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



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?)



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



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


Work Order

Produces an easy-to-use work order that allows future conversion to bar codes and other improvements to technology.

YES. Every work order printed out contains a bar code that can be scanned into the system to look up the work order.


Work order classifies all work by some kind of repair reason code: PM, corrective, breakdown, management decision, etc.

YES. Work orders may be categorized by ‘Type’ which is a data-driven field consisting of work order types such as Preventive, Corrective, Routine, Capital Improvement, etc. You may add as many different work order types to the list and then use the Reports button to generate a work order list by type.


Provides an easy way for a single person or designated group in maintenance to screen work orders entered by customers before authorization that work can begin.

YES. We offer a flexible security module (Access Groups) where you can set up individuals to have access to approve work orders without authorization or to require approval before work orders are assigned.


Prints up-to-date lockout procedure on all work orders automatically.

YES. Use the ‘Work Order Status’ report to view history of downtime for any or all of the equipment in the facility for any given period of time. You may also print a report of all work orders that have been identified as using a ‘lockout/tagout’ procedure.


Automatically costs work orders.

YES. Select a user-defined problem code that has a procedure associated with it, and the work order will automatically be populated with the task sheet, labor and material estimates. You can even go further and link an individual (as opposed to a craft) to the procedure and it will automatically assign the work; creating essentially a “one-click work order”.


Provides status of all outstanding work orders.

YES. There are several ways to get this view in the system. The very first screen in the MRO WorkCenter displays all open work orders. You can also filter the list by Closed, My Open Assignments, All Open PMs, Issued, etc. There are also several reports you can print out to display all open work orders sorted by department, craft, repair center, tenant and more.


Records service calls (who, what, when, where, how) which can be printed in a log format with automated time/date stamping.

YES. The Service Requester application performs all of these functions. Requesters can log in, submit new work orders and track the status of the work orders real-time as they move through the system.


Allows operations people, tenants or facility users to have access to the system to find out what happened to their work request.

YES. The Service Requester displays the status of every work order the requester has submitted, who was assigned to complete the work and the labor outcome.


Records backlog of work and displays it by craft.

YES. See #6 above.


Work orders can be displayed or printed very easily.

YES. There is a print button on the bottom of each work order. You can also print all work orders from a single report.


The system facilitates labor scheduling with labor standards by task, ability to sort, and re-sort the open work orders by location of work, craft and other ways.

YES. Drag and drop labor scheduling makes it very easy to visually track the who, what, when and where of each individual work order. Use the labor/craft lookup to find employees, contractors and vendors by craft or location. You may also search for a labor record by name, company, zip code, city, state or even user-defined fields.


Records changes to inventory (receipts, chargeouts, physical inventories).

YES. There is a ‘Materials’ section on each of the work orders which links directly to the Inventory and PO Modules.


Does the storeroom part of the system have part location to help the mechanic or store keeper find infrequently used parts?

YES. Every inventory item may be found in one or several different stock rooms. Within these stock rooms, the part may be located in a bin # and lot #.


Can the system generate a parts catalog by type of part, vendor with yearly usage to facilitate blanket contract negotiation?

YES. This data is currently being tracked and a report can be built to output this information.


Does the system recommend stock levels, order points, order quantities?

The system will notify you when inventory items reach user-defined ‘Reorder Points’. However, it will not recommend stock levels, order points or order quantities.


Maintenance History and Reporting

Maintains maintenance history that is detailed enough to tell what happened.

YES. Work orders remained in the system for future reference as ‘Closed’ status. Thus, they will not display in the default filtered work order list, but they are available for reference.


Provides information to track the service request-maintenance work order issue-work complete-customer satisfied cycle.

YES. Every work order may be accompanied with a user-defined survey. These questions are in the form of Yes/No or Multiple Choicex and the results may be viewed real-time within the MRO WorkCenter.


Provides reports for budgets, staffing analysis, program evaluation, performance.

YES. Reports can be generated to calculate year-to-date costs and KPIs. Also, upon request the system will create work order projections for any given period of time in the future (based on the PM schedule).


Is able to isolate all work done (sort, arrange, analyze, select, or list) by work order, mechanic, asset, building, floor, room, type of equipment or asset.

YES. Completed work orders may be reported on just like the Open Work Orders and be arranged by craft, equipment, location, work order type, etc.


Provides the ability to easily structure ad hoc (on the spur of the moment) reports to answer questions that come up. This is sometimes called a report writer.

YES. There is an integrated report writer; called ‘Reporter’ in the application. Crystal Reports can be used to query from the SQL Server 2000 database.


Has the ability to generate equipment/asset history from birth (installation, construction, or connection) with all major repairs and summaries of smaller repairs.

YES. In the Asset Module, there is a History Tab that lists every work order ever completed and the location change history. When a piece of equipment is moved from one location to another, it does not lose the work order history.


System reports are designed around Pareto principles where the system helps to identify the few important factors and helps you to manage the important few versus the trivial many.

YES. When the software is initially set up, we offer professional services which can help identify these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and create reports to track the values real-time.


Allows operations people, tenants or facility users to have access to the system to find out what happened to their work request.

YES. See #8 above.


System reports on contractor versus in-house work.

YES. Work order reports can be separated by labor type (Employee or Contractor) and printed out.


Provides reports charging back maintenance cost to department or cost center.

YES. Each work order has a ‘Cost’ and ‘Charge’ value for each line item cost which can then be used to create reports that would show how much should be charged back to a Department or Account (cost center).


Has reports with mean time between failures that show how often the unit has been worked on, how many days (or machine hours) lapsed between failures, and the duration of each repair.

YES. Print a report that shows number of failures per asset and the time between each failure. Also, track the amount of downtime that occurred when the piece of equipment failed.


Will the system highlight repeat repairs when a technician needs some help?

YES. There is a report in the system to identify duplicate work orders per labor person.


PM System

Allows mechanics to easily write up deficiencies found on PM inspection tours as planned work to be done. System then automatically generates a planned maintenance work order.

YES. Follow up work can be appended to every work order (PM, Corrective, etc). Thus, there may be several planned maintenance work orders created once the inspection is complete.


Automatically produces PM work orders on the right day, right meter reading etc.

YES. PMs can be set up to automatically create work orders on a schedule basis or by meter value. The other option is to maintain control and have the system simply notify you on the home page that PMs are due.


Is able to display work load for PM for a future period such as a year by week or month by trade.

YES. Create work order projections and print reports from the projections per craft.


Is able to record short repairs done by PM mechanic and actual time spent.

YES. It will track work order time per labor person in hours. You can represent minutes by fractions of an hour.(i.e. 30 minutes =0.5 hours).


Does the system support multiple levels of PM on the same asset, does it reset the clock if the high level is done (if you do a yearly rebuild, does the monthly PM clock get reset?)?

YES. System supports multiple levels of PMs per asset and generates the next scheduled date upon completion of the last PM.


PM's are generated by location by trade to facilitate efficient use of people and minimize travel.

YES. PMs can be generated in groups by repair center. Mass PMs can be generated and maintained by a single parent work order though this is not required.


Allow the input of data from Predictive Maintenance subsystems.



Highlights situations where the PM activity is more expensive than the breakdown.



Are there simple reports that relate the PM hours/materials to the corrective hours/materials to the emergency hours/materials? This will show the effectiveness of the PM program.




Can the system handle 3-4 times more assets that you imagine having?

YES. The software is built on the robust Microsoft SQL Server database engine and can handle large amounts of data.


System has a logical location system to locate assets and where work is done.

YES. Asset and locations are displayed in a hierarchical fashion and provides a simple method of seeing all of the organization’s asset data in one view.


System tracks the warranty for components and flags warranty work.

YES. Each asset record has warranty, vendor and manufacturer information. Reports may be printed out to show warranty due dates and warranties may be updated in bulk used the Warranty Update Tool.


Is easy to use for novices and quick to use for power users.

YES. This is a discretional question, but the primary feedback we get from our users is how simple the system is to use, but robust in it’s functionality.


System integrates or can be integrated to purchasing, engineering, payroll/accounting.

We offer integration as a service to integrate with other backend systems. You may also print reports to update information in other systems.


Can the system easily handle a string PM such as a lube route, filter change route?

YES. The assets in a PM schedule may be set up and printed in a route order.


System runs on standard computer hardware, not some special hardware incompatible with everything else. Is the system compatible with Local Area Networks if it is a PC product?

YES. The product is web-based and requires no additional hardware/software to run the Cloud Version. The On Premise Version uses a standard Microsoft server and may be run over the organization’s LAN.


System vendor has filled out vendor information sheet and has the financial strength to complete the contract (and stay in business for several years).

YES. Maintenance Connection is built on a solid self-sustaining business model.


Does the vendor have software support people, can you easily get through to a person? Is there an 800 number? Once you get through do the people know the product and something about maintenance? Is there an Internet site with technical support, user discussion groups, updates available for downloading, and other useful information?

YES. Each customer has access to phone, chat, and email support. There are several built-in help tools for the end-user and an online knowledge base for Maintenance Connection users.


Can the vendor provide economical, necessary customization? Is this capability in-house?

YES. Upon request.


Does the vendor have a local installation organization?

YES. We utilize trained maintenance professional contractors for On Premise installations. We also have in-house implementation consultants and CMMS trainers.


Are they experienced in the management of installation projects of the size of your facility? Do they have start up experience with projects this size?



Are the vendor's technical people well cross-trained (Software, hardware and reality ware, like how a real building works)? It is important that the computer people have experience with building/facility maintenance.



Has the vendor been in business 5 years or more?

YES. Maintenance Connection was established in 1999.

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