Posted on 03/08/2015
By Lora Mays, Product Marketing Manager
Traditionally, service-level agreements (SLAs) have been used for vendor relationships to help ensure that they are meeting the demands and unique needs of your business. The SLAs can be set for various stages of the work order process, from how long it takes for the vendor to acknowledge the work order to how much time they should allow for time to completion.
As facilities departments become more strategic, their work becomes more dynamic and difficult to manage – particularly if internal SLAs are not put in place. Setting internal SLAs can help your team become more efficient, while creating a way to benchmark their success. At the same time, it helps demonstrate your success to the broader organization.
While you can throw a number out there and see if the team can meet it, strategically defining your SLAs is more effective. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself as you set internal SLAs:
1) How are you currently performing?
An SLA is no good if it’s currently unfeasible for your team, so take a look at how you are currently performing. If you do not have an automated maintenance management solution and haven’t tracked this in the past, spend 2 or 3 weeks tracking the key data points, such as how long it takes for the team to acknowledge requests and how long it takes to complete a work order.
2) What are internal expectations?
Depending on your organization’s culture, there may be different internal requirements for setting your SLAs. Do people expect to immediately receive notification that someone has received their request? Is it important to keep people updated during the process?
If there are no internal expectations already in place, often times established by how you current manage the process, then setting SLAs can also serve as a time to clarify expectations from the organization.
3) What works best for your team?
Getting your team’s feedback is an imperative step in setting SLAs. As team members work in the field on a daily basis, they can provide essential insight on whether SLAs are realistic. The SLAs should serve as stretch goals for your team to meet, but not be so lofty that it discourages them from getting work done.
After all, SLAs will ultimately measure their success on the job – and since it will ultimately measure their success on the job, they should participate in the process of defining them.
4) How will you implement your SLAs?
Putting SLAs in place transforms the way your team does business, and it can take some time to adjust. As part of settings your SLAs, determine how you will implement them and communicate the changes both to your team and to the broader organization.
To track your SLAs, you may need to change the way the organization issues requests and how you manage the process. If this is the case, rolling it out on a smaller scale may help people adjust and adhere to the new requirements.
5) How will you report on your success?
Once you set your SLAs, an important component comes from measuring whether or not your team is meeting them. An automated work order management solution like 360Facility can simplify this process and help you track this in real-time. In doing so, you can quickly correct any issues that arise along the way that make it difficult to meet your established SLAs.