March 15, 2021MAINTENANCE
How to Launch a Successful CMMS Program with MaintainX (Step by Step)
Have you downloaded MaintainX to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop?
Congratulations—you’re minutes away from experiencing a more organized, efficient, and stress-free maintenance management program.
Regardless of industry, you may be facing common challenges like:
- Unreliable communication around who has done what (and when).
- Limited budget, time, and energy to implement new systems.
- Pressure to improve response times, decrease costs, and increase efficiency.
- Frustration over either a) scattered work order systems of papers, emails, texts, and spreadsheets or b) existing CMMS platforms that are too complicated to support realistic program goals.
The good news? MaintainX helps solve each of these dilemmas.
It won’t take more than a few minutes to improve maintenance workflows, work order communication, and recurring preventive maintenance (PM) scheduling with the software.
Further, it needn’t take more than a couple of weeks to improve asset management, vendor management, supply management, and budgeting.
With that said, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are world-class maintenance programs! The best way to launch a new maintenance program is to set clear expectations.
This article will walk you through the process of matching your organization’s top three maintenance goals right now to MaintainX features and KPIs. You’ll learn how to launch a successful CMMS program with our mobile and desktop platforms.
While our app has many features worth exploring, we recommend primarily focusing on your top goals first. In doing so, you’ll avoid “app overwhelm” and experience tangible O&M improvements much faster.
How to Launch a Successful CMMS Program
MaintainX goes by many names: Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), work order management software, and industrial collaborative workflow solution are just a few of them. Call the platform whatever you like, but its purpose is the same.
Well-run maintenance programs don’t “just happen.” Behind every successful facility exists a maintenance team dedicated to asset reliability, quality control, and stakeholder safety. And the backbone of today’s most efficient departments are CMMS.
Successful operational management is the culmination of implementing organized maintenance and CMMS programs, establishing work order communication systems, and continually making improvements toward realistic O&M goals.
1. Set SMART Goals
Ask yourself: What three O&M modifications would generate the most impactful improvements for our organization right now?
Your answer might include something general like, “set-up a new work request system,” or it could consist of something more specific like, “reduce downtime on conveyor belts.”
Once you’ve written your top three maintenance goals, you may want to run them through the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting system:
- Specific: Challenge yourself to get specific on the who, what, where, when, and why of your maintenance goals.
- Measurable: Identify specific maintenance metrics to measure progress towards achieving each goal (more on KPIs in a moment).
- Achievable: Make your goals challenging enough to get everyone excited but not so complicated that it may take forever to see results.
- Realistic: Set goals that don’t require unavailable resources to pull off.
- Timely: Define a practical timeline for accomplishment to create accountability.
We recommend setting specific, actionable goals because it’s the quickest way to get results using MaintainX. However, you may also want to add lofty goals like “launch a reliability-centered maintenance program” or “increase our preventive maintenance to reactive maintenance ratio by 20 percent.”
These are awesome goals—just recognize that meeting holistic goals will require integrating the app’s full functionality into your workflow.
The following five sections highlight the most common priorities MaintainX customers set upon launching CMMS programs. Use each goal’s suggested actions steps and resources to meet your goals when applicable:
2. Start a Preventive Maintenance Program
Small, preventable oversights can cause big problems. It’s no wonder the number one goal for most MaintainX users is starting preventive maintenance (PM) programs.
Studies suggest every dollar spent on preventive maintenance could save nearly five dollars on expenses. Such enormous savings are most applicable to manufacturing facilities, industrial plants, and warehouses responsible for managing expensive machinery.
However, even schools, hotel chains, and restaurant franchises save big with PM. Just ask McDonald’s—MaintainX helped franchise owner Ed decrease Mean-Time-to-Repair (MTTR) on his ice cream machines by 80 percent. This KPI translated to $20K saved in one month alone.
Switching from a predominantly reactive maintenance (RM) program to a proactive maintenance program can save thousands to millions of dollars, extend asset life cycles, and relieve technicians of anxiety associated with rushed repairs.
The gold standard PM to RM ratio is 80/20, but this isn’t always a realistic goal for facilities new to preventive maintenance.
Steps for Starting a Preventive Maintenance Program:
1. Conduct a Criticality Analysis
Prioritize your most critical assets when building your initial PM program. As resources allow, you may also include vital assets and secondary assets. Each item will fall into one of the following categories:
- Critical: Critical for the functioning of the facility.
- Vital: Important but not critical for production.
- Secondary: Doesn’t play a significant role in everyday production.
2. Match Assets to Maintenance Strategies
Evaluate your most important assets based on two factors—the cost of failure and the ease of monitoring—before matching each asset with its ideal maintenance strategy.
Cost of failure may relate to downtime costs, safety risks, and inconveniences. Ease of monitoring comes down to asking: Does the cost of failure justify allocating resources to monitor the asset via PM checks?
Consult your manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions on intervals for servicing.
3. Create Your Recurring Work Orders
Use MaintainX to create PMs for your highest-risk and highest-valued assets.
Depending on your organization’s size, you may want to choose 10, 50, or 100 assets to begin tracking. Choose a realistic PM goal that won’t overwhelm personnel.
4. Monitor Your Progress
Choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for monitoring progress in terms of decreased downtime, increased reliability, and finances saved since implementing your PM program.
To-Do: Learn how to create, assign, and monitor work orders; attach checklists to work orders; and create asset entries for PM-based equipment.
Additional PM Resources:
3. Streamline Asset Tracking
The second most common goal companies approach MaintainX with is asset tracking.
Managers who don’t track assets don’t know a) how much money they’re really spending on O&M every month and b) when they should be replacing assets for maximum savings.
The industries that most benefit from asset tracking are manufacturing, fleet, power, and construction. However, any maintenance department wanting to experience the benefits of a fine-tuned PM program should, at a minimum, start cataloging their most important assets.
MaintainX includes a user-friendly asset library able to store essential details on an unlimited number of assets, like:
- Serial Number
Notably, users can also create customized asset types and sub-asset categories (e.g., warranty date, purchase date) to further organize asset search capabilities within the app. The more categorical information you include within your asset entries, the more useful data you will have available to you in the app’s advanced reporting functionality.
You can also add photos, attach files, and further customize each asset entry to meet your unique needs. Below is an example of an asset entry in MainainX’s dashboard:
Here’s a closer look at what the asset entry entails:
As users include asset entries, related work orders will automatically update with corresponding information once completed, as shown below:
Steps for Streamlining Asset Tracking
1. Import Existing Asset Entries:
Message our support team or your Account Executive, and we’ll gladly import any existing spreadsheet data files into your MaintainX account. If you don’t have any existing asset databases, proceed to step two.
2. Create Individual Asset Entries
Click here for help creating asset entries in MaintainX. Start with your most important assets and work through your list until all organizational equipment is logged.
3. Conduct a Gap Analysis
This process enables companies to examine their current performance in terms of time, money, and labor compared to their desired performance. Your job is to close the “gap” between your current and desired performance. Here’s an article on how to do a gap analysis.
4. Assign Barcodes to Your Assets and Locations
While this step is optional and can be completed at any time, MaintainX supports Barcode and QR Code scanning on Assets, Locations, and Parts to help your team easily pull up the correct task.
To-Do: Learn how to create asset entries, create asset subcategories, and set-up barcode systems if desired.
Additional Asset Tracking Resources:
4. Simplify Inventory and Parts Management
The third most common goal of new MaintainX users is to improve inventory and parts management.
MaintainX Parts Module allows users to assign parts to multiple assets, document parts/inventory used, track costs, and generate alerts when re-stocks are needed. Check out the screenshot of a parts entry below:
With MaintainX Parts Inventory, you can:
- Assign parts to one or more assets.
- Pair parts with barcodes for foolproof inventory control.
- Set up “minimum quantity” alerts for when it’s time to re-stock.
- Track and monitor parts usage with usage history and digital audit trails.
- Assign costs to parts to determine which ones cost your organization the most money over time.
Parts entries include several optional informational fields, including photos, available quantities, unit costs, vendors, descriptions, and more.
To-Do: Learn how to create parts/inventory entries, add/remove parts from work orders, and assess total parts costs of work orders.
Additional Parts/Inventory Management Resources:
5. Improve Team Communication
It’s hard to be productive when you’re waiting for next steps, looking for instructions, or tackling an unfamiliar task.
With so many communication channels available—voicemails, texts, paper, social media—it’s not surprising many operational managers worry about overlooking important work order questions from technicians and work requests from stakeholders.
Connected-workforce platforms can improve workplace productivity by as much as 25 percent, according to a McKinsey Global Institute Report.
After consulting with hundreds of maintenance teams regarding work order communications over the past two years, we’ve come to a similar conclusion. This is why we developed the world’s first CMMS program with team messaging.
MaintainX provides the maintenance industry’s first work order software platform with work order commenting, team messaging, and private messaging. If improving communication is one of your goals, follow the steps below.
Steps for Improving Communication
1. Establish Communication Workflows
Where should technicians ask general maintenance questions? Should questions related to specific work orders always be communicated within work order comment sections? Are there ever exceptions to these guidelines?
2. Publish and Distribute Policies
If policies are loosely defined, you risk workers asking other people to solve particular problems, receiving many different answers, and ultimately following the wrong advice. Outline, announce, and distribute your new communication policies in writing.
3. Invite Team Members to MaintainX
Inviting team members is easy. Click here for step-by-step invite instructions.
4. Reinforce New CMMS Program Policies
Changing practiced methods of communicating can be tough. Don’t expect every employee to immediately ditch their preferred, longstanding communication channel. Gently remind stragglers to always relay information in your centrally agreed-upon platform.
To-Do: Write new communication policies, invite team members to your MaintainX organization, create message groups, and familiarize yourself with work order commenting.
Additional CMMS Messaging Resources:
6. Audit Safety Inspections
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that companies must provide places of employment that are “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.”
Inspections are essential to facility safety, compliance, and quality control. Regular safety audits ensure standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being followed to ensure compliance with regulations. Such inspections reduce hazards, keep employees safe, document abatement, and protect organizations from lawsuits.
MaintainX helps employers meet requirements with the app’s user-friendly checklist template generator. Also referred to as procedures and forms, checklists can be customized with a number of fields, including:
- Multiple Choice
- Text Field
- Number Field
- Signature Block
- Photo Upload
Saved checklists are stored in the Procedure Library. They also can be attached to individual work order assignments. Remember: work orders describe who does what, and procedures outline how they do it.
To-Do: Learn how to customize procedure forms (checklists), learn how to save templates, and learn how to attach procedure forms to work orders.
Safety Audit Resources:
Other common CMMS program goals customers come to MaintainX with are improving existing work request systems, enhancing existing PM programs, and becoming more data-driven in O&M decision-making.
Chances are, after reading this section, you now have several additional goals added to your list. If so, that’s great! Just try to master one MaintainX feature at a time before moving onto the next. Also, push yourself to make those goals S.M.A.R.T.
7. Match CMMS Program Goals With KPIs
Once you’ve clarified your top three maintenance goals, it’s time to identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Obviously, not every goal is quantifiable. However, if developing a new preventive maintenance program is one of your goals, certain KPIs can provide powerful insights into its effectiveness.
Here are some of the most common metrics measured by maintenance departments:
- Unplanned Downtime, as a Percentage of Total Planned Production Time: This single KPI sums up the results of all your maintenance efforts. Consider measuring this one monthly, if not weekly.
- Schedule/PM Compliance: The percentage of scheduled PMs work orders completed within a specific time period (e.g., if 50 of 100 planned work orders are completed within one month, schedule compliance is 50%).
- Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): The predicted time between breakdowns during normal operation. Calculate MTBF by dividing total operational time by the number of failures. MTBF provides statistics on the average expected life cycle for equipment.
- Ratio of Planned to Unplanned Work: Many experts consider unplanned maintenance to be three to five times more costly than planned maintenance. Costs for unplanned work are often high because specialized labor, tools, parts, and particular equipment are often required. As previously mentioned, the ideal ratio is 80/20.
- Mean Time to Repair (MTTR): The repairable item’s maintainability, in terms of downtime. Calculate MTTR by dividing the total time of downtime events by the total number of repairs. The clock for MTTR begins when the technician starts working on the machine and runs until production is restored. MTTR includes diagnostic time, repair time, and machine testing cycles.
- Inventory Stockouts: When corrective maintenance work is on hold because of unavailable parts. This stockroom KPI indirectly affects labor, downtime, and shipping costs.
Regardless of which metrics you use to measure the performance results of your CMMS program, ensure your team understands your KPIs and why you want to improve them.
8. Assess Your Progress
Finally, commit to assessing your CMMS program’s progress by reviewing your monthly KPIs and requesting feedback from your team members.
The only way to fix operational inefficiencies is to review real data, make whatever performance corrections you can, and commit to continual improvement. Use MaintainX’s Advanced Reporting feature to pull-up your numbers, identify hidden costs, and ensure you’re always on track.
Is this app really free?
Yes, our free plan provides users with unlimited work orders, asset entries, chat messages, PDF exports, and more. However, MaintainX automatically enrolls users in a 30-day premium trial with access to features like offline mode, time and cost tracking, and unlimited checklist curation after downloading the app. You will not be charged at the end of your premium trial. Here’s a pricing chart outlining what is and isn’t included with each plan.
How do I invite team members?
Inviting team members is easy. But the process is a little different depending on whether you’re on desktop or mobile. Click here for step-by-step invite instructions.
How do I transfer my existing assets and PMs?
Message our support team or your Account Executive, and we’ll gladly share a template to help import your assets or PMs into your MaintainX account.
Try MaintainX CMMS—No Training Required
From day one, our goal at MaintainX has been to create a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) app so simple that anyone can master its basic functionalities with no training. But that doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Or that troubleshooting can’t be helpful when navigating unfamiliar territory.
Click here to schedule a demo at any time,
Visit MaintainX101 for more answers to common questions.