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The Maintenance Management Blog

March 17, 2022

Success with CMMS

What practices, concepts, and ideals does a business need to be successful? I'm not referring to large profit margins or customer base. I mean, how do you get to that level? What precepts or guidelines do you follow?

A scene from the iconic film Citizen Kane comes to mind. Kane is showing his employees a list of values and rules his paper was going to follow. Of course, over time, he proceeds to break all of them. (So, he's a bad example to follow, okay?)

There are many articles listing various business success tips. For today's discussion, I chose 17 from two sources: Entrepreneur - https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246929 and Investopedia - https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/make-money-in-business.asp Before you start grousing on the fact I took 17 points, I want only to relate them to a CMMS and how such a system can aid in business success.

Get OrganizedImage: messy office

"Good order is the foundation of all things." – Edmund Burke

I'm hoping the image doesn't look like your office. You may feel it does if you're using a spreadsheet for inventory and maintenance tracking and paper notes for work orders. When considering using a CMMS, the first step is planning. How do you want to use it? Equipment PMs? Purchasing? Human Resources? Does your company employ barcodes?

Planning what you want to be organized is the first step. Once you have an outline for how you want the CMMS to work for you, then you'll be better in tune with which system to consider. (As for cleaning up the above office…you're on your own.)

Keep Detailed Records

"Keeping records enhances the pleasure of the search and the chance of finding order and meaning in these events." – Aldo Leopold

You'll have data input into a CMMS, but does it have the capacity to generate reports, narrowed to the specific information you need. The system that tracks costs, employee hours, and supplies should allow you to view results of your work so that you can see how you're moving toward the success goals.

Analyze Your Competition

"Competition in business is a blessing, for without it, we wouldn't improve." – CoolNSmart

This point can be looked at in two perspectives.

Your company: In one sense, your company is competing with itself. I'm not talking about having your employees race each other in the quarter mile, although company-wide activities are beneficial to morale. Instead, you're finding more efficient ways along the path of continued success. With a CMMS, you're watching costs through the reports from above; tracking whether work orders are completed on time; how well your vendors are doing in shipping supplies on time; and whether they offer discounts for bulk orders. You're watching equipment depreciation and downtime, inventory numbers, and reorders. Because of what you find with these, you make adjustments to workflow, always striving to do a little better the next time.

Yes, and study what your competition is doing. Are they even using a CMMS? How are they marketing their service/product?

Understand Risks and Rewards

"The biggest risk a person can take is to do nothing." – Robert Kiyosaki

Are you wanting to do jobs correctly, or is there a greater focus on how many jobs get done? Quantity or quality? Sometimes, you want both. However, don't short one to reach the goal of another, especially when safety is key. You don't want to risk the operation of machines or your workers just to have X number of jobs completed.

Should your CMMs have an area to create checklists, safety procedures, and attachments, so workers know what to do, how to do it, and the precautions to take? Safety is job one, and if your system helps you maintain that (no pun intended), then you're on your way to success.

Be CreativeImage: painting with brush

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." – Maya Angelou

Another quote I've heard often is: If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.

Get out of the routine, hop out of the rut. Of course, there are fundamentals that you follow because they work and have proven to be the best time after time. Where can you break new ground, though? A quality CMMS should have plenty of options from which to choose. I mentioned reports earlier. Are there enough filters to allow you to 'be creative' with your reports?

The brushstrokes and patterns you create might be unique for your business. However, could you share tips and new ideas? Maybe others who are using a maintenance management system would benefit from how you've been successful.

Stay Focused

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." – George Lucas

You're doing your job. You don't need distraction from your CMMS. As mentioned before, a good system will help organize. Once you have everything in place, you shouldn't have to constantly be inputting information with those inventory, equipment, or PMs. The system should be allowing you to better handle the repairs and purchases.

Prepare to Make SacrificesImage: aztec pyramid

*Uh, not that type of sacrifice.

Rather, this comes after the planning stage, and after you've made basic data implementation into your purchased system. Now, make time to learn how to use it. What options to give users, where all those desired features are located and how to work them to your full advantage. stages. Take some time and learn the system. The CMMS trainers should tailor the seminars for your situation. The 'sacrifice' now gets you those rewards mentioned above. (No need for messy altars to clean.)

"True success requires sacrifice." – Rick Riordan

Provide Great Service

"Service to others leads to greatness." – Jim Rohn

Does the CMMS company offer service after the sale? Do you reach an automated operator who leads you through menu items or a live human willing to assist? Is support staff willing and eager to solve the problem? (An appreciative chocolate chip cookie might be persuasive, but it shouldn't be necessary.) If your support person doesn't know an answer, will you be expecting a return call, or will that person seek immediate assistance from another in the office? Does the company have remote access capability? If the answer is no to any of these questions, how successful are you going to be using the system?

Be Consistent

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." - Richard Scott

This is akin to being organized. Whereas a spreadsheet is consistent in rows and columns, does the CMMS have a consistent look for menus, tabs, and reports. Or does everything have a cluttered confused appearance? How about alphabetization for easier access?

Consistency helps with efficiency, which leads to better operations.

Keep The Big Vision In Sight

"It's always the small pieces that make the big picture." – curiano.com

A CMMS is one large program with smaller parts (modules, menus, etc.). Remember why you considered a system in the first place. You were looking for better control over maintenance, inventory, purchasing, maybe even human resources. Do the small parts of the CMMS work together to make the program successful? You'll need this when it comes to reports. This also relates to the organizing and planning stage. You've looked at how the system will work for you.

PerseveranceImage: Sisyphus representation

"Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock." – Anonymous

I know you're thinking the image represents Sisyphus who never achieved his goal. The Greek myth is that when he almost reaches the top, the rock rolls away back to the bottom of the hill. I take the viewpoint that he should have changed his goal. What if he had changed his measure of success to pushing that rock to within three feet of the top? How many times did he achieve that goal?

Success can be gained in short increments. Do you stay focused, get creative when obstacles present themselves, and push forward toward that next goal?

Does the company stay focused on improving its CMMS? Are new benefits for your convenience and success being introduced? The company should be keeping up with business needs.

Plan But Be FlexibleImage: man arching body in street

*Probably not a picture of an actual CMMS company employee, but who knows?

So many of these points overlap when related to a CMMS. Flexibility=scalability. You use only what you need. A library will have different parameters than a hospital or a grain elevator. What if you have a particular feature unique for your company? Is the CMMS able to accommodate and work to get what you want?

"Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach." – HPLYRIKZ.com

Embrace Your Expertise

"Sharing knowledge is the most fundamental act of friendship. Because it is a way you can give something without losing something." – Richard Stallman

This point is so good. Everyone in your company is an expert at something. You, as the expert supervisor/manager, have hired who you feel are the best people. Success comes for not only them, but the company when those people are given the opportunities to shine.

In relation to a CMMS, how much authority are they given? To make purchase orders, initiate work orders, receive inventory, generate reports? You, as the admin for the system establish amenable communications when you create user groups and crews of those 'expert' workers and build better relations with vendors.

Don't Reinvent The Wheel

"You don't have to reinvent the wheel; you just need to share your unique perspective on why the wheel is important." - @pageonepower

This brings to mind that aspect of training as mentioned above. Trainers show how to use the system, navigate the menus, help you make decisions on what you want. You know your business and want the CMMS to adapt to it. While you may not use them now, how could some features help you further succeed in the future.

Don't Burn OutImage: fire

Uh, hopefully not as bad as the image depicts.

This point and the next are related to time management. This one connects with work/life balance and takes into account endurance as implied by the quote.

How long has your CMMS company been around developing and improving its product. Is the system 'tough' and enduring, able to evolve and grow as customers and business have changed. Who know what comes next? (The programmers do, but to get them to talk probably takes a dozen of those aforementioned cookies.)

"Tough times never last. Tough People do." - Robert Schuller

Leverage Everything

"The hours that ordinary people waste, extraordinary people leverage." – Robin Sharma

Time management, efficiency, organization, and the rest of the above points, in one sense or another, are related here. What you put into your work is in direct proportion to what you get out of it. Your CMMS should the same way. You give it enough information; it will give back so much more for you and your company. Is your CMMS capable of transferring some of that information to an ERP, accounting, or other third-party system?

Keep Your Sense Of HumorImage: laughing goat

"A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles." – Mignon McLaughlin

If you've not having fun, then what's the point? Sure, work is serious, business is serious. There's a time to knuckle down and finish the job. That doesn't mean you can't keep up your spirits, find a sense of satisfaction and maybe a sense of humor in the job. There's humor to be found in most activities we do (barring a few not to be mentioned surgeries).

Are your CMMS company representatives enjoyable to work with?

Okay, there's not much inherently humorous about a CMMS, but I look at it this way. It helps you be efficient, to have more time for fun. Maybe you can all those options and features for further treasures. Finding something useful, even in a system you've used for years, is so satisfying, you have to smile.

There are many paths to business success. At some point, companies probably use all or a combination of the above points. With them, they set goals, establish employee/customer relations, and find the tools that work.

How do you achieve success in your business? If you're using a CMMS, you're a huge step closer. If you're not, call 800-922-4336 to discover how MAPCON can succeed for you.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: success, business — Stephen Brayton on March 17, 2022