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By David Berger, P.Eng., contributing editor
Not everyone celebrates the tremendous sophistication available in many of today’s CMMS packages. Some users are frustrated by the enormity of options, the sheer volume of screens and fields, and the numerous ways to slice and dice the data. Maintainers that are looking for simplicity sometimes find themselves faced with a level of complexity that makes the CMMS appear more of a burden than a helpful tool. This column outlines how to make the best of the situation, or avoid the problem in the first place.
In part, purchasing a CMMS that is excessively complex may stem from ignoring the simple needs of your maintenance operations. Perhaps the rest of the company required a more advanced ERP package, and adding the maintenance module was an easy sell to management because it was a relatively inexpensive, fully-integrated add-on. Maybe the Request for Proposal (RFP) sent to possible CMMS vendors did not adequately reflect all of the many maintenance stakeholders, so incorrect assumptions were made regarding user needs. Finally, it could be there was no RFP process at all, or the vendor choices were so limited that Maintenance felt pushed into adopting the corporate solution.
Another possible reason for the disconnect is poor communications and change management. It is critical to get early buy-in of all key stakeholder groups, and to manage expectations throughout design, selection and implementation phases.
Despite potential problems, the following are legitimate cases where implementing an advanced CMMS makes sense, even when a basic package appears sufficient.
If you do not fall into one of the six categories above, then selecting a basic CMMS package is probably right for you. Otherwise, you may find that a more advanced CMMS solution will be better in the long run, even if the functionality is best phased in over time. Make sure that your CMMS package allows you to configure the software in this manner.