Top 11 CMMS Implementation Mistakes


Implementing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can be a complex process, and managers can make several mistakes that hinder its successful implementation. Some of the most significant mistakes include:

1. Insufficient planning: Failing to create a detailed plan before implementing a CMMS can lead to confusion, delays, and wasted resources. Proper planning should involve defining objectives, identifying key personnel, and setting practical expectations for the system’s functionality and outcomes.

There is no one-size-fits-all when developing a CMMS implementation plan. There are typically different phases of implementation. For the first phase, it is essential to try to keep your goals simple, practical, and doable. You can always implement more goals later.

Some of the typical things many departments plan for are:

a. Developing work order flows for the different types of areas your maintenance department supports.

b. Tracking equipment that needs to be maintained and for which historical work order information needs to be referenced. How will you collect this information and more importantly, how will you track new equipment purchases and the decommissioning of old equipment as time moves on?

c. Tracking labor hours either by work order or by a weekly work order time sheet. Tracking labor hours helps to estimate work backlog, justify headcount to upper management, sensible scheduling of PM work orders, track costs associated with maintaining equipment and your customer departments, and enables you to charge back the cost of labor to your customer departments. But, some maintenance departments do not need to track labor hours as the cost and annoyance associated with the effort to track it is simply not worth the fruit it bears.

2. Inadequate training: If employees are not adequately trained on how to use the CMMS, they may struggle to adopt it effectively, leading to underutilization or resistance. Managers should ensure that all relevant staff members receive comprehensive training to maximize the benefits of the system.

3. Lack of communication: Managers need to communicate the purpose and benefits of the CMMS to all employees. Poor communication can result in resistance to change, misinformation, and a lack of commitment from the workforce. A properly implemented CMMS can help justify the existence of needed maintenance positions. Being penny-wise and pound-foolish with maintenance can quickly lead to disastrous costly losses which could have been easily avoided if there were a proper headcount in the maintenance department.

4. Overlooking data migration: If existing maintenance data is not effectively migrated into the new CMMS, valuable historical information can be lost. Managers should prioritize data migration to ensure a seamless transition and maintain the integrity of historical records.

5. Ignoring user feedback: Employees who will use the CMMS daily should be involved in the decision-making process. Ignoring their feedback and needs may not only alienate your employees but may also lead to an ineffective system that does not meet the operational requirements of the organization. A properly implemented CMMS should raise the morale of your employees and that means including them in the implementation decisions.

6. Unrealistic expectations: Expecting immediate and dramatic improvements from a CMMS implementation can lead to disappointment and frustration. Managers should set realistic, practical goals and recognize that it may take time to see significant results.

7. Failure to integrate with other systems: A CMMS should be able to integrate with other enterprise systems like accounting, inventory, and asset management. Managers should ensure that the CMMS is compatible and seamlessly integrated with other critical systems.

8. Lack of ongoing maintenance and updates: A CMMS requires continuous maintenance and updates to remain relevant and functional. Managers should allocate resources for ongoing system support and improvements.

9. Not defining key performance indicators (KPIs): Without clear KPIs to measure the CMMS’s performance, it can be challenging to evaluate its effectiveness and make data-driven decisions for improvements.

10. Not adjusting processes: A CMMS implementation provides an opportunity to optimize maintenance processes. Managers should be open to reevaluating and adjusting existing processes to align with the capabilities of the new system.

11. Forgetting to include disaster preparedness plans, critical assets, and their systems in your CMMS. Do you have a chiller that provides A/C to thousands of people? Do you maintain a large transformer that provides power to your entire company site? Are you responsible to maintain a laboratory freezer containing products more expensive than your annual maintenance budget? What would happen if they went down? How long would your site be down? Maybe spend some money on assurance in addition to all the insurance your company buys. Make sure to identify potentially large costly disastrous situations for your company and make sure the equipment and systems involved are properly tracked in your CMMS and that your disaster plans are easily accessible in your CMMS. Although it is important to include disaster planning in your CMMS, this is typically done in the later stages of implementation of a CMMS but it is often a forgotten stage.


Avoiding these mistakes and carefully managing the CMMS implementation process can lead to a successful integration that improves maintenance efficiency, and overall morale, reduces downtime and enhances overall operational performance.

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