Many maintenance managers are dissatisfied and feel that they are not properly utilizing their CMMS/ maintenance management software. This is quite surprising considering that in many cases their organizations may have spent thousands of dollars on purchasing the product, training and ongoing maintenance. The CMMS software should work for you – not you for the CMMS software! The following tips can help you select a winner and become a satisfied CMMS customer.
1) Avoid runaway selection criteria: In many cases the problems starts up at the selection phase. Selection criteria for purchasing a new CMMS software package should be based on what you can make use of immediately or in the near future – not what everyone thinks you must be able to do. We have seen 30-40 page requests for proposal with literally hundreds of features requested. Considering the amount of work that it would require users to put into the CMMS software you can be quite sure that most of these features will never be used! Others could be nice to have items that are not really workable in practice. For example a requirement that the CMMS software supports a variety of smart phones. It looks like a nice feature, but how many organizations are going to issue their maintenance personnel with smart phones and pay for monthly data plans! If they do, do they have a budget to keep repairing/ replacing them if the phones get damaged when used in industrial environments or someone drops a tool on them? In such cases it really makes sense for the maintenance manager to get involved early in the specification phase and ruthlessly cut out requirements that are not needed for the job.
2) Be wary when training/ consulting services are offered: Many vendors may offer substantial training on the CMMS software – but requiring a lot of training to use the software should really be a big RED flag! Why? How many maintenance departments have the time and resources to send their maintenance teams for training? Maintenance technicians should get training on doing maintenance related tasks – not spend their time getting training on how to use CMMS software. Another red flag is if a lot of consulting time is being offered. This means that you are going to be spending a lot of time just getting the CMMS system setup. You are also most likely to be spending a lot of money buying additional consulting services.
3) Don’t get swept away by great customer reviews/ references: When looking at customer reviews/ testimonials remember that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So glowing customer testimonials/ references while nice to have should not lead you to the wrong choice. What may be a good work flow/ features for one customer may not work very well for you.
4) Try before you buy: Look around for products that you can try out first. You should be able to get a trial period to use a fully functional version of the CMMS software so that you can try it out before you buy it. An added bonus would be if such products allow you to easily convert from the trial to the full version while retaining all the data you already entered.
5) Give your feedback: Take the time to provide your feedback & suggestions to the CMMS software vendor. While this may not help you immediately it can help you a lot in the long run. If many customers are requesting particular features – in many cases the software vendor will try to implement them and you will get it in a future release especially if you have also purchased ongoing support & upgrades.
Bottom line look for something that is easy to use and can start helping you right away. Avoid CMMS software products that may have complex work flows and require you to jump through hoops to get things done. This is why getting a trial and trying it out before you buy is essential.
Download The Maintenance Software Guide
For a more in-depth review of different selection criteria you can use, download a free guide that can help you evaluate different maintenance software to see how well they will fit your requirements.Download CMMS Software Selection Guide