CMMS Challenges

Challenges GraphicIt’s never easy for a business to adjust to a new system.

But implementing CMMS shouldn’t cause anxiety.

Well-prepared managers will thrive with the right solution.

Below are some of the most common challenges facing new users of CMMS, and how to overcome them.


CMMS solutions are complex and multi-faceted. Many vendors offer dozens of different features or “modules” to resolve a broad variety of maintenance issues.

While this is good news for companies that are seeking dynamic solutions for many issues, it can be troublesome for businesses that only require basic functions.

For example:

A shipping company looking to manage its fleet of delivery vans is interested in a CMMS with fleet maintenance software. It may have no desire for other features, like work order software or a unique preventive maintenance program.

This can sometimes complicate the implementation process.

Fortunately, most common CMMS implementation pitfalls can be avoided with a thorough research process and clear communication.

Best Practices

Companies establish best practices for a reason.

Getting away from – or not following – an established set of best practices is one of the most common reasons for the failure of CMMS implementation. It is critical to leverage CMMS software as a member of the maintenance management team, not as a replacement for one.

CMMS software can streamline maintenance processes. It can extend the lifespan of your machinery, organize your schedules, and seamlessly send work orders from dozens of sources.

But what it can’t do is execute the physical maintenance on your assets.

Team members need to engage with the technology and be ready to put it to use.

In the maintenance world, a single decision can have far-reaching effects.

And when all business users aren’t kept abreast on key developments, it can lead to a breakdown in communication that undermines the potential of the software.

Each of these departments should have a high-level understanding of the goals of the new platform, and exactly what its effects might be:

  • IT
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • All maintenance staff
  • Any ground-level jobs that could be affected

Setting a schedule for communication check-ins will help keep the channels open and prevent issues. Conflicts can be proactively addressed by considering input from all parties.

Setting Goals

It’s critically important for companies to understand exactly what they hope to get out of a CMMS solution before purchase.

Vaguely stated objectives like “saving money” and “fixing machines” lead to unsatisfactory results because they aren’t specific, and there’s no plan to achieve them.

Companies with a plan will identify clear, specific and tangible objectives they want to reach with their new technology. Here are some examples of clear goals that companies should identify before implementation:

  • Streamlining the scheduling process to save X amount of time
  • Optimizing the performance of X asset
  • Ensuring X asset reaches the manufacturer-listed lifespan

When companies have a deep understanding of both how the software is going to be used and what the end result will be, implementation is much more likely to be successful.

Lack of Technical Knowledge
One common reason for an implementation failure is a lack of technical skills from the organization’s staff.

Cloud vendors focus on this common problem by designing intuitively accessible solutions. Cloud solutions are taking the reigns with usability.

But then the problem often becomes one concerning data security.

Need your own firewall? You need your own experts.

There are also training programs frequently offered by vendors as part of their implementation services that provide users with the skills they need to use the program. However, these programs can be intense — they aren’t a one-time, two-hour investment. Companies need to identify individuals with the ability to become expert users before investing in extensive education.


It’s hard enough for managers to keep track of all the assets in a single facility.

For large and even mid-sized businesses that operate multiple warehouses, things can get confusing very quickly.

There’s a different dynamic when managing multiple facilities as opposed to a single one. The solution used successfully to run one facility may not scale to manage multiple facilities.

Often, different locations have different needs, and this requires a software that isn’t only scalable, but adaptable.

When researching the right CMMS tool for your business, it’s important to take into account the number of locations and each of their unique needs.

Companies looking for a new CMMS solution should look for three key functions to resolve scalability issues:

  1. Asset history tracking, including preventive maintenance history and other key repairs. Because assets may be used at multiple sites, the tracking feature must be usable at each location as well.
  2. Ease of copying information from one site to another. Within the CMMS program, users should be able to drag important data about assets from one place to another.
  3. Simplicity. Involving multiple locations can double or triple the amount of work that managers need to do. So the software must be easy to set up and accessible by all team members.

Before You Buy Checklist

Guaranteeing a successful implementation of your CMMS software is all about preparation.

By thoroughly investigating and understanding your own company’s needs and the CMMS market, you can vastly reduce the risk of a failed implementation.

Follow these 10 key steps to ensure you find the CMMS solution that’s right for you:

  1. Analyze your business needs:
    • What are the features that you need to meet your goals?
    • Are you looking for an all-inclusive CMMS solution, or a “best-of-breed” platform with an individual module?
  2. Identify clear, tangible objectives for the software.
  3. Find vendors that meet both your budget and your needs.
  4. Ask vendors for demonstrations.
  5. Create a shortlist of vendors and a list of key questions to ask them.
  6. Investigate customer support options. Ideally, vendors will have a demonstrable history of excellent customer service.
  7. Ensure the vendor offers implementation assistance.
  8. Discover what training is available as part of the implementation.
  9. Ask for client reviews. Vendors will give you the most positive reviews, but ask to speak with customers that have similar needs to yours (e.g., manage multiple locations). When speaking with customers, ask if they’ve had any issues with the vendor, not just for any positive experience.
  10. Find out how long the vendor has been in business. If less than five years, it’s especially important to speak with reliable references that can shed light on its ability to offer support.

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