buy or remove equipment or assets, change personnel, or alter your maintenance protocols.

Rule #5: Never Give Up!

While it may seem pretty obvious, this rule may be the most important on this list. There are going to be bumps in the road and setbacks while you're implementing your system, but it's important to keep pushing through. If you let your CMMS turn into a dusty encyclopedia essentially sitting on the shelf, you're never going to get anything out of it. When the process gets frustrating, and there will be times it does, just keep working at it. You'll get through, we promise.


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