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  • Writer's pictureJamie Leeper

The top 5 facility maintenance challenges

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

Today we are going to take a look at the Big 5. No, we're not talking personality traits, African animals, or the sporting goods store. We are looking at the 5 biggest challenges faced by facilities managers. In an ever changing world, more and more is being asked of FM professionals, who are being stretched extremely thin. This has caused a high turnover rate within the industry, with some maintenance offices having a permanently revolving door.

The following are viewed as being the 5 most difficult challenges faced by today's facility managers:

1. Saving Money

2. Extending the Life of Assets

3. Getting more done with fewer resources

4. Making changes without reliable data

5. Allocating work to the right vendors.

We are going to take a look at each of these points individually, and address the concern with the solutions that Royal Services offer to solve the problem. Our partners out there who get to read this will be feeling even better about working with us when they see what other FM's have to deal with, and how we help them to get around these issues!

The 70 hour work week

The world that we live in today is a completely different animal to what it was previously. The 9-5 job is a thing of the past, with most employees now expected to be ready to work whenever they are needed. For many hands-on facilities managers, this means evenings and weekends are interrupted or lost completely due to pressing matters at work. The 40 hour week is now considered part time for many FM's who can only dream of such a short week. They are being asked to do more, save more, spend less, and increase the quality of the outcome, and this is impossible, meaning unfortunately something is going to have to give.

Graph showing the length of the average American work week

A big issue that we have seen in recent years is that the turnover rate of FM's is extremely high, with an average turnover rate of 2.7 years. This means that during their tenure at a company, they are typically just looking to cut costs to save money right now, as their bonus is often tied to the P and L sheet at the end of the year. If I knew that I was leaving at the end of this year, selfishly it doesn't make sense for me to spend money on new RTUs, or set up a long-range scheduled maintenance program, as I won't see any benefit from this. The best thing is to cut costs wherever possible, ride out the next few months and let someone else deal with the problems that arise a few years from now.

Repair or replace?

The issue for businesses with this approach is that Cap Ex budgets are being blown through in no time, assets are not lasting to anywhere near where they should be, and money is actually being lost due to this short sighted mentality. Another issue that significantly hampers the financial progress of a company is the constant chopping and changing of vendors. If your company puts your facilities maintenance work out to bid each year and you just look for a cheaper option, you may well save a few bucks but there are a lot of other opportunities to save money that have been lost.

Take a look at the bigger picture

Warranties are not going to transfer from company to company. It's going to take a lot of time, effort, and resources to get the new company up to speed. They are going to conduct equipment surveys, store inventories, site surveys etc. all of which will cost you time and money, and will disrupt the regular business at your stores. And then they will be able to start doing the work that your previous provider was already doing. Start thinking long-term and total value, instead of lowest-cost provider and immediate gratification.

What is the modern day FM dealing with?

Let's take a look at the facility maintenance challenges mentioned above in more detail. Here we go!

1. Saving Money

We help our partners to tighten their purse strings by taking a holistic approach to their facility maintenance programs. Instead of looking at just one component and the immediate future, we look at the whole animal over a longer period of time. By working with a facilities management company such as Royal, you have someone that is available 24/7 to help with your service needs, without having the associated overhead. You only pay when you use us, but if you were to add employees to your payroll you would be on the hook for salary, taxes, benefits, office space, and supplies even if you didn't use them.

In the current roller coaster economy that we find ourselves in, many companies are choosing to work with us to protect themselves when the market dips (we don't know when it will happen, but it will happen!). If this were to happen and you were forced to lay employees off you would have to consider the emotional side of letting someone go, severance pay, and quickly learning so that you could cover their workload. You would also need to train someone new when things picked up again, knowing that all it takes is a terrorist attack, political problems, or a dip in a foreign economy, and you would have to go through the same process again. Partnering with Royal gives you the peace of mind that someone will be there in your moment of need, without having to make unnecessary payments during quiet periods.

2. Extending the Life of Assets

There are many resources out there showing the benefits of implementing scheduled or preventative facility maintenance programs. By taking care of things on a regular basis, their lifetime is extended, which will save you significant money in the long run. One of our clients has been a partner for 20+ years and the data that we have collected shows that their service call volume is almost 60% lower than a company with no regular service plan in place. Still not sure about the value of regular maintenance? Try not changing the oil in your car for several years, and see the impact on it's performance! You can either pay for an oil change every 5000 miles, or you can run your car into the ground and have to buy a new one every couple of years. Pay now, or pay later? The choice is yours.

In this graph, you can see the ratio of emergency calls (corrective maintenance) to scheduled maintenance calls and how the number of repair calls drops with a preventative maintenance program in place. The left bar is the baseline that shows almost a 1:1 ratio for a company that didn't previously have a scheduled maintenance plan in place. The middle bar shows that this has dropped by 28% after having a scheduled maintenance plan in place for a 24 month period. The bar on the far right is the data for a national corporation who have had a scheduled maintenance program in place with us for 20+ years. This shows a 58% reduction in break/fix service calls due to regular scheduled maintenance.

Reduction in corrective maintenance costs due to rigorous preventive maintenance programs performed by Royal Services

3. Getting more done with fewer resources

With Royal, we provide you with one point of contact. For the majority of our partners we provide complete integrated facility solutions for them, from taking calls and dispatching vendors, to accounting support and troubleshooting. By outsourcing your maintenance department you will be able to focus on other things such as store openings, lease negotiations, special projects (we have a team for that as well!), and new construction. You will be working with less resources, but you will be working with a partner who shares common goals. We have the benefits of a nationwide network of proven vendors, buying power, knowledgeable project managers, and of course RAZOR, and these resources are obviously all available to our valued partners.

4. Making changes without reliable data

RAZOR, our proprietary CMMS, allows us to track everything within your network, and provides you with complete visibility of the work progress within your stores. We can actually customize this system to provide you with the exact information that you need. Want to see how much your Pacific Coast region has spent YTD on Life Safety Services? We can do that. Want to compare your regions by HVAC repair spend and service calls? No problem. You have access to any maintenance report that you could ever wish for. We can also modify the accessibility for this system so that your managers only see what you want them to. This truly is a remarkable tool, which provides facilities managers with current data that helps them to drive their future behavior and spending.

Two charts showing YOY spend by trade comparisons for retail facilities

5. Allocating work to the right vendors

We have been in business since 1993, and during that time we have developed an extremely strong nationwide network of just over 16,000 vendors. We have a tried and tested vetting system that ensures we work with only the very best and most respected service providers, which means high quality workmanship for all of our partners. We have a grading system in place so that our vendors are held accountable and are assessed on past and current performance. Unfortunately, there is always going to be the occasional vendor who doesn't perform to the required standard, fails to show, or doesn't give a good representation of Royal or your company. When incidents such as this occur, we own the problem, devise a solution, and work diligently so that the work is done to your satisfaction.

Look at total value rather than up-front cost

If you are running your maintenance program internally, or through a fully automated CMMS, you are on your own when things go wrong. A vendor doesn't show? Go back to the database and find another vendor to get the job done! The job wasn't completed properly and the problem persists. Jump back into the database and start looking for someone else. Remember that you will have to pay both people for their work here. By partnering with Royal you truly have a management firm who will take these issues off of your plate, and efficiently manage your R&M spend.

Contact our team of experts today and find out how we can reduce your wasted spending habits and help with your facility problems!

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