Common Misconceptions When Implementing A CMMS

Image of park worker using maintenance management software

What’s This New Thing?

Starting something new isn’t always easy. Initially, there are a lot of unknowns about what will happen. If we resist the change, our minds turn these unknowns into all sorts of worst-case scenarios.

That’s pretty much human nature.

But, eventually, sometimes grudgingly, we give the new thing a try. At first, things may seem a little bumpy, but eventually, you start seeing the value of using this new thing. 

Those stories you told yourself were WAY WORSE than anything that happened.

In fact, you’re beginning to like this new thing.  

Then, a few months down the road, you wonder how you even managed before the new thing came along.

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) is like that new thing. But it’s not that new--lots of industries use these software solutions to help manage workflow, keep records, and communicate more effectively. And yes, park departments, parks & recreation agencies, and even state and national parks have implemented CMMS solutions to manage their assets and employees better.

Over the years, we at Productive Parks have heard our fair share of misconceptions and resistance as we helped managers set up their customized CMMS platforms and trained their teams. 

Here are some common misconceptions we love helping people understand better.

This Will Be Like Big Brother Tracking Me All Day

Productive Parks CMMS isn’t designed to track every working minute of an employee's day. Employees track their completed tasks in 15-minute increments. 

If mowing one of your assets took 2 hours and 8 minutes, and you mark it down for 2 hours and 15 minutes, a loud siren won’t start blaring in the middle of the field. 

Tracking time is meant to help managers and other decision-makers gather data that could benefit the entire team (more on this next). 

Now, by comparison, if your agency uses GPS trackers on the vehicles, many of those trackers record your exact location, how fast you’re going, and what stops you made along the way, among other things. 

We’re not saying a GPS tracker is Big Brother, but…

Self-reporting (or having the crew leader report) about how long it took you to complete a task doesn’t seem like such a big deal compared to a GPS tracker.

This Software Only Helps Upper Management

Some of the crew may believe that using a CMMS is so management could sit in a board room and talk about numbers all day. The software has no real benefit for the technicians getting their hands dirty daily.

The numbers (or data) the CMMS collects may provide evidence to support an issue someone noticed in the field. The evidence, of course, helps make the decision easier.

For example, pickup truck #3 is a lemon. As a technician who drives the pickup most of the week, you’ve been saying that for six months. It seems every two months pickup #3 needs some type of service. Though you may not be the best with numbers, you have a feeling it’s better to get rid of it now and find a more reliable vehicle. You tell your supervisor. 

Unfortunately, it always seems when you mention it, your supervisor gets a call about a leaky water fountain or fallen tree limb that diverts his attention.

And then, one morning, you practically hitchhike in the rain back to the shop when the truck broke down. When you return (soaked), your supervisor mentions he thought you said something was wrong with that truck a couple of months ago. 

A CMMS can track expenses and replacement costs, among other things. And a quick report generated right before a meeting could provide the data necessary for decision-makers to approve a NEW pickup #3.

And it works for more than just trucks. If you’re constantly missing tasks because of short staff or if another mower would be really helpful to keep up with the mowing schedule, the numbers could be very helpful for you and the team.  

These are just a couple examples of how a CMMS could benefit an entire agency--not just those that like to sit in meeting rooms and talk about numbers. 

A CMMS Just Makes More Work

It’s no lie--there will be a learning curve to start. Many aspects of the Productive Parks CMMS are customizable based on your agency’s needs. As we mold the software to work the way you want, there might be a couple of bumps along the way. 

Rest assured, you have continual support during the onboarding process. Those bumps get smoothed out. And then, once successfully acclimated, you’ll see the CMMS saves you time. 

How Exactly Can a CMMS Save Time?

Picture this scenario…

image of playground inspection example

You're doing a playground inspection. You notice a couple of bolts missing from the main playground structure, which is causing one of the guardrails to shake. You don’t have any of those bolts on you, and you think the asset manager said they need to be special ordered. 

You walk back to your truck and find a work order form crumpled up in the glove compartment. 

After smoothing the paper out, you try to find words to describe where the bolts are missing on the structure. To make matters worse, you’re using a pen you found on the park bench last week. It only writes about two-thirds of the time. 

After you complete the rest of the day’s tasks, you head over to the administrative building to drop off the work order. You snag a free cup of coffee and drop the work order in the bin with the other work orders. 

As you turn around and head for the door, one of the programming staff corners you and starts telling you about everything wrong with the rec center’s multipurpose room. You tell the individual to write up work orders, but it seems like this person likes to complain more than complete paperwork. 

You head back to the main desk and fill out two more work orders related to the multipurpose room. You drop them on top of your park inspection one. You notice a half hour has passed since you entered the building. You could have been on your way home by now. 

Little did you know, the asset manager is out for the next two days at a conference. The work order won’t be seen until then. The bolts won’t get ordered until next week.

At least you got a free coffee out of it.

Now imagine this:

While inspecting the park, you notice a couple of bolts missing from a structure. As you complete the playground inspection on your phone, you click “unsatisfactory” at the prompt for checking playground hardware. Immediately, an electronic work order gets generated. You take a picture of where bolts are missing so everyone knows the exact location. You send the work order.

Immediately, the manager, enjoying a break from a monotonous conference educational session, sees a text message on his phone about the missing bolts. The manager remembers half a dozen bolts in the bottom drawer of the workbench back at the shop. He assigns the task with a message about where to find the bolts.

The following day, you replace the bolts and mark the task as complete from your phone. The work order is complete. You’re a hero to a group of children dashing for the playground!

The only problem is you didn’t get an opportunity to snag free coffee from the admin building. 

A CMMS Will Solve All Our Problems

We’re not promising miracles. But we work towards creating solutions for your maintenance team issues

Are work orders getting overlooked? We can make it easier to alert the necessary parties when a work order gets created.

Does staff communication leave something to be desired? We create a platform where everyone can communicate easier.

Are you looking to be more consistent with your playground and building inspections? We can set that up pretty quickly (and teach you how to do it).

Do you want to make sure the growing season goes smoother this year? We can’t control the weather, but we can set the stage, so staff know where they need to be, what to do, and when.

Do You Still Have Questions About Implementing a CMMS?

We get it. It’s a big step. You want to ensure your making the right choice for the agency and maintenance team. Here is some more resistance we’ve encountered. 

How about checking out a short 5-minute video of Productive Parks in action?

If that piques your interest, set up a no-obligation demo to learn about the maintenance management software made for parks and recreation agencies by parks and recreation professionals