Creating a Culture of Healthy Facility Maintenance

Take a moment to think about your facility maintenance program. How long is your maintenance backlog? Do you have enough resources to make it through the next quarter? Are stakeholders threatening to cut your budget, and if not, how are you managing the budget?

If you cannot answer these questions immediately, or if you are unable to access the information within five minutes, your facility maintenance program may be following an unhealthy path. It is not your fault; it's the result of a culture of reactive maintenance, the status quo. Facilities Managers often face insurmountable odds in managing the budget against needs. However, creating a culture of healthy facility maintenance by understanding the limitations of traditional programs, the effect of modern programs on guest experiences, and a few steps to create a healthy program will help Facilities Managers do more with less and achieve end-to-end visibility in a consumer experience-driven department.

Why Do Existing Facility Maintenance Programs Fall Short?

As explained by Steve Wallis of Facility Executive, three types of maintenance programs exist, including reactive, preventive and predictive maintenance strategies. These programs have stark differences and impact capital spend in unique ways.

Reactive maintenance is the simplest approach, but it is also the costliest in the long-term view of facilities management. It requires Facilities Managers ignore needs until the problem results in a disruption to routine activities. For example, failure in the HVAC system becomes noticeable, and the need is added to the maintenance backlog. Unfortunately, the backlog only grows in size as many failures may be the result of cascading failures within an individual asset. Given the HVAC example, failure may have been prevented through preventive maintenance servicing.

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Preventive maintenance programs are great; they allow for a temporary supervision of an asset that’s based on a schedule. However, even scheduled maintenance programs may result in missed opportunities for repairs. If an HVAC begins to malfunction due to a hidden component problem, it may not become evident until the entire unit fails.

Healthy Facility Maintenance Programs Enhances Guest Experiences

Preventive maintenance is a form of proactive maintenance. It is comparable to seeing a doctor routinely to prevent illness. In the facilities management view, preventive maintenance checks assets for problems frequently, but things go wrong. Instead of waiting for an emergency to occur, Facilities Managers can further enhance the health of assets by providing an ongoing means of tracking asset performance.

Going back to the previous example, imagine using a Fitbit to track average heart rate. This information is logged in an app and transmitted back to a doctor. Instead of waiting until the next visit, the doctor can monitor changes in rhythm remotely and contact the person before a major disruption occurs.

In a sense, healthy facility maintenance programs are based on effective, ongoing communication between facility assets (the patients) and Facilities Managers (the doctors). This level of communication, based on the ability to track and manage data regarding asset performance, reports Yaniv Vardi of Facility Executive, is the archetypal step to successful, proactive facility maintenance.

Best Practices to Create a Culture of Healthy Facility Maintenance

Keeping facility assets in great condition demands more than just sensors scattered in a few places; it is a dedicated practice of accessing, reviewing, analyzing, and acting upon information for all facility assets and needs around the clock. As explained by American Heating Company, some of the integralities of a healthy facility maintenance program include:

  • Tracking meaningful performance metrics, such as energy consumption, air flow deltas in HVAC units, average runtime, vacancy runtime, a ratio of new to older assets, and budget used versus remaining for a given period.
  • Prioritizing maintenance needs. Prioritizing issues helps Facilities Managers address needs based on impact, not just when they occur. Thus, Facilities Managers can reduce facilities spend without sacrificing facility health or disrupting guest experiences.
  • Standardizing facilities processes. Standardized processes include following a set path for reporting and addressing all maintenance needs. This might include using a dedicated computerized maintenance management system and ensuring all staff members know how to enter and follow-through on work order creation and closing. Also, standard processes help to set expectations and establish a chain of accountability in reporting and addressing all maintenance needs.
  • Managing supply inventory. Having the right tools and inventory necessary to maintain facilities is key to reducing delays in maintenance. However, Facilities Managers cannot realistically keep one extra piece for all assets and needs in a facility. This is why more organizations choose to outsource facilities maintenance and leave the responsibility of managing supplies in the hands of third-parties, like QSI Facilities. Of course, some supplies, such as cleaning supplies, should be kept on-site. Yes, janitorial services are considered a maintenance need!

Choose QSI Facilities to Help Move Your Maintenance Culture in the Right Direction

A healthy facilities maintenance program will reduce facilities spend and streamline management activities. Fewer disruptions to guest experiences will lead to greater profitability, which trickles down to more funding for facilities management. It a win-win for all parties involved, so what are you waiting for? Visit QSI Facilities online or call 1-888-328-2454 today to start planning your healthy facility maintenance strategy.

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