Observation 1 -
Its been quite some time since we went the trade show route, but this
Spring, we decided maybe it was time so we signed up and exhibited at a
tradeshow. The show was in conjunction with technical seminars and in
hindsight it was probably not a wise move marketing/sales-wise to pick
this particular tradeshow, but it was enlightening.
The tradeshow was 1 full day and two 2 hour days, although the technical
seminars were for 3 full days. Since traffic was light at the show, I
decided to attend some of the seminars (which were included in the cost
of exhibiting) I picked two that seemed relevant and interesting.
The first, as it turned out, was presented by a user of one of our
competitors. The seminar was titled "Turning a Dreaded CMMS Upgrade
into a Maintenance Process Improvement." Talk about "eye-opening". I
heard things like "large expense . . .budgeting hundreds of thousands of
dollars", "project team", "project manager", "6 months to a year",
"rolling out one module at a time", "testing, testing, testing", "lots
and lots of training on each and every module", "IT involvement", "lost
data, lost shortcuts/connections", "documenting each and every step of
the process". . . no wonder she titled it the "Dreaded CMMS Upgrade . . .
I only stayed for about 20 minutes of the 45 minute presentation -
frankly, that was all I could take. I was thankful it wasn't our name
that was plastered on every slide three to four times and peppered
numerous times throughout her talk. That CMMS company should be
ashamed. Why this user hasn't flown the coop, I don't understand, but
she did say, they have invested millions in this CMMS. Millions? Ever
heard of throwing good money after bad?
Observation 2 -
This seminar was put on by a user of a company that is "rolling out"
SAP - granted, it is a large company, but they started rolling SAP out
in 2002 and project that it will take another 6 years! 2002 to 2014 - 12
years total - wow! This guy had stopped at our booth the evening before
his talk and he proudly told me they had started installing 6 of the
SAP modules so far. He admitted that the Maintenance Tool probably
wasn't as robust as other CMMSs on the market (and he commented that Oz
seemed more user-friendly), but that that was the price they had to pay
to have everything integrated. He told me they didn't bother to convert
the data they had amassed over the years in their in-house systems .
". . . it would have cost a lot of money. . . and the data probably
wasn't much good anyway." He also told me the first few years of data
entered in SAP really wasn't much good either. What?? They have
invested millions of dollars in SAP and what do they have to show for
it. (This is one company's stock I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole)
As it turns out, his talk really wasn't about SAP, it was about a
web-based system they had decided to use in some of their smaller plants
(smaller plant: a plant manager, 1 - 2 maintenance engineers and maybe 1
additional person in the maintenance department). Their criteria for
choosing this particular CMMS. . .
1) It had to be internet based
2) It had to be CHEAP (Cheap was defined as between $1,000 and $10,000 per year)
Not even "What's the functionality?" "Is it user-friendly?" I can think
of a few more.
I got the impression everything about the decision to go with this
particular system was made by the "project manager and his team", and
the folks who will actually be using the system had next to nothing to
say about it. I'm sure their happy with it.
During our talk, I had asked "If you decide to stop using this
web-based system after a while, can you get your data since it resides
on the provider's server?
He thought so. I also asked "What happens when the server goes down?
He seemed surprised. He said "it hasn't happened yet, (like it is
never going to?) but they have only just started their roll-out of this
I inquired about the reports included and it appears that there are a
good many canned reports, "but what about any custom reports you might
want," I questioned. Again, he thought the company would provide any
reports they needed for free. Mind boggling - how much thought did
they really put into this decision that he was so proud of.
Observation 3 -
The presenter of this third talk was a third-party vendor that does
installation and training of various CMMS's and she was addressing steps
you need to take to insure that your CMMS succeeds. She quoted an
article in Plant Services Magazine that I like to quote myself. "35-
50% of all CMMS installations fail" (After attending the first two
seminars, the reasons seemed more clear - at least to me.) Using a CMMS
is not supposed to be so difficult that you need months and months of
extensive training, (which, by the way, were two of the things she was
proposing) the upgrades should not be so expensive they break the bank
(she, too, was advocating making sure you budget in hundreds of
thousands of dollars for the process.) She did say, you need to have
everyone involved, onboard - from the top down. Definitely! If even one
person is out to sabotage the project, expect problems.
Anyway, these talks taught me one thing - the land of Oz is a pretty
nice place to be - where using your CMMS does not add to your stress
level, where upgrades of Oz to Oz are free as long as you keep your
support current and where you don't have to sell your first born, where
upgrades are (we hope you agree) not dreaded, and where support is still
under $400/year, where the data conversion from OOPS! takes only a day
or two and doesn't cost hundred of thousands of dollars, where two days
of training is enough to get you rolling, where what goes in isn't lost
to the netherworld.
By the way, do any of you get/read UPTIME Magazine? Its a magazine for
maintenance and reliablity professionals and usually has some good
articles. I liked the article "Reliability and CMMS Implementation" in
the APR/MAY issue by Allen Stickland from Lone Star Steel and I also
wholeheartedly agree with the Editor's column "It's the People, People"
You can subscribe online at www.upptimemagazine.com, if you are
How to Kill a Big Report in Oz.
Every so often you find that you have queued up a report that is taking a
long time to process and you decide you want to kill it. How? Hold
the Ctrl key down and tap the Esc key. This will give you the Windows
List showing you everything that is currently running. Find and
highlight the Report using the left mouse button, use the right mouse
button to bring up a menu. Find and click on "Close" using the left
So what exactly is TSAP. It stand for Technical Support Assurance
Policy and is our guarantee of support availability for those who have
current support and those who choose to enroll in the support program in
In this regard, we have decided to make some changes.
If you allow your support to lapse for more than 2 months you will no
longer be able to get a support contract at the current rates.
It is not unusual for us to receive calls from OOPS! users who have
ignored our reminders and have not had support for many years who expect
that there will always be someone available to help them. These users
feel justified in not having taken out support during those lapsed years
because they did not call us for help during those years. What they
fail to understand is that we still had/have to keep support personnel
on staff to help them when they do call whether they call every day or
just once every year or two. You are not paying for the "one time" that
you need help, you are paying for the availability of support staff
when you need it. Like health or accident insurance, you can't wait
until you get sick or have an accident, before you dicide to take out
The money charged for support is also used for research and
deveopment, so even if you don't need technical help, if you want us to
keep up with the latest technologies, it is very important that you keep
your support current. We do not believe that our support fees are
excessive. We hope you agree.
That said, we will be offering a one "amnesty" for any OOPS!/Oz user
whose support is currently lapsed. If you take out support before the
end of October, you can get it at the current rates.
Several of our Oz customers have been backing up to memory sticks.
This is fast and economical. It saves having to purchase and store cds.
An added bonus is you can then use the memory stick to put the data on
your Windows machine - many companies have IT do automatic backups of
their Windows machines.