CMMS/EAM Implementation : Internal Resistance and User Uptake

Feeling like your whole crew is against the implementation of a new CMMS? One of the key reasons any software implementation fails to “get off the ground” is poor user uptake and little or no training. Too many times the comment we hear is “no one asked me", "we don’t want this” or “we have been told to use this but no one has shown us how”. How many organisations budget for buying software and licences but don’t allow enough to cover a comprehensive implementation and training program to go with it? Too many is the answer.

I didn’t ask for this.

Nothing will alienate staff more and give them a reason not to use the new CMMS, than excluding them from the decision process. Often the first introduction to the system is when the maintenance staff are scheduled to attend a training session. This immediately creates suspicion why it has been implemented and they will be on the defensive. They will also look for reasons why it is wrong, won’t work, not suitable, too hard to use and will fail like the last one. As part of the scoping and set-up process, the maintenance staff need to be included. In the end, they are the ones who will be relied upon to enter most of the information and to make it work. By demonstrating the functionality of the software and asking for input on what would be useful for staff, the process becomes inclusive and promotes acceptance. So when the implementation and training starts, the staff will be looking for ways to make it work for them rather than reasons it won’t work.

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Same pay more work.

A CMMS system is often seen as just another job they have to do in an already busy day. Their previous repair work flow may have been along the lines of:

o   Receive an urgent call from Production that a machine had broken down and they were behind in their orders

o   The service person would grab their toolbox and a few possible parts and go to fix the problem

o   The repairs would be carried out and they would return to their workshop

o   They may possibly record the time taken on their weekly timesheet

Now they are being asked to create a work order, carryout the repair, come back and fill out a labour report, record times and materials and possibly even make follow-up work orders. Why wouldn’t they be complaining!! They have a very valid argument that this process will add time to their daily work …… at first. What needs to be explained is that the few minutes that it will add to the process, will result in improved work practises and better planning in the future. It is a hard sell to those who have become accustomed to a reactive maintenance approach, especially when there was no requirement for recording many details. But by bringing in these changes, the end goal is to identify where problems are occurring and hopefully change to a preventative way of working. Ultimately, we are working towards order from chaos and reducing the pressure breakdown situations.

You’re just trying to spy on me.

Suspicion as to why Management want the staff to record all these details, always raises its head early in the process. Mostly by the people who might be afraid of the facts! And yes if you REALLY wanted a Big Brother environment to exist, I suppose a CMMS system could be useful. However if an employer went to this extreme, they would probably find the staff would spend more time trying to find ways to fool the system, than using it for its correct purpose. An employer needs to explain the reasons why labour hours and a report on the work performed can help the maintenance staff just as much as Management. By adding this information to the work order a better appreciation can be had of how labour is being utilised and where improvements can be made. It can even be used to justify the need for more staff or a better mix of skilled and un-skilled labour.

What’s in it for me.

So explain to me how I’ll be better off. Am I going to get paid more now that I have to use the computer more? Well probably not! However, by becoming conversant with the CMMS system, the staff will be improving their skill level and enhancing their value to the company, or another if they choose! Maintenance software is more a necessity than a luxury for most businesses and by embracing the change, staff will find that a great deal of job satisfaction can be gained. Through the reports which can be generated from the work order records, they become part of the change process. Their input aids in identifying sources of failure or adverse costs and forms the basis of a change in processes. There is satisfaction in the knowledge that your efforts have resulted in improvements in efficiencies and a more structured approach to equipment reliability. And who knows, eventually that could lead to an advancement in the company and maybe yes, you will get paid more!

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