Help, I Bought The Wrong CMMS!

CMMS: Help, I Bought The Wrong Maintenance Software

Mobility Work was born after an assessment: conventional CMMS solutions do not fit companies’ and users’ needs. Maintenance technicians don’t have any choice but to work with expensive software that are incomprehensible and that can make you lose a huge amount of time. Marc-Antoine Talva, Mobility Work’s CEO, explains us why he deeply wants to revolutionize industrial maintenance and why he created the first collaborative maintenance management platform.

“A few years ago, my experience proved me that conventional maintenance management software were systematically leading to failure. Let me tell you about my experience in an industrial metallurgy group back in 2011, when I was in charge of the implementation of a CMMS, and how this made me want to develop the Mobility Work solution.

Everything began when we decided to implement an asset management software in the ten plants of the group. We had to get together with all the group’s maintenance managers, agree on the terms of reference and clearly identify everybody’s needs. As plants were located in different regions, the employees had different working methods as well as various CMMS experience. After spending a lot of time thinking and discussing, we achieved to write a first version of the terms of reference, which suited only half of maintenance managers.

We then had to deal with a lot of software publishers: each one of them was presenting his solution with great enthusiasm. Despite all these efforts, everybody agreed on one thing: all the software had the same outdated and complicated design. But the group urgently needed a CMMS: we finally chose a 120,000 € software that seemed to meet our expectations. We were convinced that we had found the perfect solution that was going to solve all our problems and revolutionize our maintenance.

Several weeks went by between the purchase and the installation on our servers, using a CD-ROM received by post. During the programmation and the first intervention of the editor, we asked ourselves a first question: what version should we use, Java or HTML? We found some of the answers we needed but, as the time was passing by, our worries weren’t over. During the two following months of configuration, the editor’s trainers had to come several times to teach us how to:

  • edit equipment sheets that were not intuitive at all;

  • configure screens on which we had to enter hundreds of pieces of information;

  • configure the navigation through the plant thanks to plans which first looked great and useful during the presentation but that soon became very complicated to use (constant changes, loss of the links between diagrams, etc.).

To reinforce our knowledge, all the future users then attended a one month-training, which of course had bad consequences on the plant’s activity. Which maintenance manager would be able to attend such a training and therefore stop working during an entire month?

After reading a 250 pages-manual and attending a training on Windows 98 to better understand grey and black screens, we were finally ready to start using the software on our own. This was the beginning of a new complicated phase: the application was very slow and often down… It was quite ambivalent because on the one hand, we wanted the technicians to understand how this new tool could change their life at work and, on the other hand, they were forced to work on a software that was so outdated that they were always getting lost in their organisation. They were of course struggling with it so the manager even had to make the use of the tool mandatory and grant technicians with monthly premiums. It worked as employees started to enter information in the maintenance management software, but the content was of course of very bad quality, and we couldn’t blame them.

Everytime we had a new bug we were trying to call the support: we always struggled to find the right interlocutor and we finally were told to perform scripts in the database to fix problems. Although we had the required computer knowledge, doing this would have forced us to lose the features we had work on during two long months. We basically had the choice between continuing to use the software with the existing bugs or fix them and lose all the work we did.

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After several weeks and as we were starting to gather a great quantity of data in our maintenance management software, we wanted to see our first analysis and to obtain automatic results, like Pareto for example. We soon understood that we couldn’t get what we wanted and that we were going to have to use a BI tool, link the tables and the views ourselves, etc. We had no mean to check if we had made an error or not but we anyway decided to go for it, we had to learn many things on our own during two months (summer 2012) and finally obtained paper reports, while technology was everywhere around us. And I’m not even talking about the various incompatibility issues with the CMMS we encountered.

It got even better when we tried to implement maintenance plans because, despite all the documentation we were given, it was impossible to understand how they worked. Planning a maintenance task every Wednesday was for example inconceivable despite the entire weeks we spent trying to understand why it wasn’t working and the two days a service provider came to train us specifically on maintenance plans.

The ERP was another tricky issue: we actually lost weeks trying to connect our software with our ERP. When we achieved to do it, we got tons of errors. We of course tried to deploy this system to the other group’s structures but after we failed three times, we really started to ask ourselves whether we should go on like this or not. Did we have to keep deploying our CMMS despite the existing errors and without knowing if it was going to work or not, or look for an alternative solution after we invested so much of us and of our time?

In case you hadn’t noticed, it was a real puzzle: you must be as lost as we used to be back then. It is right after such a long period of fuzziness, after so many unanswered questions and so much investment and research to find a more intuitive solution that the idea of the CMMS Mobility Work progressively came to my mind. As a user, I wanted to have an easy tool that would look like the other applications we all use in our daily lives. The community dimension seemed essential to me: it is important to give people the possibility to exchange easily and quickly as soon as they have a problem on their equipment, or when they need a spare part, a piece of advice or recommendations on a provider or a manufacturer, etc. This idea of mutual assistance was very important as all users could benefit from the help of people used to industrial maintenance problematics and get involved in the community in return.

This long period of doubts and questioning, as well as our on-field experience helped to develop the idea and create Mobility Work, a next-gen industrial maintenance application that is intuitive and makes users’ as well as maintenance services’ lives way easier. It is obvious that the whole company can benefit from a service whose work processes run smoothly, as all employees have to work together and to be on the same wavelength to achieve brilliant results.

It only took the group six weeks, between July and August 2015, to deploy and definitely adopt  Mobility Work in its ten plants.”

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A lot of companies might for sure recognize their own experience in this testimony. If you have had the same difficulties and that your CMMS software doesn’t allow you to serenely manage your equipment’s industrial maintenance, watch our video presentation and let yourself be tempted! Our application revolutionizes maintenance thanks to its intuitive and user-friendly interface. We are ready to help you achieve your transition towards industry 4.0!

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