Below are our suggested 12 steps to ensure the CMMS implementation process runs as smoothly as possible.
1. Define requirements, goals and measurable outcomes
The first part of your CMMS implementation plan is to define your organisation’s requirements, goals and measurable outcomes. Organisational requirements will be highly specific to your business. For example, you may require a CMMS to help with preventive maintenance tasks and inventory management. These are aspects you should think about.
In addition, you need to consider what your CMMS goals and objectives are. What do you want the software to achieve for your business? Once you have determined your goals, it’s time to consider measurable outcomes, or KPIs (key performance indicators). Examples of KPIs include cost by class of equipment, inventory turnover and management, potential loss of production (if/when the equipment fails), work order efficiency and reductions in downtime.
2. Gain management support
Your organisation’s executive management is responsible for the financial performance of the business. They look at the numbers to decide if a newly-introduced solution will bring an ROI (return on investment).
Although implementing a CMMS in your organisation will achieve this end result, it does have cost implications. Members of the board may be reluctant to spend additional resources investing in a CMMS.
However, when you present the medium- and long-term benefits to the executives in your organisation, you need to emphasise that their support is vital for the long-term success of the business.
Moving away from paper-based recordkeeping to digitalised maintenance management is a great way to prevent costs related to downtime while improving operational efficiency and production. When senior executives see the benefits for the organisation, they are more likely to offer their support and commitment to the cause.
3. Select the right CMMS provider
The third step in your CMMS implementation project plan entails selecting the right CMMS provider. This should start with research, where you pick several that speak to your organisation’s needs.
To make an informed decision, consider going through our article on the best CMMS software.
Although it may seem self-evident, read online reviews and pick out any red flags about negative experiences with each vendor’s software implementation process. Ask the organisation how these negative situations were handled and request to see case studies/customer references. Then, determine if you are satisfied with their answers. It is also advisable to ask for a demo and even a free trial to explore the depth of the analytics functionalities.
Furthermore, you will need clarity about your expectations of the software. For instance, which modules will be critical for your business requirements and if you will need the software to interface with other systems.
It is also advisable to ask about the longevity of your partnership with your provider. Look for long-term partnerships that offer you and your team the right levels of support and training when needed. The selection of the right CMMS vendor should not only be based on cost factors but also on essentials, including:
- Features and functionalities
- Integration capabilities with other systems
- Software updates and configurations
- Ease of use
- Mobile accessibility
We have a great article on what a CMMS is that can help you understand its core functionality. Additionally, we share insights into the benefits of CMMS software.
4. Prepare for organisational change
Number four on our list of CMMS implementation steps involves preparing for organisational change. When management has bought into the idea of implementing а CMMS and you’ve chosen your vendor, it’s time to prepare everyone who will be a part of the process. This includes the time periods before, during and after implementation.
Consider conducting interviews or polls/surveys among your team to understand where they currently stand on the issue. Make sure you allay any concerns through clear communication. If possible, invite your CMMS provider to carry out a demonstration of the software. Give your team a chance to ask any questions that may arise.
There is likely to be resistance to change. This should be met head-on by exploring the reasons for concerns and explaining how the CMMS solution can benefit both teams and the organisation.
5. Create an implementation plan
Now, it’s time to create a CMMS implementation project plan. This means that you’ve already got management’s buy-in, selected a provider and prepared your team for the change. Your CMMS implementation plan involves forecasting and projecting how long the switchover will take from the manual, paper-based system to the digitalised version.
Set reasonable deadlines for every phase of the project’s implementation. To do this, you need to factor in aspects such as:
- The transfer and migration of data
- Training your team to use the software
- Ensuring everyone is connected via the mobile or email network for notifications
- Determining how long it will take to set up the process from start to finish
6. Assemble a maintenance team
Your next task is to assemble a maintenance team. This is the team that will use the CMMS on a daily basis. Before you get started, the team members will need to understand the overall vision of the implementation as well as what benefits it will bring to the organisation.
It is worth spending time explaining these details to them. Once the team is assembled, it’s advisable to designate an “implementation champion” or someone who will oversee the whole process.
For this purpose, you may need to select a team member who is considered an early adopter. They will most likely be the project manager, who will be the contact point for both the executive team, the team on the ground and the implementation team from your CMMS provider.
Although there may be some who feel hesitant about innovations at work, it’s advisable to address their concerns from the outset. Assure them that there will be training provided. Emphasising the importance of CMMS implementation for the organisation should help the process run smoothly.
7. Collect and input previous data
After you have assembled a team, you are ready for the next task—collecting and inputting historical and current data into the CMMS system. Data plays a critical role in manufacturing processes and this is a step that should be approached with caution and accuracy. Although the faster you can migrate your data to the CMMS platform, the sooner you can start reaping its benefits, this is a procedure that you need to spend time on.
Examples of some of the tasks for this step include building an asset register. This captures asset information and asset hierarchy, classification, groupings, etc. Next, you will need to focus on your spare parts. An important part of this process is inputting information such as your spare parts inventory, storage and location information, costs and reorder levels.
ou then need to choose what type of preventive maintenance to carry out—time-based, usage-based, condition-based, etc. Furthermore, you need to accurately describe the failure phenomena for each group of equipment. This helps you facilitate a better understanding of breakdowns and identify repeat failures.
You can also add information about safety approval requirements, instrument details, calibration schedules, user roles and notification requirements, and additional work such as the codification of your equipment.
When all this data has been collected—whether from paper-based records or spreadsheets—it needs to be migrated to the CMMS platform. The process continues with data cleansing, which means removing duplicates, addressing errors, standardising information, validating data integrity, etc.
Once data has been collected and cleansed, it is ready to be migrated and integrated. Your CMMS provider should be able to assist with this process while bearing in mind that data security is of utmost importance.
8. Conduct employee training
Your provider should also offer CMMS implementation services that include training for your team. These should be compulsory for every team member as everyone needs to be on board when the migration is completed.
Following CMMS best practices would contribute to achieving optimal results.
Once implemented, your team will be able to operate like a well-oiled machine, with every member knowing exactly what needs to be done. However, a CMMS system can sometimes be intimidating. In addition, it requires learning something new while unlearning past processes.Training should circumvent any concerns team members may have.
When doing CMMS training sessions, it’s advisable to provide multiple pathways for learning. It’s also suggested that you hold weekly training sessions that allow for open feedback. Pairing early adopters with late adopters is another worthwhile strategy, as this way, team members can support each other through the process. Refresher training at certain periods can also help to ensure everyone is on the same page and that any omissions are addressed to reinforce learning.
9. Outline user roles and responsibilities
After the training is completed, each team member will need to be assigned user roles and responsibilities in terms of the CMMS software. That’s because it may limit certain usage rights to a limited number of individuals. Make sure that the right team members are connected to receive email and push notifications on their mobile devices and that everyone is aware of what they are supposed to do in any given situation.
For example, a team member may be assigned to deal with reports and analytics, while another may be responsible for carrying out preventive maintenance work on the machines. When everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are, your operations are set for success.
10. Thorough testing
Before the CMMS system is officially launched, you need to do thorough testing. This should include testing every aspect of the software and every eventuality that may occur.
Testing should be done on the asset hierarchy, whether notifications are received as they should be, whether reports and analytics yield the right information and other aspects. For a clearer understanding of how reporting can benefit your organization, explore our CMMS report examples.
Without proper testing before going live, there could be bottlenecks and challenges. These need to be identified before the CMMS is switched on so that any minor issues are resolved beforehand.
11. Official launch of the CMMS system
You are ready for the CMMS system’s launch. You have set a date and time for this purpose. However, what you should know about this is that you can do the switchover and go live in increments. Depending on your unique organisational needs and your provider, you can switch on the CMMS’s different functionalities in a phased manner.
This gradual integration means that you can identify any potential issues early. You can then scale its capacity as your team members start getting more comfortable with using the CMMS software.
Through a phased rollout strategy during a pilot programme, you can also cater to your organisational needs, especially if you operate at different locations. Determining what is working and what is not working at one facility can help you apply positive changes. This way, you ensure that challenges are not repeated across different manufacturing plants.
12. Continuous monitoring and on-the-job training
Whether you’ve rolled out your CMMS over phases or you’ve done it in one go, you need to continuously monitor the system and how your team interacts with it.
You need to identify any challenges that arise and ensure they are addressed right away so that they are not repeated.
You should also consider providing continuous on-the-job training for your team members. This will help them get a refresher on some essential CMMS functionalities they may not use frequently.