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Schools and Universities: A+ for Maintenance Management Software

By Jonathan Davis | December 23, 2019

School maintenance departments face unique challenges. You're responsible for many different types of facilities and assets, often spread out across large campuses. You have to deal with a complex web of reporting requirements tied to regulatory compliance, and missed PMs and unplanned downtime can lead to the loss of irreplaceable research. Modern maintenance management software delivers the right solutions.

Let's take a close look at how maintenance management software helps schools to meet these challenges.

Maintenance management software creates instant experts

Challenge: Your technicians work on everything from the ice machine in the cafeteria to the showers in the dorms. From the HVAC in the labs to the motorized projection screens in the classrooms. With so many types of equipment and assets, it's hard for them to become really good at fixing or maintaining any one. It's the classic Jack-of-all-trades problem.

Solution: In a perfect world, the maintenance department would have the time and resources to carefully train every technician on how to maintain and repair every asset. In the real world, that's just not possible. But with the right maintenance management software, you can ensure even your newest technicians deliver high-quality work.

The trick is how much data you can customize and pack into each work order, including:

  • Customizable checklists
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Digital version of O&M manuals
  • Associated parts and materials
  • Interactive floor plans

Can you imagine trying to have have this much information on a paper work order? Or somehow cramming it into an Excel spreadsheet? Instead of sending techs out empty-handed, when you use a CMMS, you're arming them with the knowledge they need to get the job done right. 

Maintenance management software keeps things moving in the right direction

Challenge: Not only are there lots of assets, they're usually spread out across multiple buildings. Having to run back to the maintenance office for the next work order slows things down to a punishing crawl. Technicians spend more time in transit than they do closing out work orders.

Solution: Backed by cloud computing, modern maintenance management software is fully mobile. You can create, delegate, and track work orders from any Internet-connected device. With near-zero lag, you know in real-time when new tickets are submitted and work orders are closed out. Alternatively, in emergencies, you can rearrange resources with just a few clicks. Techs never have to come back to the office or try to get you on the phone to find out where to go next. They're always moving in the right direction: toward the next task. Read more about, school work order management.

Maintenance management software dots the i's and crosses the t's 

Challenge: Universities have a nearly endless list of compliance requirements. Everything from the fire extinguishers in the dorms to the ice machines in the cafeteria need to be regularly checked to avoid running into trouble with agencies from all three levels of government. And falling out of compliance can be costly. The institution can be fined or lose out on funding.

Solution: A CMMS creates a digital record of all completed work. It collects all the data and then quickly and easily makes it presentable. No more copy and pasting Excel columns and rows of random numbers. In the end, there's actually two parts to compliance. Doing the work is the first one. The second one is proving you did the work. School maintenance software has you covered for both.

Maintenance management software always kills downtime, sometimes saves a lifetime's work 

Challenge: In manufacturing, for example, downtime means dealing with the costs of idle equipment and lost production. In most cases, companies can pull themselves out of the hole by standing on a pile of money. If they run a few extra shifts and pay enough overtime, they can get back on track. 

It's different for schools. If lab equipment stops working over the weekend or a power surge fries a computer, you could be looking at the loss of irreplaceable research data. There's no coming back from that sort of loss. Imagine the boiler goes out over the weekend, dropping the temperature in the labs. Researchers lose not only their expensive designer genetic subjects but also both the data and the groundbreaking insights that data could have provided.

Solution: A good CMMS software streamlines preventive maintenance scheduling and tracking. Just like your on-demand work orders, your PMs are packed with information, guaranteeing technicians close them out efficiently. But because they're scheduled for before assets and equipment break down, you have a chance to find and fix small problems before they have a chance to develop into large problems.     

And the longer you follow a preventive maintenance schedule, the better your schedule gets. The software is like a vacuum, collecting every bit of data about your operations. You can then leverage the historical data into insights, allows you to fine-tune your schedule.

Maintenance management software does not guarantee you results

For the software to work for you, you first need to make sure you implement it properly. It's not a magic bullet that's always going to hit the target no matter what. You need to take careful aim.

Carla Prentice works on Hippo's Customer Success team. She's helped maintenance departments set up Hippo's CMMS at schools and universities. She knows what works. One of her tips is to "crowd source" maintenance by opening up the request portal to as many people as possible. It doesn't mean making everyone on campus an active user in the software. Instead, you create a user-friendly way for people to submit tickets using SSO and their existing student ID and password. Instead of people having to track down your phone number or email, they can quickly log into the system and let you know when they see a problem.

Next steps

First, if you don't have one yet, or you have one but it's not delivering the promised results, now's the time to get a new CMMS. Doing research online is an excellent start, but you'll want to start talking to providers directly. Good ones will start by asking you about the problems you want to solve, the everyday hassles you want to avoid. Using that information, they can start explaining their different feature sets and how they're solutions to your problems. Remember, one feature people often forget is ease-of-use. But it's critical. None of the other features are actually going to be helpful if you and your techs can't find them or learn how to use them easily. Also make sure to ask about on-boarding and on-going support, which are two other features that people often forget about. Remember, if you can't use the software because it's hard to learn and the provider isn't invested in getting you off on the right foot, you'll never see the results you want and deserve. 

  


Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis started out writing for textbooks before branching out to video games and marketing collateral. He has a master’s degree in journalism and a certificate in technical writing.


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