How Much is Too Much to Spend on Maintenance?

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By Katie Torres

Things break.

No matter what your company does, it either has or will experience the dilemma of having to fix something that has broken, and this will not be limited to a one-time event.

Unfortunately, any way you look at it, these repairs cost money.

So the question many FM managers face is, "how much is too much to spend on this repair?"

How do you decide which vendors are the best for the job, and how do you save the most money, while still getting a repair completed to the highest standard?

Let's start by discussing a few you things you should NOT be spending money on:

1. Unnecessary repairs.

Have you ever been to a mechanic for one problem, and then left with multiple problems that all needed addressing at the same time? Your bill likely ended up being far higher than you had anticipated when you went in.

Sometimes, the repairs are necessary. But many other times, the extra repairs can either wait, or they do not even require attention at all.

The same can happen in facilities, so it is important to be keen on exactly what you have, and what your best options are to make the necessary repairs.

2. Time lost due to disorganization.

Time costs money. If the time is well spent, then this is a good investment. But if the time being spent is time that should spent elsewhere, this is a loss.

The answer to this is to prioritize well. Having great software can help do this. For example, the data that our software provides helps us to prioritize what needs to be done most. It also helps us make the most informed decisions, so that our efforts make the biggest possible difference.

3. Replacing equipment before it's time.

Unnecessary repairs are one thing, and they are very costly. Replacing equipment before it's needed can be even more costly.

It is important to have a detailed work order history on the equipment at your locations, and remain up-to-date on how often asset repairs have been occurring. This also can be done easily with the right software. 

So, how much is too much to spend on maintenance?

In short, it's whatever you're spending that does not have to be spent. Having the right people, processes, and software is an investment. But spending money that doesn't need to be spent, is an expense.

No matter how you look at it, you have to spend money. But it doesn't have to be more than what is necessary.

Have Fun With It

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By Katie Torres

One of the most defining qualities about Envoy is our ability to have fun with our work.

We prioritize fun because we want it to be a part of our culture. In fact, part of the reason Envoy was started was because our founders wanted a place to work where they could also have fun.

But not only does having fun make work better for us, it also helps us to serve others better. Why? Because people love working with happy people.

So we do a few things to ensure that our culture is full of fun.

We don't gossip. 

We don't talk poorly about one another or focus on failures. We avoid the drama.

We do, however, pick on each other.

You know you can have fun when you can both give a joke, and take one too. We love to give each other a hard time every now and then. It provides a good deal of laughter, and even a bit of healthy competition at times.

We don't hold grudges.

If there is a disagreement, we choose to talk about it rather than let the problem go on and get worse over time. And when we do talk about disagreements, we do so with grace. We are patient with one another and seek to make things better, rather than focusing on any points of contention.

We play music, and lots of it.

Our office is often full of great music to keep everyone energized and in a good mood. We're talking about the best artists here; everything from Frank Sinatra to Foo Fighters. 

We are flexible.

We have created a work environment where our employees have the freedom to work from home, but we make it so great that people want to come into the office.

Not only that, but we do everything we can to accommodate so that our employees are working within their interests and skill sets. It means that people are doing what they're great at, and they're more willing to have fun with their jobs.

Simply put, Envoy loves to have fun.

You should make it a point to have fun with your work, too. People love working with happy people. And besides, who doesn't want to be happy in their job?

12 Facilities Maintenance Mistakes Restaurants Make

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By Katie Torres

If you own or operate a restaurant, creating an experience that your customers love is probably at the top of your priorities list.

And when that good experience doesn't happen, your customers are the first to notice.

We've put together a list of 12 mistakes made in restaurant facilities maintenance, so that you can make sure to avoid these pitfalls going into 2018.

1. Lack of landscaping, and burned out lights

Nothing is more unfortunate (or funnier) than a restaurant with just the right letters burned out on the sign, to rename the place into something totally different. Just Google "funny sign burnouts" to see why this is a problem.

2. Not actively maintaining the exterior

Does the siding need to be pressure washed? Or the sidewalk out front? Have the birds made their homes in your sign? (You might not mind so much, unless of course your sign lights up and the bird's nest causes a fire...think it's not possible? Totally is. I know this from experience.) These are important things to take care of.

3. Trash and debris on the restaurant's property

It just doesn't look good, or very inviting. It's worth the time to pick up.

4. Dirty service areas

OSHA has regulations for clean service areas. Water buildup is of special concern, as it can cause injury. Make sure to have sufficient drainage, mats, and platforms to avoid this problem.

5. Bathroom doors that pull in rather than push out

This one may be most often overlooked, because no one really thinks about it until they're the ones having to touch a dirty door handle to get out of the restroom. If you can't swing having a door that pushes out, at least make sure you have paper towels and a trash can so your customers can avoid touching the handle.

6. Run-down parking lots

Potholes, loose gravel, debris in the parking lot...none of it is good news for your customers' vehicles, or for their preferences. Upkeep on parking lots can be pricey, but it's worth the investment to know people won't be turned away by the unsightly exterior of your restaurant. 

7. Dirty equipment

It's hard to imagine that a restaurant would not keep their cooler clean and orderly, or that they wouldn't clean their kitchen stations regularly. But...it happens. And there are some pretty awful horror stories out there to prove it. This leads to unhappy customers, and even health code violations. Keep it clean.

8. Unorganized floor plans, bar setups and table arrangements

Not only does this make for less-than-ideal appearances, it can also complicate the serving process when having to navigate through poor table placements (and other servers who are trying to do the same).

9. Overspending on linens or cleaning services

That table you're covering up? It looks great. No need to spend extra to cover it up, and then pay to have the table cloth cleaned after every use. The table doesn't look great? It might be time to replace the table.

10. Insufficient budget for facilities maintenance

If you're viewing facilities maintenance as an extra expense, then you are accepting every over-spent dollar as the norm. Facilities maintenance, if not already made evident by these points, is extremely important to the success of any restaurant. It's worth the investment.

11.  Inability to negotiate

There are a lot of great vendors out there who would love to serve you well. Make sure you're finding those guys, and negotiating well when someone does give you a number that's just too high. If you need help negotiating these costs, the help of an FM company may be a good option for your restaurant.

12. Purchasing equipment before it's necessary

A great example of this is a fryer that would have lasted much longer, had it been properly cleaned and maintained. Besides proper maintenance work, your restaurant also needs to have data to keep track of past repairs, so you can better determine when they need to happen next.

Starting the New Year off Right with Facilities Maintenance

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By Katie Torres

With the New Year upon us, it's time to start thinking about some ways we can improve our FM departments to ensure a smooth year ahead of us. 

So we took a few key areas that we thought would be most helpful to focus on, and found some solutions to make this happen. 

If you're looking for ways to: adjust to a growing business, save time, and save money, this post is for you. Keep reading as we break these things down to provide you with all the information you need to be successful in the year(s) to come.

1. Save time.

One of the first areas where FM managers find they are losing out on a lot of time, is when dealing with tracking equipment and assets.

This is why we love to ask, "what are you doing that software could be doing for you?"

Having the right software will save you steps by keeping your information organized and available to you when you need it.

For example, the data that our software provides helps us to prioritize what needs to be done most. It also helps us to make informed decisions about what needs to be done, and what our best options are to get the job completed to the highest standard.

Basically, it means less effort on your part, and more opportunity to do what you care about most.

2. Save money.

It's easy to waste money when you don't have a detailed work order history on the equipment at your locations, or when you're not up-to-date on how often asset repairs have been occurring. 

Again, having great software is a great solution to meeting these needs.

Our work order management software has given us the ability to send and receive updates throughout the entire work order process, from start to finish.

For instance, every work order requires price approval which provides our team with the opportunity to discuss repairs, pricing, and catch unnecessary costs before they occur. 

We are able to discuss with our customers about what’s going on with their repairs, before the repair is actually made.

These capabilities help to make sure you're not spending more than is necessary.

3. Eliminate the distractions.

Keeping up with maintenance at multiple locations can be a distraction with endless to-do lists and a headache to come with them.

If your company has been growing over the last year, this may mean some new locations. Or, perhaps you've had multiple locations for a while and are starting to think about how to manage them well with the new year.

If your looking for time to spend on other things, like training team members and developing sales, then it may be worth it to bring on the help of a FM company to manage all of the things that are slowing you down. 

We'd love to be that company for you. You can take a look at our site here. Or, if you're already interested, you can sign up for a one-on-one demo here.

5 Reasons Envoy Will Grow in 2018

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It's been a really great year for Envoy, and we are excited about what this next year will hold. We wanted to take a minute to talk about some of the things we've accomplished, and how we intend on doing even more in the coming year.

We are super proud of our team and we can't wait to give our customers even more reason to feel the same way. 

So, here are five ways we intend on doing just that: 

1. Awesome communication.

Every work order, every day, has our full attention. Does that sound like a lot of work? It is...but with our management software and refined processes, we've made it happen. And we've made it happen so our customers haven't had to, all while keeping them in the loop on the whole process.

2. We're in it to help.

Envoy continues to add people to our team who share our passion in serving our customers. We aim to be irrationally helpful. To us, facilities maintenance is not just about fixing things; it's about helping people. 

3. We're taking 100% ownership.

As Envoy has grown (and continues to grow), there have been growing pains. This has required every member of our team to stretch beyond their comfort zone to accommodate that growth. We have taken on roles that were not necessarily in our job descriptions upon being hired. We have stepped into these roles based on our strengths, and we do what will benefit the company (and our customers) as a whole.

4. Continued growth.

At Envoy, we highly value education. It's why we spend so much time on it, and why we even pay our employees to keep learning more. The investment we make into education continues to pay off in big ways, like, better communication, great negotiation skills, and an overall improvement in individual roles. This all makes for a more efficient team, with better service for our customers.

5. We're having fun.

Truly, we love our jobs. We love being here, helping people, and being a part of something that makes a difference in the lives of others. We love having an atmosphere where we can come into work and have great relationships with our coworkers. We're a group of people who care about the work we do, and we care about each other. But we can also take a joke (or 20) here and there.

As Envoy continues to grow, we will be looking for more people who want to join our team and make things better for the people we serve. If you're going into this next year with the hopes of making a positive change in the world, joining Team Envoy might be a good choice to help you fulfill that New Years resolution.

And if your company's FM department is looking for some positive change in the new year, we'd also like to be the team that helps make that happen for you.

Whether you'd like to apply to join our team, or schedule a time to find out more about how we can help, take a look at our site to learn more.

We're excited to keep turning "irrationally helpful" into a reality. 

Happy New Year from Team Envoy!

Communicate It

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By Katie Torres

Company core values are an absolute necessity for any business. They keep everyone focused and united on goals, and provide a shared common vision for the direction of the company.

On of our own core values is this: Communicate.

We've shared before about some practical ways you can communicate well. In this post, we want to share a few ways we make this happen at Envoy:

1. We make use of technology to communicate well.

We have work order management software which gives us the ability to send and receive updates throughout the entire work order process, from start to finish.

This means we are able to communicate this information quickly and effectively. Our vendors and customers know what's happening at every step of the way, and no one has to chase after information.

2. We give each other updates before they are asked for.

Not only do we do this with our vendors and customers, but we do this with each other as well.

If we have a task to complete, this looks like us giving updates on that task before they are due. We stay in close communication with each other about what we're working on so no chance is missed to get the task done well.

If we see a piece of information that would benefit the company or those we serve, we share it with the team promptly, so the information can be used to help us grow.

3. We set up our processes with the focus of increasing communication with our vendors. 

Every work order requires price approval which provides our team with the opportunity to discuss repairs, pricing, and catch unnecessary costs before they occur. 

We are able to discuss with our customers about what’s going on with their repairs, before the repair is actually made.

Because we discuss everything beforehand, all information is communicated in such a way that our customers can make the best possible decisions because they know what their options are.

Communication is a necessary piece to achieving goals and accomplishing tasks. How will your team leverage communication to move your own business forward?

How Technology Frees Us to Be More Human

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By Katie Torres

What are you doing today that software could be doing for you?

We constantly ask this question, because we believe that good technology is the key to increasing productivity, reaching goals, and being free to do what we love.

We love technology because it removes the repetitive tasks and endless to-do lists. 

We want to be irrationally helpful. But in order to do this, we have to eliminate the extra steps and simplify our processes. 

Our software prevents headaches and stress by doing the things that make us wish we had more hours in a day. With the right software, we are never left wishing we had more time to to reach goals, and be the most helpful company we can be.

We love technology because it simplifies the processes, and helps us focus on key areas. 

For example, our dashboard lets us know which work orders need our immediate attention.

The data that our software provides helps us to prioritize what needs to be done most. It also helps us to make informed decisions about what needs to be done, and what our best options are to get the job completed to the highest standard.

We love technology because it saves time and improves communication.

Our work order management software has given us the ability to 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.

All of these things save us a great deal of stress, and free us up to be more efficient.

In short, we love technology because it frees us to be more human.

Taking One Hundred Percent Ownership

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By Katie Torres

Every member on a team has the responsibility of moving the team forward.

When all members apply this understanding to their roles within the company, great things happen.

We call this taking one hundred percent ownership. And these are a few ways we do that:

1. We tell the truth.

Before our team or customers even have the chance to ask us a question, we choose to be honest, share information freely, and tell it like it is.

If we are having a hard time overcoming an obstacle, we don't just ignore the problem. We meet together, talk it out, and find the solution to keep moving forward.

2. We take responsibility for mistakes, and work to make it better.

If there is a problem or a misunderstanding, it does not help to place the blame on someone else.

We ask, "what went wrong? What part of this can we take responsibility for so that this does not happen again?"

And then when we have the answer, we act with the solution.  

2. As our team grows, we recognize the importance of communication to help us take ownership over our roles.

We meet often to discuss what is working, what's not working, and what needs improvement.

We make lists and prioritize what needs the most attention, and assign roles to our team to work on finding solutions to the problems.

Taking ownership does not always mean that a mistake has been made or that something has gone wrong.

It simply means that each individual on a team is constantly working to keep moving forward, and is taking responsibility for the growth of the company.

We hope to be that kind of company.

 

Keep Growing

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By Katie Torres

No matter what point we are at in life, the only option for us is to keep moving forward.

This same is true for our companies. 

Anything that has happened up to this point cannot be changed, and staying where we are will only work for a short time before we start falling behind. 

So, our option is to keep growing. Here's how:

1. Keep learning.

At Envoy, we have invested time and finances into the continued education of our team.

We have a book club, weekly online courses through LinkedIn Learning, and the chance to take responsibility for finding solutions to problems.

We value education because we know it is the way we will keep moving forward, and open doors of opportunity.

2. Have fun.

Creating actively engaged employees who are passionate about company growth requires employees who are happy about their jobs.

We do everything we can to make our company a place where people are naturally excited about their jobs.

For us, this looks like having a space where people can work from home if they need to, but creating an office atmosphere that makes them want to come in to work.

We spend time together, celebrate birthdays and holidays together, and have prizes when our team members actively live out our company values. Yeah, we have fun.

3. Do your best to help team members into roles that match their strengths. 

Facilities maintenance may not necessarily sound like a fun job to many. But we are excited about it, in part, because we are doing what we're great at.

Within every job are specific roles. Making sure that employees are working according to their strengths will help them feel that they are contributing and making a difference.

When people are good at what they do, they tend to want to do more of it.

4. Focus on helping others.

Your company can never be just about you and your team, and making profit. 

We focus on helping others because that is what we're here for. Really, that is what any company is here for: to serve its customers.

When you focus on serving, people take notice. Serving well builds trust and relationships. And this also leads to having a growing and successful business.

Keep being intentional about the continued growth of your company. 

Simplifying Work Order Completion

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By Katie Torres

You know those games where you have to guess how many marbles are in a jar and the winner gets a prize?

I have a similar game to play. Here's the question: How many steps do you think it takes to complete the average work order?

Is it five? Ten? Fifteen? Quick, think.

The actual answer is 40. Forty. It takes 40 steps, on average, to complete a work order.

If you guessed it right, I apologize but there is no prize. Just the shock of how much actually goes into work order completion.

But, it does not have to be this way.

Envoy has worked hard to bring that 40 steps down to just 6. 40 steps for one repair is entirely far too much, and we think you'd agree. 

Here's how we did it:

We built a software tool to simplify the process.

We asked the question, “What are we doing that software can do for us?” What could automation provide for us, so that we would be free to make decisions and communicate with our customers?

With the dramatic reductions in steps that we have accomplished, our individual Account Managers are able to handle hundreds of work orders a week. That's not something one person could do if it was still taking 40 steps per work order. 

We built in ETA reminders to keep work orders up to date and moving forward.

When our vendors accept a work order, they set an ETA. Our system sends out a reminder to the vendor every four hours if the ETA has not been set, or if they have missed it.

Our IVR ensures jobs are getting done on time, and helps us to make sure vendors are complying with customer processes.

We set up our processes with the focus of increasing communication with our vendors.

Every work order requires price approval which provides our team with the opportunity to discuss repairs, pricing, and catch unnecessary costs before they occur. 

We are able to discuss with our customers about what’s going on with their repairs, before the repair is actually made.

We continually work to improve our technology, and we ask for feedback from vendors and customers to see how to better serve them with our software.

By shortening the steps it takes to complete work orders, we keep costs down, reduce time spent on repairs, and increase the data we have on each repair. 

Technology improves communication and the level of service to our customers.

Learn more about it here.