What's in this episode?
In this Facility Management Coffee Talks episode, we interview Accruent's professional services team on Planned Preventive Maintenance Programs. This will include how to ensure these programs are actually saving your business money and time on reactive work orders.
Trey: Welcome back everyone to the continuation of our second series of the Facilities Management Coffee Talks. Our listeners continue to request to hear from industry experts on very specific industry trends and best practices. Today our focus is on accurately maintaining and managing planned preventive maintenance work orders. This is a huge area of focus where we've received lots of questions in the past.
Trey: So our guests today are two members of the Accruent Verisae consulting and professional services practice. Matt Cassem is a Principal Consultant with three years of experience at Verisae and Jennifer Tomes has over five year experience on the client side with facilities automation in the form of process, training and application management. Matt and Jennifer, thanks for joining. We hope you have your coffee.
Matt Cassem: I do. Good morning.
Jennifer Tomes: Thanks for having us.
Trey: Good morning and thanks again for you both joining. This will be a lot of fun. Our listeners have a series of questions, like I said before, unplanned preventive maintenance. So based on what you've done, where you've installed at clients or your experience at the client site, what have you found that allow companies to focus on PPMs and ensure they get done in a timely manner?
Jennifer Tomes: So one of the things within the system that from my previous life that we used, was being able to schedule the PPMs to be automatically dispatched in a given interval, whether it was every three months, every six months or once a year. So we heavily relied on the scheduler within the system to ensure that they were being done on time and when they were supposed to be done.
Trey: So Jennifer, that automation is fantastic that you spent five years obviously on the client side. How did you all prioritize which work orders should be reactive versus which should be more planned and essentially budgeted for?
Jennifer Tomes: So one of the things that we looked at was customer experience. So what's impacting the customer, whether it's food service, because our clients are coming in, our customers are coming in, for whether it's that hot dog off the roller grill or they're coming to get gas from the station. So what impacts the customer. And then compliance. So compliance was a big one for us, specially from the C-Store side where you have EPA regulations on gas leaking. So getting out there and getting in front of any type of issues at fuel dispensers was big for us.
Trey: So Jennifer, just to play that back for you, what I hear you saying is the customer experience was number one, but then obviously compliance and making sure the equipment's working was a very close number two.
Jennifer Tomes: Correct.
Trey: That's great. Matt, did you have anything to add? Because I know you've seen various clients across different industry verticals?
Matt Cassem: Yeah, no, I would say ... I was just going to add to the scheduling part of the PPMs, but also adding to make sure that they're being done in time. One of the things that you can do is add a tile for SLA. And so whether work orders over at SLA, you can go on and set those preventative maintenance work orders to say, I want this done in 30 days or I want this done in 60 days or 90 days. And so if it's not completed during that time, you can set things in your dashboard, your Verisae mobile dashboard to say turn red for that tile. And you can certainly have a tile that says over SLA. And so for those you can monitor that to take a look at those work orders that aren't being completed. And certainly either if a provider is not getting that done, certainly work with another provider or you can stay on top of that via the dashboard or running reports as well.
Trey: So Matt, that's interesting. I'm not sure all of our listeners are going to understand the concept of a tile. Is a tile an alert that goes to a user? What would a tile be in their world?
Matt Cassem: So good question. Basically in the Verisae world you can set up the mobile dashboard in the sense that you have little squares and each one of these squares represent the way you can set a parameter of different information. So you might have one square or tile to use the Verisae language. That display is just your PPMs, you might have other tiles that are going to be say reactive work orders that are emergency work orders, or maybe they're just all outstanding work orders.
Matt Cassem: So you can set a filters by region. And so that way you can stay on top of your business, whether you're just a regional manager or a district or whether you're overseeing the entire business. You can set up a dashboard essentially just to view the information that you care about. And so when it comes to PPMs, I can set up service level agreements and what we refer to as SLAs a to understand whether work orders are getting completed on time.
Trey: So this is great. I'm, I'm hearing a theme here and that is leveraged technology to automate and enforce the process to ensure that planned preventive maintenance is completed. How do we know ... So that's easy, right. Now we're looking at how it's been completed, but how do we know if it got missed?
Matt Cassem: So essentially when you're talking about setting up the PPMs, one ways in which our customers are handling that is they set up what we call PPM activities. Another term would be tasks. And so whether it might be changing a filter, you might have for a certain piece of equipment or let's say HVAC, you would go in and set a task or an activity to change the filter. And so when a technician gets that work order, they can then view the PPM tasks or activities and they can then say whether that was completed or not. So when you go back to that work order, you might have a number of tasks that might need to be inspected or changed or taken care of. And so you can review the history in that work order to see was that actually taken care of.
Matt Cassem: Now you can actually force the technicians to, they must answer that question before they close out that work order. And so it's all there in the history for you to go back to that PPM to see whether that actually was taken care of. Certainly if it's six months down the road and you're looking ... you're on a site, you might be looking at a piece of equipment, whether it was taken care of or not. You can certainly look at it and say, well, our providers saying that they changed this." Maybe it was or wasn't, but you've at least got that history. You've got that kind of audit trail as far as was that task or activity actually taken care of for that work order.
Trey: I like what you're saying, especially with the contractor being held accountable to respond and validate that they've completed work. That's pretty exciting. Would this task be a list or would it be a report that's pushed out to people? What do you see a some of your customers doing there?
Matt Cassem: So more or less it's a history or a list on that work order. We do have reporting available for our work orders, but as far as the history of that, you would have to go into the history of that PPM and you can certainly go in and pull them up by sites, look at those recorders by category, just for a report. And you can get a list of those work orders for that type of equipment and for that site. And then you can certainly go in and see, hey, was this actually taken care of or not? So I guess there's multiple ways in which you could do that but more or less when it comes to those tasks, you just have to go into that work order and you'd be able to see whether that was completed.
Trey: Got it. So let's take a minute and go back to something Jennifer said. We are talking about planned preventive maintenance and the prioritization. Let's imagine that we have a PPM work order that's now completed. Nothing's missed, the contractor has completed the work, the system says everything is good. How do we ensure that what we envisioned get done, that the maintenance that we would assume actually prevented future errors or future issues with assets on site in the store, how do we make sure that those PPMs are addressing everything that we expected to get done?
Jennifer Tomes: Yeah, so in a perfect world, what we've noticed in my previous life is that you actually see a decline in reactive work orders. And it's a continual process as far as analyzing the PM, analyzing the reactive work orders, to see if you've missed something or if there's a common trend that technicians are noticing while they're onsite conducting the PM where you may be able to go back and adjust the PM to include, maybe it's like the shear of valve on the dispenser needs to be replaced or the breakaway needs to be replaced. You look at common trends that the technicians are noting and then say, okay, well I'm going to make this a task in the PM to kind of eliminate maybe any reactive work orders for that. So you should see a decrease in reactive work orders.
Trey: That's very helpful. So that actually sounds like a best practice. How often would you go back and look at that? Would you look at it quarterly or once a year?
Jennifer Tomes: I think quarterly in the beginning, just until you, I guess, identify all of the issues. I think it's a learning process in the beginning as far as when you're first rolling out PMs, you don't really know what you don't know.
Trey: Sure, sure. No, that's very helpful. This [inaudible 00:09:27] insight is very, very valuable. And honestly another session we had, people were talking about transparency and insights into the cost of what they were spending on facilities. So this is definitely aligned with that theme.
Trey: The last question that I've received from our listeners is really tied to the concept behind PPMs. Obviously with planned preventive maintenance, we're looking at getting a handle off of reactive expenses. But the reality is they're not going to solve everything. So have either of you seen any ways to reduce expenses tied to PPMs?
Matt Cassem: So one of the ways in which ... The customers that I've worked with are handling that as they would set up their PPMs and if you, for instance, have a provider that does multiple types of the equipment they maintain, you can set up the PPM so that maybe when they go to show up at a site, they can take care of both types of equipment, such as maybe HVAC and refrigeration or maybe if it comes to food, food and beverage, they can take care of multiple types of equipment. And so you can lower your cost by having them take care of those multiple PPM work orders all on the same visit to save on trip charges.
Matt Cassem: Another instance in which some of our providers are ... Oops, sorry, customers are lowering the cost on the work that they're getting, is to just really look at the key performance indicators as far as the value they're getting from those providers and Verisae provides that for each of the work that is being completed, but also to just look at the reporting. You might look at a report for six months or after the first year you could pull reports in the work orders and see that those providers, the cost per category. You can certainly look at the cost per part and then certainly see who's really a partner in your business, who's giving you the best value.
Matt Cassem: And so when it comes, your average cost per provider, you're going to have at least some standard reports on Verisae. You might have to pull data from a couple of different reports to start to get a picture. But when it comes down to it, once you've got some of ... at least several months of data, you can go back and then see which providers are giving you the best value, and then either give them more business or take away some of that business and give it to someone else. Or the other thing too is for some of the PPMs that you've got, maybe some of this work can be done internally, if you've got internal teams, or if your internal teams aren't giving you the best bang, maybe they're taking a long time on certain types of equipment, you can certainly go to an external provider and then have them take on some of that work.
Trey: So that's interesting and pretty exciting for the service providers, the contractors. One recommendation was give them more work so you avoid more truck rolls. The other recommendation was hold them accountable on their pricing-
Matt Cassem: Right.
Trey: ... and even look at giving it to other contractors. Do you ever see your clients bid out planned preventive maintenance so that they know what's required and how they can put it into a bid document?
Matt Cassem: So I don't have as much experience I guess working negotiations between providers. But I would certainly, from what I've heard is, they are certainly bidding out to see what is the cost and how often can they come and take care of a certain type of equipment depending on what it is. Yeah, certainly. I do think that they are bidding that out to see who can give them the best value. And it's going to be different in each region of the country. Certainly if you go from the north to the south, west to the east, you're going to have different costs and different providers and sometimes you might look at a regional provider and sometimes you look at a national depending on what is needed and the type of work that you've got for those work orders.
Trey: That's fantastic. That goes back to the insights and reporting, so that's wonderful. Well, Matt, Jennifer, this is exactly the list of items that our listeners hope to address. Thank you for giving us time. We may reach out to you again because your experience with clients, on site with clients is extremely valuable. Thank you both for your time.
Matt Cassem: Thank you [inaudible 00:13:46].
Jennifer Tomes: Thank you.
Trey: And to our listeners, please tune in to the continued episodes for series two or our Facilities Management Coffee Talks. Submit your questions online and let us know anything else where you'd like us to invite guests and industry experts to address those issues. We look forward to the next podcast.