5 Steps Towards Achieving Effective Building Maintenance Strategy
If you were to ask most owners today whether they have a well-laid out corporate strategy, they are likely to confirm that they do. However, if you asked them about their building maintenance strategy, the answer may not be so straightforward.
Although modern businesses are becoming more aware of the potential impact of maintenance on their bottom line and overall performance, many still struggle with formulating an appropriate and effective building maintenance strategy.
The immediate and long-term returns on building maintenance are numerous. They range from lowering operational costs to minimizing on-site emergencies. So, how do you get as many of these benefits as possible in your building? By taking the time to approach building maintenance in an organized and strategic manner.
Below, we look at five major steps to take for an effective building maintenance strategy and the considerations required at each stage.
1) Define your maintenance vision
To start, chart a clear course for your organization’s maintenance efforts. Getting where you want to go requires that you assess and identify the major problem areas that could hinder your progress along the way.
The best way to ensure success is to break down the larger vision into smaller goals. Each goal should:
● Address a specific problem.
● Have an accompanying timeline.
● Be structured for easy performance measurement (it can be tracked with a certain maintenance metric).
Some examples of maintenance goals would be:
● Reducing equipment downtime by 50% in 6 months.
● Increasing mean time between failures (MTBF) by 50% in 12 months.
In other words, consider, choose, and document your maintenance key performance indicators (KPIs), bearing the vision in mind. Doing this will quickly help drive your activities in the desired direction, eliminate a lot of uncertainties, and save you from wasted efforts.
2) Get everyone on-board with the change
In many organizations, it’s a common practice to restrict strategy formulation to only the higher executive levels. This would be a huge mistake when strategizing for maintenance management because building maintenance is a mainly hands-on endeavor. You will need to get the buy-in, support, and contribution of the people handling the systems – like your maintenance team. If not, you’ll likely end up with strategy execution problems.
Why? Your maintenance staff will be less inclined to fully commit to executing it if they had no part in creating it, and their concerns were not discussed during the formulation process. Generally, for any business strategy to succeed, employees must:
● understand it.
● see that it will improve their jobs
● own their role in strategy execution
To create a more inclusive and comprehensive building maintenance strategy, get feedback from as many levels in your organization as possible.
3) Outline tactical plans
By this point, you should have a clear picture of which of the maintenance strategies would be most suitable for your organization. In line with modern best practices, it’s advisable to choose one, or a combination, of the proactive maintenance strategies such as preventative maintenance, condition-based maintenance, or predictive maintenance.
Whichever route you choose, proactive maintenance strategies can help to keep maintenance costs down in the long term and significantly reduce the number of emergencies encountered in your buildings.
That said, now is the time to address tactical planning by translating your strategic goals into detailed short-term plans. This where you map out your resource allocation and utilization. Document the details of the what, how, and when of your maintenance activities. Ensure that you cover the following during this step:
● Creating an annual maintenance plan.
● Optimal maintenance and safety policies.
● Day-to-day operational planning and scheduling.
● Deliverables for your workforce, contractors, and other stakeholders in your organization.
4) Use CMMS to schedule and track maintenance work
By the end of the previous step, you would have identified the expected day-to-day maintenance tasks for your team. But, for medium and large-sized organizations, the maintenance department may be responsible for dozens daily tasks. Trying to schedule and execute all of them, and still monitor every equipment under their care is impossible to pull off manually.
This kind of challenge is one of the reasons why computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) were created. A CMMS simplifies the process of:
● Plotting maintenance plans for hundreds of jobs.
● Prioritizing, organizing, and managing maintenance schedules.
● Generating, assigning, reviewing, and tracking work orders from start to finish.
● Managing maintenance tickets.
Overall, using a CMMS is a key component for achieving an effective building maintenance
5) Implementation and execution
Unfortunately, many companies go through all the previous steps discussed above and yet they do not achieve the expected long-term results. Or, they achieve a few improvements that don’t last. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this section, we’ll discuss all the actions required to effectively put the elements of your maintenance strategy into place:
● Ensure that the required resources (labor, funds, tools, etc) are in place, that there is leadership commitment and support, and that you have communicated to all parties well beforehand what is expected of them.
● Define in detail the new processes, roles, and responsibilities. Also plan for and expect some initial resistance from your staff especially if you are introducing a lot of new policies.
● Make the necessary arrangements for staff training and don’t be in a hurry for staff to catch up. It’s better to slow down the process a bit and get it right.
● Roll out your schedules and begin testrunning the agreed maintenance tasks. You can run pilot projects and test different maintenance strategies on a few select assets to get a proof of concept and ease the transition to a proactive mindset.
● Leave room for feedback from staff and start conducting assessments early enough so that any initial problems are caught quickly.
● Use CMMS to plan, track, and manage maintenance work. It is the only way to stay in control of your maintenance efforts and schedules on larger buildings.
● Keep monitoring your KPIs and metrics to ensure that your planning & scheduling process work. If the numbers aren’t improving, something needs to be adjusted.
Achieving an effective building maintenance strategy is a lot of work. However, the rewards are transformational – lower operational costs, fewer safety issues, and improved productivity across the organization.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.