Behind the Scenes – 1 of 2 – IC Interview


In this two part interview series, we will chat with two Implementation Consultants from Maintenance Connection, sharing insights about customer implementations. MC IC’s maintain a pretty busy travel schedule, but we tracked down Steve Gustafson between flights and got him to share a story with us about a unique customer implementation.

MC Implementations always present challenges, but can you think of one that was especially unique?

“Yes, time is always of the essence to customers, but Kent Power approached their implementation with a very aggressive strategy, indicating they needed to be up and running in four weeks. After searching for the right Computerized Maintenance Management Solution for almost a year, the Kent Power management team was under the gun to make their CMMS dreams a reality. Based in Kent City, Michigan, Kent Power is recognized as a premier constructor of large electrical utility projects across the country. This translates to thousands of mobile assets spread across multiple job sites and locations, all requiring management and regular maintenance. The timeframe was especially challenging since they were basically setting up from scratch and had a pretty extensive infrastructure to bring online. Not to mention they had just hired their CMMS project manager one week before our initial implementation meeting.”


What was their hurry and what were they trying to achieve?

“After working with business strategy consultants from Total Process Reliability (TPR), Kent Power identified a number of areas where they were falling short such as the effective management of maintenance time and lack of preventative measures to ensure that equipment would not fail. Their maintenance process was almost entirely reactive. Their business consultants helped them to understand where they were falling short and what needed to be done to take Kent Power from “great” to “world class”. This involved getting a better handle on the work being performed on assets. They had a fairly manual process, using spreadsheets and emailed work order forms, and were in great need of a more formalized process. I am all too familiar with having to appropriately set customers’ expectations as it relates to the overall project implementation timeline, but with Kent Power there was little room for negotiation and I found it difficult to argue with their reasoning. They indicated that with the structure that they had in place at the time, there was not a good reason why they should not be up and running with Maintenance Connection in four weeks. I found myself becoming motivated by their ambition.”

How did you structure the implementation to meet this challenge?

“Right off the bat I made sure that they understood the importance of having a site champion or project manager that would take an active role in the initiative from beginning to end. We then reset the traditional implementation timeline to break things down into manageable deliverables, ensuring that all key activities required for work order roll out fit the four week timetable. We realized pretty quickly that to deliver a real solution in this short timeframe, some resources and plans had to be shifted. For example, additional funds and resources needed to be directed into early training to ensure that everyone had the skills and information they needed to make this work.”

How much were you able to get up and running in the four weeks?

“First, we defined the asset hierarchy structure and then did an import of some rudimentary spreadsheet data, followed by careful set up of classifications and a few rounds of asset updates to get the asset tree in shape. We then set up the work order process flow and configuration including preferences, ECC setup and SR Configuration. Once labor records were imported and permissions and access groups were established, we tackled setting up PM Schedules on their critical equipment, even importing tasks from available spreadsheets. And we made it; they had a fully functioning work order system on the go-live date.”

Were there any blips or problems encountered?

“Randy Lavoie, the Project Manager, was a rather frequent visitor to our support services during this period. The support team received so many calls that they were initially concerned that I was falling down on the job – throwing Randy to the wolves without sufficient training. Randy was passionate about making this work and kept support on their toes; he felt like part of the MC family he spoke to them so often. But persistence paid off, as he became an expert in his own right.”

What happened at the end of the initial go-live?

“Over the next six months, they continued to refine their process flow and extended their implementation with additional PM processes and Inventory management. They even put in place an automated integration to their fuel management system, Wright Express.”

What would you say was the key to their success?

“That’s an easy one – I attribute their success to Randy, the Project Manager. He was very proactive in making sure each deliverable was DONE and on schedule. This kind of site champion is always key to a successful integration, but with this kind of ambitious schedule it was essential.”


Randy Lavoi Speaking at Checkpoint

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