Are You Missing The Root Cause?

Do you spend more time reacting to urgent issues than you do working on important proactive ones?

Facilities maintenance is hectic for the same reason it is a stable industry. There is always something breaking. Your line of work brings a seemingly endless supply of work to be done and an inadequate amount of time to get it done. 

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What happens? You work hard. You get things fixed. And then...you do it all over again in an endless cycle?

Breaking the Cycle

The best way to break the cycle of reacting to urgent issues is to carve out a small amount of time to improve the way you manage your work orders as a whole. Building an effective facilities maintenance program is all about decreasing the amount of work orders your stores are generating. 

Step 1

Track all of your work orders. This is especially easy if you already have a work order management software. You want to get at least one month of work order history before you move on to step 2. Make sure you have all of the following information at a minimum.

  • Date requested
  • Location
  • Requestor
  • Trade
  • Scope of work requested
  • Resolution
  • Resolution date
  • Contractor who made the repair

Step 2

Look for stores with a higher frequency of same trade work orders.  Does anything jump out at you? If not, start with any store that has 2 or more same trade issues in a one month period of time. Group all of these work orders into one document. Keep them organized by trade and then by store. This way all of the plumbing jobs are together, and you see how many work orders were at each store in that time frame. If you are dealing with equipment, you should break it down into the piece of equipment under the trade.

Step 3

Dig into the history.  Does it seem like any of the issues have the same root cause? Are any of the work orders related even if they don't have the same description? Is there anything that could be done at the location level that could have prevented the issues? For example, if several pieces of equipment are having issues at the same store you should be asking if your equipment is being cared for properly by the location employees.

Step 4

What processes can you put in place to prevent avoidable work orders? Can you create training for the store employees? Are there any issues you are hiring a vendor to do that the store could be doing? This is your time to create ways to decrease the volume of inbound issues.

Once you build this formula into the way you process work orders, you will find that you are more organized. You will also create time to work on the important proactive items that decrease the amount of amount of urgent inbound work.

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