Being the driver of change is not always easy. The status quo is comfortable, it’s easy, its safe and predictable. But in maintenance and reliability almost every company needs change. In a big way. Companies need a change in processes, operations, and culture. But who better to find a solution that the very individuals that deal with the root cause of the problem day in and day out? Too often these front-line workers are not trusted with the solution. There is a gap between the issues the boots on the ground individuals worry about and the issues that managers with buying power worry about. These issues all boil down to the same thing, but they are displayed very differently. Over the years, here is what our customers have found work best to build a foolproof business case for a new solution:
1. Timing the Conversation
With the majority of large enterprises operating on annual budget schedules, we hear all the time that “it’s not in the budget this year.” But the timing piece that many of us overlook is that it actually works really well to pitch your project at the same time as another, much larger related project, even if yours is not in the budget. For example, if your company is planning to do an EAM migration, then the cost of a data cleansing project may only be 3% of the entire cost.
2. Define the Problem
When it comes to master data, defining the problem is actually really hard to do! How big is your data problem? The number one indicator of a data problem we see our customers using is the financial impact of not having criticality indicated. Our best advice would be to pitch your problem based on the balance sheet problems not the maintenance problems. Instead of explaining the sheer number of how many pieces of equipment don’t have criticality, determine what the financial impact of that is. Providing proof of the problem is also important.
3. Determine ROI
Return on Investment (ROI) is not always easy to determine before the project starts, but with your problem defined you already have a good start! Ask your software provider to help you build an ROI case. Same as the above step, you can try pitching from the perspective of a C level executive as opposed to the direct maintenance impacts.
4. Find a Pilot project
Pitch a project that will bring value to your business, with a short-term payoff. Try to find a project that will provide you with some quick wins and help build credibility for the long-term project.
5. Make the Pitch
This point applies to every aspect of life, not just building a business case. If you never ask, then the answer will always be no. If you believe that the solution will make a big difference then fight for it, show your boss you are serious about making a change. A great resource I personally gained a lot of wisdom for is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. This book will strengthen your negotiating skills and provide you usable tactics for how to ask for what you want.
About NRX AssetHub
We provide maintenance and reliability professionals at asset-intensive businesses with world-class software solutions for analyzing, visualizing, building, editing, organizing, approving, and sustaining high-quality Asset and Maintenance Data for their Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Computerized Maintenance Management (CMMS) systems.
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