4 Best Practices for Maintenance Issues that FMs Need to Know
Maintaining the physical assets within a company building is an important part of a facility manager's job. And while the umbrella of maintenance has expanded to include other considerations (think IT services), it's important for facilities managers to have the following best practices for machine upkeep.
1. Learn the ins and outs of outsourcing
The question of who tackles certain maintenance issues and repairs will often be directly tied to the size of an organization. As a facility manager of a larger organization, you may be able to rely on a lot of in-house support, while those who oversee the facilities of smaller organizations may be tasked with compiling and maintaining a network of outside vendors. Certain tasks, like painting, might make sense to keep in-house, while other matters, like plumbing and electrical, will need to be outsourced.
This means having a sophisticated vetting system, which will often be a combination of word of mouth and documentation. It's important to review licensing, insurance, certification, lawsuits, hiring and training practices as well as check in with current and past clients for any prospective contractors. As a facility manager, you'll need to encourage communication between contractors and in-house staff members to reduce any potential conflict. Also, remember to solicit and prioritize contractor feedback as a way of showing commitment to the local community, a crucial task for companies seeking B Corp certification.
2. Remember manufacturer recommended upkeep
Reactive versus proactive maintenance is a delicate balancing act that facility managers are all too familiar with. You have to fix assets that are broken, but you also need to maintain equipment to help prevent them from breaking in the future.
Certain maintenance upkeep tasks seem straightforward, like changing the batteries in a smoke alarm or replacing toner cartridges, while others may not be top of mind—like changing filters for air conditioners or cleaning refrigerator coils.
Facility managers need to be aware of the manufacturer recommended upkeep as outlined in the product manual, and have a system for storing and tracking this information.
3. Have a system to track warranty information
Just as it's crucial to stay on top of recommended upkeep, it's important for facility managers to systematically track warranty information. Determine the length of warranty for all equipment but also the parameters within those years. Are you covered for parts only, or does the warranty also include labor?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing extended warranties, and how can you determine if they make fiscal sense?
Properly tracking warranty information will ensure that machines remain useful during their complete lifespan.
4. Be environmentally conscious
LEED certification, the world's most widely used green building rating system, has seen steady growth over the past 16 years, indicating a significant shift in business priorities. And as environmental stewardship becomes an increasing focus of many companies' culture and values, facility managers are tasked with reducing their organization's carbon footprint. The biggest opportunities here often lie in better managing energy output and waste management.
Using recycled office supplies, establishing robust recycling initiatives and automating lighting or security systems can go a long way in helping an office become more environmentally friendly.
Also, encouraging regular energy audits can help reduce costs by anywhere from 10–40% while simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions and your building's overall environmental impact. Facility management software further benefits your office's environmental efforts, by moving a huge volume of paper records to a user-friendly digital platform.
Maintenance is an all-encompassing word, and as such can often feel like an overwhelming task. But by creating robust networks, tracking necessary information and staying on top of important advances like energy efficiency, facility managers can equip themselves for success.