All posts by Bigfoot CMMS

Not Just for Maintenance: How CMMS Benefits Other Functions, Part I

It’s true that CMMS is typically designed for maintenance operations. With the advancement of cloud-based CMMS/EAM today, however, well-designed platforms have become an essential system for other departments within, and outside of, the organization. A Spend Matters interview with Michael Croasdale, senior project manager at Source One Management Services, relays that MRO service providers should be lock-step in line with client companies, to the degree that they’re sharing “specific data to benchmark pricing, [ensuring] service levels exceed industry standard and [helping] to institute industry best practices.” One way to maintain this alignment, of course, is through supplier access to the client’s CMMS. Internally, functions such as Human Resources, EH&S, QA/QC, Engineering, Operations, Supply Chain, and Finance also stand to benefit from regular usage of CMMS. As Part I of this series, we’ll look at how Engineering and Quality can experience improvements in their respective business processes through their CMMS roles and maintenance collaboration.

The Scenario

Let’s set the scene: while performing calibrations recently, your Quality Manager found unsatisfactory deviations in feed rates from a volumetric feeder, according to the Asset Trend Analysis generated by your CMMS. An automatic e-mail notification is generated by the CMMS, based on the equipment’s condition, to an Engineer to troubleshoot the issue.

The Action

volumetric feeder

By including your Quality and Engineering teams as roles within your CMMS, QA can automatically monitor and trend equipment data while Engineering can define the PMs to address deviations.

Your Engineer then creates a PM work order, defining the appropriate tasks or steps in the correct order and references the necessary documentation, associating parts, estimated hours, and assigning the PM based on skill qualification. She checks the PM procedures against Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), but finds a PM task is incorrect when returning the equipment back to service, however. The PM procedure is then revised with added verification steps, including a series of work order status approvals, and uploaded “visual aids” when setting load cells.

The assigned PM work order is routed through your Maintenance Planner for actual Technician assignment, which is confirmed after checking your CMMS’ PM Planner to avoid scheduling conflicts and unnecessary overtime. The assigned Tech receives an automatic e-mail notification of the PM work order, and also sees the new PM listed on his CMMS Dashboard. He performs the work as requested, following the outlined steps, and indicates the material used and records his labor through the CMMS’ mobile app labor timer on his iPhone. The Tech adds a few comments about the feeder and his signature to complete the work order.

The Resolution

Your Maintenance Supervisor receives an automatic e-mail notifying her of the completed work order, which requires her signature approval. After reviewing the work, the Supervisor is satisfied and signs off on the work order. The Quality Manager receives notification of this approved, completed work order via an automatic e-mail. He can go about other tasks, as he knows that the feeder issue has been addressed successfully.

The Catch

But what if your Maintenance Supervisor isn’t satisfied with the Tech’s work or the current status of the feeder? She can reject the work order, re-routing it back to the Maintenance Planner and the Tech. The work order can be re-opened for continued work by the same Tech or re-assigned by the Planner as needed.

This is just one sample CMMS business process workflow out of many different variations that may include multi-layered approval processes, routing, and notification setups. But by incorporating your Quality and Engineering teams into an advanced CMMS, you can enable better communication, increased productivity, and improved efficiency across your enterprise.

4 Ways Mobile Improves Maintenance Management

Workers are on the move today. Literally.

Entrepreneur magazine reported on an updated forecast from International Data Corporation that “the global mobile workforce grew from one billion in 2010 to an estimated 1.3 billion in 2015.” Technology has played a role in that mobility, and continues to transform the way people work with availability across a wide range of devices.

The maintenance sector has been affected in particular. What once required paper logs or terminal access can now be managed on the shop floor, on the road, at an offsite location – or while on vacation. Today’s modern mobile CMMS is helping pave the way for maintenance professionals to operate even more efficiently and more effectively.

“Technology…continues to transform the way people work.”

Four of the most important ways mobile CMMS can improve maintenance management include:

  1. So Long, Paper

    You may be well aware of colleagues with large stacks of paper work orders (or you may have such a stack of your own!), despite the time-consuming and laborious effort associated with maintaining these documents. Mobile CMMS access can enable you to reduce or altogether remove your reliance on printing and filing paperwork, thereby eliminating the operational barriers it creates.

  2. MRO Inventory On-the-Go

    Check in/out your spare parts easily through bar code technology. Physical count quantities may be updated using your smartphone or tablet, as well as the addition of new parts or tracking availability on the fly. This data can then be used for CMMS parts inventory reports on usage, costs, valuation, and more.

  3. Asset Management Mobility

    As you’re well aware, being a stickler for asset and equipment updates as conditions change is imperative for well-organized maintenance operations. Whether you need to update locations, a criticality status or another field, getting the right data into your system at the right time is critical. With a smartphone or tablet,  you can get directly to the asset detail page and make the updates quickly when you’re nearby or when it’s simply top of mind. Scan your tagged machines, view related maintenance requests or open work orders, or even the asset’s entire work order history. Perhaps the job requires more labor or extra parts to complete – with mobile, you can append the work order to add these items and more at any point.

  4. Maintenance Requests When You Need Them

    The need for maintenance activity can strike at any moment. Now you don’t need to go back to a desk, terminal, or even call personnel to report a broken machine or leaky pipe. Make a request for maintenance activity whenever – and wherever – you are through the convenience of your mobile device. Any requestor user can log his/her request, attach an image or associated file, and follow up on the status of their request at any given time. This means less time fielding requests and more time spent working on maintenance priorities.

While these four points highlight the top benefits users can see with mobile maintenance, how else has your operations been impacted through the use of modern, mobile CMMS?

It Takes a Plan to Change a Habit

If your maintenance department has fallen into the habit of chasing down repairs and fighting fires, it’s unlikely that implementing even the most feature-rich CMMS will change the culture.  In a reactive environment, the team member who gets saddled with the implementation will be sweating bullets as he slogs through asset data entry, while repairs pile up and work gets put on hold.

shocked worker

Without taking the time upfront to look at the “big picture,” understand maintenance workflows and come up with goals and objectives for the CMMS, the maintenance team will end up with an abandoned system that no one uses and a gradual return to paper binders and Excel® spreadsheets.

Hope Isn’t a Strategy

One way to ensure that CMMS delivers a decent return on investment in terms of time, money and a thriving team that can catch its collective breath is to utilize implementation consulting services to bring your team together to lay out a solid CMMS implementation plan and follow it through.

CMMS strategy and planning, configuring and set up, follow up and training are capabilities that maintenance directors should expect from their implementation consultants. An effective consultant should ask pertinent questions as planning gets underway.  For example:

  • How do technicians handle their workload today in terms of repairs and maintenance tasks? What steps are involved in that process?
  • Is there a champion to move the implementation along and gather knowledge that he’ll share with the team?
  • Ideally, what are the measures of success for improving processes and making maintenance more efficient?
  • How do you want to use the CMMS?  Will it be used to schedule preventive maintenance (PMs)? Track inventory? Manage work orders?  What about PMs for non-assets like safety tasks, training re-certification, fleet registration renewals, etc.?
  • Can the CMMS data be integrated into the budget process to help with decisions about replacing equipment when it starts to wear out?
  • Which reports will the CMMS need to generate for audits and regulatory inspections?

Matching the CMMS to Your Work Flows

For a successful set-up, managers need to configure the CMMS to match the work flows of their facilities and add unique information for the facility’s assets as necessary. And they ought to be able to eliminate redundancies. For instance, it shouldn’t require entering 20 separate PMs for 20 air conditioning units in different locations.


Smartware Group’s Jumpstart Consulting typically follows a sequence of eight steps, including four meetings, to assist clients in the setup, configuration, and implementation of its Bigfoot CMMS solution.

Once the team agrees on objectives and understands the benefits, and the CMMS is implemented, a competent consultant should structure the testing and follow-up phase to measure the success or failure of the implementation and make the proper adjustments by configuring the features that best match the needs of the individual facility or groups of facilities.

The consultant’s job is to also encourage team members to participate in training webinars and videos to learn about the CMMS early on in the implementation process.  Doing so can reduce the process down to a few weeks, if not days.

Championing the User

cmms_userFor technicians who lack computer skills, there’s an easy fix. First, it’s important that a solution is selected based on its simplicity of design, preferably with the maintenance user in mind. Second, technicians do not need to interact with the system at the same level as the administrator.


Initially, they only need to learn the basics: how to access work order (WO) assignments and what to do to complete them. As the CMMS becomes integrated into the maintenance functions of a facility, technicians can learn to use other features of the system when the need arises. Recap sessions to review CMMS procedures can also help build confidence and competency among staff members who do the hands-on work of equipment repair.

Once implementation is underway and the team is cranking out PMs and work orders, a CMMS consultant can move onto more advanced features, like generating reports that show which machinery is breaking down frequently, and which can be used to bolster requests for new purchases. He or she can show the team how to call up an archive of work orders and repairs in the CMMS and create an audit trail to make it far easier to comply with government or other third-party reporting requirements. In short, when all of the advantages of a CMMS become apparent to maintenance professionals, it tends to be a driver for follow-through to make the system more efficient and effective.

Maintenance Resolutions for the New Year

As 2015 quickly approaches, you may have to peddle faster to squeeze out your maintenance goals in time for the new year. Perhaps 2015 is the year you finally change the perception that maintenance does more than change a light bulb – that maintenance keeps up production and cuts down costs.


Use your remaining time wisely to take stock. Make 2015 the year you widen back and look at the big picture. Do you oversee a maintenance culture that thrives? Are your employees well trained and happily on track with PMs and repairs? Does upper management know that your department helps keep capital costs under control?

If you hesitated on the answers, it may be time to review your plan, fine-tune your maintenance team, and exploit the powers of your CMMS. Start the new year with a consultant to help you fulfill your maintenance dreams and configure your CMMS to support them.

Plans already in place? Get outside help to identify and implement critical 2015 tasks:

  • Prioritize assets by risk associated with production and revenue loss
  • Lower asset maintenance costs — add up maintenance expenditures for each asset in 2014, i.e., frequency of repairs, labor costs, replacement parts costs, downtime, vendor maintenance costs; improve repair efficiencies
  • Increase conversion of asset maintenance tasks into PMs
  • Convert soft tasks into PMs, too: upload all machine schematics and procedures; lease payments, vendor contracts, vehicle drivers’ licenses and registration renewals, etc.
  • PM all safety compliance tasks
  • Cut spare parts inventory costs; use CMMS for inventory control; set up safe levels; reduce order overages

Or take the advice of your maintenance peers who weighed in on our LinkedIn discussion of 2015 goals:

We are taking a look at our 2014 performance and our ‘bad actors,’ making necessary corrections and prioritizing efforts. Our main goal is to lower costs and improve performance.


The goal of maintenance should be reliable asset operation without downtime… which includes optimal spare parts inventory, optimal use of manpower to achieve maintenance safety targets and [here’s one you don’t hear every day, but not one to overlook either] ensure all employees enjoy their work life as well as their personal family life.


Minimize equipment downtime, compared to last year…  Comply with all maintenance plans and schedules.


2015 will be an easier year to resource work, having spent time fixing up maintenance plans and tasks lists to truly reflect the work. This will provide better budgeting and resource understanding going forward. It should also help to increase reliability of our plant due to carrying out the best possible maintenance outcomes. This is our ongoing improvement plan for the next few years.

But most of all, lead your team by example and “play in the mud;” encourage new ideas and have fun. If you hear rumblings of techs wanting to start up an employee baseball team, spring for the bats and mitts. Make 2015 the best year for your department yet!

Keeping the ‘Green’ in Greenhouse

Let’s face it. Changing a light bulb is not exactly a major technical challenge for maintenance professionals.

lightbulbBut what if your staff had to keep 20,000 light bulbs glowing every day of the week? And what if the success of your business depended on adjusting each of those 1,000-watt bulbs for maximum efficiency?

To deal with those questions, the maintenance team at a giant commercial greenhouse employs Bigfoot CMMS to manage grow lights and a host of other systems needed to run the climate-controlled facility. The greenhouse – which covers acreage larger than two dozen football fields – is used to grow produce year-round for major grocery chains and other markets.

To maintain proper growing conditions, literally thousands of components have to be kept in tip-top shape. Blowers, dampers, and sensors, as well as irrigation, heating and natural gas systems must all work together smoothly. In this indoor agricultural environment, if something as simple as an air vent fails to open or close properly, part of the crop could be ruined. And if the gears of an ordinary scissor lift get stuck, workers cannot reach the produce and harvest it for market. Staying ahead of breakdowns, then, is crucial; so the maintenance team depends on Bigfoot CMMS to schedule preventive maintenance items (PMs).


A proper CMMS is necessary for facilities like greenhouses, in order to generate reports for government agencies like the EPA and the USDA, and to create maintenance records on PMs such as safety policy reviews, emergency action procedures, and spill control plans.

Then there is the issue of what to do with the waste produced by growing and harvesting plants. To address this problem, Bigfoot CMMS is monitoring CO2 emissions. Rather than dump leaves, branches, and other detritus into a landfill, the greenhouse managers decided to partner with another company to compost its waste. When that waste is blended into a slurry stream, it gives off methane gas that creates electricity. But methane also emits CO2. Instead of allowing that CO2 to escape into the atmosphere, the facility pumps it into the greenhouse where the plants absorb it and release oxygen.

And just because produce is grown indoors at the greenhouse, does not mean insects and other pests can’t get to it. Consequently, the maintenance team also has to keep careful records on pesticide use to comply with governmental regulations. Again, Bigfoot CMMS proves its worth on a regular basis through its ability to generate reports for government agencies like the EPA and the USDA, and to create maintenance records on PMs such as safety policy reviews, emergency action procedures, and spill control plans.

Given the complexity of the greenhouse operation, the maintenance team naturally fields complaints when things go wrong.  But since installing Bigfoot CMMS, the hundreds of daily phone calls from other departments have dwindled to a handful. Now, greenhouse employees can view updates on the status of repairs via Bigfoot, and unnecessary duplication of repair requests has been eliminated.

Read other success stories like this one at

Data Center Maintenance: Acing an Audit

When it comes to passing a government audit, three things matter most: documentation, documentation, documentation.


At data centers, maintenance professionals are not only tasked with keeping power sources and equipment running 100% of the time, they must also keep records of every interaction with the company’s information systems and networks. A CMMS, like Bigfoot, plays an essential role in meeting that challenge, because auditors today demand a detailed picture of everything an enterprise does to maintain data security.

Things weren’t always this way.

Back in the early days of computing, maintenance teams protected data by securing the physical plant, making sure gigantic mainframes stayed cool and unauthorized intruders stayed out – so a paper trail of their work was often sufficient. But now – between e-commerce on the Internet and data storage on clouds – securing data requires a symbiotic relationship between maintenance and the IT department. Computer technicians may build powerful networks to make life easier for consumers and erect firewalls to make it harder for hackers. But those techs need the maintenance team to keep the electricity on and fire systems in working order to prevent sensitive data center equipment from going up in smoke. And every time IT crosses paths with maintenance, it must be documented.

Compliance Challenges

To understand how preparing for audits has become a mandatory task for maintenance professionals at data centers, it is helpful to recognize how big an impact federal legislation has had on information technology. Perhaps the best example is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), legislation passed by Congress in 2002 in the wake of corporate scandals involving companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco.sarbanes-oxley

SOX requires all publicly-held companies to verify the effectiveness of their internal financial controls on a yearly basis, and to submit to an audit of those controls. On top of that, any changes to source data have to be documented, down to the day, time, and reason for the change plus information on who made any additions or deletions.

SOX rules to rein in Wall Street have trickled down to the maintenance team functions in a variety of ways. Documentation is required every time low-voltage maintenance professionals move, add, or change anything connected to a system or network that holds a company’s financial data. Facility managers must also adhere to SOX guidelines when engaged in bidding, contracting, and capital spending. And SOX auditors also ask maintenance teams to complete an extensive checklist of items affecting data center physical security.

Down to the Generators

For a large financial services company with data centers in two separate states, Bigfoot CMMS has made SOX compliance vastly simpler than when the maintenance team relied on spreadsheets.

A case in point: because data security must be maintained with an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), auditors wanted to know exactly what type of preventive maintenance (PMs) had been performed on the company’s power system in previous years and what was planned for the future. Using Bigfoot, the chief facilities engineer was able to call up quarterly reports showing all PMs performed during a certain time period as well as upcoming PMs on the horizon.


For auditing or general management purposes, PMs may be pulled up by year, quarter, month, day – or like this example, week – in a proper CMMS.

And those PMs could pinpoint work on specific equipment in specific buildings – an important capability because one SOX auditor drilled into the maintenance team’s data all the way down to the generators.

Sometimes, however, auditors may only require a snapshot of the maintenance team’s overall work. For instance, of 600 PM tasks, they may only want to see a sample of 20, or a checklist of PMs performed in a particular month.

Of course, the ability to use an ideal CMMS for tracking PMs and the maintenance history of enterprise assets helps maintenance teams to be more effective in their day-to-day work. And it also makes it easier for them to pass any audits with flying colors.


Change Management & CMMS, Part II

Maintenance managers that make the leap to CMMS without considering how to help stakeholders adapt, are likely to end up with a frustrated maintenance department, resistant employee requestors, and a shiny new system that languishes “on the shelf.”

The maintenance department of one specialty grocery chain learned this the hard way. The department had reached the boiling point of maintenance dystopia. There was no paper work, no formal way of keeping track of what was done and how much was spent on equipment maintenance, and, therefore, no paper trails.  And the maintenance decree? “Keep it up no matter what it costs, and fix it fast!” That policy cost the company more than $200,000 a year on equipment repairs for its four stores – without knowing which equipment brands were more reliable.


To get control of spending, the grocer decided to install a CMMS to manage 400 assets across the four stores. Both construction and facilities managers were involved in the decision, and in the end, all agreed to make the switch. Maintenance for every piece of equipment, from life safety equipment, sprinkler systems and security alarms to pizza ovens, baking mixers, and juicers would be automated by the CMMS.

But even after painstakingly entering equipment information and getting the system up and running and creating separate preventive maintenance for each store, employees still called maintenance and expected quick turnarounds. According to the maintenance manager, “They still wanted to do things the old way – ‘just tell someone who’s walking to lunch to fix the problem.’  It’s still a work in progress.”

The Metamorphosis

Besides getting maintenance team members on board, you should also consider what it will take to enact behavioral changes for employees who request maintenance services. Any change will take people out of their comfort zone, which is the biggest hurdle to success according to a change management expert. Each person will “ascend the change curve” at different rates and times, and have a reason not to adapt until the change is “institutionalized.” Until you understand their concerns, people will never move up the curve and the change will not be successful.


While it may seem obvious, change does not typically occur instantly within organizations – regardless of size. Exercises in patience and encouragement are vital to keep teams on track and spirits high.

Communication cannot be overstated and people respond to different forms of communication. One method will not work for everyone. Maintenance should clearly communicate the change, including the time frame and the impact it will have on all stakeholders. Let them know ‘what’s in it for me,’ and identify a team champion who can help his or her team members understand the benefits of the new initiative.

In order to get the stage set for a successful change in attitude and cooperation and adaptation to CMMS, keep these points in mind:

  1. Demonstrate flexible communications to show why the change is necessary and what the benefits are for the people making the change,
  2. Exercise patience to face the resistance that may come up along the way, and for the backsliding, even if everyone agrees “on paper,” and
  3. Be generous with encouragement as progress is being made.

Have you seen change management success in your own environment?   Post your comments here on our Facebook page:  Global Wide Maintenance on Facebook

Change Management & CMMS, Part I

We can all agree that if you have equipment that needs servicing, has value, and depreciates – you need a structure to keep up with maintenance.

For one Canadian salmon producer, this structure was fairly basic. The maintenance team was able to keep track of smaller tasks on paper.


For many organizations, employee buy-in is crucial to securing the right CMMS. Working with all maintenance operations personnel to prioritize CMMS requirements, such as ease-of-use for a simple and intuitive user experience and modern functionality, can go a long way toward building team relations and making the best software selection for your organization.

“We started small and were able to give a lot of attention to each piece of equipment,” according Snow Island’s Vice President, Bryan Bosien.

But as the company grew, a maintenance structure with flexibility became compulsory. “If we needed to change the oil on our fishing boats, it was easy to look after two boats. But if you have 10 boats, you can no longer rely on manual maintenance.”

Equipment maintenance tasks can slip through the cracks as companies grow. But if you’re at the point of needing a more efficient maintenance system and are considering CMMS, you’ll need to get buy in from your team, especially if, as in the case of Bosien’s crew, they know how to operate a fishing boat and clean a fishnet grid, but lack computer training. You’ll also need to prioritize CMMS requirements accordingly, such as placing greater emphasis on ease-of-use for a simple and intuitive user experience while not sacrificing modern functionality.

As with any CMMS, time is required to set up equipment records before the system can start generating preventive maintenance items and work orders. Users may not be inspired by the promise of time and money saved when they’re doing tedious data entry.

But, Bosien says, after all the equipment was set up in Bigfoot and the structure was in place, the number of breakdowns experienced before implementation and after going live with Bigfoot CMMS was like night and day. “With Bigfoot, my team could easily learn on the job… and they could see the results at the end.”

Robert Bourman, the operations manager of a dietary fiber food processing plant, also had to get his team on board with a new CMMS. The previous system was difficult to work within, and none of the technicians wanted to use it. Instead, the team relied on one user to do all the data entry, print and hand out the work orders, input the details once the job was completed, then start all over again.

Because Bigfoot CMMS was much easier than its predecessor, Bourman didn’t need a huge effort to get his team on board. The team could pull up equipment to check preventive maintenance and complete their own work orders. “Basically Bigfoot gave my team everything they needed to manage repairs in the most efficient way possible.”


CMMS, like any new software, involves a learning curve that can be shortened through on-site training, as pictured, or virtual training.

But regardless of how intuitive your CMMS is, shifting from reactive to proactive maintenance mode will require some orientation and training during the transition.  Even the iPhone has a learning curve.

Swish Every Shot with Maintenance ‘Coaching’

You wouldn’t play professional sports without a coach; so why implement the right CMMS without a consultant?

One Bigfoot CMMS user produces highly sophisticated radar systems for the U.S. Navy that, as you can imagine, requires precision-perfect equipment to build them in a highly-regulated environment. They put on their game face with Bigfoot “coaching,” and have the preventive maintenance (PM) completion rate to prove it.


The U.S. Navy uses a radar system that monitors its submarines within a 20-square-mile radius; it is never off duty and can never afford to fail, requiring the system to have a flawless maintenance management program.

The Navy needs to know where its submarines are at all times, and whether there’s an intruder sub in the area. Each radar system made by the Bigfoot user sits underwater and monitors the subs within a 20-square-mile radius; it is never off duty and can never afford to fail.

Staying Up to The Challenge

Likewise, maintenance of the 200 machines used to build these radar systems have mission-critical requirements of their own. These machines are highly specialized and don’t lend themselves to factory automation, like vehicle manufacturing. They need people to operate the machines, fit the components together, and test the systems.

While the company’s radar system is monitoring subs, the Navy is constantly monitoring this Bigfoot user to make sure the radar systems are built on time with accurately-calibrated equipment. If the Navy sees that one of these assets are not running properly, they lose confidence – and that’s a risk.

Take It to The Hole

So it’s no surprise that the maintenance team needed a CMMS that could bend to the needs of maintaining these production machines and devices, each with its own special PMs that are set up for time, calibration, and testing. The team took a strategic, big-picture approach to adopting CMMS and made the decision to not only invest in Bigfoot CMMS, but to configure it with the help of Smartware Group’s Strategic Consulting services.

The maintenance manager began by bringing all the players together with the Smartware Group consultant to make sure everyone understood what was needed to get started on the right foot. The Smartware Group consultant helped them figure out how they wanted to lay out the maintenance structure within Bigfoot.

The consultant was then given a drawing of the plant, a comprehensive equipment list, and the maintenance needs of each. He figured out what fields were needed for PMs and work orders. Then he instructed the team to import equipment data into the Bigfoot CMMS database, and made modifications based on feedback and suggestions. According to the user, it was a fluid process that continues today.


As a result of molding Bigfoot to the customer’s maintenance specifications, the company completes PMs at a rate of 100%. Overdue PMs have become a thing of the past. By working with the consultant, Bigfoot has also helped change the maintenance culture from being reactive to proactive to planning what they are going to do next in the CMMS.

If you’re struggling to improve maintenance and reliability, success depends on a maintenance tool and the advice of an expert to guide you through implementation. For this user, success came by way of adapting Bigfoot CMMS to its unique maintenance needs, with the support of a Smartware Group consultant.

After all, you can play basketball without a coach – but just don’t expect to make it to the majors.

Computerized Maintenance Management Software » 5 Steps to CMMS Success

If you’re tired of grabbing repair binders with half the pages falling out and scanning work order receipts into the abyss perhaps it’s time to take the CMMS plunge.  Finally every piece of equipment, every spare part, every vehicle, invoice, leasing agreement, outside maintenance contractor…essentially any maintenance-related information has a home in CMMS.

Now, instead of dropping everything to fix a malfunctioning machine, a mechanic can calmly turn to his CMMS system, look up the machine, see any pertinent history, generate a work order, make the repairs, enter time and materials and close it out.  It’s all good.

Wait… not so fast…CMMS isn’t “plug ‘n play” like your Apple iPad…

A successful CMMS implementation takes a bit of planning and patience.  What do you want out of the system?  How will you get the maintenance team to adapt?  If you downloaded the Bigfoot CMMS demo you may have tested a work order or two so you have a taste.  Before you fully implement the software and start entering all your assets, follow the guidelines below to get the most out of Bigfoot and the fastest ROI.

Step 1: Invite your maintenance team to be on the CMMS planning committee.

Feedback  from  the  people  in  the  ?eld  combined  with  the  reporting,   analysis   and   other   goals   of   management   will   give   you   the   best   results.   Plus,   if   people at   all   levels   are   involved   they   will   accept   the   change   more   easily   and   work   in   common   toward a successful implementation. No one wants  software  forced  on  them  when they have not been involved in the planning process – especially any keyboard-phobic technicians.

Step 2: Identify your needs, wishes and goals.

What and where are your biggest maintenance headaches?   Do you want better control of requests for repairs?  Preventive maintenance schedule?  Want to analyze employee repair time to get better performance; machines that are frequent flyers?  Thinking through your goals will pay off in the end.

Step 3: Orient yourself on the bene?ts and features of Bigfoot CMMS.

While Bigfoot is easier than putting together a piece of Ikea furniture it makes more sense to dig into the product once you’ve had training. Go through the orientation. Use the startup kit. The documentation will help you set up basic and detailed information on equipment, work order types, etc.  Make sure these items are reviewed as a team; map it out on a white board.

Step 4: Now you’re ready to start entering your equipment, parts, PMs, etc. 

Data entry can get kind of tedious.  Perhaps try a small subset of your operations to work out the kinks. Get to know the Bigfoot replication features to make this go as painlessly as possible.  Smartware Group can also assist with this process by importing items from other systems, in any file format. Ask your account rep about that, or e-mail

Step 5: Experiments/test run/go live

Now try generating some work orders. Set up some PMs. Start using the system.  Make the necessary tweaks. Get comfortable, and get to ready to “go live.” With increased usage comes increased maintenance productivity!