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  • Writer's pictureJamie Leeper

Benefits of Scheduled Maintenance Plans

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

When you manage multiple facilities you will be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to implement or continue a scheduled maintenance program. Far too often people live in the here and now, and don't foresee the problems that will occur if these items are neglected. Unfortunately, when budget cuts are made, scheduled maintenance programs are typically one of the first things to go, because people don't truly understand its value.

A qualified electrician working on a job in a store

The damage that this causes in the long run is typically much larger than what a regular program would have involved. It's similar to schools getting rid of their PE, fitness, and health classes, and then local agencies wondering why childhood obesity levels are at an all time high. When are people going to open their eyes and see the damage that cutting programs like this will cause?

  1. Prevention is better than cure - whether it be with your health, your vehicle, or your furnace at home, it's always much easier to deal with things along the way rather than facing an emergency situation. Our work health insurance is through Humana and they have an incredible program called Go365. With this program you are encouraged to make healthy decisions each day, and for doing this you are rewarded with vitality points that can buy gift cards and fitness trackers, and when you reach a certain level you start receiving a 10% discount on your insurance premium. For my family this reduction is worth approximately $1200 per year. Those who are shortsighted will see the immediate drop in revenue for Humana. Those with a broader vision will see the brilliance behind this as Humana have encouraged living a healthy lifestyle, and those that do this should end up with less illnesses and visits to the Dr.'s office. This should reduce Humana's expenses, but this is a longer term vision and not something that will be realized over night.

  2. Less chance of a serious issue occurring - This means that you will have peace of mind knowing that everything is in good working order and the chance of unit failure is minimized, allowing you to relax and focus on what you need to do. Recently, we took a closer look at one of our clients, and their number of emergency calls versus scheduled maintenance calls. Prior to the implementation of a scheduled maintenance program, the ratio was almost 1:1. After just two years we saw a 28% drop in break fix calls. Another client has had a scheduled maintenance plan with us for 23 years, and their emergency calls are 58% lower than those of a company with no plan in place. Through this program we have also been able to extend the lifetime of their assets by an average of 3-5 years. All of these ideas mean money being saved, and a healthier bottom line.

  3. Less total cost in the long run - taking short cuts right now might save you a few dollars, but in the long run, you will end up spending more money, experiencing increased delays, as well as lowering staff morale. I have worked for companies who fall on both sides of this line, and I can tell you which one I enjoyed the most. In my position where there was no consideration for the upkeep of the HVAC units, there was frequent failure, customers had to make do with extreme heat and cold, and a lot of business was lost. With issues such as this, it's a case of when, not if. Also, emergency calls on the weekend typically are pretty expensive and will soon set you back.

  4. Less disruption to your store environment - having a regular maintenance plan in place that can take place during regular hours means minimal disruption to your stores. If you decide to forego this expense, be prepared for failure to happen at the most inopportune time. Your staff and customers will be subjected to the issues, your revenue and reputation will take a hit, and your staff will be frustrated with the lack of attention you show them.

  5. Image - poor looking units gives the wrong impression of your building and brand. If you have damaged or dirty equipment your customers will more than likely start to look elsewhere. A few years ago, my wife visited a store during 100 degree plus temperatures on a blistering Kansas summer day. She found that the AC unit was down, so decided to head next door where there just happened to be a sign that said "We have air conditioning!". Consumers remember little things like this, and once they leave it's going to be much harder for you to win them back.

  6. Branding - Having the same retail facility maintenance company oversee all of your stores will provide you with a consistent look and will also allow you to work with just one point of contact. At Royal, our proprietary CMMS, RAZOR, allows you to have complete visibility across your entire network, instead of having to jump through hoops to track someone down.

  7. Staff are valued - taking a risk and deciding not to service a unit conveys the message to your employees that you don't really care about them and are more focused on the bottom line. Their safety and health are clearly not important and this causes people to not want to be around any more. You are going to spend a lot of time recruiting, hiring and training new staff if you don't show them that they are valued.

  8. Buying power and economies of scale - working with a national company to create a scheduled maintenance plan will allow you to experience tremendous savings due to the buying power the company possesses. If you have a mall location where there happens to be another 7 stores that are managed by the same company, a vendor can make one trip and hit all stores, which allows you to receive services at a reduced rate compared to sourcing this yourself.

  9. Efficiency and associated savings - if units are not running as efficiently as they should be, they are likely to consume more energy, as well as producing a greater volume of waste products. Regular maintenance of your HVAC system will increase the efficiency of your system, leading to improved operations and a reduction in your utility bills. You will also be doing your bit for the environment which is becoming increasingly important.

  10. Legal requirements - depending on your local jurisdiction, there are several requirements that you might need to meet in order for your business to continue operating. Typically this is centered on life safety systems, and no one wants the dreaded visit from the local fire marshal.

  11. Root cause analysis - We all frequently get our eyes, teeth and vitals checked to make sure that nothing wrong is going on behind the scenes. Many people will also get flu shots in an effort to fight off the chance of illness. All of these things happen at different frequencies but all have the same goal in mind. The same philosophy should apply to your facility. If this is not in place, be prepared to pay significant amounts of money when your unit completely fails, just before you open your doors on Black Friday.

These factors will vary depending on your location, type of business, controlling jurisdiction, company policy, and age of building amongst other things. Be sure to look at all aspects involved with your facilities before making a decision. The data available to the world shows the benefits of scheduled maintenance plans, so be sure to be in a position where you can say "I'm glad I did", rather than "I wish I had".

Contact our management team today to find out more about a customized scheduled maintenance plan for your network of stores.

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