How to Select Your Perfect CMMS Vendor

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: August 22, 2011

Once you decide that your business can benefit from a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), the next step would be to select the perfect vendor for your firm. At this point, your best bet is to select vendors that have experience with your industry and type of business. The requirements for a hotel, for instance, are quite different from those of a manufacturing or car rental business. You don’t want to train vendors on the basics maintenance issues for your firm; rather, you want the vendor and its employees to give you best-practices advice and guidance.

After you have narrowed down your vendor selections, it’s time to consider the following issues:

Don’t be fooled by low initial fees that may balloon out due to “hidden fees” and professional services. Get estimates of all costs.

Types of service
Be very clear on what types of service the vendor provides and what services you need to contract out, such as those of integrators. Ask about support services after the system is up and running.  You want someone to be around if something goes wrong a few months after the implementation.

Verify if the training setup is appropriate for current and future employees. For instance, if training is provided only via webinars and not “live,” is this effective for your company? Maybe the vendor can also provide you with a manual to facilitate the training process.

Management Input
Have an internal meeting with all individuals who will be using the system for specific requirements. You don’t select a CMMS system or a vendor in a vacuum. Be sure to get maintenance managers onboard, helping to find the best system for your firm. There are usually many details that only people directly involved in the process are aware of.

Be sure that your culture and the one from the vendor mesh. Your management and staff will work very closely with vendor’s employees, and these individuals should get along.

Set up a timeline for certain milestones to be performed to verify that the implementation is progressing on a timely basis. Don't let the project run itself—be involved and request to obtain project updates on a weekly basis. Make sure that the vendor has a plan and a proven methodology.

Conduct research online, and talk with other businesses about  CMMS vendors to be sure whoever you select has a good history and reputation in the marketplace.

Selecting a CMMS vendor can be a daunting process, but if you get your internal key personnel involved about finding your perfect vendor, the process is manageable. Don’t forget to ask for references from other businesses that have used the vendor effectively. Also, read up on white papers and other resources to become knowledgeable about CMMS and its basic features, so that you can ask specific questions about functions, common reports, alerts and any tools that can be used to help in your asset maintenance process.


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