Have you ever noticed how the machines that workers hate the most are also the ones that seem to break down the most? One particularly striking example of this recently came up in conversation with a customer.
He was visiting a plant in southern Ontario where management had just shelled out $50,000 to install a new overhead hoist system. Back injuries were happening more often and it had become mandatory to use the lift for anything over 25 lbs. The problem was that even though the hoists were brand new, they kept breaking down. Management was frustrated.
He was on the plant floor chatting with one of the line workers when suddenly they were interrupted by a loud crash that made him jump. To his surprise, none of the workers seemed to react. It turns out the line workers hated the new lifts because they were hard to use and time-consuming, so they had been hurling the hoists down the tracks and slamming them into place at full speed. No wonder they kept on breaking.
As much as management thought the new purchase was a great idea, they failed to consider the input of their end users. They had bought new hoists instead of updating the older equipment, which was what the workers wanted. Management pushed its view on how things should work onto the line workers and it cost them $50,000, plus the huge costs for repairs and lost productivity.
Every key decision-maker needs to take the perspective of the end users seriously. That goes for buying new machinery, implementing a new accounting system, or introducing a new process. And the same is true when adopting a new CMMS. It can be a big change, especially for employees used to legacy systems or old-school pen and paper work orders. Taking the time to listen to users, get their feedback, and modify the platform where needed is essential if the implementation is to succeed and deliver its expected benefits.
With this expensive lesson in mind, here are a few questions to ask your end users (and yourself) before changing things up—whether that’s a new process, piece of equipment, or software.
- Does the proposed purchase lack any of the benefits of your existing system?
Users accustomed to the perks of the existing system might struggle to adopt a new system with those limitations.
- Does the proposed purchase suffer the same drawbacks as the existing system?
If there are things the workers don’t like about the existing system, why would they tolerate the same flaws in the new one?
- Can the existing system be upgraded or repaired?
Sometimes it’s cheaper to repair the existing system than purchase a new one—but not always. Review your options, then check out our repair or replace page to help make the right call.
These conversations aren’t always easy, but in my experience, they’re always necessary. Asking the right questions, to the right people, might just save your team $50,000.
By the way, when it comes to purchasing a new CMMS (or perhaps your first CMMS), Fiix offers professional services specifically designed to ease the transition and fit your needs. Visit our training & implementation site to find out more.