Why a CMMS Fails – Part 1

I have witnessed both success and failures with the numerous asset and maintenance management system implementations I’ve been involved with. Research shows that 40% to 80% of all implementations will fail to deliver the expected Return on Investment (ROI). Over a three-part series, I will share some thoughts on these implementation pitfalls to raise awareness and help our customers become wildly successful with their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) implementation. Here are a few to start:

  • An organization’s current infrastructure and work culture – In many organizations, the maintenance management function is restricted by internal politics, labor relations and other factors, so the introduction of a CMMS could have a limited effect on improving conditions if those issues are not addressed.

Here is an example of how “work culture” can negatively affect the introduction of a new CMMS solution:
If all specifications for a CMMS are correct, but there is no agreement in how the system will be used, then the implementation will fail to deliver a positive ROI. Determining who will perform maintenance will not affect system requirements, but if not established and agreed upon, operators will complain that the system is not improving the repair quality or process, and maintenance technicians will insist that no one looks at the reports to see the repeated problems caused by poorly trained operators.

  • Lack of staffing – Many implementation attempts are done with internal resources for the duration of the implementation, and typically organizations do not have the extra resources to successfully complete the project. Asking resources to do their normal job and the implementation will cause conflicts in reaching production and maintenance goals. Frustrations will grow with the slow progress of the CMMS implementation, leading to a belief that the system does not meet expectations, and will result in the system never becoming fully implemented. If you realize that your organization does not have the internal resources to support your project, your CMMS vendor should be able to provide you with Consultants to minimize the load on your internal staff.
  • Underestimating the scope of the implementation – All roles, should be clearly defined with full expectations of the CMMS implementation project. Project timelines should be considerate to the people on that team and the multiple roles they play. You will need a budget that can sufficiently fund the implementation and will not limit or restrict success. Also think about how you see your company using the CMMS in 2 years? 5 Years? What other needs might you have in the future? Take advantage of Consultants that specialize in CMMS implementations to provide knowledge, leadership and help develop the plan for a CMMS project.

Understanding and identifying pitfalls will help ensure that your CMMS implementation realizes a positive ROI. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3…

AssetPoint Author:
Tim Turner, Technical Account Manager / Sr. EAM Consultant

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