Author: David Kornegay

Why the Mobile Maintenance Workforce is Different

maintenance technician thumbnail - Why the Mobile Maintenance Workforce is Different

In recent years, exponential growth in mobile usage and its applications has allowed employees to access their messages, tasks, calendars, files and more from anywhere and with less items to carry. Maintenance employees want similar access to service requests and work orders requiring their attention. What tasks are open, where to go, who to contact and more vital information at their fingertips is the primary objective.

With so many mobile-friendly webpages and applications available for general employees’ work, why is it different for maintenance and operational staff? How different is it?

Traditional Facilities Work Assignment

Paper forms, post-it notes, calls and hallway conversations were the foundation of communicating that work was needed or a problem was identified. Hard copies were provided to technicians before leaving the office or available for picking up from a box at a location. Walkie-talkies became commonly used technologies prior to email and text messages to communicate with field personnel.

IWMS, CMMS and other operational systems began to be in use, yet not every technician had access to technology. Not every system had a mobile interface. Not every technician wanted technology.

So, what’s changed?

For some organizations, not much as they would like. Some maintenance teams still use hard copies, try to coordinate where to go before they “hit the field” and stay informed while onsite. The desire for mobile work management is growing due to the percentage of technicians having a comfort level with mobile devices has evolved and as more leaders recognize the inefficiencies of how daily routines are managed.

What to Look for in Maintenance-Focused Apps

taking a photo - Why the Mobile Maintenance Workforce is DifferentMobile apps over the years tried to balance providing any information at one’s fingertips while balancing ease of use. When one brainstorms about how much they want accessible on a mobile device, it is easy to end up with an interface that can become difficult to use or bloated with features that can slow down performance. The result? Frustration, abandonment and a return to the old processes.

What service personnel prefer is an app that is straightforward, fast, and easy to update regarding both their assigned work items as well as the app itself. If an application is too bulky or slow, you risk a learning curve issue along with lags in your personnel’s adoption rate. Speed and simplicity are key along with these questions to consider:

  • If I simply gave the app to a service provider or technician, how fast can they learn to use it?
  • How fast does a dispatched job get to them? How fast can they create a new work request or document an issue while standing in front of the problem?
  • What essential information can it provide the technicians and what data will it provide leadership?
  • Have teams that need to stay focused on specific sites? How does an app reduce the clutter by hiding those sites and work not within their realm of responsibility?
  • If I have a long list of work in my queue, how quickly can I find specific items by building, priority, etc. to cut the list down for easier review?
  • Not everyone is comfortable with entering extended amounts of information on a mobile device, so can it leverage the device’s camera and voice-to-text capabilities for faster and insightful documentation?
  • Can it work offline? You likely have mechanical rooms, roofs and other areas with minimal-to-no internet connectivity.
  • How does the app address getting version updates to leverage new features? How do you ensure all personnel are on the same version?
  • In Summary

    You may notice a consistent series of themes in the questions above: speed and ease of use. One must consider what the field personnel will need to be nimble, be informed, stay on task and continue in the use of a mobile app. If you have buy-in from the people helping close out work, you will see increases in productivity, reductions in complaints and improvements in the data needed to generate reports and dashboards to leadership.

    Learn more in our recorded webcast

    Watch our webcast recording that showcases the new features to our maintenance solution that were custom built to increase the efficiency and productivity of technicians. 

    7010eff8 8f34 4f3e b911 58631035c080 - Why the Mobile Maintenance Workforce is Different

Business Intelligence Dashboards for Maintenance and Service Provider Departments

maintenance solutions

dash3 300x214 - Business Intelligence Dashboards for Maintenance and Service Provider DepartmentsIn recent years, there has been an explosion in business intelligence tools. Reporting and graphs have been a mainstay for decades, yet business intelligence (BI) is the next phase of power reporting. Applications such as Domo, Exago, Google Data Studio, Microsoft PowerBI, Qlik, Tableau and more have taken the marketplace by storm. The reason? Traditional reporting can only handle so many varieties of data vs. BI that can collect and visualize extensive amounts of semi-related data into a manageable display. Often, data can be filtered on-the-spot and the results (usually multiple panes of graphs, key performance indicators and data lists) adjust according to the filter.

BI dashboards often speak to managers and executives. A software platform can have dozens of reports, yet often a singular dashboard with 6 or less visuals is what will resonate to leadership that has a variety of departments they monitor. When considering a dashboard, you will have a plethora of data, but what will resonate to those not in your department every day is what you will need to consider.

What Should I Consider in a BI Dashboard for Maintenance and Services?

dash1 300x252 - Business Intelligence Dashboards for Maintenance and Service Provider DepartmentsMaintenance Dashboards for team and ticket management provide supervisors and leadership with advanced visibility into how service requests are being processed and actioned upon. How much is open vs. closed? What trends are occurring over time? Are there areas or job types that have more needs than others?

Dashboards align departmental facilities goals and organizational priorities by tracking work performance against KPIs with intuitive reporting. Dashboards are the foundation of data-driven decisions on resource allocation and critical areas of need by monitoring trends around submission, completion and priorities. When it comes to maintaining the ideal workspace, every ticket counts when you are a maintenance manager and knowing your overall organization is operating with efficiency and efficacy counts when you are an executive.

Your focus is to understand team performance and improve the employee experience with maintenance dashboards. As you understand more by measuring, you can set goals, make projections and adjust as needed. By doing so, you keep your organization running smoothly by eliminating costly inefficiencies and communicating effectively to business leaders, key executives and stakeholders. When you provide full metrics transparently, you can guarantee your entire facility team and your leadership is on the same page.

How Should I React to a Dashboard?

dash3 1 300x179 - Business Intelligence Dashboards for Maintenance and Service Provider DepartmentsA CEO once told me, “A number is just a number. How you react, interpret and frame it in a story is what’s important.” I think of data as objective and a person’s experiences as subjective. You need both to understand what is occurring.

Do you need to hire more people? If you speak with leadership about hiring, they’ll ask how many and for what reason. Your subjective gut instinct may say two, objective data may prove four. You started with an idea and proved it with data. Data also helps with what skill sets are needed (e.g., electrical is a major area of work where you have a backlog) and you know what type of cultural fit a candidate should have in your workplace.

Sometimes you may see what appears as a technician who is falling behind because they have more open work order tasks and dispatches than others. What does this mean? That is where you need the subjective side. Maybe they do not know the process of closing work. Maybe they are overloaded. Maybe it’s an old facility full of old equipment. Maybe they are constantly waiting on parts. Maybe they have personal issues affecting their work life. Maybe they are helping others so much it affects their KPIs. Maybe they are illiterate, or perhaps English is a second language.

In closing, if you give an opinion without giving information, it may not be involved in the final decision. If you only look at the numbers and do not understand the story, you miss out on leadership opportunities. Business intelligence data balanced with intelligent business management are shaping the next evolution in the facility management and operations profession.

How Can I Learn More?

Tune into our recorded webcast that explored these new features to our maintenance solutions, including facility maintenance dashboards that provides supervisors with advanced visibility in to how service requests are being processed and actioned on. You will learn how maintenance dashboards enable organizations to make data-driven decisions on resource allocation and critical areas of need by monitoring submission and priority trends.

7010eff8 8f34 4f3e b911 58631035c080 - Business Intelligence Dashboards for Maintenance and Service Provider Departments