HOW TO DRAFT A COMPREHENSIVE CMMS REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP)

When you are looking to implement a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), one of the first steps – particularly if you have a complex implementation – is to submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the vendors you are considering. This is a planning document that allows you forecast budget, goals and other expectations for a project while assessing how different vendors can meet your needs.

Prepare: Questions To Ask

Before you create your RFP, you should have a clear idea of what your business needs and what features you are looking for. There are key questions to ask your team and your vendors to make sure that you have all the information you need:

Questions To Ask Your Team:

  • Will the business benefit from a cloud or on-premise deployment?
  • What key features do you need? Mobile capabilities, international deployment, etc.
  • What are the key pain points for your maintenance team?
  • What does your CMMS need to integrate with? An existing ERP, etc.
  • What does your maintenance team’s current daily workload look like? Are there particular aspects of that workload that you would like to reduce or streamline?
  • What is your budget and your timeline for CMMS implementation?

Be sure that your C-suite and key decision makers are looped in here so there is no friction down the line.

Questions To Ask Potential Vendors:

  • What kinds of deployments do you offer? Are your options a match for our IT infrastructure?
  • What key features and capabilities does your software offer?
  • What is your time frame and how long does a typical implementation take?
  • What kind of customer support do you provide? Robust vendors will provide 24/7 support and various forms of training to help fill knowledge and skill gaps.
  • Does your CMMS integrate with our existing systems?

Follow These Steps To Create An RFP

1. Determine Your Requirements

Before you can determine if a CMMS will work for your business, you have to make sure that your business’ requirements and needs are clearly established. This means that you need a clear understanding of:

  • Your budget
  • Compliance and regulatory needs
  • Your required level of customer support
  • Your stance on mobile capabilities
  • Necessary software features
  • Platform requirements (on-premise vs cloud)

Now, the level of specificity required here depends a lot on the level of complexity you need from your CMMS. If you need a fairly standard implementation, you can just outline the basics – but if you need it to fit narrow requirements, make sure that is properly explained.

2. Establish A Short List Of Potential Vendors

You have likely already completed this step, but you do need to have a short list of the best possible candidates. Otherwise, you will be wasting time sending RFPs to companies that simply aren ot a good fit for your needs.

If you have not created this list, use the information in the previous point to help you establish it.

3. Outline Your RFP

Next, it is time to build out your RFP outline. Basic components should include:

  • An overview of company information, including size, locations, and a list of assets
  • A description of your technical, IT and software capabilities
  • Key objectives you would like the CMMS to achieve
  • List of requirements and features
  • Submission guidelines
  • A timeline

This will help you proceed with next steps without getting bogged down with details.

4. Fill In The Details

Here, you are simply adding more information and making sure that no important details go unmentioned. This is especially relevant when it comes to features, requested capabilities, and resources.

For example, rather than “work order management,” it would be better to delineate “work order management with multi-site, device agnostic mobile capabilities.”

5. Submit

After your RFP is finalized, send it out to your short list of potential vendors. Expect a three- or four-week turnaround time, as ample time is necessary to craft a comprehensive response.

The Finished Product

In putting your RFP together, there are a few key sections that you should make sure to include:

Company Overview

This section should provide basic information about your company, including:

  • What you do, including industry
  • Number and locations of assets and facilities
  • Number of employees
  • Current maintenance management efforts and tools

Timeline

Your RFP should also contain an overall timeline, from proposal to completion of the implementation. This will help define establish expectations from day one.

Existing Capabilities

Here, explain your team’s technological capabilities and your current infrastructure. What level of skill and bandwidth do you have? Are all systems compatible? What roadblocks have you faced? (i.e. keeping your systems integrated, maintaining system compatibility, adoption? What does your current IT infrastructure include?)

Goals

Discuss what goals you are hoping to meet by implementing a CMMS system. Include key areas where you hope to see improvement. Goals could include information like:

  • The systems you plan on integrating with the CMMS
  • Improved processes and operations, like greater access to important information, better informed decision-making, more comprehensive work orders or improved employee accountability
  • Improved labor utilization using features mobile access, API access, and barcode-enabled workforce tracking
  • Increased asset reliability and asset life due to better tracking or more connected systems
  • Modernized inventory management with asset tracking, automation, and tracking into usage statistics

Software Minimum Requirements

Here, explain what specific features you are looking for from a software. This can include:

  • Systems that the CMMs should integrate with
  • Ease-of-use and who should be able to use it
  • Key modules that need to be included (i.e. a work order management module including device-agnostic mobile capabilities)
  • Technological ease-of-use
  • Key functional objectives and needs when it comes to things like: customer and service request management, maintenance management, resource management, asset management, and field service/mobile
  • Support requirements
Example Requirements:

The software, must at minimum, achieve the following:

  • Ability to integrate with existing programs, including but not limited to SCADA, GIS, financial information system, document management system, CCTV, customer information system and fleet management system.
  • A commercially available, robust, off-the-shelf software that requires minimal customization to implement and maintain.
  • A commercially available, robust, off-the-shelf software that requires minimal customization to implement and maintain.
  • User-friendly mobile applications (iOS and Android).
  • Operates on a highly secured, web-based system or through a SQL Server.

Submission Guidelines

Define what you specifically expect from CMMS vendors. This can include:

  • Requested submission date of proposals
  • Length of proposals and desired format (paper, email, PDF)
  • An explanation of prior experience in the industry or with competitors
  • Standard terms and conditions

Disclaimer

State that you reserve the right to award a contract to the company that will best meet your company’s needs and expectations.

Make sure you’re choosing the best CMMS provider. Download our 10-step eBook to help.