Tag Archives: implementation

Behind the Scenes – 2 of 2 – IC Interview

For this second post in the interview series, we caught up with Paul Klein and gained some insight on an entirely different type of integration. In this situation, the customer had an extended roll-out to multiple sites.

Can you share some information about a larger implementation you worked on this past year?

“Sure. Firestone Building Products is a good example as they had eleven plants using different systems and wanted to unify them on a central platform. They started their implementation in early 2012, and phased in their implementation to all eleven plants over a one year span. ”


What strategies did you employ that were unique to an implementation of this magnitude?

“First off, we ensured that the project had both a Project Manager and Technical Lead. Chris Frayer, the Project Manager, established the timetable and ensured the project remained on track. The Technical Resource, Terry Gurley, became a very active participant from the beginning. This type of resource, with such strong knowledge of their business process and internal systems, was integral to keeping the project moving forward. We also deployed a phased approach, starting with a smaller plant and working our way up to the largest. This proved to be quite helpful in getting everything important in place prior to the larger roll-out.”

Did they phase in functionality as well?

“Not really. They pretty much rolled out full functionality including Work Order Process, PM Management, and Inventory Control at each site. The only exception was the parts integration to their Tiny Term system. They implemented a system integration that exports part usage and reconciles on-hand quantity; this was not in place until some of the smaller plants had gone live.”

What were some efficiency measures put in place to keep a project of this size on budget and on-time?

“To allow us to roll-out more expediently, we ran training sessions at multiple sites simultaneously. While I was holding a training session at one plant, Terry Gurley would be onsite at another, using desktop sharing software to allow participants to follow along. Having Terry onsite and available for questions made this approach especially effective and proved to be both time-saving and cost effective .”

Did you come across any difficulties or special challenges?

“The Building Products Division was set up in a single database with each plant established as a separate Repair Center. This allowed them to use repair center access restrictions to ensure that each user only saw data applicable to their plant. However, once parts were integrated, they realized they wanted the ability to see if out-of-stock parts were available from another plant. With the repair center restrictions in place, they didn’t have access to this data. To solve this, they set up a special user account that had access to all repair centers, but could only see parts data. Staff in the stock rooms use this special login to take a peek at stock room inventory at other sites.”

Were there economies of scale with each plant go-live?

“Once the basic structure and process were defined, it was much easier to phase in additional plants. In fact, as Terry continued to gain expertise, he was able to independently handle much of the data importing, allowing me to focus more on the training aspect of the go-live. We brought up the first plant in Beech Grove, Indiana in June of 2012 with a handful of technicians. By the time we rolled-out at their largest plant in Prescott, Arkansas in April of this year, we had a pretty smooth process and were ready for the 70 folks in attendance. All in all, it was a very successful implementation.”

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

Profiles of Success: Towson University


Earlier this year we introduced you to the McGraw Hill company who is one of our successful customers.   The feedback they provided was directly from a survey project called “Profiles of Success”.  We have selected Towson University to be showcased in this blog post; another customer who has completed the below survey. If your organization is interested in participating in the Profiles of Success survey, simply fill out this form and we’ll include your response in a future post.

Las Vegas Training Event
Have you signed up for our Western Regional Training Seminar?  The early bird special will expire by the end of this month causing prices to increase a minimum of $100/person.  Please click on the image below to download a PDF with additional information.


Customer Spotlight

A special thanks to Troy Lingelbach from Towson University for all of his hard work throughout his implementation and being gracious enough to provide such thorough feedback about his usage of Maintenance Connection.  I have had the pleasure of personally working with Troy on his roll-out of Maintenance Connection and should mention his continued patience and dedication is one of the main fators they have seen such outstanding results.

Survey Questions: Towson University’s Responses:
Question #1:(BEFORE)

  • What system (if any) was in place before Maintenance Connection was implemented?
  • What were some of the main business drivers for implementing CMMS?

  • Prior to Maintenance Connection we operated 2 independent CMMS’s simultaneously.
  • The reason for running two systems was because each system served several different needs.
    • One system (Maximo) served the Academic buildings on campus.
    • The other system (which was web based), was designed and developed in-house, and served the Residential buildings on campus.
  • Our main business driver for choosing Maintenance Connection’s CMMS was because we needed a single web based system that could serve our entire campus.
    • With the Academic and Residential buildings having different requirements, this system needed to be flexible yet fully capable of providing a complete CMMS. 
  • Because of all these needs, we chose Maintenance Connection since their CMMS provided the best possible options and would produce the best end results.
Question #2:(SELECTION)

  • What were your top reasons for choosing Maintenance Connection over other CMMS options?

  • Our top reason for selecting Maintenance Connection was because they could easily customize their CMMS to our organization and make it fit within the processes we already had in place.
  • After implementing it, we noticed the benefits of having a 100% we based CMMS software, and appreciated the fact that the system was extremely easy to use.
Question #3:(USAGE)

  • Describe the general usage of Maintenance Connection within your organization.

  • We have two primary uses for our CMMS, which have provided strong benefits and continuous results.
    • Our Physical Plant staff uses Maintenance Connection for preventative and corrective maintenance.
    • Our Faculty, Staff, and Resident Students, on the other hand, access Maintenance Connection’s Service Requester to initiate a request for repairs.
      • This has helped out tremendously as all requests are automatically routed to the appropriate shop according to the respected problem type (a very efficient process).
Survey Questions: Towson University’s Responses:

  • List a few improvements that your company has experienced as a result of implementing Maintenance Connection’s CMMS?
  • (Examples include: reduced downtime by 10%, decreased parts stock-outs by 25%, saved $100,000 per year in overtime)

  • Since implementing Maintenance Connection’s CMMS, we have noticed:
    • Improved communications and relations with our customers.
    • An approx. 75% reduction in telephone calls to our Work Control Center.
      • This has drastically helped save labor cost and allowed our employees to become more productive.
      • We have also noticed improvement within our record keeping and reporting abilities.
      • We have eliminated numerous bottlenecks in the work order flow process.
      • And most importantly, we have benefited from a drastic improvement in productivity from our maintenance staff by maximizing their ability to improve areas around our campus. 

  • Describe your experience during implementation, from the initial purchase through “go-live.”

  • Overall, our implementation went very well without any major issues.
  • Our account manager and the entire Maintenance Connection support team have always been available when we needed them.
  • Our system has been up and running for 2+ years without any unscheduled down times.

  • Do you have any suggestions for someone just beginning the implementation of CMMS?  

  • Implementing a CMMS in your organization may require substantial changes to the way you operate.
  • When choosing a CMMS, you should carefully analyze which one will give you the ability to customize the system to ensure it can “work for you.”
    • Without this ability you will have to modify the way your organization functions in order to support the CMMS
    • (When in reality, it should be the other way around – the CMM system should customize to the organization’s needs.  This is why we chose this company for our CMMS needs).
  • Choosing Maintenance Connection has taken our organization to the next level, without causing unnecessary strains or burdens to our operations.
  • Maintenance Connection’s CMMS integrated very well with the way we work and has provided many additional benefits that we never had before.