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Better Preventive Maintenance Helps Stretch District Budgets

Large organizations like school districts have a challenge in maintaining the physical facilities that serve students in their communities. Most districts have a lot of buildings (not just schools) to maintain, often on budgets that fluctuate with legislative mood and with systems that are often outdated and inefficient. To compensate, administrators are forced to find ways to save wherever they can, and one place to find significant savings is in maintenance budgets, where preventive measures can extend the life of equipment and reduce repair budgets.

How Preventive Maintenance Achieves Savings

The principle cost savings for school districts performing preventive maintenance on their facilities, equipment and even vehicle fleets comes from the reduction in repairs on neglected systems. A major failure in the heating and air conditioning system, for instance, at a middle or elementary school could force a school district to cancel classes until the building is habitable for students, introducing the costs of extending the school year to make up the time, not to mention the added expense of repairs above and beyond the costs of periodic maintenance for the system.

Regularly scheduled preventive inspections and servicing can also extend the life of certain district facilities and their equipment. Properly maintained vehicles need fewer repairs and have better gas-mileage. Extending the lifespan of a roof can delay replacement costs of tens of thousands of dollars. And a well serviced HVAC system uses significantly less energy to heat and cool a building. The cost savings start to add up over time, and it’s not just from repairs avoided or life-cycles of equipment extended.

Savings through Automated Maintenance Scheduling

Part of preventive cost-reduction lies in the systems you’re using to organize and track all maintenance-related tasks, which can introduce time and labor inefficiencies in and of themselves. Automated preventive maintenance eliminates a lot of the handling that typically happens within a custodial organization. All of these things can add up to several minutes of work saved by individual people in the maintenance office workflow. A few minutes per person can start to add up to extra hours of handling time simply due to the inefficiency of the maintenance scheduling software you’re using.

On a completely digital system, the work order is accessible to anyone who needs it, without needing to track down a paper document. Facilities managers can track work orders related to a specific facility, categorize them by department or even pull up all orders for an individual project. That makes it much easier to assess, at a glance, where resources are beings spent and where possible improvements can be made. With cloud-based facility maintenance software, staff can access work orders from mobile devices from any facility without worrying about connecting to a local Wi-Fi network.

Feedback with customers can be automated, too, ensuring that the work has been accomplished or checking back for additional problems through an email instead of a phone call. This can reduce the amount of time your staff spends on handling customer service over all, cutting down significantly the amount of time spent per task.

You can probably already see where a lot of the savings comes from here. There’s less duplication of effort when staff is recording everything digitally from the start rather than creating paper work orders and then going through the tedious data-entry of feeding them into a spreadsheet or other recording system. Less time is spent accessing and recording information
as a whole, making the maintenance process about the actual service that crews are performing for district clients. Districts get the same or better service with leaner budgets and increased efficiency over time, allowing district budgets to spend more on actual education instead of on facilities.

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