Your CMMS/EAM arrived with great expectations. Management was convinced they would soon see results in the form of cost savings, productivity gains and have a better handle on asset management. The unfortunate reality is the results, senior management was expecting, are not occurring because the system is underutilized. Some analysts studies have indicated that most companies use less than 40% of their current CMMS/EAM capabilities and in many cases less than 10 percent.

What went wrong and how can you ascertain the expected results? Every company is managed a little differently, therefore the specific reasons under-utilization occurs will vary. However, the reasons for underachieving are rarely limited to one factor. There are 6 major reasons why your company is not utilizing your CMMS/EAM properly.

6 major reasons why your company is not utilizing EAM CMMS properly

    1. Training is limited or has ceased
      • Training was front loaded (done at implementation) and by request afterward usually for turnover or new hire purposes. Most people will be lucky to remember 10% of what they have been taught at any given point in time. Hence training must be continual. The extra money spent on training is a drop in the bucket compared to the potential of better utilization.
      • Not enough people have been trained. The result is not enough people know how the system really works. This has two effects, 1) the people with knowledge develop a sense of job security and may be unwilling to share, 2) the knowledge pool is too limited to bring forth ideas and changes. Both effects can significantly hinder better utilization of the CMMS/EAM.
    2. There is no tinkering or system exploration occurring. Tinkering and exploration includes trying out unused features, creating new reports, finding solutions instead of claiming that the system does not work. For tinkering and exploration to occur staff must not be afraid to make mistakes for fear that management will frown upon them. The freedom to explore represents an environment of innovation.
    3. The value of the tool has been lost. Management and facilities staff are not perceiving your CMMS/EAM system as the tool it was intended to be. It is more likely the perception is the CMMS/EAM will replace people and change the traditional method of operations. Re-valuing your CMMS/EAM as a tool must come from the top. To clarify:
      • CMMS/EAM does not hear strange noises nor does it do a visual check for corrosion or wear and tear and does not do the physical work.
      • CMMS/EAM is a tool to assist you in organizing and tracking assets, reducing reactive maintenance, scheduling work orders, inspections and preventive maintenance.
      • CMMS/EAM can make operations run smoother and more efficiently giving everyone the feeling of a job well done.
      • CMMS/EAM is only a tool and is part of the solution to achieve corporate objectives.
    4. Performance benchmarks were not adequately set up resulting in an inability to measure success and make adjustments or changes. Any new system, project, or initiative must establish how success is to be measured. Benchmarks provide direction and goals. Without these there is little incentive to do better, learn more or make operations run smoother. Measuring success is one of the functions of change management and is part of all good planning.One of the key elements in setting up performance benchmarks includes keeping open lines of communication for feedback. Feedback allows to hear issues, adjust plans, make changes and listen for attitudes that may need adjusting. For example, when there is an issue, does staff blame the system, the training or themselves? Feedback enables you to identify the dragons and nudge them back into the fold.
    5. Lack of integration of CMMS/EAM into the daily routine. Your CMMS/EAM is best utilized when handheld mobile devices are used to drive the daily routine. Advantages of handheld technology include but are not limited to:
      • Changing the paradigm from a paper based system into an automated wireless system capable of being as mobile as your staff.
      • Organizing daily activity by standardizing the use of dashboards to incorporate their review at the beginning of each day.
      • Standardization of workflow to make sure everyone is on the same page.

With mobile handheld technology your CMMS/EAM will see an increase in adoption rates and greater efficiencies.

    1. Communication has been inhibited or shut down. Communication issues occur both internally and externally. Both are critical to a successful implementation and achieving a higher utilization rate.
      • External communication includes ensuring quality support, issue resolution, knowledge of system capabilities, updates, training, tinkering and a more complete understanding of system capabilities.
      • Internal communication reinforces the value of the tool, challenges staff to explore, encourages innovation, training, feedback and measures success.

Poor communication leads to issues like not knowing ahead of time if the CMMS/EAM will work well with other software and other unplanned obstacles. Lastly but most importantly, poor communication will prevent the buy-in necessary to successfully implement and utilize your CMMS/EAM. Without buy-in at all levels the odds on achieving the desired results are very difficult.

What percentage of utilization do you have for you CMMS/EAM?