If your manual management tools and excel spreadsheets take longer to manage workflows than to resolve equipment breakdowns, it’s time to automate and simplify your maintenance operations with maintenance software.
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) could be the solution for most of the maintenance challenges you face in your business operations.
However, as with all technology these days, you will likely find yourself with a wide range of options and a lack of clarity when it comes to choosing a CMMS, and making the wrong decision could cost your company time, employee buy-in, efficiency, and revenue.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about choosing the best CMMS for your company, including tips, insights, strategies, and little-known facts to think about when making this decision or replacing your current CMMS.
Phase #1: Assembling a team
It is critical to consider each individual who will interact with the software, how they feel about implementing a new process, and what they require from a CMMS. This section outlines who and how to bring together to gain buy-in and ensure key stakeholders are on the same page.
When choosing a CMMS, who should be consulted? Consulting with the right people early in your research will help you get one step closer to choosing a CMMS based on a more holistic approach to maintenance.
- Maintenance Managers: These individuals will be in charge of overseeing the daily use of the CMMS, so it’s critical to involve property managers early in the process to help gain buy-in and improve system adoption.
- Field Technicians: Because these are the people who will be using the CMMS the most, their feedback on features, usability, and willingness to adopt software is critical.
- Operators: Because operators play a significant role in the work order and work request processes, their input should be taken into account.
- Facilities Engineers: Facilities Engineers are critical to fully utilizing a CMMS and achieving a successful preventive maintenance program.
- Inventory Managers: Because inventory management is such an important part of a CMMS’s function, inventory managers should be consulted when choosing one.
- Health and Safety Personnel: It is especially important to consult with these team members when choosing a CMMS if you work in a heavily audited industry.
- IT Team: Your IT team will have a lot of knowledge about whether or not a CMMS can integrate with your facility’s existing technology infrastructure.
- CEOs, CFOs, and other top management: Will frequently use CMMS software to make data-driven decisions about the company’s future.
Choosing a CMMS That’s Best for Your Team
The effectiveness of a CMMS is only as good as the people who use it. Your investment will be completely useless if the software lacks the tools your team requires or if users refuse to adapt to a new way of doing things. That is why it is critical to determine who should be consulted when choosing a CMMS and what they require from maintenance software. With this knowledge, you can evaluate different options while having a well-rounded understanding of how a CMMS will affect your operation.
Phase #2: Define your objectives.
You won’t be able to find the right solution if you don’t know what problems you’re dealing with. The search for a CMMS begins with defining the problems to be solved and setting short and long-term goals.
Questions to help you define your objectives
- What are your company’s and maintenance department’s long-term goals?
- What is the most difficult or frustrating issue for your maintenance team?
- What maintenance KPIs or goals are you aiming to achieve?
- Do you have multiple locations for your business? What is the total number of assets and parts you have?
- What maintenance strategy do you currently employ, and what do you intend to employ in the future?
- What is the daily workload of your maintenance team?
- What health and safety regulations must your company follow?
Tips for Understanding Your Objectives
- Talk to your company’s decision-makers about how they define short- and long-term success and where they see your industry going.
- Quantify your performance as much as possible, identify flaws (such as excessive downtime or unplanned maintenance), and determine what’s causing these flaws.
- Examine your maintenance procedures and systems. Determine what works and what doesn’t. Talk to your maintenance team about the challenges they face daily.
- Make a list of your top five objectives for the next year, three years, and five years.
Phase #3: Assessing your CMMS options
Until now, we’ve taken a bird’s-eye view of choosing a CMMS. The sections that follow will ground you so you can examine the specifics of each software option, from how it fits your facility to how much it costs, what features it has, and how it can be implemented.
Choosing a CMMS that meets your requirements
These questions and suggestions can help you narrow the field and identify a few solutions that could help you meet your objectives (we’ll talk about narrowing this list down even further in the next step).
Questions to help you define your needs
- What is the most you can spend on a CMMS annually??
- Can you quantify the performance of your assets?
- What is your timetable for acquiring and implementing a CMMS?
- Do you have the necessary IT resources and systems to support an on-premise CMMS?
- What systems and processes are in place to facilitate the implementation of new software?
Suggestions for determining your requirements
- Create a five-year budget for the CMMS to determine how much money you can realistically spend.
- Take inventory of your assets and evaluate their criticality, failure modes, and compatibility with technology.
- Establish a deadline for choosing and implementing a system. Outline your goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Consult your IT team about your facility’s ability to install on-premise or cloud-based software.
- Examine any existing standard operating procedures (SOPs), policies, communication channels, and other systems and processes. Include any updates or new resources required for CMMS adoption.
- Consider responding to the question, “What’s in it for me?” for every individual who will interact with the software Maintenance managers, technicians, operators, reliability engineers, inventory managers, health and safety personnel, and executives are all included.
Which CMMS is best suited to your business needs?
You should have a better idea of what you want in a CMMS by now. At this point, you can rule out any options that are not financially feasible and decide whether on-premise or cloud-based is the best fit for you. If you lack the resources to implement an on-premise solution, such as in-house IT support, remove it from your list.
Understanding the true cost of a CMMS
This section assists you in determining the true cost of software so that you can select the best CMMS.
Questions to help you understand the cost of a CMMS
- What is your CMMS budget? What factors will have an impact on this number in the future?
- How many people will use the CMMS, and how will that number increase over the next five years?
- What key performance indicators (KPIs) will be used to assess return on investment?
- How much does each CMMS option cost in total (purchase, subscriptions, training, support, and upgrades?)
- What are the pricing structures for each CMMS option? Is your pricing flexible, or are you bound by a contract?
- What are the indirect costs associated with each CMMS option? (e.g., time, IT infrastructure, and new hires?)
Tips for calculating the cost of a CMMS
- There are free CMMS platforms available, and many providers provide free versions of their CMMS software. However, users, assets, work orders, features, and support are frequently restricted. When choosing a CMMS, be aware of these constraints and how they affect your operation.
- Because the majority of CMMS pricing structures are based on the number of users, it’s critical to understand who will be using the system and how this number will grow in the future.
- Make sure you understand the costs of setup, IT infrastructure, support, training, upgrades, integrations, equipment (such as extra hardware or mobile devices such as tablets), and the time required to properly implement the system. Some CMMS providers include support as part of the subscription fee, while others do not Unanticipated support and implementation costs can quickly derail your budget.
- Using maintenance software frequently results in cost savings in other areas, such as inventory and labor. The metrics you use to quantify the value of your CMMS will assist you in deciding on a budget and determining which features are worthwhile.
Choosing a CMMS that fits your budget.
This is where you can start narrowing down your options. If the cost of a CMMS exceeds your budget, it is unlikely to be considered. The same can be said for a CMMS that isn’t financially sustainable as your company grows.
Considering the features and benefits of a CMMS
Every CMMS has a wide range of features with different levels of capability and customization. Simply reading a list of all the tools will not get you any closer to choosing the best CMMS for your operation. This section assists you in strategically evaluating CMMS features and determining which software is the best fit for your operation.
Other factors to consider when comparing CMMS features
- If you have any questions about a feature, don’t hesitate to contact a provider. They can explain whether or not that feature is available, as well as how it appears in use.
- Examine whether each CMMS option has a mobile version. A mobile CMMS app allows you to work on the go and can be a very useful tool.
- Consider other systems that must integrate with your CMMS (such as software systems in other departments) and determine whether those integrations are possible with each option.
- Be realistic You may require a specific feature, but that does not guarantee that you will be able to use it successfully with the resources and expertise at your disposal.
- Consider features other than the CMMS platform, such as training and support.
Which CMMS is the most cost-effective?
Any CMMS that scores significantly lower than the other candidates on the evaluation chart should be removed from consideration. You may be tempted to keep some of the lower-scoring options if they are less expensive. However, if they lack the features you require, they will not be worth the investment at any cost. Reduce your list of CMMS front-runners to the top two to five candidates. The next step is to determine if any of your finalists are too good to be true.
Defining the scope of your CMMS implementation
This section describes how to deal with the human factor when choosing a CMMS.
Five factors to consider when implementing a CMMS.
- How simple is it to operate the CMMS? If the software is not user-friendly, technicians, operations, and others will not use it properly (or at all). Request a free trial from CMMS vendors and see for yourself how simple it is to use.
- What are the processes for implementation, training, and support? You and your team will require assistance in setting up and using the software. Examine how much assistance CMMS providers provide for setup, training, and support resources (digital help center, training videos, customer support, etc.).
- What could go wrong? The path to CMMS success will not be without obstacles. Knowing what challenges lie ahead will assist you in preparing for them. Inquire with CMMS providers about the most common difficulties encountered when implementing their system. Inquire with companies that use the software about any challenges they encountered.
- What’s next? Determine what the next steps would be if you decided on a CMMS today. Consider who should be notified and create a timeline for implementation.
- What happens after it is implemented? Implementing software is only the first step on your path to CMMS success. You must decide how to track results, ensure that the system is properly used, onboard new employees, and scale for growth. Inquire with potential vendors about the support and resources they provide after implementation.
Why i4T Maintenance is the best CMMS Software?
i4T Maintenance enables you to effectively Handle Maintenance Requests, Source the Right Field Service Suppliers, Track the Quality of Work, Analyse Reports, and Manage Every Aspect of Their Business To Meet Service Requirements.
If you are ready to discover all the ways a CMMS can solve your maintenance challenges, then it’s time to step into the future of CMMS with i4T Maintenance.