You’re (Probably) Doing PMs Wrong!

by Jul 5, 2017Preventative Maintenance

If you use a work order system to generate tickets for routine maintenance tasks, it’s time to rethink your process.

Work orders are really great at some things, but tracking routine preventative maintenance tasks isn’t one of them. When you dump your PMs into your work-order system – usually the same system you use for tenant-generated requests – you create more work for yourself, annoy your team, and may actually keep your building from running its best.

Has something like this ever happened to you?

Suppose that it’s your job to clean a fan every week, so your system spits out a work order every Wednesday. When you do the work, you find the ticket, close it out, and go on your way.

One week, however, you had an emergency to deal with and didn’t get to your cleaning. The following week you’ll have two work orders for the same task. You missed a few other tasks, too, so there are duplicates for everything else that got bumped. Now, you’re a highly-skilled engineer wasting your time sorting out which duplicate tickets to close. You should be working on your building, but instead, you’re dealing with busywork.

Or what if you did get to that cleaning, but not until Monday? Whether you just cleaned it or not, you can bet that your system will spit out a new ticket on Wednesday. Not only is it annoying, now you also have to decide what to do about it:

To clean or not to clean?

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to clean a clean fan, does it? Do you do the unnecessary cleaning anyway, or do you give it another week, by which time it’s dirtier than usual and could hurt efficiency? Not to mention how this could throw off the reporting metrics your boss (or their boss) looks at to see how quickly tickets get closed.

The opposite can happen, too. Say you’re doing your regular building rounds and you see that the fan needs cleaning on a Monday. You have time and it needs to be done, so you do the cleaning a couple of days early. On Wednesday, though, you get a new ticket telling you it’s time again for an unnecessary cleaning. You system doesn’t realize that it’s already been done, so once again, you’re thinking about busywork instead of your building.

None of these issues are the end of the world, but these are the kinds of minor annoyances that sap your team’s efficiency and increase the chances that something gets missed.

Calendars are too rigid

This all underscores the fact that your building’s needs aren’t perfectly predictable and therefore can’t fit into a neat little calendar. So why use a calendar to manage your workflow and reporting? You need a system that is flexible.

Unless a task needs to be done on a specific day or time, you really want to know one of three things:

  • When was the last time this thing was done?
  • How long until it’s due again?
  • How overdue is this?

Tasks should become due when they need to get done. If something needs to be done “once a week,” it really means it should be due one week after it was last done. It may sound simple, but work order systems weren’t built around this principle, which makes them difficult to work with.

How to do it correctly

You need a system that’s truly built for routine tasks like inspection rounds, meter readings, and PMs. When you use the right tool, you’ll easily see what tasks need to be done, you can analyze data to make improvements, and information automatically gets distributed to relevant stakeholders, so the chief never has to wonder if the work got done.

Preventative maintenance is one of the most important things you do for your building. Make sure your team has the right tool for the job.

We designed LogCheck to adapt to the realities of your building. Want to see how it can make your preventative maintenance program more efficient? Click the button below to try it for free.

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