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CMMS for Schools Promotes Functional Facilities

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

More and more, a school or university is a dynamic environment. Kids aren’t sitting idle in classes anymore, watching teachers at the front of the room. In the age of flipped classrooms and immersive learning environments, students are on-the-move, using more of the facilities around them. They rely on educational institutions for support, which makes it imperative for administrators to answer this expectation with CMMS for schools.

CMMS software enables rapid action from in-house maintenance and facilities staff to ensure the school’s resources, amenities, and facilities function as-expected. From IT support to janitorial and beyond, CMMS aligns the school’s support staff with the needs and expectations of the people using facilities—students, teachers, parents, and administrators alike.

Here’s a look at the role CMMS platforms play in facility maintenance and building upkeep, and the role these services ultimately have in the educational experience.

What is CMMS school maintenance software used for?

Whether it’s an elementary school with a couple hundred students or a college campus that plays host to thousands of learners, educational facilities face daily wear and tear. Facilities need upkeep to stay functional day in and day out. CMMS software helps maintenance and support staff stay on top of these needs as they arise, in order to minimize downtime and ensure resources are always available for the people who need them.

CMMS platforms serve as a single source of intake and organization for support tickets and routine maintenance tasks. When a teacher submits an IT support ticket to have her projector fixed or the janitorial staff needs a replacement set of recycling bins for a classroom, these tasks queue into the CMMS, where they’re sorted and processed, and eventually addressed. The system itself makes sure services get assigned to the right person, billed to the right cost center, and archived accordingly.

In simplest terms: a school CMMS system ensures the many maintenance needs of facilities get taken care of in a cost-efficient, timely manner.

The benefits of CMMS for colleges and schools

A CMMS platform is a central management system for the broad maintenance and upkeep tasks present in educational facilities. As a result, it’s also the best place to look for cost-saving opportunities, efficient approaches to upkeep, and data for improving maintenance operations. Here’s a look at some of the broad benefits associated with CMMS:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

There’s an expectation that the assets and amenities within the learning environment will be accessible when teachers and students need them. CMMS makes it easy to track and monitor service tickets and requests, to ensure they’re well-maintained and available at all times. The result isn’t just a better educational experience—there’s also school pride and satisfaction to consider, especially at the university level where tuition and enrollment costs tend to be top-of-mind.

How to implement CMMS school maintenance software

The approach to implementing CMMS software depends on the scale. The rollout for a single elementary school or satellite building is much simpler than for an entire college campus. Facility managers need to first understand this scope, then identify the features and capabilities of software that ensure it meets expectations.

For schools with existing CMMS software or some other form of maintenance request management, look for ways to automate data transfer to a modern CMMS. This can include extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) data into the new software, or importing critical maintenance data and tweaking it manually. There may also be the ability to directly port data from a legacy system into a new cloud-based environment.

If the CMMS and digital maintenance management are brand-new concepts for a school, it’s important to focus on setup and establish the system correctly from day one. This means establishing rules and hierarchies, and ensuring data get sorted, logged, and aggregated accordingly. It’s also important to consider integrations and automations that can assist in auto-populating the CMMS, from incoming ticket submissions to the archival of complete requests. Over time, thorough setup will coalesce into a system that works as-intended to provide support to facility professionals at both the building and campus levels.

The bottom line on CMMS software for schools

Educational facilities are only as effective as they’re maintained to be. If resources and amenities aren’t functional, students can’t take advantage of them, which hinders the learning experience. Conversely, well-maintained facilities empower educators and enable students. From in-classroom technologies to common-area facilities, it all needs to work for students to benefit.

CMMS platforms for schools put facility maintenance teams at the forefront of addressing problems where and when they arise. And, with as much traffic and use as educational facilities see, CMMS gives them a much-needed edge in planning for and budgeting against the ever-present needs of these facilities.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

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What is Demand Maintenance in Facilities Management?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Especially in larger workplaces, it’s virtually impossible to keep tabs on every single facet of maintenance. Larger companies rely on employees to be their eyes and ears for emergent aspects of facility upkeep. Support ticketing and incident reporting unlock a new aspect of facilities maintenance: demand maintenance.

What is demand maintenance? It’s on-demand facilities maintenance that pairs prompt solutions with emergent problems. It’s the perfect way to augment a maintenance continuum that already includes preventive, reactive, and corrective maintenance. To work effectively, it requires a robust system of incident reporting and the means to respond to tickets submitted.

An overview of on-demand facilities maintenance

Demand maintenance consists of tasks performed out of necessity. These are issues that require reactive repair, and the best way to learn about them is through ticketing and reporting. Judith reports a problem with the standing desk at Workstation 044. Maurice submits a ticket about a parking lot pothole. These are problems that are emergent, but not urgent. They’re likely to go unresolved until someone reports them. When reported, it shows demand for service.

There’s also a planned component to demand maintenance, where applicable. Pest control, for example, is a form of demand maintenance. It’s best not to wait for a pest problem to generate demand. It also falls outside the realm of preventive maintenance, since there’s no guarantee of a pest problem by not treating for them. In such a case, there’s still demand for the service.

Demand maintenance needs a system to function

Demand maintenance only works if there’s a system to qualify demand and justify a solution. Companies need to rely on a software infrastructure—the likes of a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), or similar. It’s easy to program ticketing software to quickly categorize types of maintenance and assign them appropriately.

For example, the system might flag the words “elevator” and “broken” in a ticket, then mark that ticket as “specialized.” The in-house team will review and confirm, and schedule an elevator repair specialist. On the other hand, if the ticket is about something simple, it gets filed into the daily queue and assigned to a maintenance staff member.

The key in meeting demand maintenance is follow-through. A CMMS or other routing system is great for processing requests. But who’s filling those requests? It depends on the nature of the demand. There are two ways to approach facility maintenance on demand: in-house and outsourced. For most companies, the solution is a mixture of both.

Small, common problems are quick to address in-house, while specialized solutions may come from a vendor. It’s the difference between fixing a door and repairing an elevator. In many cases, an integrated facilities maintenance approach is the solution: a single-source provider that can act with agility.

How demand maintenance augments other maintenance

Demand maintenance is an agile form of maintenance that augments a broader facilities upkeep approach. It falls somewhere between corrective and reactive maintenance. It’s reactive in the sense of solving a problem that’s already happened, yet corrective in the sense that you can plan an on-demand solution and coordinate the best approach.

Demand maintenance also offers benefits that other forms of facility upkeep can’t. The simplest is employee ownership. When employees submit a ticket and see that problem resolved, they feel good about it. They vocalized a problem and saw action, which fosters a better culture. Employees are proud to help maintain their workplace and appreciate the ability of the company to listen to them and respond.

Flexibility is also important. It’s impossible to be proactive in every form of maintenance—yet, pure reactive maintenance might not be the best solution. Demand maintenance is an intermediary for businesses. And, with a CMMS to gather data about demand maintenance tasks, it’s possible to improve preventive and planned budgets, while optimizing responsiveness to reactive maintenance tasks.

Reap the benefits of on-demand solutions

Demand maintenance exists to safeguard against the unplanned and unanticipated. There’s no telling when the chair at Workstation 032 will break or if the refrigerator in the break room will suddenly die. These problems aren’t on a routine checklist and there might not be a corrective solution. Instead, these problems get resolved when they’re reported. It’s up to facilities managers to create a system for reporting them.

Demand maintenance is only as effective as it’s enabled to be. A robust reporting and ticketing system, budget allocations, and actionable solutions are what make it an integral part of total facilities maintenance.

Keep reading: Get Familiar with a Facility Maintenance Plan

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Eight Benefits of CMMS for In-House Maintenance Support

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is something every in-house corporate maintenance team needs. Whether you staff one or two craftspeople or have an entire department of skilled trades waiting in the wings, the benefits of CMMS make it easier for these professionals to do their job. That job is to keep facilities safe, functional, comfortable, and accessible to the people who need them.

What is CMMS?

CMMS is the backbone of any facility maintenance program. It’s a system designed for asset maintenance, with the workplace as the largest asset a company will oversee. Typically, a CMMS has several core functions:

  • Provide a dashboard for managing maintenance tasks
  • Automate scheduling of routine maintenance tasks
  • Provide documentation and archival of maintenance
  • Improve work allocation across the maintenance team
  • Quantify and characterize types of asset maintenance

Think of CMMS as the backbone for total facility upkeep. From maintenance on capital systems to simple solutions to employee submitted support tickets, a CMMS system controls the framework for facility maintenance.

Eight benefits of CMMS software

Companies have various modes and methods for executing facility maintenance. The primary benefits of implementing a CMMS system include bringing these processes and practices together in a single, uniform platform. Here’s a look at some of the biggest benefits of CMMS software:

  1. Reduced time to repair. A cohesive support ticket and maintenance response system expedites solutions across facilities. A CMMS standardizes the intake and response of in-house maintenance tasks, to reduce confusion and improve response actions. The ticket comes in, it gets assigned, and the job gets done. There’s no word-of-mouth to remember or paper printouts to lose—it’s all digital, centralized, and available on-the-go.
  2. Better cost control. It’s not difficult to see that preventive, proactive, and rapid reactive maintenance leads to cost savings over lingering problems. Consider the cost of access control repair vs. the cost of asset theft or the cost to fix a damaged chair vs. the worker’s compensation claim when someone injures themselves sitting in it. Even simple preventive and routine maintenance comes at less of a cost than extensive, robust repairs.
  3. Increased facility efficiency. When your facilities run smoothly, everyone is more productive. More than that, a well-maintained workplace feels more comfortable and conducive to work. CMMS software expedites the quickness of service and leads to more targeted results. This due to the ability of employees to submit support tickets and the organized nature of a CMMS solution for in-house craftspeople.
  4. Insightful maintenance data. How many support tickets came in last week? Last month? What was the cost of repairs during that time? How many man hours went into the maintenance? What aspects of facilities were involved? The more data captured from a digital support ticket and CMMS software, the more context maintenance operations have. This feeds into more proactive approaches to facility upkeep, cost control, and decision-making.
  5. Maintenance automations. CMMS can give companies the ability to automate maintenance workflows. Delegate support tickets to the right personnel by the nature of the problem. Or, designate cost centers based on the type of maintenance and sync it up with the maintenance budget. As the need for automations becomes apparent, CMMS makes it possible (and simple), which affords facility maintenance teams more control over maintenance ops.
  6. Improved facility ROI. Remember that facilities themselves are an asset. Maintenance is part of asset upkeep, which contributes to ROI. CMMS can help contextualize the everyday maintenance operations within a facility as part of asset maintenance. The ability to see tasks and solutions in terms of dollars spent and reinvestment potential can help stakeholders realize the benefits of keeping maintenance in-house vs. outsourcing.
  7. Longer asset lifespan. Whether you lease or own, the quality of facilities matters. Pride of workspace translates into pride of work, and employees want facilities to live up to certain expectations. CMMS offers a complete solution to facility upkeep, which leads to better maintenance and longer asset lifespan—as well as better ROI from the employees using it.
  8. Facility compliance. Simple compliance issues can become big headaches for companies. Skipping a fire suppression inspection can get you in trouble with the local building inspector. Burnt-out emergency lighting can skyrocket company liability. Unfixed electrical issues could be negligent. With a CMMS system, these simple yet critical issues get the priority they need and can’t accidentally fall to the bottom of the support ticket list.

CMMS is extremely valuable for in-house maintenance teams. From task allocation to expense tracking, it collects all the vital components of a facility maintenance strategy into a single, unified dashboard.

Simplify in-house maintenance

As facilities grow more complex and the need for in-house upkeep grows, so does the need for a CMMS solution. The only way to approach broad facility maintenance efficiently is to centralize it. Modern CMMS offers all the integrations and capabilities maintenance teams need to understand building demands, coordinate a maintenance approach, and optimize the deployment of solutions. CMMS simplifies in-house maintenance, to help companies get more out of their asset.

Keep reading: How the Top CMMS Software Providers Stand Out

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How to Write the Perfect Facilities Maintenance Technician Job Description

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

As more businesses realize their need for facility professionals, more job postings will start to emphasize FM skills. Not every company needs the same level of expertise or a particular skillset, which makes it important to write a purposeful job description when it comes time to fill a facility position at your company. This is especially true for a facilities maintenance technician job description, which requires more nuance and specific language to attract candidates with the desired skillset.

Here’s how to write the perfect facilities maintenance technician job description and the reason behind using certain terms and keywords when advertising this position.

Understand the duties of a facility maintenance technician 

It’s impossible to craft a well-written, informative job description without first understanding what your company is hiring for. Ask yourself the following:

  • What need do you have for a facilities maintenance technician?
  • What tasks or roles are unfilled on your maintenance team currently?
  • In what ways are your facilities suffering from a lack of maintenance capability?
  • What job duties and expectations do you have for an incoming facilities technician?

When you have a thorough understanding of what you’re hiring for, it becomes easier to write a descriptive job post that details the nuances of the job. This in and of itself will serve to attract better candidates, as opposed to a general, vague, or accidentally misleading job description.

With the specifics in mind, choose your words with purpose. Use keywords in the post that will intrigue qualified candidates and dissuade others not suited for the job. For example, if you’re in the market for a skilled electrician, you might use words like “journeyperson” or pepper in specific facets of the job like “access control.” Any good job description is going to contain subtext based on word choice. Use your thorough understanding of the position you’re hiring for to create subtext that’s informative and clarifying for qualified candidates.

Market for skills and experience first 

What is facility maintenance all about? It depends on who you’re asking. Someone with a background in IT will look at facilities through the lens of their data and telecom systems. A mechanical engineer might think about HVAC and electrical first. The fact is, facility maintenance reaches these major systems and many others, which makes finding a generalist important—or at least someone who can see each aspect of facilities as its own important pillar.

If you’re hiring a general craftsperson, make it clear which types of skills and experience you value most. Plumbing? Mechanical? Electrical? Carpentry? There’s a long list of niches out there; include the ones that factor into your reason for hiring a maintenance technician. The added benefit to attracting professionals with diverse skills is getting more than you bargained for. Maybe the carpenter and electrician you’re looking for also has experience with telecom infrastructure?

The exception to this idea is hiring for a specific aspect of facility maintenance. If you exclusively need an HVAC professional or lack electrical maintenance capabilities, by all means, gear your job post toward these skills and experience.

Use specific qualifiers to filter applicants 

It’s rare that you’ll find someone pursuing a facility maintenance technician career. More often, your applicants will be tradespeople, craftspeople, and individuals who’ve worked in similar roles at other companies. Use this to your advantage by listing specific qualifiers and keywords in your job description that will attract the skills you need.

For example, terms like “building IoT” and “facilities automation” are more likely to garner qualified applicants than asking for experience in “smart building infrastructure.” Be specific in listing needs and expectations, and root out candidates that don’t meet the public standards you’ve advertised.

This approach also works for certifications and accreditations. If you’re hiring a maintenance tech with an HVAC background, you might specify “EPA 608 Certification” to ensure you only get candidates familiar with refrigerant handling. Again, this ensures the specific needs of your facilities are met by professionals with the scope of understanding to service them accordingly.

Hire with mind for the needs of your facilities 

Ultimately, the facility maintenance technician you hire needs to meet the needs of your facilities. Finding that person starts by writing an effective job description that clearly outlines needs, expectations, and skills.

Get to know the needs of your facilities. Identify desirable skills and experience. Outline specific parameters required for the job. Then, bring it all together in a job description that’s clear, easy to understand, and enticing to qualified candidates. While writing the job description is merely the first step in a long hiring process, it’s also the most important step in making sure you attract the best person for the job.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Job Description – What’s Required?