As L. D. Miles, the founder of value analysis after the Second World War remarked, “If I cannot obtain a product, I must obtain the features of the product.” This can be summed up by substituting the sentences written by M. Delafolie in his book on value analysis: “What CMMS features should I buy?” rather than “What CMMS software should I buy?”
This has become common practice in design or re-design studies for industrial products and services, and is perfectly suited to the situation of defining a CMMS specification.
Experience has shown that, if these precautions are not taken, many CMMS projects end up lying forgotten in the bottom drawer because they did not satisfy user requirements.
As Jean-Claude Francastel said at the 15th CMMS panorama, the most important pieces of advice are:
- State your objectives clearly: a CMMS—What for? For whom? What is the expected result?
- Express the need in terms of strictly necessary features. Eliminate anything that is not necessary.
- Work in a multidisciplinary group to perform a formal analysis of requirements and to write a functional specification subject to a consensus among all potential users.
- Do not underestimate the preliminary resources to be implemented before the final decision.
- Any errors or omissions during the writing of the specification are practically irretrievable once the product has been purchased. They result in additional costs and delays in order to apply corrections or to define new software functionality.
- Ask preselected suppliers to give references: customers using their CMMS applications. Do not hesitate to visit sites where these software packages are in operation to find out how their users rate them.
- Find out how long the product will last and the supplier’s ability to provide upgrades over time. For example, are they selling Version 1.1 or Version 9.1?
- Check the supplier’s ability to provide maintenance and assistance.
- Plan a training period for all personnel (from shop floor workers to the company’s top technical manager).
- Check how well the organisation and the software suit each other. If the organisation is sufficiently formalised, the software should be able to adapt. If, in addition, there is already a CMMS, a configurable software package should be chosen. Finally, if the organisation is not very formalised, it will be possible to exploit the structuring effect of the software package.
- The implementation of a CMMS requires a change in company culture involving a long-term effort, and this must constitute a lasting strategic policy of the company. The requirements for setting up a CMMS are similar to those required for the implementation of a new maintenance policy such as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)® or MBF (similar to RCM, reliability-centred maintenance).
- If possible, choose a project leader who is independent of the production and maintenance departments, who can ensure the durability of the CMMS application and who will be an advocate of CMMS—the “CMMS Leader.”