Acquiring and integrating a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is the first of the many steps to streamlining all your maintenance workflow. However, that’s just the first of the many steps. To really reap the benefits, there are certain CMMS best practices that you have to follow.
A CMMS, when used right, can significantly reduce your downtime, skyrocket the productivity of your maintenance team, and extend the lifespans of your valuable assets.
However, all the features and possibilities can be overwhelming.
If you’re a maintenance director or a facility manager with little or no experience with maintenance software, keep reading. In this post, we’ll share some of the tried-and-tested CMMS best practices to help you get started.
Let’s dive in.
Understand the Unique Requirements of Your Organization
Before getting started, you need to determine (or revisit) the value that you hope to get from your new CMMS software.
While the underlying benefits will be the same for all CMMS users – such as improving upkeep, reducing administrative costs, reducing downtime, etc. – the exact way in which the CMMS will impact the broader strategic objectives could vary.
Considering that, you need to clearly define the goal(s) you want to accomplish with the CMMS system.
Here are some examples:
Cut down the time it takes to approve work orders by X percent
Improve the response rate to emergency or unplanned maintenance process
Reduce inventory management costs by X dollars
Cut down on the repair and maintenance costs by X dollars
Reduce the frequency of equipment failure to increase productivity by X percent
By having a clear vision of where you want to be, you can leverage your software in the best way possible and integrate it with your maintenance strategy.
Here are some CMMS best practices that can help any maintenance department get the most out of their system:
Get the Entire Organization Involved Whether you acquired your CMMS only recently or have been using it for a while, the first thing that you should do, if you already haven’t, is to get all the organization on-board with the usage of your CMMS system. This includes everyone – from an entry-level technician to all the way up to the top maintenance managers and directors. CMMS implementation goes way further than just paying for the SaaS and getting all the concerned employees up-to-speed with the platform. Everyone needs to truly understand and believe in the apparent benefits of using the computerized maintenance management system. This is especially true for the upper-level management. Without the buy-in of the folks in the boardroom, you won’t get much far along. To do that, you can conduct department-wide educational sessions, invite the upper-level managers, and inform everyone about the potential advantages of using the CMMS.
Leverage Mobile Capabilities (If Any) The biggest drawback of relying on paper-based maintenance program is delay in communication. One of the primary benefits of using a CMMS is smooth communication between the managers, supervisors, technicians, and other people requesting maintenance work. Through a software platform, especially one with a mobile app, maintenance teams can approve work orders, supervise tasks, and track progress – all in real-time. With a mobile maintenance app, authorized personnel can do all of the above, and more, through their smartphones. A CMMS practice would be to instruct everyone to download the app. They don’t have to be physically present within the premises and use certain hardware to access the CMMS. That way, they can send out maintenance requests, monitor maintenance activities, and plan out their work from any corner of the world.
Track Assets in Real-Time A key module/feature found in almost every computerized maintenance management software is an enterprise asset management (EAM) platform. You can use said feature to monitor the health of your company’s assets in real-time. It’s next-to-impossible for an organization with hundreds of assets to track all items and ensure that they’re in optimal conditions. That’s only possible with an EAM. More specifically, if your CMMS allows you to track your asset’s performance with meters in real time (as opposed to following a simply preventive maintenance schedule), it is highly advised to leverage this capability.
Set Up a Comprehensive Maintenance Schedule Another awesome benefit of having a CMMS is the ability to streamline your preventive maintenance program. At the least, the PM program should have a schedule. But maintenance scheduling goes way beyond simply marking certain maintenance activities to be completed over regular intervals of time. In addition to the above, you also need to clearly define the reasons behind performing particular maintenance tasks, share clear instructions on how to perform said tasks, and factor in inventory planning.
Create Custom Dashboards to Track What Matters There’s no point of having a CMMS if you don’t use it to analyze data in real-time and derive valuable insights to improve your processes and take important business decisions. Some of the common KPIs that most platforms track by default include MTBF and MTTR. However, you can always go one step ahead and track the metrics that are critical to your long-term business goals. If your CMMS has the capability to create custom dashboards and reports, your managers should capitalize on that option to get deeper insights.
Use the CMMS Features You Need As pointed out earlier, it can be overwhelming to get started with a CMMS, since there are so many features available. From work order management to inventory management, there are a ton of things that a modern platform can achieve. Hence, another CMMS best practice is to only acquire the features or modules that you need (if your CMMS provider gives you that option) as opposed to paying for the entire suite. Some vendors offer different features as standalone modules. However, the best approach is to discuss your problems, devise a strategy, and pay for a custom plan best-suited for your organization.
Create an On-Going Training Program Regardless of how much hands-on experience your employees have with CMMS platforms, on-going training is a must. That’s because vendors frequently introduce cutting-edge features and tweak UIs to keep their software up-to-date in accordance with the changing preferences. Whether you’ve acquired a new system or have been using one for some years now, it’s important to have a solid training program that gets new employees up-to-speed with the software and helps existing ones keep up with updates. From breaking down main features to sharing a standard way of performing data entry, the training program should cover everything. Furthermore, you should keep in touch with your vendor, ask for any training/onboarding sources, and keep an eye out for webinars/events that could be beneficial for your maintenance team.
Create Product Champions Last but not least, a common CMMS best practice is to have a champion or two for the platform your organization uses. This person would be responsible for understanding the platform from the inside out, figuring out new ways of using it to the company’s advantage, and keeping an eye out for any upcoming updates, and tweak the strategies accordingly. You don’t have to hire a separate profile just for this purpose – you may include it as a part of an existing manager’s job description.
Wrapping it Up
With a modern CMMS platform, you can certainly ease a lot of administrative burdens, make maintenance a breeze, and impact your business bottom line.
But if you don’t know how to make the most out of it, a CMMS might do more harm than good in terms of saving you money.
However, by sticking with the CMMS best practices discussed above, you can definitely reap those benefits.
"Limble made my job easier pretty much right off the bat. Now I create Work Orders on the fly. It takes me about 10 seconds."
— Fraser Cockell Nike
Wow. You guys are amazing...
"Wow. You guys are amazing... your software really one-up's the competition. I've found several with some of the functionality, but much clunkier designs. I reviewed 16 CMMS packages, and yours was an easy choice. Thank you again. Well done."
— Loren Overby Sommer Metalcraft
Limble CMMS is a great product and is very intuitive
"This CMMS checks many boxes for what we were looking for. Flexible. Mobile App for in the field use. Cost-Effective. Reporting. Great Dashboard. Great Support. Cloud Based. Cost-Effective."
— Roger Beck IHG
Great user friendly product
"Love the fact that the product can be used on my phone, tablet, and laptop. It also has made several updates to make an even better product."
— Dave Stern Harrigan Solutions
I spent a long time evaluating systems I'm so glad I chose Limble
"Limble is super easy to use. For technicians receiving work orders, it requires almost no training. The app makes it quick and easy to create work orders (with pictures) from your phone. PM's are also very easy to set up. Limble is also the least expensive."
— Matt Olson FMP Mission Bell
The best value available in CMMS Software
"This software is very easy to use. All CMMS suppliers say that, but I found this one to be exactly that. This software, in my opinion, is the best value out there in the CMMS world. My team of maintenance techs got on board quickly and loves the app. Anytime you can get 8 of 8 maintenance techs to get on board, you have a winner."
— Mark Quillin Roplast Industries
Great Product, Even better support!
"I started using Limble after trying out many other off the shelf CMMS software and I quickly fell in love with the ease of use, intuitiveness yet the power this tool provided me and my team. The ability to see automatically generated and customized reports meant that I could choose whether I wanted to see things at a micro level or a macro one, or both of them together."
— Mohammad Hassaan Akram Unilever
A must for any maintenance department
"The thing that I loved the most right from the start was the ease of use of the Limble software. The customization options available when setting up PM's are great. I love the flexibility it gives to tailor the PM to exactly what your needs are."
— Richard Dunaway
I'm amazed with the functionality & customer service
"Executive summary software produces to give me a snapshot of where each contact center is at in preventative maintenance on critical building assets."
— Kris Anderson IHG
Awesome Product with REAL support!
"Our team reviewed & demoed 6 different CMMS companies and the decision was easy! The functionality was extremely easy, but still provides the analytics needed to track our companies time and money spent on maintenance. Their support is top-notch! I've dealt with numerous software companies in my position and can tell you, you will not find one better!"