How to Get Upper Management Onboard with Maintenance Software
As a facilities/maintenance manager, you’ve thought long and hard about it, and determined you really need a computerized maintenance management system to better manage your workload and take your operations to the next level. You are tired of feeling overwhelmed by the non-stop, unpredictable flood of maintenance needs, and have decided that you need to be more proactive. You’ve talked with colleagues who use maintenance software systems, and have heard first-hand how beneficial they can be.
Great, so now what?
For many managers, the next steps involve searching the internet for different solutions, watching online demonstrations, and getting some basic pricing. Next, they schedule a meeting with upper management to present the solution.
The trouble is, this is where the process often comes to a halt. Upper management may look at the situation very differently and raise questions and objections that facility/maintenance managers may not be fully prepared to answer.
This may be a part of the reason why a surprisingly high number of companies still have not implemented these valuable solutions—even though, in reality, upper management often stands to benefit the most from the value that maintenance software can provide.
If you’ve decided it’s time to implement a maintenance software solution, it is critical that you have a plan before approaching upper management. Here are some strategies that will help.
To you, the need for a maintenance software solution is likely obvious—so obvious, in fact, that it may be easy to assume there is no need to seek out other opinions on how or why such a solution might be valuable. Don’t let this type of complacency derail your project.
It is critical that you give upper management an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts early in the process of researching solutions. Springing a proposal on them unexpectedly may provoke a defensive response, particularly if the key business-wide benefits of the solution aren’t properly understood and effectively communicated.
For instance, if the subject of maintenance software is mentioned to an executive or owner, and all they can talk about is what it will cost, then the eventual formal presentation/proposal should emphasize how these solutions can pay for themselves quickly by saving substantial money in a relatively short amount of time.
Once you’ve homed in on some of their key needs and concerns, you can effectively align your needs with theirs and propose your chosen solution as the best way to satisfy both.
Do your homework
It is vital that any proposal or presentation on maintenance software solutions include more than just basic information on functionality and pricing. Owners and executives need to understand how a maintenance management solution will impact a company’s bottom line.
Start by reviewing our two part blog series on maintenance software ROI, which provides a wealth of facts and figures that illustrate the cost savings and operational efficiencies made possible by these solutions. From there, you can move on to our industry–specific content, which offers insights into how maintenance solutions can be tailored to meet a variety of unique industry demands.
If you’re pressed for time, these resources, along with our case studies and white papers, will provide you with a solid foundation of data upon which to build a strong case to present to upper management. Familiarizing yourself with some of the top-level concepts and terms covered in these materials will make you appear better prepared, and, as the old saying goes, it will show that you’ve put some “skin in the game,” by investing the time and effort to thoroughly research your idea.
Focus on solutions rather than problems
There are a lot of problems maintenance software solutions can help solve, but you should resist the impulse to make those the problems the focus of your presentation to upper management. Instead, paint a picture of what your company’s operations will look like once the solution has been implemented.
Focusing too much on problems will give your presentation a negative tone, and you may inadvertently create the impression that you can’t manage your operations. If, instead, your focus is on overriding initiatives that can be achieved with CMMS, you’ll get upper management feeling positive and excited.
For example, you might be tired of juggling dozens of spreadsheets and wasting all of your time on administrative work in order to track and maintain your assets, and want a simple, centralized system to track everything instead. This is understandable, but you’re better off describing the benefits associated with the extra time that a maintenance solution will free up—it would enable you to focus more of your time on sourcing parts, managing your workers, creating plans, interacting with customers, etc.
Don’t dodge the tough questions
If you’ve gathered input on your proposed solution, and done some good research, you’ll be much better positioned to anticipate and answer tough questions when they’re raised.
One question upper management often has about maintenance software is whether workers in the field will actually use it. Rather than duck the question, explain how mobile solutions and cloud-based applications have revolutionized data acquisition and input; if your guys in the field can use their phone to write an email or text message about a problem they encounter, they can just as easily open their maintenance app and enter the information there instead.
Another question they may ask is how costly and/or disruptive the implementation process will be. It’s important to work with your solution provider to understand exactly what the implementation options are and to have at least a rough outline of a game plan ready when formally presenting the solution to upper management.
Don’t go it alone
ManagerPlus has provided maintenance software solutions to over 10,000 customers for more than 20 years—we have the insights, resources, and expertise you need to get upper management on board and make the implementation process successful. Bring us your tough questions and let our experts help you create a proposal that will create buy-in for the solution you need.