Reactive Maintenance: Is There A Better Way?


By Katie Torres

The number one cause of over-spending in facilities maintenance is due to unnecessary work orders. 

Unnecessary work orders are directly caused by an overuse of reactive maintenance.

While reactive maintenance is effective in getting repairs made as they happen, it has a few downfalls that are only getting steeper as repair costs continue to rise.

Even smaller companies with few locations and few monthly repairs will begin to see (if they haven't already) the rising costs due to the decline in skilled trade workers.

This means it is all the more important to prevent these unnecessary repairs from ever happening in the first place.

“The companies who go out of business due to these rising costs will be the ones who are blindsided because they were not maintaining for the future, but chose to stay reactive.”


Cutting the unnecessary maintenance costs now will provide a way to be prepared for rising costs in the future.

Constant reactive maintenance does not do this.

And while many of us have heard that preventative maintenance is the way to go, facilities managers still have questions about what steps to take first, and what exactly is necessary to create an effective FM department.

So rather than just list the ways in which preventative maintenance can be achieved, let's also discuss why these things are necessary and how they are beneficial to your company's needs.

People to help...

Communication is the most important aspect to preventative maintenance.

You need to communicate with your team and vendors. You need to communicate details about work orders, data, information on repair history, etc.

Great communication starts with people who know what is needed and can send the message clearly to get the job done.

The right people will help you to find the resources you need to make your FM department better.

Processes for decision making...

Your processes are what will determine the future of your maintenance company. 

This is where you begin to move from reactive maintenance to preventative maintenance.

The processes are what will save you the most time and money when done correctly.

Know where the problems are and who will be in charge of solving them. Know who reports work orders, who approves them, who manages pricing, who your vendors are, etc.

If you're simply dealing with work orders as they come without running them through already-planned-out processes, you are wasting time and losing money.

Don't do more work than is necessary.

Technology that informs and frees you up...

You've heard that you need to have maintenance management software...but, why?

How do you apply this software to your processes, and how does it meet the needs of your company?

Technology is what informs your processes and gives your people the time and resources necessary to complete the work.

Great software shows you the data and information you need to prevent unnecessary repairs. It helps you complete the necessary work orders to the highest standard.

Asset tracking and management, as well as repair history and data, give you the ability to make repairs while cutting back on unnecessary costs.

Basically, technology connects you to people who can provide you with the information you need to save time and money.

Why it matters...

At the end of the day, you want to make decisions that will help your company grow and help your FM department stay effective, while being cost-efficient. 

If you are thinking about investing in maintenance software or improving your current processes but are unsure about how it applies to your FM department, ask us! 

We'd love to help you find the best solutions for your FM department. Schedule a free demo for more help.

Whether or not you're looking for software right now, the best thing you can do for your FM department is to stay informed and know what your options are so you are not left to only react to problems.

Maintenance Management: Be Both Demanding and Kind


By Katie Torres

You've probably been here: maintenance management can be a struggle. 

The balance in getting vendors to do what we need them to do while still maintaining a positive attitude is not always as easy as we'd like it to be.

When our maintenance department just isn't getting it right, the natural thing to do is to demand better.

Being demanding is a good thing. It causes change and pushes people to grow. But it has to be leveled with kindness.

We're (only) demanding because...

We worry about how we're going to get all the work done well and on time.

We stress about the constant repairs and the money that's being spent unnecessarily.

We wish we had more time to get the important things done but we're too busy chasing fires to get to what we care about most.

So sometimes, we get the demanding part down...but not necessarily the kind part.

“It is possible to be both demanding and kind. My best mentors/leaders have employed both of these characteristics at the same time.”

~ Scott Reyes, CEO at EnvoyFM

It is easier to demand that things get done in the way we want them to when we are stressing over the fact that they're not being done.

And remember...being demanding is not a bad thing.

But what happens when we're also kind?

When we look at the problems within our maintenance departments as opportunities to serve, grow, and help people, we can be kind.

We can start looking at the people on the other side of the work orders as people who we can help.

Managing vendors can go from being a point of frustration to an opportunity to build relationship and make things better.

Instead of saying to a vendor, "get here in four hours or we'll find someone else", we say, "hey man, I need you here in four can we make that happen?"

When we are both demanding and kind, the work gets done. And the people we work with are happier as a result.

Being demanding and kind causes our FM departments to grow and provides us with the opportunity to keep serving others.

It makes things better. It's what we like to call being irrationally helpful.

The Right Time to Start Your Facilities Maintenance Department


By Katie Torres

If you have a new or small business, you may be wondering when the right time is to start your facilities maintenance department.

While the answer may look slightly different for everyone, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to get an idea of when you should start:

  • Does your company have a brand image it's working to develop and maintain?
  • Do you have one or more locations where you have equipment/facilities that need upkeep and management?
  • Do you have people looking to you to make decisions and solve maintenance issues?
  • Do you have employees who need more time to focus on their job, rather than having to spend time fixing broken equipment?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in a position where starting your FM department would be beneficial to your business.

The question then, is, "how?"

Don’t look at the development of your FM department as an extra task on your to-do list, or as an extra expense.

The thing to keep in mind is that your company will look much different one year from now than it does today. 

So, you need to start your FM department to suit your current needs, and build on it as your company grows.

To get started, you'll want to answer a few questions:

Do you have someone managing work orders and tracking assets?

If so, how busy are they with this? If doing so is taking up time and energy they could be using elsewhere, perhaps a management software program would be a good thing to consider for your company.

However you choose to handle the management of work orders and asset tracking, it needs to happen.  Without the proper data, information, and communication, you'll end up with jobs-done-unwell and you'll see an increase in unnecessary spending.

Do you have a centralized location to keep up with work orders?

To save time (and money), you'll want to be sure that work orders and other information are all in one place.

Having scattered information across Excel spreadsheets or in loose paperwork is a sure way to have missed work orders, issues with vendors, problems with invoices, and a myriad of other problems.

This is definitely an area where a centralized location software program will help, no matter how large or small your company may be.

Do you know if you're overspending on maintenance?

Are you paying for unnecessary work orders? Do you know which expenses are unnecessary to your company?

Have you ever paid a vendor to come switch on the circuit breaker, simply because no one thought to check it before placing a work order?

You'll want to pay attention to your processes and procedures, as well as the kind of data and information you have stored on your equipment. This is how you will avoid overspending on maintenance issues.

Once you have all these questions answered, you should have a good idea of when (and how) to get started with developing your FM department.

And one last, important thing: Don't look at the development of your FM department as an extra task on your to-do list, or as an extra expense. Having a well-run FM department directly leads to the improvement of your business, and will save you a ton of time and money as your company grows.

Vendor Compliance and Liability 101


By Katie Torres

Hiring vendors to perform repairs does come with some risks, but these risks can be easily avoided by taking the right steps.

There can be risks such as noncompliance with policies, violation of regulations, loss of data or assets, or even problems with the service itself. 

Compliance and liability is about reducing this risk and keeping great relationship with the vendors who you choose to work with, and it's actually really simple to do with some careful planning and intentionality.

Here are some best practices to reduce risk, and increase the chances of keeping everybody happy.

Every vendor needs to be certified, and have the paperwork to prove it.

Make sure you get their certificate of Insurance and W9. A good maintenance software will track this for you, and can even send automated reminders to your vendor if they fail to provide it within a certain time frame.

So when your vendor is good to go on this front with no questions of certification, it's time to move onto the rest of the plans and policies for compliance and liability. 

Get to know your vendor.

What is their reputation? Are there other companies who can vouch for the kind of work they perform? Ask them about their qualifications. Make sure they share your values and will work according to those values. Find out what their systems and processes are - what is their procedure for arriving on a job site and how do they go about sharing updates?

Identify potential risk.

Know which areas could pose obstacles. Decide ahead of time what the process will be to avoid the problem before it happens, and what you will do in the event that something does go wrong.

Know what the weather will be, what parts need to be ordered, tracking numbers on shipments, etc. When we know all the information, we know what to do to avoid potential failures in the plan.

Set clear expectations

Your processes and procedures must be made clear and simple. If your vendor needs to check in or make notes as he goes, make sure to communicate clearly how this needs to be done. 

You'll also want to set clear expectations in other areas such as:

  • your level of expectation in service
  • what happens in the event that something goes wrong
  • what happens if the vendor cannot complete the job
  • warranties, liability, and other data

Make sure updates are happening often.

Know what's going on. If the vendor has a hard time getting to the site, or parts haven't arrived on time, you need to be updated about it. If a mistake is made and you know about it, it gives you the opportunity to correct the problem.

Of course, getting updates from vendors assumes that the vendor will take initiative in providing this information. That cannot be assumed, and you will have to be intentional about it. Management software helps with this.

Review your processes.

There is always room to improve, and you can never been too intentional about making sure things are squared away.

If you're finding that mistakes are still being made, revisit the processes and procedures. Talk with your vendors and find solutions that will benefit everyone involved.

Overall, vendor compliance and liability can be simple and stress free. As long as you are intentional and know what you're looking for going into a job, you can take the steps to have a great experience and a job well done.

What's Holding You Back From Meeting Your Maintenance Goals?


By Katie Torres

You're concerned about starting because you're busy. 

Because there's cost involved.

Because you don't have everything you need to meet your goals, and everything that's been offered up to this point is just not working.

The truth is...

Time doesn't have to hold you back.

The reason you don't have enough time is because you're spending it unnecessarily on tasks that can be eliminated by having the proper processes and procedures in place.

For example, having someone who can manage your work orders and track your assets for you will provide the information you need while freeing you up to keep working toward your goals as a company.

There is a way to make more time for what's important. 

Money doesn't have to hold you back.

The cost of starting is less than the cost of staying reactive.

You might be hesitant to put money toward building up your processes. But if you don't, you will continue to spend money where you don't need to.

A single unnecessary work order is one too many. Imagine how much extra money you're losing on work orders that could be prevented...

Stop doing that to yourself. Make the smaller investment now that will give you the greatest return and keep you from losing money on constant reactive maintenance.

A lack of resources doesn't have to hold you back.

If you're waiting to take action in your FM department because you don't have the people, processes, software, money, time....whatever it is...

If you're waiting because you don't have these things, there is awesome news for you:

Every obstacle you are concerned about has a solution. It’s just a matter of trusting in the options presented to you to help you overcome the hurdles. 

There are options. There are people who can help you along the path that will create success in your FM department, both now and for the future.

In reality, nothing is holding you back from achieving your company's greatest goals.

Every obstacle you are concerned about has a solution. It's just a matter of trusting in the options presented to you to help you overcome the hurdles.

Facilities Managers: You're Busy, But You Don't Have to Be


By Katie Torres

You're getting ready for the weekend, working hard to tie up the loose ends and finish up that work order that's been causing so much stress over the last week.

You're thinking about the plans you want to make for the weekend and just wondering how on earth you're going to make that happen when you've got needs for repairs ASAP, but you're still not sure how to make them happen.

Now, imagine never feeling like that again.

Think about your biggest, wildest goals. Think about how you'd spend your free weekend (or many free weekends). Think about your goals for your company. What does all of that look like in your head?

Go ahead...I'll give you a minute to visualize this...








Okay. Listen very closely: It's possible.

That's right. 

You don't have to be so busy that it's impossible for you to reach your goals.

The work you do every day to keep your company running does not have to make you so busy that you are unable to do the work necessary to reach your long term goals.

If you are tired of your daily tasks overwhelming you to the point where you are unable to even think about making things better for your future, then you need to start reevaluating your processes.

Make lists. Review your goals. Look at what you're doing now. Figure out what's working and what isn't, decide what you want the most, and take action on it.

When you prioritize in this way, you will find that the tasks you were unnecessarily spending time on will be eliminated.

That means no more unnecessary work orders (and no more paying for them, either).

It means less unexpected breakdowns in equipment.

And, no more being so busy your daily tasks that you are unable to work toward making things better for the future of your company.

At some point, you will be able to go into your weekend without worrying about that one last work order.

And the other possibilities of what you'll be able to accomplish are limitless. 

Facilities Maintenance: Where Are You Overspending?


By Katie Torres

Of all the concerns that FM departments typically have, overspending generally seems to be among the top of the list.

A lot of the problem with this is the inability to pinpoint where exactly those extra expenses are occurring, and how to stop them from popping up.

There are a few key areas where unnecessary maintenance costs crop up, though, and these are the areas you'll want to focus your attention to cut down on unnecessary spending:

Unnecessary work orders for warranty items.

If you warranty has not yet expired, but you don't know this because of poor tracking of data and assets, you will likely find yourself paying to fix or replace items before it is necessary. 

It is essential to have the proper management software to prevent these costs from sneaking up on you. Don't get stuck paying more than necessary simply because you didn't have the information on hand to make a decision. 

Unnecessary work orders for issues that could have been resolved by checking power supply or settings before calling out a vendor.

Calling a vendor may seem like the right thing to do when something is broken. But sometimes, it isn't.

There are times when all that is necessary is to switch on the circuit breaker, or check the settings on the temperature control for your cooler. 

You might find that less things are broken than simply needing some small adjustments, and you'll save yourself the expense of calling someone to do it for you.

Unnecessary breakdowns of equipment or mechanical systems because store personnel are not cleaning or taking care of your equipment and facilities as they should.

We see this a lot with fryers, with grease buildup and lack of proper upkeep. 

Avoid the extra work orders by making sure your equipment is being properly cleaned and maintained. It really can be as simple as wiping down equipment daily, and it will save you hundreds (if not thousands) down the road.


Reduce Unnecessary FM Costs By Focusing On These 2 Areas


By Katie Torres

What would happen if you were to find out that a good number of your current expenses in facilities maintenance are actually unnecessary costs to you and your company?

What would you do differently to make sure you were not spending more than you had to?

And, what would you do with the money you saved once you were able to avoid the extra costs?

Sometimes, it can seem like a long shot to start saving, especially with repairs having to be made continuously.

But if you're looking to change that pattern, here are the two areas you'll want to start focusing on more:

Process Improvement Savings 

What is your usual procedure for equipment failures? 

Most people usually react to these situations. Something breaks, and then they pick up the phone to find someone who can fix it for them.

This works fine until you see that the equipment keeps breaking, work orders keep piling up, and you find yourself in a pattern of reacting rather than acting on the problem to prevent it from happening in the first place.

So what can you do differently to break the pattern?

At Envoy, we do this a couple ways: first is asking what we're doing that technology could be doing for us. And the second is using processes (like not-to-exceed amounts) to control cost, and software to reduce the administrative burden.

Doing these things helps us to stay focused on our top priorities so we're not wasting time and money on things that can be done with better processes in place.

Maintenance Management Optimization 

Software not only helps to save time; it also provides us with the tools we need to make data driven decisions, helping to cut down on costs.

It gives the ability to keep track of repair history data, which helps to make better equipment and material purchasing decisions.

Our work order management software also provides us with communication and organization. We can send and receive updates throughout the entire work order process, from start to finish.

This means we know exactly what's going on at every step of the process. We are able to communicate this information quickly and effectively, and we're not left to chase after information.

Having the right technology and processes will help you save time, make the best decisions, and ultimately cut down on the cost for your facilities maintenance program.

Facilities Maintenance: Eliminating the Frustration


By Katie Torres

I spent some time this morning editing some drafts for blog posts, and I noticed something:

Over and over again, I saw the word, "frustration".

I noticed that I use this noun more than any other noun when trying to convey the message about obstacles within facilities maintenance.

And honestly, I was a little...well...frustrated about that.

You see, the reason I get so sick of using the word, "frustration" (aside from the fact that it is overused and makes for poor writing), is because it gets discouraging having to use that word so often to describe facilities maintenance. 

Maybe you feel this way too.

Perhaps you're going to work every day, frustrated about the problems your FM department is running into and wondering how to make it better.

You're seeing the work orders piling up, the mistakes being made, and the money that leaves you faster than you can type out "ETA".

You're sick of being frustrated.

And the truth is, facilities maintenance should be anything but frustrating.

It should be a point of pride for any FM department, knowing they are the backbone of the company, keeping everything running smoothly.

This is why Envoy does what we do. It is the reason we are so interested in being helpful to the people on the other side of the work order. 

We know that facilities maintenance is not just about fixing things; it's about helping people. It's about making sure that businesses succeed; helping people to go home at the end of every day, knowing they can look forward to a better day when they come back in the morning.

Your FM program can be one that is informed, proactive, and effective. It can also be a source of excitement and pride when the job is done well. 

Start making decisions today to eliminate the frustration.

The Number One Cause of Overspending in Facility Maintenance


By Katie Torres

If you were to name your single greatest obstacle with running your facilities maintenance program, what would it be?

We're willing to bet that overspending would be near the top of your list, and one of the areas you are most interested in making a change.

The first step in making that change is to find out where the overspending is happening, so you can stop the problem before it occurs.

Overspending happens for many different reasons, but the number one cause of this is due to unnecessary work orders.

And unnecessary work orders happen when there is a lack of asset tracking and detailed work order history on the equipment at your locations. 

Having the right management software can fix this.

Without a work order history and asset tracking, you are making uninformed decisions for your equipment and facilities, and you're spending money on unnecessary repairs.

But with a great software program, you have the ability to keep track of important data like repairs and spending, and to communicate quickly and effectively so no detail is missed.

You will have a complete history of repairs on your equipment, which means you are not guessing about when the last repair was made or when the next one needs to happen. So, you won't be spending extra on repairs before it's time.

You also know exactly what equipment you have, along with information on warranties and parts. So you won't be spending money on new equipment before your warranty is up, and you'll know exactly what you need when repairs are necessary.

If you're currently looking for great management software, you can find out more here

When you have the time, communication, and information you need to make decisions for your FM department, you will make a huge cut in overspending.