Getting Started

When do most organizations buy a CMMS? When things are getting out of control—when you can't keep track of all your information, when repairs and inspections are falling through the cracks, when you don't have the right spare parts in your storerooms, and when you realize you just aren't using your personnel effectively.

What do you have to do before you can set up a CMMS? Get back in control. You can't expect maintenance management software to produce order out of chaos. You have to clean up the chaos first; then a CMMS can help you stay organized from that point on.

To illustrate this, we'll look at a simple example. Suppose you have trouble keeping track of what equipment is under warranty—the information may be hidden somewhere in your files, but it's not easy to find.

A CMMS can indeed make it easier for you to find warranty information...but first, you have to find all that information and record it in your CMMS database. In other words, you must track down all your warranties and type them into the computer. You have to get organized. Once you've done that, your CMMS can make sure you don't lose the information again. The first step, however, happens without your CMMS—you have to pull things together before a CMMS can help.

The point is that maintenance management software isn't a magic bullet. It's only a tool...and like most tools, you have to prepare before you can use it.

Next: What Do You Want to Accomplish?