Why do we invest in enterprise level software suites, yet we only use a small percentage of their functionality? Why does the typical mid-sized company have 2 or 3 enterprise level applications in use across the organization, each one operating in their own little silo? Maintenance, Purchasing, and Inventory are the top three that come to mind.
Resistance to Change
Our natural resistance to change is a big factor. People tend to be very happy with continuing to use the tools that work for them. And they are mostly disinterested in adopting new tools because they are content and don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to adapt to changing processes.
Yet, during the year 2020, nearly everyone jumped into video conferencing. In a few short months we have become quite adept at operating this technology and its new features. (Although, some folks have not quite figured out the mute button yet.)
It came down to necessity. Generally, there are people do not like to make a move unless they need or are forced to. Waiting until there is a crisis to make a move or initiate change is not good planning nor forethought. Typically, waiting results in greater costs and an uncomfortable amount of chaos.
Lack of Understanding Potential
Another aspect of this that we run into quite a bit is the client’s lack of understanding of the scope and capabilities of their current EAM system. To add insult to injury, they often do not realize the costs they are incurring for functionality that goes unused.
Use IBM Maximo as an example. With the basic out of box Maximo, you can perform the entire lifecycles of:
- Asset management
- Work identification and management
- Trouble ticket management
- Preventive maintenance program management
- Inventory/Receiving management
- Contracts management
- Purchasing management
- Cost/Budgeting management
- Metrics and reports visualizations (process efficiency, reliability, etc.)
- Business workflow rules
It has been our experience over the years of supporting Maximo that many clients simply do not use all the functions. Features such as cost/budget management, KPIs and metrics, and business workflow configurations are often overlooked as they appear to be more advanced functions that require further discipline and development. The list below points out that the more basic functions are the most used:
- Work management – large percentage only use this one
- Inventory management – mainly for just tracking consumables
- Asset management – lists of assets, very limited decision making based upon data collected
- Purchasing management – a much smaller percentage as there is usually an enterprise level system in place that stands by itself
Given many clients are coming over from the traditional CMMS that was focused on Maintenance work management, it makes sense that they would initially focus on the familiar work management parts of an EAM such as Maximo. Then, with hopes of adopting the other functions built into the system, they launch the initial implementation. Unless there are parallel or follow-on projects aimed at implementing these other functions, the organization cheers the success of the work management piece and moves on.
Lack of Application Suite/EAM Knowledge and Expertise
One last thing to consider is the lack of application suite knowledge that is missing from your organization. It is typical for a company to hire outside consultants to stand up the initial EAM system, provide training and then go on their way. While initially the staff is excited and well informed about the new system, rather quickly the level of knowledge drops down to only that which they use each day. Some companies do retain as employees EAM experts to further the use of the suite, but those positions are becoming scarce. As time goes on, folks forget that the application suite has XYZ functionality, and the silos stop talking to each other. So begins the expensive search for other solutions.
Eliminate the need to add yet another solution by taking a hard look at what you already have. Gain understanding of how these largely unopened tools in your toolbox could benefit you near and long term. Ask your teams if they are aware of the similarities and how they could take advantage of them. Now you can create a good plan to maximize your investments.
Article by John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant at TRM. Reach out to us at AskTRM@trmnet.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM for condition based maintenance / monitoring.