The Past, Present and Future of Maintenance

It’s not only a new year, it’s a new decade, which is a perfect time to take a look at how maintenance has evolved and where it’s going. We enlisted 11 maintenance experts from all corners of the industry to help us build a snapshot of maintenance over the last decade and piece together what the future of the maintenance industry could look like.

We talked about defining trends of the last decade, how the meaning of success has changed, the skills that’ll be in high demand, what maintenance is going to look like in 2030, and more.

Some of the dominant themes included maintenance/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>autonomous maintenance, an impending skills and labour gap, and the need to not only interact more with technology, but with those outside the maintenance department.

Let’s dive in.

headshot of Terrence O’Hanlon

Terrence O’Hanlon

Chief Asset Manager,, Uptime Magazine, and the Reliability Leadership Institute

headshot of Maura Abad

Maura Abad

Global Relationship Leader at and Director of Women in Reliability and Asset Management (WIRAM)

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: The biggest idea is that performance in maintenance comes from the culture or more accurately it comes from the people. Of course, there are technical aspects of maintenance that must be mastered, but for the technical mastery to be sustainable, it requires a context of an empowered and engaged leadership culture.

On how the definition of success in maintenance has changed: I think success is defined by the people wanting to commit their lives to the organization. People follow leaders with their hearts and souls, but it requires integrity, authenticity, and responsibility.

On the secret to success for tomorrow’s maintenance teams: They’re going to be focusing on people development, people development, and people development. The ones that do not will go out of business. If you don’t budget for people, you lose.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: The industry will have established a healthy work culture, competency-based learning cohorts, technical work processes aligned to business processes, and communities of practice. Maintenance will be designed for sustainability and value-aligned asset lifecycle management. Technology will play a big role with highly defined and connected data structures, digital twins, inexpensive wireless sensors, next-generation artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.

Rob Kalwarowsky, P.Eng

Host of Rob’s Reliability Project podcast, reliability and asset management specialist

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: I think it’s the shift towards condition-based monitoring and predictive maintenance. It’s been companies moving toward sensors, toward real-time monitoring of assets, and implementing more condition-monitoring programs like vibration analysis, ultrasound, and oil analysis.

On the biggest challenge facing the maintenance industry: The big one I see is the skills gap. Young people aren’t going into maintenance and the Baby Boomers, who have those skills and knowledge, are leaving the workforce. Companies should be focusing on capturing that knowledge, making it part of their daily procedures, and making it accessible to new hires.

On why mental health needs to be an important part of the industry’s future: Something that I’ve been talking about on my show and in my community lately is discussions about mental health. A lot of people in the maintenance and reliability industry bury emotions and mental health isn’t talked about at work. My mission is to talk about it at work, help them speak up when they’re unhappy, and help them get the help they need.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: I think there’s going to be a lot of technology involved, whether that’s robots fix things, or augmented reality, or machines that fix themselves. I’m really excited about how CMMS technology is evolving and heading toward functions that, for example, take text comments in work orders and turn them into something meaningful without having to read them individually.

Steve Hunt

Over 30 years of experience as a plant/maintenance manager

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: There were a lot more attempts at autonomous maintenance and I think the big driver for that was the decline in the number of people entering the maintenance industry. Because of that, companies have downloaded some less demanding, less skilled, and more repetitive tasks onto machine operators to elevate their skills.

On how the definition of success in maintenance has changed: It used to be just measuring the completion of tasks, like PM completion, but it was never connected to production metrics. It’s evolved so that facilities are linking maintenance success to productivity and uptime and to measure metrics that get to the bottom of the root cause of issues.

On the successful maintenance team of the future: There’s going to be a focus on learning how to do true root-cause problem-solving, predictive maintenance, and working in tandem with the manufacturing and production teams to make data-based decisions. Forward-thinking organizations will also strongly consider the voice of the maintenance team alongside engineers when it comes to key purchasing and design decisions.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: Maintenance is a male-dominated industry right now, and there are more women coming into it, but we need to create an industry that encourages and attracts more women moving forward. And on a more general level, the industry needs to be attracting and developing more young people.

James Afara, P.Eng

Chief Operating Officer at CannTx Life Sciences Inc., over 14 years in maintenance and operations

On the defining trend in maintenance over the last decade: It really comes down to control. I’ve seen more of an emphasis on slowing down and planning a lot of the necessary work beforehand instead of reacting. It’s looking for control over the outcomes before they happen as much as possible.

On how the definition of success in maintenance has changed: I’d say the common theme is uptime. When I look back over the last decade, it’s been all about keeping the machines running and making sure day-to-day operations run smoothly. Downtime causes chaos, excess management, extra costs, resource issues, and stress on employees, so there’s been a big push to reduce it as much as possible.

On the maintenance leader of the future: There has to be a more analytical leader on the maintenance team in the future. This is someone who can look at data and build predictive models based on that data to spot where they need to add or shift resources. They might not be as hands-on or have as much maintenance experience, but they’ll bring ideas from other areas of business to help maintenance teams find success.

On how the role of maintenance in business will change: There’s going to be more of a focus on training maintenance leaders and equipping them with the right skills and knowledge to be integrated into the business and come to the table with a fact-based picture of what’s happening, what needs to happen, and what that means for the business.

David Berger, P.Eng

President of Lamus Group, over 30 years of experience in operations management

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: The biggest trend I’ve seen is the merging of roles or the interconnectedness of roles. It used to be pretty clear that operations took care of processes, products, and environment while maintenance took care of assets. Now, those lines are really blurred. Maintainers are trained as operators and operators are trained to do some maintenance.

On how the definition of success in maintenance has changed: From a quantitative perspective, it hasn’t changed too much over the years, but on the qualitative side, there have been more companies looking into whether they have a safe and happy workforce, and whether maintenance and operations are working well together.

On the most important maintenance skills needed for the future: It’s going to be key to be a master diagnostician. It’s going to be learning how to manage and program new technology to diagnose the root cause of problems, and to do this in an increasingly complex ecosystem of technology and people.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: Maintenance used to be synonymous with greasy hands and overalls. Ten years from now, the image is going to be of a clean, highly automated factory with highly skilled maintenance people who know how to operate the complex systems needed to run this sort of facility.

James Kovacevic, MMP CMRP CAMA

Principal Instructor at Eruditio, LLC, host of the Rooted in Reliability podcast

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: First, it’s the growing professionalization of maintenance, whether that’s through certifications like CMRP or the adoption of an asset management standard with ISO 550001. And then there’s the conflict between the growing influence of technology and the continuing struggle to establish the fundamentals of maintenance.

On how the definition of success in maintenance has changed: What I see, more and more, is that the measure of success is not a single indicator, it’s a combination of indicators that are aligned with the organizational objectives. Maintenance teams are trying to balance cost, risk, and performance to meet business needs.

On what the maintenance leader of the future will look like: They’re going to have to be able to analyze and synthesize data. They’ll also have to link maintenance work to the financials of a business and speak to that. They’re going to need to know how to manage change, which is going to be very, very important for making sustainable improvements.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: It’s going to look dramatically different, but only for some organizations. Some companies will have asset data coming in that allows them to make real-time decisions and will have significant advanced warning of failure. They’ll be able to reduce downtime because they’ve designed with reliability and availability in mind. But not all organizations will be there.

Jason Afara, P.Eng

Systems engineer at Fiix, over seven years of experience as a maintenance manager and planner

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: The move towards using data and connecting equipment to software that tells you what is happening on that machine without seeing it. It’s about transforming what’s really happening with a machine into information that can be used to inform future maintenance and budgeting decisions.

On how the role of maintenance in business has changed: There’s been a shift in the way maintenance is viewed in a facility. They aren’t just the people you call when something breaks. There’s a lot more education for operators on how a machine works, the limitations of machines, and how to set up the machine. It’s the growth of total productive maintenance and a fuller appreciation of what maintenance is, the value of maintenance, and how to do maintenance.

On the maintenance leader of the future: They’re going to be the ones that focus on amplifying people’s strengths. If someone loves troubleshooting, they’ll be encouraged to stay on the floor and be the best one out there. If someone loves to lead and find ways to use data to improve the team, the leader will find a way to put them in positions that use those skills.

Watch Jason talk about the impact of technology on maintenance, how success will be measured in the future, and what the industry will look like in 2030.

Stuart Fergusson

Senior Manager of Sales Engineering at Fiix, experience in technical engineering and production line management

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: Digitization has been a big trend. You can group that with the movement toward doing more preventive maintenance. That’s existed for a long time, but it’s much more mainstream now. Asset utilization and efficiency have become more important as well. It’s figuring out how to do more with what we already have.

On how the role of maintenance in business has changed: One of the biggest trends in manufacturing has been making a faster and more efficient supply chain. Maintenance is now where companies are looking for those big efficiencies. If all maintenance does is make downtime organized and predictable, it can be the difference in making a supply chain quicker.

On the biggest challenge facing the maintenance industry: Old-school, hands-on, mechanical skills are dying. We’re going to see a massive exit of skilled maintenance workers and not enough companies have thought about what’s needed to fill that gap. Technology is going to help, but there’s always going to be a need for someone with those fundamental skills.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: I think the conversation will have shifted from digitization and preventive maintenance to efficient maintenance and going fully predictive. We’ll have changed the way we design and build equipment with maintenance in mind so machines don’t break as often, and problems can be prevented before they become a problem.

Joe Kuhn, CMRP

Owner of Lean Driven Reliability, over 32 years of experience in manufacturing leadership and plant management

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: The use of electronics, electronic data collection, and automated data collection using more sophisticated CMMS software. Access to data has improved massively. It’s a lot easier to get the data and calculate your metrics, where an enormous amount of time was spent on that 10 years ago.

On how the role of maintenance in business has changed: Leaders used to have a more technical background and knowledge of maintenance. Now, organizational leaders are shying away from maintenance because it’s mysterious to them. That’s concerning. We have all the tools, but those arrows are just sitting in the quiver waiting for someone to figure out how to use them properly.

On the biggest challenge facing the maintenance industry: People will be inundated with data and technology and not know how to sort through it, and use it effectively and efficiently. The data and the metrics point you in the right direction, but you have to verify that data, recognize where the opportunity is, and then actually do the job.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: You’re going to walk into every plant and everyone in there is going to be using a CMMS on their smartphone. There’s going to be sensors on every asset that can tell you when there’s a problem with it. The automated factory will be a reality. Facilities that don’t get on board will be the ones that go out of business.

Juan Ruiz

Operations Manager, Over nine years of experience in manufacturing production and operations

On what defined maintenance in the 2010s: I’d say the amount of technology that we’re using in maintenance now. With that change in technology comes more of a focus and an investment in training and skills development so people can use it to troubleshoot and solve problems.

On the impact of technology on maintenance in the 2010s: In the past, we’d mostly rely on visual inspections to tell us if something was wrong with equipment. Now, the PLCs and maintenance software do a lot of that work. They get the data, model it, and tell us the best time to service a machine. It’s taken the focus off the mechanical side of the job and more toward understanding software systems and programming PLCs.

On what the best maintenance teams of the future will be focusing on: They’ll be the ones that put a major focus on programming and troubleshooting technology and computers. They’re going to be analyzing the data from these systems, seeing trends in asset performance, and from that, determining the best maintenance to do on that machine.

On what maintenance will look like in 2030: I believe the name of the maintenance department is going to change in the future to reflect its role in business. They’re going to be more of a reliability team or an automation team that takes a strategic approach and manages the predictive technology that helps a facility run.


Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based and On-Premise CMMS Software

There are hundreds of options for CMMS software, but they can all be separated into two groups: Cloud-based CMMS and on-premise CMMS.

Both categories help you manage maintenance, but that’s where the similarities end. Each option is very different, from the way the CMMS is implemented to the way it’s used to complete tasks. Knowing the pros and cons of cloud-based and on-premise software will help you avoid wasting time and money on a poor fit, and allow your maintenance team to hit the ground running.

What is cloud-based CMMS software?

Cloud-based CMMS software has a few key ingredients:

  • Software and hardware requirements: All software and hardware is developed, installed, run, managed, and maintained by a third-party provider. An internet connection is needed to use the software.
  • Installation and maintenance: Providers host the software on their own servers, which means they take care of all installation, management, data security, and upgrades.
  • System access: The features of cloud-based CMMS software can be accessed anywhere, at any time, across different sites through the internet. Some systems can even be used if you lose internet connection for an hour or two.
  • Mobile capabilities: Many cloud-based systems have their own mobile CMMS apps and can be accessed through mobile devices.
  • Pay structure: Most cloud-based CMMS software is purchased on a subscription model with little to no up-front costs. It is priced per user, per month and includes support fees.

What is on-premise CMMS software?

On-premise CMMS software is characterized by a few basic traits:

  • Software and hardware requirements: All required hardware, like servers, is housed on-site. The software typically requires extensive custom set-ups by a provider, contractor, or in-house personnel.
  • Installation and maintenance: Set-up of the software and hardware are usually done in-house with limited external support or by a vendor for a high cost. Your company is responsible for data security and storage as well as any upgrades to the software.
  • System access: Accessing on-premise software requires users to be on-site and connected to the same network as the CMMS.
  • Mobile capabilities: On-premise CMMS software offers very limited mobile capability and most have none at all.
  • Pay structure: Companies usually pay a one-time, up-front cost to use the software.

Pros and cons of cloud vs on-premise CMMS software

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking either a cloud-based or on-premise CMMS. That’s because each facility has its own goals, expertise, and budget. Considering each kind of software from all angles is the only way to make the right choice for your business.


Cost is a big factor when choosing a CMMS. There are three kinds of costs to keep an eye on when weighing your options:

  • Upfront costs: Upfront costs include license fees, customization, installation, and integration. License fees and customization cost more for an on-premise CMMS, while installation and integration costs are very similar for both systems.
  • Recurring costs: Recurring costs include subscription fees, support services, and system maintenance (ie. updates and upgrades). While the cost for support and maintenance are similar, cloud software requires monthly subscription fees.
  • Additional costs: Additional costs include training, data migration, IT personnel, and hardware (like servers). On-premise software is more expensive here due to the need to purchase and maintain hardware, as well as the need to pay for IT expertise.
Cloud-based CMMS vs. On-premise CMMS: Cost


While a CMMS must have the features you need to achieve your maintenance goals, there are other factors to consider when comparing cloud-based and on-premise software.

  • Number of features: Both types of CMMS have a wide range of features, although cloud-based providers release new tools more often. The features on a cloud-based CMMS depend on the subscription tier you purchase.
  • Customization: On-premise software is highly customizable when installed, but difficult to change later. Cloud-based software features are set, but their components are easier to change and customize.
  • Ease of use: Cloud-based CMMS software is designed for a broad range of users, making it easy to pick the most relevant features for a job and do it with fewer clicks.
  • Mobile capabilities: Most cloud-based systems have mobile apps that are accessible with login credentials and an internet connection, making it a more mobile-friendly option.
  • Ease of integration: Cloud-based systems are more open, which means it takes less effort, time, and money to connect to new machines, software, or sensors.
Cloud-based CMMS vs. On-premise CMMS: Features


The success of a CMMS often hinges on implementing it correctly. Choosing the right software is critical to ensuring everything from installation to user adoption goes off without a hitch.

  • Ease of implementation: While specialized technical expertise is needed to set up on-premise software, a cloud-based CMMS requires none. This can drastically reduce the time to implementation.
  • Training and support: On-premise software comes with no external training and very little support services, whereas training and support are often built into the subscription packages for a cloud-based CMMS.
  • Ease of data migration: Since cloud software can be accessed by any computer, it’s much easier to import data from spreadsheets or older systems.
Cloud-based CMMS vs. On-premise CMMS: Implementation process

Data security and reliability

One data breach or system outage can spell disaster for your maintenance team and the company, which is why it’s critical to know which type of CMMS software offers more protection.

  • Data management: While data in on-premise servers are extremely safe, cloud-based vendors partner with companies like Amazon to securely store data. They also take care of backing it up, so data never gets lost or destroyed. The in-house IT team has to manage any data collected by on-premise software.
  • Security installation and updates: Security installs and updates on cloud systems are handled by the software vendor. Security measures for on-premise software must be developed in-house or by a contracted consultant, which is expensive and riskier.
  • Reliability and fail-safes: If one cloud-based server goes down, a back-up server kicks in immediately, preventing an outage. If an on-premise server goes down, the CMMS is unavailable until it can be fixed.
Cloud-based CMMS vs. On-premise CMMS: Security

Scaling a CMMS

Your company is always evolving and growing, so your CMMS should as well. Choosing software that can change with your business is essential to maximizing its value.

  • Product updates and upgrades: Cloud-based CMMS vendors regularly introduce and automatically apply updates and upgrades to their software. Updates and upgrades for on-premise software are the responsibility of the user and may cost extra money.
  • Multi-site capabilitiesManaging an on-premise CMMS across multiple sites takes a lot of time, money, and effort, while the openness of cloud-based software makes applying it to 100 sites as easy as applying it to one.
  • Adding users or licenses: Adding users to a cloud-based CMMS can be done in a few minutes, whereas it can take anywhere from minutes to days with an on-premise CMMS.
Cloud-based CMMS vs. On-premise CMMS: Scaling a CMMS

Deciding which CMMS software is best for your facility

There are pluses and minuses to both cloud-based CMMS software and on-premise software. Choosing between the two comes down to which one scores better for the combination of factors that matter most to your maintenance team. Although features, cost, and security are all important, it’s important to never lose sight of which software offers the best experience for users. If the software isn’t used properly and consistently, it will fail to deliver any value, regardless of what kind of CMMS it is.


12 Best Practices for a Successful CMMS Implementation

A CMMS implementation takes a lot of planning, time, and people management skills. It’s crucial to get it right so your organization can begin its journey better maintenance management on the right foot.

You might be thinking, “Is implementing a CMMS that big of a deal?” Yes, it is. Your organization is not only making a huge financial and time investment, but it’s also undergoing a big cultural shift as it moves from an older system to a new way of doing things.

Now you’re probably wondering, “What did I get myself into?” Don’t worry, we have your back. We’ll take you through the process of implementing a CMMS and how to maximize your chance of success, make fewer mistakes, avoid unnecessary costs, and achieve your goals quicker.

What makes a good CMMS implementation?

A CMMS implementation can only be successful if you understand your ultimate goal. This helps you know how to aim for it and why it’s even necessary in the first place. Although each organization has its own, unique goals when implementing a CMMS, there are some common objectives that all maintenance teams should be reaching for.

Goal attainment: You’re hitting, and surpassing, your targets

Every maintenance department has goals, whether that’s reducing downtimecutting costs, or safety-program-with-your-cmms/”>improving safety. A successful CMMS implementation will help you achieve these goals, regardless of what they are. Progress won’t happen all at once, and work needs to happen before you reach this point, such as defining objectives and understanding if a CMMS can help you reach them. But with proper planning and time, a well-implemented CMMS will bare the results you’re looking for.

Standardization: The whole company is on the same page

Having multiple different systems or processes is confusing and almost always causes chaos. A successful CMMS implementation puts all maintenance processes and information in one place to avoid this nightmare scenario. It’s important to develop a set of standards, both for using the system and for maintenance practices. Another part of standardization includes integrating your CMMS with other operational systems and applying the system, and its processes, across all sites.

User adoption: Everyone is using the system

CMMS software only works if the right people use it consistently and properly. That’s why user adoption is crucial. The user adoption rate measures the percentage of people who actually use the system the way they’re supposed to. For example. if two out of 10 technicians only use the systems for some tasks, or not at all, it means your user adoption is eight out of ten, or 80%. User adoption should be 100% so work is efficient, tasks aren’t missed, and accurate data is collected.

You might be thinking, “Is implementing a CMMS that big of a deal?” Yes, it is. Your organization is not only making a huge financial and time investment, but it’s also undergoing a big cultural shift as it moves from an older system to a new way of doing things.

Continuous improvement: It pushes the organization forward

Implementing a CMMS should only be the start of your maintenance team’s journey to digital-transformation-maintenance-manager.html?_ga=2.205591699.1217590746.1566822564-381387851.1560366263″>digital transformation. A poor CMMS implementation makes only surface-level changes to the status quo, but keeps your operation in business-as-usual mode. A successful implementation propels a business forward and gives it the tools, resources, and motivation to build on that positive momentum. A well-done implementation can create an atmosphere of innovative problem solving and growth in the maintenance department and beyond.

Why do CMMS implementations fail?

Here’s the ugly truth: An average of 60% to 80% of CMMS implementations fail. A few fatal flaws are responsible for the majority of these failures.

The top reasons CMMS implementation fail

Lack of support from management

Businesses often run out of time or money when trying to implement a, which ultimately dooms the project. But there’s an underlying reason for this type of failure—a lack of support from upper management. Executives are often the ones providing a budget and a motivation for the project. If decision-makers are not fully invested in the implementation, it increases the chances of running out of money or for the project to be constantly bumped down the to-do list.

Unclear goals, roles, and responsibilities

It’s impossible to know if a CMMS implementation is successful if a goal isn’t determined ahead of time. Without a clear goal, companies will fail to reach targets and motivation to use the system will be low, leading to poor user adoption. Unclear roles and responsibilities also lead to incomplete, inaccurate, or neglected tasks, which cause a massive ripple effect across the business. This can happen for tasks during set-up (like ensuring PM triggers are created) and afterwards (such as tracking inventory).

Poor user engagement and training

Failed implementations are often the result of users not wanting or not knowing how to use the CMMS. That’s why every person impacted by the new software needs to be engaged in the process. Users should be consulted during this when assessing vendors and purchasing software. Skipping this step often leads to choosing a solution that is unnecessary, hard to use, and/or unwanted. Once the software is chosen, a lack of training will make it impossible for the CMMS to be used as it should be and performance will suffer as a result.

12 best practices for a successful CMMS implementation

The road to a successful CMMS implementation can be long, arduous, and lead to failure most of the time. But it doesn’t have to. Applying a few, simple strategies and processes can go a long way to reducing risk and tearing down obstacles on your journey to setting up a CMMS.

1. Getting buy-in from management

Leadership often doesn’t want to invest in maintenance because they see it as a cost centre. That’s why it’s important to show them that a CMMS can help create value in all sorts of tangible ways, like saving money and boosting production. Build a solid business case outlining the benefits and potential ROI of a CMMS and present it to management. Show them how your business can grow and how a CMMS can help take the organization to new heights.

2. Preparing for change

Implementing a CMMS is a big change and change can be hard. Staff may have had a bad experience with a CMMS in the past or be worried that new technology means layoffs. Deal with these fears by involving the entire team in the implementation process. Coaching, project updates, and brainstorming sessions will keep everyone informed, engaged, and contributing to the success of the organization. Identify any objections early and help users understand how they can benefit from a CMMS.

If decision-makers are not fully invested in the implementation, it increases the chances of running out of money or for the project to be constantly bumped down the to-do list.

3. Defining your requirements, goals, and measurements

Define your business and maintenance goals, along with any key requirements for reaching those goals, such as budget, tools, metrics, features, people, and timelines. These goals and requirements will determine how to complete a CMMS implementation on time, on budget, and on target. A big part of determining goals is using maintenance-department/”>maintenance metrics to their full potential. It’s important to know your capabilities and limitations at this step so you can make your goals realistic, measurable, and attainable.

4. Partnering with the right CMMS provider

It’s tempting to choose a CMMS based solely its features. But while this is an important factor are important, it’s only a small part of finding the right CMMS provider. A successful CMMS implementation means you’ll be working with a vendor for a long time. You need to be confident that your CMMS provider can support your organization as it experiences growing pains and through every part of the process, from building a project plan to training and post-implementation support.

5. Creating your project schedule

Every facility’s timeline for implementing a CMMS will depend on several factors, including size, priority level, user capabilities, type of assets, and more. Some implementations take a month, others take a year. Work with internal stakeholders, like technicians and facility managers, as well as your CMMS provider to determine a realistic schedule for implementation. Define key milestones along the way so you can track and quantify progress. Don’t forget to allot time for user consultations, data configuration, testing, and training.

6. Picking a leadership team for the implementation

Having someone take charge, keep track of tasks, and be the point-person for any issues helps your implementation from falling to disorganization, competing priorities, and apathy. This someone is your CMMS champion. The CMMS champion will steer your organization through implementation and will build a team to help them. The size of the team will vary depending on the scope of the project, but can include a project manager, data specialist, training director, and more. Each role should have specific responsibilities and goals, as well as matching authority.

7. Gathering, cleaning, and entering your data

CMMS implementations often fail due to missing, inaccurate, and unclear data. Be diligent when gathering data to put into your system, including equipment types, workflows, PM trigger frequencies, SOPs, spare parts information, and supplier details. Remove the messy, unreliable, and inaccurate information. The next step is to upload your data into the CMMS. Consult your CMMS provider when transferring data from older systems, like Excel, to the CMMS to ensure the process is quick and accurate. Finally, configure your data in the system. Set up PMs, create triggers, build workflows, attach digital documents to assets, set minimum quantities on parts, and more.

You need to be confident that your CMMS provider can support your organization as it experiences growing pains and through every part of the process, from building a project plan to training and post-implementation support.

8. Training end-users

Training helps CMMS users and administrators understand the features and capabilities of the software so they can use the system effectively and efficiently. Training speeds up onboarding, outlines best practices, and increases user adoption. An exceptional training program includes content is thorough and relevant. It allows for hands-on learning, moves slowly, and ensures all questions are answered. Look for opportunities to partner with your vendor to optimize training. Most importantly, never stop providing chances for staff to learn and develop.

9. Outlining user responsibilities

You probably have a good idea of how each CMMS user should interact with the system, but people aren’t mind-readers. That’s why you need to outline user roles and responsibilities in an official, written document. This document will make duties and permissions clear so users know exactly how to complete tasks. It also increases accountability, boosts efficiency, and ensures problems are addressed quickly and properly. The CMMS champion should outline how to manage the CMMS on a daily basis and add users and user groups to the CMMS, including their qualifications, certifications, and contact info.

10. Conducting user testing

Now that you’re getting close to launching your CMMS, it’s time to test the software and make sure it works properly. This will help you identify problems before the official implementation so they can be dealt with before turning into larger issues. Gather a small group of key users and review both the data and the capabilities of the system to make sure they’re operational. Check security, permissions for user groups, PM triggers, notifications, dashboards, reports, work order creation, and inventory details.

11. Launching the CMMS

This phase of a CMMS implementation is commonly referred to as the go-live date. This is the point when all users are expected to stop using older systems and work in the CMMS. Make all users aware of this date well ahead of time so they can prepare. Your CMMS vendor should also know about this date and plan to be on-call. They can help you handle any questions and complications so they don’t fall through the cracks or turn into bad habits.

12. Monitoring the system and on-the-job training

Congratulations, your CMMS is operational! But your implementation is not done yet. The CMMS champion should monitor the use of the system to verify all elements are performing as expected, including notifications and scheduled maintenance triggers. This also gives the CMMS champion time to spend with each user and provide any additional training. Keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) during this time, such as user adoption and maintenance metrics. If these numbers are flagging, make sure to correct your course quickly to avoid prolonged difficulties.

You probably have a good idea of how each CMMS user should interact with the system, but people aren’t mind-readers. That’s why you need to outline user roles and responsibilities in an official, written document.

Now what?: How to keep the positive momentum rolling

You’ve successfully implemented a CMMS, but now what? First, give yourself a pat on the back—that was no small feat. And then keep pushing forward. The work to improve maintenance with a CMMS is never over. The maintenance team will always be called on to solve some tough problems. It’s important to find ways to optimize your CMMS and create a strategy to tackle these obstacles while leveraging your gains to create even more success.

Handling growing pains

Your CMMS will evolve over time as updates become available and users become more comfortable with the software. While this change is largely beneficial, it can lead to growing pains. One way to reduce the negative impact of these changes is to schedule regular check-in calls with your CMMS provider. Frequent communication ensures feedback and further questions can be addressed quickly and allows you to connect with a CMMS expert to guide you through any bumps in the road.

Completing a project assessment

Conducting a review of your CMMS implementation will help you as you begin the next phase of your journey to digital transformation”>digital transformation. It gives you the opportunity to look back and see what went right, what went wrong, what you learned, and how to apply those learnings. Create a formal report measuring project targets, identifying major achievements, and highlighting opportunities for improvement. The report should also share best practices for similar projects planned for the future and advise on potential risks going forward.

Reviewing, improving, and refining

A CMMS implementation isn’t the end goal, it’s just the first step. A CMMS is just another tool, and its success depends on how it’s used. To get the full benefits of the software, you have to monitor how users are interacting with the CMMS and find ways to improve how processes and people work with the software. Get feedback from users, run performance reports, monitor KPIs, and implement improvements where possible.

How to take a CMMS implementation from good to great

CMMS implementation: The start of something beautiful

CMMS software isn’t a silver bullet solution for better maintenance, but it can be an integral part of achieving better results. A CMMS should be considered a tool in the tool belt of the maintenance team. Just as proper use of a hammer makes jobs easier, the same can be true with a CMMS. If implemented properly, a CMMS will become a database of maintenance-related information that can be used to execute best practices and identify opportunities for increased efficiency. It’s not a quick fix, but good software can be a critical cog in your maintenance and reliability strategy that can seriously improve organizational performance now and long into the future.

Recession readiness: Why the maintenance department is your best friend when times are tight

There are three things about recessions that are certain:

  • There will always be another one
  • The best time to prepare for the next downturn is now
  • Investing in better maintenance is one of the best ways for companies to protect their bottom line during one

This last point is especially important for organizations that are looking to boost business during tough times, instead of just treading water. In this situation, maintenance can be a secret weapon for companies looking to prepare for, survive, and accelerate out of an economic crater.

Keeping assets in good health is always important, but it becomes even more critical in a recession when budgets are cut and operating expenses are frozen. That’s why the time is now to invest in better maintenance systems and procedures so cost-cutting can be managed with minimal impact.

The consequences of poor maintenance in a recession

The impact on health and safety

Cutting maintenance costs can lead to more than just fewer resources and added inconvenience— safety-program-with-your-cmms/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>it can threaten the safety of staff and customers.

“There are a lot of safety implications to cutting corners on maintenance,” says David Berger, the President of Lamus Group Inc. and a consultant and author with over 30 years of experience in operations, maintenance, and engineering.

“There are regulatory requirements in every industry, and those requirements are going to be harder and harder to meet if you don’t have the people in maintenance to focus on it.”

There are numerous tragic stories that back up this idea. A lack of maintenance caused by budget constraints has led to airline crashesbridge collapsesoil spills, and more.

Maintenance can be a secret weapon for companies looking to prepare for, survive, and accelerate out of an economic crater.

The well-being of workers and customers should always be top of mind, but it’s especially critical during a recession when safety is often an unintended victim of budget cuts and a single accident, recall, or health scare could send customers to competitors.

The impact on product quality

Product quality is often compromised when budgets are slashed, causing maintenance to suffer and downtime to rise. When the desirability of products drop, profits decline, and costs are cut even more. The process repeats itself and the company is sent into a downward spiral.

“In a recession, you have to choose between paying now or paying later,’” says Berger.

“You may have to pay a little more on maintenance now, but if you don’t, it’s going to cost more in the future to catch up with all the breakdowns that’ll happen.”

Even if an organization maintains its own high product standards during a recession, it may not be enough. Today’s highly interconnected supply chain means that if a supplier of key parts goes out of business, it can put businesses in a tough position to keep those standards up.

Maintenance can play a key part in overcoming these challenges. Better maintenance will help you avoid costly breakdowns, extend asset life, and improve productivity to give you shelter during turbulent times.

Weathering the storm with better maintenance

A looming recession can strike fear into the hearts of manufacturers, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Fine-tuning your maintenance strategy and making strategic investments in maintenance resources can reduce your company’s exposure to risk and help the business hit the ground running when the economy starts to recover.

Keep assets healthy

Manufacturing equipment is expensive. If one of these critical assets breaks down for good during a recession, it can make a tough situation must worse. Establishing an effective maintenance-program/”>preventive maintenance program can help you avoid this nightmare by keeping assets running for longer and reducing the likelihood of a huge, unexpected purchase.

The well-being of workers and customers should always be top of mind, but it’s especially critical during a recession when safety is often an unintended victim of budget cuts and a single accident, recall, or health scare could send customers to competitors.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is one tool facilities can use to build a PM program that ensures assets are operating the way they’re supposed to and can capitalize on every hour, minute, and second of production.

Improve planning for better labor efficiency and inventory purchasing

It’s crucial for companies to save money on labor and parts— and maximize their return on these investments— during a recession. Allocating money to better processes and tools to make maintenance more efficient is one way to uncover cost savings in an economic downturn.

“The biggest thing the maintenance department can do to help a company survive a recession is better planning,” says Berger.

“Maintenance teams should not be fighting fires all the time. The majority of the work should be preventive to be efficient. It’s so much easier to weather a recession in a planned environment.”

Being smart with inventory purchasing and usage is also critical. Having too much inventory is a poor use of money and stock-outs cause spending to skyrocket from urgent reorders and the downtime created while waiting for parts and supplies.

A CMMS allows maintenance teams to automate the work order and inventory purchasing process, making it easier to manage schedules, track parts, identify backlogged tasks, complete work, and respond to emergencies. Streamlining maintenance ensures you’re getting the most from your staff and that they are contributing in areas that create value for the business.

Reduce the cost of downtime

Downtime is synonymous with lost money. Every hour of downtime can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $1 million. Surviving these losses is just not possible for many companies during a recession.

The maintenance department is often on the front lines of the war against downtime, either helping to prevent it or reducing its impact. In fact, this article by Plant Services estimates that asset availability increases by up to 10% with better maintenance planning, and asset reliability increases by up to 5%.

In a recession, you have to choose between paying now or paying later. You may have to pay a little more on maintenance now, but if you don’t, it’s going to cost more in the future to catch up with all the breakdowns that’ll happen.

A CMMS is a great tool for developing better maintenance practices, which helps your facility build a formidable defence against the impact of downtime. For example, a CMMS makes mobile maintenance possible, allowing technicians to access work orders, checklists, and repair information (like manuals and diagrams) in seconds. Repairs and inspections can be completed in a fraction of the time, limiting downtime and saving your bottom line.

Establish an agile mindset

Flexibility is more important than ever in a recession. Companies that are able to pivot quickly are more likely to survive sudden drops in business, source new suppliers to save costs, and turn small wins into bigger ones when they come along.

Maintenance has a huge role to play in establishing an agile culture and helping companies separate costs that should be cut from costs that are essential.

“You need to know the difference between cutting fat and cutting bone,” says Berger.

“That’s one of the most important questions that you need to ask during a recession. You need to show where you’ve spent your time and money, and the impact of that. You need to show the consequences of eliminating that work and how it could affect the bottom line.”

A CMMS is a perfect tool for demonstrating how important maintenance activities can be to a company’s balance sheet. It has the ability to measure maintenance work and determine how each task has impacted the business. For example, you can track the amount of preventive maintenance completed in a certain time period and compare it to the number of breakdowns in the same stretch to show how maintenance has influenced uptime, production, and costs.

When the clouds part: Maintenance and post-recession growth

Surviving a recession is only half the battle. Businesses must be well-positioned to meet increased demand when the economy recovers and accelerate as fast as possible to gain an edge over competitors.

This article by consulting firm Bain and Company explores lessons from the last global recession and how companies can use them to prepare for the next downturn. They found that the most successful companies accelerated out of the recession by spending and hiring more.

For this strategy to be successful, maintenance has to be an integral part of it. Investing in maintenance ensures the money that is spent leads to actual results by enabling production to ramp up without broken equipment causing delays or subpar goods.

The biggest thing the maintenance department can do to help a company survive a recession is better planning…It’s so much easier to weather a recession in a planned environment.

“You need to make sure that when you do turn the machines on after a recession that they’ll actually work, and that starts with proper maintenance,” says Berger.

“Resisting the temptation to cut costs too deeply will help you increase capacity and availability so you can hit the ground running and meet demand that competitors can’t.”

The bottom line: Better  maintenance can be a recession-buster

Better maintenance is a crucial part of the dam that can keep the roaring waters of a recession at bay. When you can rely on your assets to run efficiently and reliably, you can stay a step ahead of the competition and weather tough times. An exceptional maintenance strategy makes this possible. Maintenance software, like a CMMS, is designed to help optimize the performance of assets, especially in times of recession and downturn. Investing in maintenance, and the tools that improve it, is key, especially when every breakdown costs a small fortune and every dollar counts.