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The Maintenance Management Blog

August 23, 2022

The CMMS Marathon

"It's not the destination, it's the journey." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I'm into physical fitness and running, I've never entered or completed a marathon. My sister has, and she's to be admired for her determination and perseverance.

The term marathon comes from a Grecian city. The story told is that in 490 B.C., a dude named Pheidippides ran almost 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to report a tremendous victory over an overwhelming Persian militia. Greek Reporter says this is inaccurate, that actually he ran about 300 miles for help. I'm not sure who fashioned the legend, but the runner became a hero who died upon delivering the news. (Which should put anyone off running that distance for sport, let alone the true 300miles.)

Anyway, History.com says the modern Olympics decided to take the risk and include the long run in the games. British royalty influenced the additional 1.2 miles.

Marathons are run worldwide with Boston's being one of the most popular.

As mentioned, I haven't entered one, but do go out for runs during warmer weather (which would put me off running the North Pole marathon at any time of year). On a recent outing, while trying to ignore the sweat burning my eyes, I thought of how various aspects of running a marathon are associated with the five stages of using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Before you think I was suffering from heat exhaustion, read on and see how they compare.


Image: people meeting around a table1. PLANNING

Before any venture, whether business or leisure, is undertaken, a little strategizing or planning is in order. Without a basic outline of what you want to accomplish, how will you know in which direction to begin?

Marathon – Which race are you going to enter? One of the biggies or something smaller? When? How far will you have to travel? You'll have to plan for transportation to and from the event, lodging, meals, time off work if necessary, and any family arrangements. (Probably not a good idea to leave the five-year-old home alone for a weekend.) My sister started planning and training eight months before the actual run.

CMMS – You've decided the spreadsheets method for your maintenance department just isn't efficient any longer. Equipment is breaking down, your stockroom is a mess, workers aren't happy, and you've noted a reduction in overall productivity. You've researched various systems but aren't sure where to start. This is it. Planning. Look over your department and list the areas where you want better control.

Asset maintenance – Needing a better handle on preventive maintenance? A more efficient record of meter/gauge readings?

Inventory management – Parts, tools, and supplies in disarray? Are workers spending too much search time and not enough wrench time?

Purchasing / Vendors – Does your department buy the inventory? Maybe you're wanting to start and also handle invoicing. You'll want vendor information and be able to make purchases from one vendor that includes several items each time. A way to make repetitive blanket purchase orders would be a great help.

Maintenance strategy– You want to prioritize work requests and schedule work orders. Maybe you have a major project in the works and need to track costs and materials.

Human Resources – Track employees and system users. Have a record of timecards. Create crews and crafts for specific jobs.

Look at labor costs and hours worked reports.

Cost Centers – Does your company have a number of these? Spreadsheets aren't going to get you the information in a timely, efficient manner.

Bar Codes – Has your company been using these? Would you want a system that connects to a bar code printer?

ERP – Does your company use an enterprise resource planning system? Maybe purchasing invoices are paid by an accounting system. Your CMMS software should be able to integrate with these systems to transfer data.

There is a lot to consider when planning for a CMMS. What modules and features are needed varies from industry to industry and company to company.



Now that plans are laid out and a commitment made, it's time to set things in motion. You're preparing everything for later use.

Marathon – What necessities and accessories will you have? Figure out the right clothing. Will you want a headband or cap? Sunglasses? How about a water bottle or will there be refreshment stations along the route? It's a long run, so do you want some tunes to listen to during the hours of pounding the pavement? (I'd avoid Classical. Nothing wrong with Bach or Beethoven but think more upbeat.)

CMMS – You've purchased the system, now input your lists. Equipment, inventory, vendors, PMs, users, groups, and employees. Basically, you're organizing information.

Don't want to spend time duplicating a lot of what you've put into those spreadsheets? Ask for assistance from the CMMS company to help import that data.

By doing this, you'll become more familiar with how menus look and see more of the features and options you might want to use.



As with many areas of your life, you have to learn. You'd be trained on the duties and responsibilities of a new job. You took a form of driver's education. Training is essential for success.

Marathon – You're not going to go out and run 26.2 miles just because you planned for it and have the right gear. Even if you're an avid runner, you'll need to work yourself up to that distance. What's your regiment? Three miles a day? Four days per week? Do you run on the sidewalk or on a school track? Are you always on flat terrain or do you do hills? How's that stamina? You'll have to learn all the aspects of long-distance running. Proper breathing, body posture/position, speed, adequate stretching before you start, and a proper cool down afterward. You'll run shorter distances first, maybe enroll in 5- or 10K events to test your endurance and get a feel for the run.

CMMS – Learn the ins and outs, tricks, and tips of the new system. How do you want to train? Do you want to visit the CMMS company and learn in-house? Could the trainers come to you and be onsite? You could opt for online. Figure out what works best for your company and hour system users. Learn more details about training.

Ask questions. How else are you going to learn except by asking how and where and requesting the trainers review the covered material?



Yeah, it's go-time. Enough planning and training—do it!

Marathon – You're ready. Now, be part of the pack. Feel the excitement and anticipation of the crowd and fellow runners. Soak in the atmosphere. Let loose the confidence that your training will come to fruition. When the starter gun fires—go! During the run, you'll make adjustments based on the situation, but you'll know what to do to keep going.

CMMS – Start using the system for daily work. It's ready to go. Use the mobile app.

Here at the outset is the time you'll make adjustments and work out the 'bugs.' Don't look at this stage pessimistically. This is the breaking-in period of any new job or computer program you use. You dive right in. Don't worry, everything will work out.


Image: man at computer5. ONGOING / TRAINING / SUPPORT / INNOVATION

Here, you're asking, "What's next?"

Marathon – You've completed the race. Whether you came in first or 397th, you accomplished your goal. Celebrate, then evaluate your performance. Where could you improve? What changes in training are needed? Look to the future and ask, "When is the next marathon?"

CMMS – After using the system, evaluate the results. If you have further questions, will your CMMS vendor be there for expert assistance?

Most importantly – your business continues to grow and evolve. Shouldn't you expect the same from the CMMS? Updated versions and new features that would help your company reach those success goals.

Along with the 'new,' you and any new users will need further training. Make sure the CMMS vendor offers training options such as in-house, on-site, and online.


Unlike a marathon, your CMMS journey doesn't end after 26.2 miles…er, days, months, or years. You'll be experiencing positive results for the foreseeable future. However, just like a marathon, you'll take steps to reach your goals.

Let Mapcon Technologies help. We've been providing superb service and a superior CMMS for over forty years. We can guide you through the above five stages and help bring your maintenance department back to where you want it.

As for running a marathon…you're on your own. But at least I provided some guidance should you be so inclined.

Seek out a personal trainer for your running. For MAPCON, call 800-922-4336 to get started on the right path.


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: CMMS, planning, marathon — Stephen Brayton on August 23, 2022