How does your organization approach facilities management? If you are unsure about facilities spending or volume of work on the deferred maintenance backlog, you are likely relying on a reactive facilities management approach. Reaction is unavoidable in facilities management. Things go wrong. However, facilities managers can work to reduce the amount of reactionary maintenance and management by taking a proactive approach. Since these topics can be confusing, facilities managers should start by understanding more about the differences and benefits of proactive facilities management versus reactive response.
The Problem With Reactive Facilities Management
Reactive facilities management requires something to go wrong before getting the attention of the facility manager. The facility manager only reacts to an event. As explained by Jeannea Jones of MultiBrief, reactive management relies on the status quo; this “run until it breaks” approach is crisis-based, and since most equipment problems are only the end-result of a series of small issues, additional undetected problems may exist that would require repair. As a result, the problem is placed on the maintenance backlog and deferred until a future date, when the financial impact can be absorbed.
This is the reactive maintenance paradox: as problems go unaddressed, the cost to repairing them multiples. For example, what seems like a relatively insignificant simple $20 repair can quickly becomes a $400 problem when deferred, increasing the total cost, reducing efficiency and potentially impacting the guest experience and brand image in a negative way.
Why Proactive Maintenance is a Better Approach to Facilities Management
Proactive facilities management turns reactive response upside-down. It uses information to identify potential problems before they arise. Unlike the firefighting of reactive maintenance, proactive facility managers actively look for issues that could result in future disruptions. If a problem is discovered, the manager can address the issue before a negative consequence occurs.
As explained by EISEverywhere.com, facilities managers looking to take advantage of proactive facilities management need to start by assessing the current management style in their organization: do they use a proactive or a reactive approach?
How to Recognize Proactive Versus Reactive Facilities Management
Indicators of a reactive management program include chaotic execution of work responsibilities, frequent equipment failures, excess downtime of equipment, delays in service and maintenance calls, and gradual worsening of the efficiency of critical equipment.
Indicators of a proactive management program, on the contrary, include organized execution of work responsibilities, fully functional equipment and building components, longer life expectancy of critical equipment, greater cost savings in maintenance, faster response times to service and maintenance calls, upgraded facilities, improved preventative maintenance, established work flow using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and detailed reporting, measuring of facilities management metrics and overall health of the facilities.
Know the Difference Between Proactive and Reactive Facilities Management, and Get Your Team on Track
The benefits of a proactive facilities management program include savings of up to 18 percent over a reactive facilities management strategy and can significantly extend the useful life of critical equipment.