How To Start Using CMMS Software In Your Maintenance Program

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maintenance technician happy with cmms softwareWhen your organization buys a CMMS/ maintenance software program one of your first challenges will be how to set up & use your new system. Your IT department or consultants can install and do some initial set up the system for you. However, the maintenance planner or maintenance manager have to decide how to setup and use the system!

Have you ever had this happen to you?😒

You will need to find some way to start using the system without bogging down or slowing maintenance operations. After all the critical job here is ongoing equipment & facility maintenance.

Just think about it…

The maintenance management software is just a tool. It should not hold up or delay maintenance work because it needs to be set up or it has a complicated workflow.

So how can we do this with a minimum of disruption?

Some CMMS software setup decisions to make

1. How will you enter data into the system? What order should you put in the data? Do you need to put in all your data?

One of the first items you will put in is your equipment and facilities. If you have the information in a comma delimited file you probably will be able to import much of it in. Comma delimited text files are something most programs can create. Say you have a list of equipment in an Excel spreadsheet. You should be able to use Excel to save it to a comma delimited file.

Once you have all your assets and facilities in the system you will want to add other information in such as spare parts and supplies, technicians and so on. Then you start defining the unplanned and planned maintenance tasks on different equipment or facilities. This process can take up some time!

So it is usually best to start with a few breakdown type tasks. Alternatively have a generic breakdown task for any type of maintenance. This way you can start creating work orders and using the system as soon as possible.

See “Eight CMMS/ Maintenance Software Setup Tips” for suggestions on how to proceed. This is especially useful if have not used CMMS software before in the organization.

2. What type of maintenance – breakdown or preventive, should you target first?

You probably should target breakdown maintenance work first. Create task definitions for this type of work and create work orders. To make it faster to start using the system you may want to create a few generic breakdown tasks and create work orders. As you use the system you can add more specialized tasks and instructions.

The faster you can start managing breakdown maintenance, the faster you can get it under some sort of control. This is the most expensive maintenance and the cause of most dissatisfaction and operational problems and delays.

3. What sort of maintenance workflow will you use? Who is going to be responsible for sending out work orders and collecting feedback?

You will normally have a workflow where someone accepts work requests, creates work orders, schedules preventive maintenance and passes them on to technicians or contractors to complete. This person will basically play the role of the maintenance planner or maintenance supervisor (see “Role Of The Maintenance Planner In Maintenance Management Programs“). In small maintenance setups the person could even be an office administrator or some other non-maintenance person.

But that’s just part of the story…

Once completed there has to be some way the work order status and any other feedback gets back into the system. Depending on the capabilities of the maintenance software package you use, this must be done manually by someone or in an automated way by the technicians themselves. Also the maintenance planner or supervisor has to keep an eye on things and make sure that work is completed in time and not left pending.

4. What sort of results do you expect? What reporting or data analysis will help you identify if you are getting those results?

Reporting is a very important component of your maintenance management system. Without it you and others have no way of knowing for sure how you are performing. Ideally the maintenance software must be able to present you with a short summary of useful statistics like work order backlog, average days to complete work orders, pending work orders and work requests, equipment requiring most breakdown maintenance time and so on.

You can download our “Key Maintenance Metrics” guide mentioned below for a list of important statistics and how to use them.

Use this information to identify areas of concern and improvement. You should start seeing a gradual reduction in breakdown maintenance over time and a corresponding increase in planned/ preventive maintenance. Once this happens your maintenance management software is well on the way to paying for itself!

Maintenance management software selection guide

Are you currently looking for a CMMS software package for your organization? Then you will find this CMMS Software Selection Guide very useful to help you make the right choice. With a series of questions and checklists, you can identify the right choice for your specific needs among several competing products.

Free CMMS Software Selection Guide


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