The Guide to Facilities Maintenance for Managers

Facilities maintenance for managers has always been a difficult topic. It’s a feast or famine predicament in terms of budget, and when things break, all too often the problem is left on the backburner. However, changing narratives surrounding facilities maintenance can have a drastic impact on costs of repairs, as well as the experiences of guests. Furthermore, the typical maintenance costs for facilities depend on the type of facility. Also, the costs of maintenance must consider equipment costs, inventory to repair the issue, labor hours, overtime hours, potential downtime, impacts to employee performance, and more. To stay competitive, facilities managers need to understand the problem with poor maintenance strategies and how proactive maintenance can boost profitability and lower total cost of ownership. 

What’s the Problem With Poor Maintenance Strategies?

Everything! For organizations that recognize the waste of reactive maintenance, not to mention its high costs—rising to more than the squared value of the original repair, the opportunities for better facilities maintenance for managers through proactive measures are clear. 

For example, the cost of repairing a single minor asset may cost $200, but if that item falls to the bottom of the maintenance backlog, it will gradually attain a cost to repair or replace the asset in question of at least $4,000. Since facility managers seem to continuously battle budget restrictions, reactive maintenance is the worst way to avoid added costs. 

In addition, reactive maintenance could contribute to disruptions for building occupants, leading to massive delays in employee performance, such as the shutdown of a factory floor or even an inability to serve customers until a repair is complete. 

What Are the Benefits of Proactive Maintenance?

Using proactive maintenance is an excellent approach to keeping the budget under control and finally avoiding the need to continuously put out fires. In fact, JLL found that the return on investment of preventive maintenance of facilities can surpass 545%, but even still, today’s facility managers have a greater opportunity to push the limits of maintenance costs and potential returns. Additional benefits of proactive maintenance include more visibility into total cost of ownership, fewer risks for guests or building occupant injury, validation of equipment runtime, and more. Using a CMMS to further track maintenance gives way to predictive maintenance scheduling opportunities, recognizing when the data-streams of energy use and function exceed thresholds and indicate a potential asset failure before an actual disruption occurs. 

How Can Organizations Take Advantage of Proactive Facilities Maintenance for Managers?

This is among the most complex aspects of a proactive maintenance program. The best practices for proactive maintenance include:

  1. Increasing the field service vendor base by outsourcing and networking service needs to larger organizations that have already vetted and located available field service vendors. 
  2. Track all hours of maintenance performed, as well as parts’ costs, to determine the actual maintenance cost versus the costs of reactive maintenance—the “run until it breaks” plan. 
  3. Using sensors, collect data on asset performance, and use those same devices to validate maintenance completion and improvements in performance. 
  4. Leverage a CMMS that automatically generates work orders, routes requests to available vendors, works in real time, and relies on a centralized control tower to reduce delays and avoid disruptions. 
  5. Automate preventive maintenance scheduling further by implementing dynamic workflows that consider the impact of descriptive, predictive, and preventive analytics to maximize asset performance. 
  6. Always remember the outside of the building too, using elemental sensors to better assess the state of the building’s roof, windows, siding, and grounds. 
  7. Use motion sensors and times to control asset function during vacancy hours or lulls throughout the day. 
  8. Recommission facility assets with wireless sensors to collect more data.
  9. Devise a facilities asset maintenance playbook, containing relevant warranty, model, serial number, and year information for all assets, as well as the costs and ages at which replacement would be more beneficial than continued repair. 

Effective Facility Managers Recognize Proactive Maintenance Always Wins

There will always be instances where proactive maintenance cannot stop disruption. If a vehicle accident goes through the front door, disruptions occur. But, for all the intrinsic factors in building asset performance and use, proactive maintenance can go a long way in keeping the budget under control, eliminating the maintenance backlog, and transforming facilities maintenance for managers from a cost center to profit center. 

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb