When you manage multiple facilities you may well be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to implement or continue a scheduled maintenance program due to budgetary reasons. 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 just don't truly understand it's value.
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 and diabetes 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?
The following is our top 10 reasons for not cutting your preventive maintenance programs:
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 incentive program called Go 365. 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, gym equipment and fitness wearables, and when you reach a certain level you start receiving a 10% discount on your insurance premium. For my family of 5 this reduction is worth approximately $1200 per year.
Those with a broader vision will see the brilliance behind this as Humana have incentivized 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 overnight. 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 incentive program called . 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 wearables, 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, and those that are shortsighted will see the immediate drop in revenue for Humana.
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.
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/ Appearance
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 in 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.
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.
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.
Having units that operate smoothly and do not need to be fixed regularly means that everyone can get on with what they are supposed to be doing, such as selling product. Having a scheduled plan in place creates efficiencies as you leave the scheduling to the completely integrated facility maintenance company.
11) 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.
Not getting your furnace serviced significantly increases the chance of unit failure. Issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning can be significantly reduced if your heating system is regularly serviced. What price would you put on the life of your family and loved ones?
So, the next time you think about the few dollars that you will save from eliminating your preventative maintenance plan, pause, take a step back and remember all of the huge problems that will likely occur.