Seven benefits of investing in CMMS training

Implementing a CMMS doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. But it likely will without a proper training program.

The importance of training can’t be stressed enough when setting up a new CMMS. It’s the key to ensuring employees actually use the software and use it the right way. If everyone is onboarded to the CMMS correctly, you will not only see increased efficiency, productivity, and performance improvements, but you’ll see it sooner.

Let’s explore why implementation fails in the first place, how CMMS training can help, and the different ways your organization can participate.

Why implementation fails

Approximately 70% of all CMMS implementations fail. We’ve identified some common ways that software implementation fails. Further down, there are some strategies for avoiding these common problems with training.

  1.  Lack of support
    Execs usually provide the budget to purchase new software, but aren’t always committed to the implementation process. If the decision-makers aren’t fully invested in the project, things like training often get pushed down to the bottom of their priority list, and it becomes harder to convince fence-sitters that this is a good solution.
  2.  Unclear goals and priorities
    Without clear goals, teams are bound to fail. Missed targets are huge morale killers, and teams who lack that motivation are less likely to want to learn new skills or adopt new software.
  3.  Poor training and engagement
    Not knowing and not wanting to learn how to use a CMMS often result in failed implementation. Everyone impacted by the new software should be consulted or offer input when assessing vendors or purchasing the CMMS software. This eliminates the risk of choosing software that is too hard to use or an unwanted solution.

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Benefits of CMMS training

Increases adoption

It doesn’t matter how great your software is if nobody learns how to use it properly. Training increases user adoption, which is critical when implementing software. Being properly trained means your team will see the value of the software, understand how to use it, and be more likely to adopt the system.

Saves time and money

If not properly trained, your team will waste valuable hours on trial and error just to learn the system. Skipping training also means your users risk developing bad habits or not knowing the best practices for using the software. Training ensures everyone gets off on the right foot and helps everyone learn the best practices when setting up and configuring the system.

Creates consistency

Proper training ensures everyone on your team is on the same page, following the same best practices, and working together instead of creating work for one another. When training, use the same tools and resources for every department so your whole team will be equally skilled and successful. Make sure the resources are referenceable and accessible should your team need to access them later. (This will make training and onboarding new techs easier).

Accelerates adoption

It can take hours to figure out how to perform some parts of your job with CMMS software, especially if you don’t have previous experience with CMMS software or if you’re switching from a system where things are done differently. Save yourself endless hours of guesswork with training sessions.

Collect valuable data

Training helps you understand the best practices for entering data. Good data is the foundation of a productive CMMS. It doesn’t matter how efficiently you use your CMMS, if the data is bad, you’ll never see accurate, positive results. Good data and data entry habits can improve productivity, reduce downtime and save money.

Flexibility to explore features

Training ensures you are using the system in the best way for your business’s unique needs. Even the most experienced CMMS users might miss helpful tips and insights if they skip training.

Strengthens commitment

Training reinforces management’s commitment to making the CMMS work within the organization. It’s a way to show maintenance that you’re investing in their success and giving them all the resources they need to achieve their individual and organizational goals.

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CMMS training resources

Training isn’t a one size fits all solution. Most vendors provide onsite or online training. Others offer video tutorials, training workshops, or recorded webinars. And the level of hands-on training depends on the unique needs of your team. Consider surveying your team to get an idea of their learning style and build a training plan based on their answers.

Whether you choose free or paid training options, invest the time upfront to get your employees properly trained because training makes the difference between CMMS success and failure.

Keep in mind that training is an ongoing process throughout the lifetime of the CMMS. Send your maintenance team to refresher webinars and knowledge-transfer workshops to help reinforce best practices. Also, make it a habit to use help centers and video guides to supplement your teams training. This way, your team can stay up to date with new features and updates without having to relearn the entire software again.


Failure codes: What they are and why maintenance teams need them

While the term might sound ominous, failure codes are nothing to fear. They’re simply alphanumeric codes specifying the reason an asset breaks down.

With failure codes, technicians can quickly select a pre-set code when completing a work order to explain what went wrong. And by classifying repairs this way, maintenance managers and reliability engineers can spot the trends that will help prevent the same thing from happening again down the road.

How to make failures your friend with the FRACAS system

Underlying failure codes is the problem ? cause ? action (PCA) framework, which works like a decision tree. A maintenance team looks at all the possible failure modes and corresponding solutions they could potentially encounter, then joins the problems, causes, and actions (solutions) together in a failure code hierarchy. These custom PCA codes are specific to each operation.

Let’s take a look at a real-world example of the problem ? cause ? action framework at work in an automotive repair shop:

root cause analysis for an automotive repair shop

In this example, the maintenance team might have created failure code B03 to represent the problem of “shot bearing,” C05 to represent the cause “bearing fatigue,” and D01 to indicate the solution “replace bearing.”

When it comes time for the technician to perform maintenance on the asset, they can document exactly what happened and log that valuable data for future reference. And while many maintenance issues require some degree of troubleshooting, with failure codes future technicians will see all possible solutions to the identified problem/cause, speeding up the repair process and reducing downtime.

Utilizing failure codes can help your organization:

How to use failure codes in the real world

Let’s say you own a fleet of backhoes and recently they’ve been breaking down a lot. In the past, you would have to manually search through work order histories to try to spot failure trends and common causes. With failure codes, you can instantly spot repeat offenders.

Fiix's desktop work order administration window

Let’s say that in this case, the failure analysis reveals pneumatic hose failure to be the reason behind the majority of those backhoe work orders. Armed with this information, you can now investigate why your organization is suffering so many of these hose failures. It could be operator error, temperature fluctuations, supplier defects, incorrect installation, etc. The point is, now that you know what is happening, you can instead spend your time figuring out why.

Learn how to perform a failure mode and effects analysis

How failure codes support reliability-centered maintenance

Reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) is defined by the technical standard SAE JA1011Evaluation Criteria for RCM Processes, and of the seven main questions it poses, we can see that five of them focus on equipment failure:

  1. What is the item supposed to do and its associated performance standards?
  2. In what ways can it fail to provide the required functions?
  3. What are the events that cause each failure?
  4. What happens when each failure occurs?
  5. In what way does each failure matter?
  6. What systematic task can be performed proactively to prevent, or to diminish to a satisfactory degree, the consequences of the failure?
  7. What must be done if a suitable preventive task cannot be found?

Because RCM is all about identifying and containing an asset’s failure modes, anything that supports this is a natural ally. Failure codes allow teams to easily and completely capture failure data, and this in turn empowers them to improve maintenance operations from day to day. That’s why they remain such a powerful tool for RCM-focused maintenance teams.

Mastering failure codes in Fiix

When it comes time to create your problem, cause, and action failure codes in Fiix, you can choose any names you’d like (as long as they’re alphanumeric). But for some extra inspiration, check out the technical standard ISO14224, which was originally developed for the petroleum industry but contains universal suggestions on which codes to create and conventions for naming them.

If you’ve already created failure codes in another CMMS or legacy spreadsheet system, you can save time by importing them into Fiix in .csv format.

Last but not least, we’ve got a detailed video on Getting started with failure codes and a full suite of how-to articles is available in our Help Center (which can also be accessed at any time through the Help button in the bottom-left of your CMMS). There, you’ll find articles detailing how to enable failure codesbuild out your hierarchy, and use codes during work orders.


How many CMMS users should you have?

If you’re looking to implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), one of the first questions you should ask is, how many people should be using the software? It would be great if there were a simple answer, but unfortunately, there isn’t. In this article, you’ll learn the key considerations for determining how many users you should have in your CMMS based on your unique situation.

The big question: How many CMMS users should you have?

The answer to this question depends on the size of your organization and how many people are using the maintenance software. If your company has fewer than 20 employees, a basic CMMS is likely sufficient for your needs. However, upgrading to an enterprise-grade solution may be necessary if you have more than 50 employees in a single location or multiple locations who need access to the same data at once (for example, field workers).

There are some questions you can ask to evaluate whether or not you need more CMMS users for your company. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How often will the employee use the CMMS daily?
  2. How will using the CMMS benefit the employees’ day-to-day tasks?
  3. Does the employee need to access data from the CMMS regularly?

The answer to these questions will help you determine whether to include the employee in question on your CMMS.

What are the advantages of having fewer CMMS users?

There are several advantages to limiting the number of people with access to your CMMS. It’s easier to manage, works better for small businesses, and is less expensive. If you’re just starting out or if your business is small, having fewer users will make it easier for everyone in the company to get up to speed quickly because there won’t be as much data generated by each person using the system. In addition, training new employees can be done more efficiently since they will have less data at their fingertips when they first start using the software.

What are the disadvantages of having fewer CMMS users?

The disadvantages of having fewer CMMS users include:

  • Less flexibility for employees. If you have a small number of users, each one will have to be able to use the software to complete their tasks. This means that if one person goes on vacation or leaves the company, it could take several days before another person can take over their responsibilities and get back up-to-speed with how things work with your CMMS (and even longer if they’re unfamiliar with how it works).
  • More work for maintenance departments and administrators. In addition to being more difficult for employees who need to become more familiar with using your CMMS, more calls will likely come in asking how things work within the program. This could lead some people in these roles to be overwhelmed by requests within their department and external requests from people who need help navigating certain features.
  • You get trapped in a hybrid work model. One common strategy for maintenance departments is to keep CMMS users to a minimum and print paper work orders for technicians—creating a hybrid work model. The problem with the hybrid approach to maintenance is that you’re taking one step forward by getting a CMMS, then two steps back by not using it to its full potential. This creates a host of problems. For example, your team might still print work orders and enter them into the system at the end of the day. In this situation, you don’t have a full picture of what’s happening in your facility. On top of that, your team isn’t getting real-time updates when the status of a piece of equipment changes.

What are the advantages of having more CMMS users?

The more CMMS users you have, the more projects can be worked on simultaneously. This is especially important if you’re working in an environment where projects are always changing and being updated. It also means that when one person is busy with something else, another user can jump in and get something done while waiting for them to return.

Another advantage of having more than one user is that they can share knowledge and experience. This will help improve everyone’s skills and create a better understanding of how things work within the CMMS.

Having multiple users also makes it easier to train new employees because other people already know what they’re doing (or at least have some idea). Plus, there’s less pressure on just one person having all this responsibility placed upon them. Instead, there’ll likely be several people looking after various aspects of training, so there’ll always be someone available if questions arise during training sessions.

Logging information in your CMMS immediately means you have a much fuller picture of the state of your assets. And when it comes time to generate reports, your historical data will be much more precise. Working with a CMMS lets your team provide detailed updates and information on all your assets as they go, so no information gets lost.

Learn how to justify the cost of a CMMS to management

What are the disadvantages of having more CMMS users?

The disadvantages of having more CMMS users are as follows:

  • More data to manage. If you have too many users, it will be difficult for them to keep track of all the information in their system, and it can lead to errors.
  • More problems with the CMMS. If you have too many users, there is a greater chance that someone will make a mistake when entering data into the system or running reports—causing problems like inaccurate reports or missing data points in your CMMS database.

The number of CMMS users you have is based on the size of your business

The number of users you should have actively using your CMMS depends on your company’s needs and resources. We recommend you consider each scenario’s advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.


Why do I need a maintenance work order system?

You’re a maintenance manager, and you’ve got more on your plate than just keeping the lights on. You’re in charge of keeping a facility running smoothly and safely for your employees, contractors, and visitors—and that means making sure everything is up to date and working correctly.

But how do you get it all done? How do you know when something needs fixing?

Fortunately, there’s an easier way for maintenance managers to keep track of their team’s work orders: a maintenance work order system.

What is a maintenance work order system?

A maintenance work order system is a computerized database of equipment and parts. It’s used to track when maintenance needs to be performed, what work should be done, and where it needs to be performed. Maintenance work orders are also known as PMRs (planned maintenance reports), MOTS (maintenance operations technical standards), EPRs (engineering change proposals), or preventive/corrective action plans.

Do I need a work order system?

If you think your operation is too small to need computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), think again. Everybody has maintenance needs, whether they ignore them or not, and work orders are what get maintenance done. If work orders aren’t planned and executed properly, you might as well give your money away. The secret to cutting maintenance costs is a good work order system, and here’s why you need one:

1. Reduce equipment failures

Whether you manage a large factory or run a community center, you buy insurance. Traditional insurance protects you from unexpected problems but sometimes doesn’t cover the cost of extensive damage. The best kind of insurance to buy is the kind that prevents the problem from happening in the first place. The problem, in your case, is unplanned asset downtime, and the insurance is a work order system.

Work order system software ensures preventive maintenance gets done on schedule, saving the most expensive maintenance issue of all: Downtime. It reduces equipment failures by:

  • Helping you keep track of maintenance tasks and schedules
  • Identifying equipment failures
  • Prioritizing repairs, so repair work is done in a timely manner and with the right parts
  • Keeping records of equipment failures and their causes can be helpful when it comes to preventing future breakdowns or other problems with the same piece of equipment

2. Extend asset life

Every piece of equipment or infrastructure you own is an asset. Every asset has an annual operating cost, which includes purchase financing or cash outlay spread over its lifespan. Although you don’t see that cost every day, you still pay it and feel it at the end of the year. A work order system extends asset life by helping you:

  • Conduct preventive maintenance. Regular inspections and service help to prevent expensive repairs, which can extend the life of your assets.
  • Improve quality control: The data collected through a maintenance work order system gives managers insight into how much time is spent on each asset at each location, helping them identify areas where they could improve efficiency.

3. Save money on parts and supplies

In a CMMS, the work orders are linked automatically to your parts inventory. You save money because it helps:

  • Reduce the number of parts purchased
  • Cuts inventory in your storeroom
  • Reduces the number of parts that are returned unused
  • Minimizes the amount of time spent on ordering parts

4. Boost maintenance productivity

No doubt about it, maintenance requires an investment. A maintenance work order system can help boost productivity by:

  • Reducing the time spent on paperwork. Keeping track of all your maintenance tasks, scheduling them, and updating them is very time-consuming. A good maintenance work order system will automate this process and make it easier for you to manage your assets in one place.
  • Helping to prioritize work. If you need clarification on which asset needs attention first or if any safety issues need immediate attention, then using a CMMS can help identify these things quickly so they don’t get overlooked.
  • Identify equipment that requires repair or replacement by looking at its history of service requests over time (e.g., this machine broke down last week versus this machine has never broken down before).

5. Improve health, safety and compliance

A maintenance work order system is a critical component of any facility. It’s the single source of truth for all maintenance tasks, providing a clear picture of what needs to be done and when. This makes it easier for managers and employees alike to know their responsibilities, making them more efficient at their jobs—and safer.

A work order system can also help you improve compliance with safety standards by making sure that all necessary inspections are being conducted regularly and on time. This reduces the risk of accidents or other hazards taking place.

A good maintenance work order software can help your organization efficiently manage all your equipment

This is just a short list of the many benefits that can be gained by using a maintenance work order system. It’s important to remember that these are not just theoretical benefits—they’re real, tangible results that will help your organization run better and more efficiently every day.


How to justify the cost of a CMMS

This is true in any industry but can be especially true in the maintenance industry. In many cases, maintenance teams still rely on outdated forms of tracking tasks that slow them down, like paper work orders. We get it, you’re already so busy, and switching your process and workflows is probably low on your list of things you want to do.

Many times, maintenance managers stick with paper forms for four reasons:

  1. They don’t want to train employees on new technology and processes
  2. They’ve had issues working with electronic or mobile forms before
  3. They need a solution that works in the office and in the field
  4. They don’t want to pay for all the features of software when the facility will only use a few of them

In this article, you’ll see how to calculate the cost and ROI of maintenance software. You’ll find out how to use that information to convince your boss and their boss that you need a CMMS for your maintenance department.

Getting started

No two facilities are the same, which means you must understand your company’s current processes and strategies to get a grasp on the benefits of a CMMS.

To do this, you should measure key performance indicators (KPIs) of your assets over time. This can include:

  • Revenue and budget loss from asset downtime
  • Inventory tracking and organization
  • An asset’s actual lifespan versus its expectancy

Pro tip: The more data you have, the better you’ll understand your benchmarks. In other words, you’ll know what’s normal and what improvement looks like. If the historical data isn’t available, measure your KPIs for at least six months to a year to get an accurate view of your assets’ performance.

Next, answer the following four questions to get an idea of how different CMMS features can improve performance and maintenance processes:

  1. What data/reports would make the job easier?
  2. What information does your supervisor consistently ask for?
  3. Where’s most of your maintenance budget going?
  4. What’s your desired planned maintenance (PM) to corrective maintenance (CM) ratio?

Calculating the ROI of CMMS software

One of the first things upper management will want to know is how a CMMS is going to help them and how much it’s going to cost. The easiest and best way to answer these questions and convince this group of stakeholders is by speaking their language. Show them exactly how a CMMS will benefit them by calculating the return on investment. The bigger the return, the easier it will be to secure the buy-in you need. The ROI of CMMS software is dependent on your goals, and the goals of your facility.

There are two ways to accurately calculate the ROI of a CMMS: Total cost of ownership and the value of the maintenance solution itself. Here’s what you need to know about calculating the ROI of a CMMS.

Total cost of ownership

The total cost of ownership involves adding all the initial costs of implementing the CMMS to the long-term costs of maintaining the solution. When deciding which CMMS to invest in, be sure to ask questions about the following costs:

  • Software costs: Cloud-based software often runs on a subscription model. These fees are often paid per user and follow a tiered structure with each tier offering different and/or more features. When determining subscription fees, think about how many people will be using the software and what level of service you need from the vendor.
  • Additional hardware and software required: Think about how your employees are going to be accessing the software. Tablets, smartphones, and laptops are all great choices, but they come at a cost.
  • Solution implementation services and support: Implementation can include things like moving data from your current system to your new one, setting up workflows and users, and other tools that are needed to make your CMMS operational. Some companies charge extra for this, so factor these costs into your calculation.
  • User and administrator training and long-term support and upgrades: Some vendors charge for training beyond the initial implementation phase. These costs can also include adding, training, and onboarding new users or adding new features.

CMMS value

The value of a CMMS is easy to see, and implementing one can reduce production costs by 10% and a 10% reduction in operating expenses. However, to get a full grasp on the value a CMMS can bring to your company, you should look at the following metrics:

  • Asset lifespan: Estimated number of years you expect to extend an asset’s life cycle
  • Overtime: Average of hourly labor (including overtime) wasted
  • Inventory: Average amount of time lost due to insufficient inventory
  • Utilities: Amount of budget spent on utilities versus the expected costs when utilities run at peak efficiency
  • Productivity: Amount of time spent on tasks like scheduling and work order management
  • Document management efficiency: How long it takes to create, file, copy, search for and retrieve critical documents

Once you have the costs and value determined, you can put the measurements into this formula: CMMS ROI = (Value – Costs) / Cost

The positive effect

The next time you’re thinking about pitching a CMMS to your boss, remember that it’s much easier to convince someone that something is a good solution when you have the numbers, data, and testimonials to back it up.