Many organizations are hesitant to implement computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) because they know these implementations can be prone to failure. This solution can transform your organization, centralizing your maintenance data and making operations more efficient, but it isn’t error-proof.
When you know the reasons why most projects don’t meet their intended objectives, you can prevent yours from falling victim to the same fate. If you’re worried about why CMMS implementations fail, here are some lessons learned from past projects that you can apply to your own implementation.
Why CMMS Implementations Fail
1. Lack of Post-Purchase Vendor Support
When you’re researching vendors for your CMMS project, communication and support are plentiful. They want your business and are ready to prove why their solution is best.
However, it’s common for ERP vendors to go silent once the software is implemented. While some might work with you right up until the point of purchase, they often leave maintenance teams stranded with little to no assistance during or after the actual installation.
Your departments will need support throughout the implementation, especially during the critical go-live time. Set expectations early on and choose a vendor that can follow through with them.
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2. Poor User Adoption
You could successfully implement the best CMMS software program on the market. Yet, you could still experience ERP failure due to one reason: user adoption. Technology cannot add value to your organization if no one on your team is using it.
There are a few different reasons why users could resist adopting CMMS software. These include:
• Feeling left out of the software selection process
• Not understanding the complex CMMS technology
• Pushing back against the idea of new technology/workflows
To help alleviate some of these concerns, choose software that’s intuitive and easy to navigate. It’s also important to keep your teams in the loop throughout the implementation. The more they know about what’s to come, the less likely they are to resist it.
Invest in CMMS software training and answer any questions that arise. Communicate benefits of the solution and explain how it will improve workflows for the better. Keep communication consistent and clear, tailoring your message as necessary when you speak to different user groups.
These are the basic elements of organizational change management (OCM). Any time you have a major change in your organization, OCM is an essential step and should be as high of a priority as the technology itself.
3. Lack of Organizational Goals
Realizing you need CMMS software is an important first step. Next, you should decide why you want it, and what you expect it to do.
Unless you have a clear roadmap in place, it can be difficult to understand exactly which steps you need to complete to finish the project. At the very beginning, set clear goals around:
• How the implementation process should go
• How your teams will use the software
• What role your employees will play in the process
Avoid over-saturating your teams with ambitious initiatives. Keep the expectations realistic and the plans easy to accomplish. This is the best way to avoid burnout and ensure everyone participates as expected.
4. No Organizational Alignment
Achieving organizational alignment is as important as setting clear, reachable goals. Alignment means that all your stakeholders are on the same page in terms of what they want from the CMMS system. Those goals accurately reflect your company’s vision, support its culture, and meet the needs of all employees.
If there’s a chasm here, it can negatively affect the entire outcome of your project. There shouldn’t be any glaring issues that cause dissent. If there are, address them early and take steps to ensure morale remains steady in the coming weeks and months.
To avoid conflict, make sure all levels of the company have a voice in the implementation, including all relevant department leaders. Allowing one group or individual to take the reins can leave others feeling neglected, which breeds resentment.
For instance, if you lead with a solely-IT focus, you could fail to implement important safety features in the system, which could lead to risks and non-compliance. While IT will have a major voice in the project, it shouldn’t be the only one you hear. It’s important to take a comprehensive, organizational-wide view of the effort to make sure all essential elements are included.
5. Under-Investing in Training
Even if end-user training is a major part of your OCM strategy, it’s still possible to under-invest in this essential step. Though most ERP systems are relatively user-friendly, you need to set aside time for your employees to work together with your vendor so everyone can get used to the features and functions.
Without adequate training, employees are more prone to use the software incorrectly. They could also be so intimidated by the range of new tools that they fail to use them at all.
This step is especially important if your team is transitioning from traditional, manual maintenance methods to a CMMS. If this is the case, take the time to assess how familiar your employees are with computer programs.
Then, plan your training approach accordingly. Some users may require more advanced training than others, especially those who aren’t currently required to use technology in their day-to-day roles.
Why CMMS Implementations Fail: Avoid These Risks
There’s not a one-size-fits-all reason that addresses why CMMS implementations fail. Rather, it’s usually an accumulation of multiple small problems that snowball into bigger ones.
As early as possible, take time to plan the project correctly. Set goals, review vendors, and ensure alignment. Once the project ramps up, invest in training, prioritize OCM, and remain present for your teams.
Our ERP implementation consultants can help you choose and implement a CMMS solution to transform your maintenance operation. Contact us below to learn more!