Implementing new computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software is a significant process that results in major changes for a maintenance department that is still using manual, paper-based tracking methods. Using the change management process improves CMMS implementation and makes the transition easier for employees. Read on to learn the steps in the change management process and how it fits into implementing maintenance management software.

A maintenance manager advises a technician about how to enter information into a CMMS following implementation.

When to Use Change Management

Change management is the method by which an organization describes and implements a change in a business process, or the start of a completely new business process.

There are a number of scenarios in which change management should be used to make a process easier. These include a change in leadership or organizational structure, a work culture or values update, a change in company benefits or policies, a merger, or when a new company-wide tool or technology is being implemented. CMMS implementation falls into the last category.

During the CMMS implementation process, user adoption is key to success, which is aided by adequate change management. User adoption is a goal many organizations focus on in the CMMS implementation process.

Where Change Management Fits into CMMS Implementation

While change management is important, it is only one of several steps in CMMS implementation, which includes:

  • Developing goals and objectives
  • Determining resources needed
  • Getting management on board
  • Developing a plan and structure
  • Confirming which assets the organization has

After the assets have been confirmed and accounted for, change management should take place. Once change management has been completed, the CMMS implementation process continues with:

  • Gathering all data needed to enter into the system
  • Importing the gathered data
  • Developing workflows
  • Creating a reporting process
  • Training users of the CMMS
  • Auditing the implementation process
  • Developing a plan for continuous improvement

It’s also important to note that some companies might not have the time or expertise to use a formal change management process, although it will increase chances of success. While the implementation can still be successful without it, the chance of the implementation failing is higher when change management is not used. There are multiple reasons why CMMS implementations fail, whether it’s lack of management support, lack of adequate training, or lack of clear goals.

What are the 6 Steps of Change Management?

There are 6 steps of change management when implementing a CMMS, and all of them need to be carried out for optimal success.

Step 1: Define the Opportunity

The first step is to define the opportunity that implementing a CMMS represents. It is the role of the maintenance manager to explain the reason for CMMS implementation to upper management (if needed) and maintenance technicians. Common reasons maintenance departments want to implement CMMS software are to better track asset management, work orders, and inventory, as well as plan preventive maintenance more effectively.

Step 2: Define the Direction

The second step in the change management process is for the system administrator and/or the maintenance manager to define the direction, meaning what the end result will look like and why the change is occurring. Implementing CMMS software means that the maintenance team will move from a reactive to a proactive mindset. With the ability to schedule preventive maintenance work orders in advance, the focus can shift to doing more proactive maintenance.

When assets are maintained regularly before they breakdown, it helps to reduce asset downtime, which means production can work more efficiently, increasing company profits. A CMMS will also reduce maintenance costs over time, making the maintenance team more effective.

Step 3: Explain What Will Stay the Same

The third step of change management is for maintenance managers to explain to technicians what will stay the same. This is the point where many technicians need reassurance that they will not be replaced in any way by software. They will still fix assets the same way they always have. Their experience is just as valuable in troubleshooting and navigating asset history and issues. CMMS software does not make them expendable. It won’t make their jobs harder, and as long as implementation is done correctly, in the long run, it will make their jobs easier. The purpose of CMMS software is simply to track maintenance processes, work orders, and inventory.

Step 4: Explain What is Changing

The next step in change management is explaining what will be changing. This is the job of the maintenance manager, possibly in collaboration with the operations manager or other members of upper management. With CMMS implementation, the way work orders are managed and how asset information is recorded and stored will change. Maintenance requests will also be managed in one portal through the software rather than through multiple methods such as email, word of mouth, and spreadsheets. The way inventory is managed will also change and become more organized. Change to specific processes will vary with each organization, so it’s important for maintenance managers to explain these changes as thoroughly as possible.

Step 5: Define Commitments and Next Steps

The fifth step in change management is to communicate the commitments from upper management and how they are supporting the change. The maintenance team may feel more comfortable with adjusting to using CMMS software when they know upper management is on their side and will be understanding during the transition process.

It’s also important for maintenance managers to explain what the next steps will be after the CMMS has been fully implemented. This can include training on new processes and how to use the software itself, new procedures for closing work orders, and learning how to incorporate CMMS use into existing daily routines.

Step 6: State Who to Contact

The sixth and final step in change management is letting the maintenance team know who to contact with questions or concerns. These contacts will vary by organization, but may include the maintenance manager, system administrator, or designated CMMS power users.

Benefits of Using Change Management

The benefits of change management are numerous, which is why the process is worth integrating into the larger CMMS implementation process.

Builds Momentum to Repeat Process

Once change management is mastered for implementing CMMS software, it can build momentum to use it for other organizational changes. The next time change management is applied, it is sure to be an improvement from the first attempt, further increasing success of the process. Change management builds trust in management to lead the rollout of new procedures. For example, upper management might use the change management process to implement other software or technology tools in their departments and follow the example of how it was used to implement CMMS software.

In the maintenance department, change management might be used again when a new maintenance manager is hired, a technician gets promoted, or when a new type of asset is purchased that would impact the long-term maintenance schedule.

Reduces Resistance to Change

Many people are resistant to changes of any kind simply because it creates a period of uncertainty. However, using the change management process will reduce the maintenance team’s resistance to future changes because they will better know what to expect. Even if the exact outcome cannot be predicted, employees will know they will receive support and up-to-date information throughout the transitional period.

Increases Likelihood of Successful CMMS Implementation

As we mentioned earlier in this article, integrating change management with CMMS implementation increases the likelihood of the change’s success. This applies to any other changes in which this process is used as well. Setting goals and having a designated employee to contact with questions ensures everyone stays on the same page.

Reduces Negative Impact of the Change

While there may be some negative impacts of the change that need to be overcome, using change management will reduce them. Keep in mind most of the things that seem negative are temporary. For example, some technicians may feel like they’re being “babysat” if they have to work closely with others to learn the software. While this close monitoring is temporary, it can make them uncomfortable if it is not explained to them that it is part of the implementation process.

Another example is the maintenance team getting used to documenting maintenance information digitally, which may be overwhelming at first. Additionally, CMMS implementation will also require making a list of all of the organization’s assets, organizing and cataloging all inventory items, and determining which preventive maintenance tasks should be scheduled in the system right away as high priority. Some employees may be assigned to gathering user manuals, inspection lists, and warranty information to scan and upload into the CMMS. Another group may need to walk around the facilities and write down the make, model, and serial number of assets to create a complete description to be added to the CMMS.

These are tasks that are outside of the normal workflow and routine, which might be stressful for some, but again, this is temporary. While these impacts are not negative in the long run, they may feel that way at first. However, with the six steps of change management incorporated into implementing maintenance management software, the challenges will be easier to handle.

Use the 6 Steps of Change Management to Implement FTMaintenance Select

Implementing FTMaintenance Select will be made easier by using the change management process. FasTrak SoftWorks offers implementation services including installation assistance and user training to help your team adjust to using your new CMMS software. For more information about the features FTMaintenance Select has to offer, schedule a demo today.

 

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