The state of FM software in Saudi Arabia
A well delivered asset management strategy is the foundation of a successful, professional FM service delivery
My company has been successfully tendering for IFM contracts in Saudi Arabia for almost five years, but surprisingly most clients have shown little or no interest in CMMS.
We regularly receive pre-qualification questionnaires requesting details of similar experience, number of staff, years in the country. CMMS has yet to earn a mention.
When we submit our bids, our technical proposals extol the virtues of professional ‘asset management’ utilising our in-house CMMS system Total Asset Manager (TAM) but this often proves to be of little interest to the client at presentation stage. This in turn, leads to the inevitable negotiation ‘we don’t need that, please remove’.
As with most CMMS packages available, TAM allows you to register and track reactive calls and schedule and track PPM works. All information builds a huge database on asset performance and history from which trend analysis can be derived, influencing future maintenance management, procurement strategies and even the design of new projects.
But given the lack of interest and appreciation for the benefits of CMMS, why do we persist? Why do we risk losing tenders by including the costs associated with deploying our TAM software? Because we passionately believe that a well delivered asset management strategy is the basis of a successful FM service delivery.
What is encouraging, is that in the last three ‘operational strategy’ consultancy commissions we have delivered, the client has asked us to review CMMS options available and recommend as appropriate. What we have to emphasise to the client is they are buying an empty box. Taken in isolation, the CMMS package is completely useless. A thorough, detailed asset survey/upload is required, from which the planner can plan and the tracker can track.
Many of the most popular CMMS packages available in the Middle East market try to horn shoe, the client into their offer, a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. With this in mind the client should also consider how closely the standard, sold package will meet their real requirements. If customisation is required, can it be done ‘in-house’, if not, how much will it cost? We’ve all bought the ‘bargain’ printer only to pay the same price to replace the toner cartridge. Some CMMS marketing adopts the same approach; sell under an empty ‘box’, then charge heavily for asset data gathering, Data migration and the smallest amount of customisation applying logo’s to reports and the like.
So before you rush out and make a bad buy, take the time to really think through what your organisation needs from the CMMS. Is it future-proof to cope with the projected growth of the portfolio across the next ten years; do you need to consider property management as well as facilities management functionality; does it need to ‘talk’ to your finance package; what are the ‘whole life’ costs of the product and most importantly, what will you really get for your money?
As I said earlier, a well delivered asset management strategy is the foundation of a successful, professional FM service delivery, however, CMMS can and does impact (positively or negatively) on many more areas of the business, so its vitally important to involve all affected stakeholders in the selection and implementation process.