The Journey from Inspiration To Implementation in the Maintenance Department

Does being an engineer qualify you to implement a maintenance management system?

Sadly, NO, and re-inventing the wheel when you want to move from reactive maintenance is a recipe for non-achievement. A maintenance management system requires process skills, and these skills are different to the engineer’s technical skills. Being a good engineer does not mean you can implement a good maintenance management system.

The world of maintenance engineering spans from the outputs of reliability engineering through to the practical realities of maintenance, compliance, and customer requests. Couched in medical terms, maintenance managers must be like GPs juggling multiple demands. Unlike GPs though, the maintenance engineer must also man-manage staff comfortable with FAT (fear and tradition) based maintenance. While the engineer needs the computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) to do the work for him, the process of implementing such systems is full of traps and pitfalls that require experience to navigate. Companies often look to a CMMS as the solution to their problem, only to discover that it is not in itself the solution. The CMMS is simply a tool, not the craft.

Yes, you need one, but you must understand how to implement and use one.


CMMS themselves are a specialist topic best designed by engineers who understand engineers.

Systems built by IT or Accounting departments or offshoots of financial systems are invariably doomed to crash and burn as they miss the nuances and flexibility of dealing with trades staff and practical realities. Understanding where the value is added in the system is fundamental to building leveraged intelligence unencumbered by garbage in-garbage out. Power plays between people, departments and even corporate layers invite skews and mandates that all too often leave the site maintenance staff dazed and frustrated.

At Maintenance Transformations, we have observed some spectacular and expensive failures in our 40-year experience implementing maintenance management systems. We can quote many examples where large corporates have invested significant funds and resources to improve on being “reactive” and after 10 years of effort, have not improved their results at all.

Conversely, we have also participated in implementations that have provided benefits to the business in the tens of millions of dollars.


Our sage words of advice for any industry are, “Once you have worked out that your maintenance is reactive, stop there. Call the experts and stick to what you are good at doing.”


Let’s relate the topic to buying a company car. Once you have worked out that you need a company vehicle, what do you do? You go to Toyota (for instance), pay your money, and drive your new company car back to site. If we applied the maintenance management experience to company cars, you would buy the Toyota in crates, try to assemble it yourself, build it with the engine in the boot because you know better, and still be trying to get it to run 10 years later.

Meanwhile, your reliability is through the floor, your costs are through the roof and the maintenance department is viewed as the millstone around the company neck.

Nuts eh?
Sadly, this is our experience in industry, prompting a rethink about implementation when releasing the new cloud-based MainTrak maintenance management software.

As an engineering company, not a bot-driven software sales company, Maintenance Transformations principal and MESNZ life member Craig Carlyle is well recognised for his drive in helping engineers lift their game. He took a hard look at the total implementation process as part of the 3-year development of the MainTrak CMMS and realised that a rethink was required in the market. The result is a completely new concept offering the same turn-key service as Toyota. Come on board and let us hand you the keys to a fully functioning system. As the only CMMS backed up by engineering-boots-on-the-ground in New Zealand, the specialists will do everything from data discovery, data integration, system onboarding, training, coaching and mentoring. Clients can select the assistance they desire, like a menu, with the aim of getting up and running NOW. For those wishing to achieve maintenance excellence, the concept extends beyond the CMMS implementation to a full 2-year mentored maintenance excellence partnership, from reactive to proactive.

In Carlyle’s words, “If you are an ice cream factory, stick to making ice cream. Let the specialists sort out your maintenance issues and deliver a measurable and transparent process. We will cover everything from inspiration to implementation. We will deliver you a system tuned to your goals, owned by you, and run by your engineers as a professional component of your overall operation.”

You would be nuts not to.