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5 Things to Know When Setting up a CMMS

SOMAX was among the first to bring a CMMS product to market in 1988, and today SOMAX is an industry leader offering a state-of-the-art mobile CMMS solution that streamlines operations and harnesses the power of the Internet of Things. Three decades of experience has put us in the unique position to implement CMMS in hundreds of maintenance environments, and offer insights on best practices. Here are our top five recommendations anyone working with maintenance management software should follow. 

Rule #1: Only Use Good Data
Think of your data as fuel. Good data means better performance. And the consequences of injecting bad data into your CMMS almost guarantees you'll have a harder time:

  • Finding the equipment that needs work
  • Locating spare parts and ensuring the right amount of on-hand inventory
  • Scheduling work to personnel
  • Running meaningful reports
  • Controlling your system as it grows
Here's a few tips to ensure that only good data gets into your system:

  • Have only one person who is in control of adding and editing equipment, parts, and other static content
  • Ensure naming conventions are consistent and make sense
  • Input every bit of information about your assets
  • Use pre-built libraries and manufacturer information to check against your data

These are just a few tips to make sure your get good data in your system, there are many others. Strictly adhering to this rule is worth the time and effort. 

Rule #2: Get Everyone on Board
Whether you're new to the CMMS world, a seasoned veteran with a knowledgeable team and years working with the same product, or you're changing over to a new system, it's important that everyone in your organization is on board with the process. And we do mean everyone. 
From your maintenance crew to management, it will be harder to get your maintenance management system going if you have push-back.  It will also result in less room for error during the process.  
We've had the privilege of being part of many great implementations, and been fortunate to see excellent maintenance managers run the process. 

Here are a few best practices we've seen:

  • Understand peoples' concerns and address them directly and helpfully
  • Be a champion! If you are genuinely enthusiastic about the process, your team will have an easier time following suite
  • Provide enough training so everyone feels comfortable with the software
  • Make sure the new system has a great user experience, including mobile apps and a simple interface

Rule #3: Don't Get Overwhelmed. Get Help.
Here's the thing, this is not an overnight process. Your CMMS is going to take time to perfect. However, there are plenty of tools that maintenance management software providers offer to help.  Consulting, training, data migration, mobile apps, facility walk downs to gather asset and equipment information, Internet of Things integration and implementation for system automation, and just advice on how to get the most out of your system are all things a good provider will offer you.   
Our advice? Take advantage of these offerings.  If there is a cost associated with a specific tool, consider the opportunity costs associated with a stalled project. A successful implementation will set you up for future success, and rather than additional headaches down the road.

Rule #4: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Even though it's important to follow Rule number one, it's also important to make things keep moving. Not sweating the small stuff means not getting lost in the details, resulting in project paralysis. 
For example, when choosing an equipment naming system, simply make sure that the system works for you and your operation, is consistent, and then go with it.  We've seen companies use sophisticated naming conventions, such as “HVAC-TRANE-02-001” which means it's an HVAC unit from Trane that is in building 02 and it's the first one.  Nice work.  We've also seen naming conventions such as “0001758,” where a customer simply numbers equipment and uses the other fields in the software to provide the rest of the information.  Also nice work.  What really matters is making a decision that works for your team, and sticking with it.  

The concept of not sweating the small stuff can be applied across your entire system, with things like:

  • Equipment or asset IDs 
  • Part IDs
  • Locations
  • Building names
  • Preventive maintenance master job IDs
  • Task names
  • Equipment and asset hierarchy

These are just a few examples. Essentially, as long as it’s consistent, life is easier when you buy or remove equipment or assets, change personnel or alter your maintenance protocols.

Rule #5: Never Give Up!
While it may seem obvious, this rule may be the most important on this list. There are going to be bumps in the road and setbacks during system implementation, but it's important to keep pushing through. If you treat your CMMS like a dusty encyclopedia sitting on the shelf, you're never going to get anything out of it. When the process gets frustrating (and there will be times it does!), stay diligent.  It will be worth it.