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  • Writer's pictureJamie Leeper

6 Facility Maintenance Myths that are Costing you Time and Money

When it comes to facility maintenance services, many companies do not have all of the information they need to make an informed decision. In fact, there are many myths surrounding preventative maintenance programs that cause companies to forgo this important piece of their business.

Cancelling facility maintenance services to "save money" can cost you more in the long run
Cancelling facility maintenance services to "save money" can cost you more in the long run

1. Preventative maintenance is a waste of money

Time and again we see people falling into the short-sightedness of cancelling their scheduled services to "save" money. At the time of implementation this seems like a great idea as you no longer have a quarterly maintenance fee arriving in your inbox. However, as time goes by and the chance of unit failure increases, you run the risk of severely damaging your brand and your professional reputation. Look, we understand that you are being asked to do more with less, and the pressure that modern day facility professionals find themselves under is higher than ever before. We feel your need to make smart economical decisions, but shortsighted decisions will ultimately come back to haunt you. Have a thorough preventative maintenance plan (download FREE quarterly PM checklist HERE) in place, and focus on the longer term health of your facilities. This may require you to present your reasoning to your colleagues and justify your actions, but they will soon see that it all makes perfect sense.

2. We have the internal knowledge base we need

This can sometimes be true for huge corporations with the portfolio size that provides the volume of work to justify a fully developed internal facilities team. However, for most retailers, especially those with less than 300 locations, an internal team doesn't make financial sense. Of course, we all have the power of the internet at our fingertips, but there is no way that you will be able to use this to solve the array of trade challenges that you will be faced with. Equipment is becoming increasingly complicated as technology continues to evolve, and if you aren't careful you will probably end up making the situation worse and spending more money. Seek professionals who are respected for their trade knowledge and experience, and can save you money with their fast diagnosis and solutions to your challenges. Expect this to become even more challenging in the coming years as the IoT grows in popularity.

3. Outsourcing costs more

This is a very shortsighted mind-set which ultimately costs people time and money. This is a very similar idea to that described in #1 above. If you focus on the short-term, then yes, you will most definitely be able to maintain your facilities more economically than if you were to partner with a project management company. However, it won't be long before tasks start building up and you are spending your entire workday putting out fires that have now become tasks that need urgent attention. Due to the pressure that you are under, mistakes start to occur and your budget starts disappearing faster than ever before:

- Wasted time and money - You pay more than you should because you don't have the bandwidth to manage the hundreds of invoices that you are handling

- Personal liability - You urgently need an electrician in Spokane, WA, but don't have the time to properly vet them. You send the first person available, and the store experiences a fire due to a mistake from the vendor. This is now your problem, as you picked them and verified their credentials - tax papers, insurance details, license etc.

- Poor financial decisions - You are struggling to get your head above water and consequently have no time to collect data, let alone record it and monitor it. You are now paying for work that should be covered under warranty, paying double for some service requests, and have no overall feel for the health of your portfolio of stores.

All of these factors negatively impact your budget and your brand. However, the most damage that they cause is to your health and well-being. The frustration, fatigue, and anxiety that accompany this situation are unsustainable and sooner or later something is going to give. Don't let this happen to you. We have helped hundreds of facility professionals that found themselves in your position. Take the steps today to evaluate whether partnering with a project management company makes sense for you and your company. This could be the beginning of an incredible transformation that provides you with peace of mind, gets you the professional recognition your efforts deserve, and allows you to relax

knowing that you have a partner by your side 24/7/365.

4. I need to be available 24/7/365

This is something that we hear from facility professionals who have reached the point of no return and are in desperate need of support. Being constantly "on" is not good for your health or your loved ones. You shouldn't be expected to source a plumber at 10pm on a Saturday night when you should be enjoying your niece's wedding reception. Nor should you be dragged away from your anniversary dinner to address a lock issue. Many alternatives are available, including hiring internal staff, routing after-hours requests through your IT support department, or partnering with a project management company who will give you peace of mind during the 16 hours that you are away from the office. Start exploring these options today to see what will benefit you the most. The last thing your company needs is for you to be on sick leave, or have to replace you due to burnout.

In some areas, faster is always better.  With facility maintenance services, this is not always the case.
In some areas, faster is always better. With facility maintenance services, this is not always the case.

5. The most important thing is to get someone on site fast

In today's society, speed is frequently of the essence. Collectively we are always looking to do things faster:

- The men's 100m world record has dropped on 12 occasions since electronic timing began in 1977!

- The fastest Transatlantic flight stands at under 3 hours, with a top speed of 1350mph reached by Concorde back in 1996.

- The fastest car in the World, the Hennessey Venom F5, maxes out at an incredible 301mph!

Unfortunately, the emphasis on speed doesn't need to be as extreme as this when it comes to handling service requests. Many facility professionals demand the fastest response times, and expect vendors on site in rapid times, sometimes within just 30 minutes of the request being placed. The problem is that the vendor dispatched to the site may not have the required skillset and/or materials required to close out the ticket. This creates the need for a second trip, and you are now on the hook for two trip charges for a simple bulb replacement.

Another inefficiency of a "ready, fire, aim" approach is that many problems can be resolved over the phone. This completely eliminates the need for a vendor to be dispatched, your store in back up and running in no time, and you are not unnecessarily out of pocket. The most common example that we run across is a store that is too hot or too cold because someone has been interfering with the thermostat, or a breaker has tripped. Taking just a couple of minutes to trouble shoot over the phone just saved you a trip charge. When you are thinking about the efficiency of your maintenance services, be sure to take effectiveness into consideration.

6. If I outsource I will lose control of my stores

The internet is full of literature that suggests by outsourcing your facility maintenance requirements, you will lose complete control of your stores. While outsourcing in some realms can be very challenging, think overseas call center outsourcing, if you are diligent in your selection process, this can be a huge win for you and your company. When exploring outsourcing opportunities ask the tough questions that concern you. Look for a partner with similar goals and philosophies, rather than a strictly transactional relationship. By setting the expectations and required deliverables from the start, holding your partner accountable, and communicating frequently, you will create a win-win situation in which both firms will flourish.

Do you currently outsource some of your services, or have you done so in the past? What advice do you have for the benefits of doing so and finding the right partner?

Are there some other myths that you frequently hear about facility services that we haven't discussed here? We would love to hear your experiences, so please take a moment to share them in the comments section below. If you haven't contemplated outsourcing before, or have some concerns, we would love to address them and see if this could be a good solution for your situation. Schedule a complimentary consultation today so that we can take a deeper look at your portfolio, current challenges, and other items that are keeping you up at night.

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