March 25, 2014
13 Reasons School Districts Need Maintenance Software
A quick Google search for "school equipment failures" results in a surprising find - poor maintenance management systems and implementation are a huge problem for our public education system. It is truly startling to see the number of issues - and the vast array of different problems - that schools face on a seemingly day-to-day basis. I would be willing to bet a decent-sized chunk of change that these bastions of higher learning are not properly educated on the benefits of maintenance software for schools. Never fear - we are about to solve this problem. Put on your thinking caps: You are about to get schooled!
Why Schools Need Maintenance Software
There are so many reasons facilities need a CMMS - or computerized maintenance management system - especially when considering maintenance software for schools. Below, you can find a quick list of some of the top reasons your school facility needs maintenance software.
Safety is - above all else - the number one reason to use a CMMS in a school environment. Equipment failure can (and does) lead to injuries and tragedies all too often.
Having a maintenance system in place helps prevent safety issues by ensuring that the equipment under your care doesn't break down or fail. It also helps guide users on proper usage and how to respond in case of an accident.
Two recent examples of equipment failure leading to an injury in a school include a boy injured on faulty school playground equipment and a school bus accident blamed on poor maintenance.
Because of the threat of safety hazards for improperly maintained equipment, maintenance software for schools is crucial. As stated above, properly maintaining equipment helps curtail injuries, which can, in turn, lead to legal issues.
When equipment breaks down, it can lead to downtime. In a normal facility, this is bad because you have to pay employees to sit around and twiddle their thumbs. In a school setting, you have to add kids to the scenario, and really, what do you do with few thousand children who have no air conditioning, no lights, and no way to watch those old History Channel specials teachers are so fond of playing?
A number of things can lead to equipment failure causing downtime, including power outages, false alarms due to fault fire alarms, and even radiation monitoring monitors breaking down as happened recently in a school in Japan.
Another frequent cause of school closures is poorly maintained boilers. To see how common this problem really is, just take a peek at these articles covering five different schools that were shut down recently over faulty boilers:
Help Keep Your Facility Clean
Chipped paint, broken doors, and broken windows are just some of the problems facility managers have to monitor and keep on top of. By their very nature, campuses can get messy rather quickly (have you seen your kids" rooms lately?), which can, in turn, lead to safety issues.
Ignoring or not properly tracking these issues just causes them to get worse over time. Before you know it, that cracked window can lead to a broken window, which lets in the elements (such as rain) and eventually causes a mold problem. And slow drainage in the restrooms of your facility can lead to sewage problems if not taken care of immediately.
Keep Track of Assets
School systems tend to have a vast amount of equipment and moving parts - just think of all of the computers a school computer lab has, for instance. Keeping track of the items in your inventory makes it possible for you to stay on budget and not overspend for equipment you already own. In addition, you can't effectively schedule maintenance and process work orders if you don't even have a complete picture of the items you are maintaining.
Stay on Budget
There are many ways a CMMS can help a school stay on budget. In addition to tracking assets and reducing over-ordering, good maintenance software helps you prevent equipment breakdowns and failures, which can be much more costly than simply replacing a damaged part or conducting scheduled maintenance.
As with any facility, schools are subject to certain laws and compliance regulations. A CMMS helps you stay compliant by letting you store any compliance requirements in your database and ensuring that you follow the steps necessary to maintain compliance procedures.
How many times have you run into a situation where the only person who knows how to use the school projector is out sick (or worse, is an 8-year-old student)? You can avoid situations like this with the help of a maintenance program, as they allow you to store documentation and operating manuals for every piece of equipment you maintain.
Alongside user manuals, a CMMS lets you store warranty information, saving you money by letting you take advantage of cost-saving warranties for part and equipment replacement - not to mention the fact that it will save you a lot of time and grief, as you won't need to go digging through a bunch of filing cabinets to find the manufacturer"s information.
Documenting when work orders were issued, who followed up on them, and what work was done is important for many reasons, including employee accountability, warranty requirements (the manufacturer will want to know what steps you took and your maintenance schedule for any broken machinery), and even in liability or regulatory situations, where documentation is key to proving there was no negligence involved.
Scheduling Work Orders
One of the primary functions of maintenance software is the ability to schedule work orders and ensure they are executed on a scheduled basis. This goes for one-off work orders as well as preventative maintenance tasks.
Increase Energy Efficiency
An often-overlooked benefit of computerized maintenance management systems is their effect on energy efficiency. Poorly maintained equipment can quickly become an energy hog, increasing energy use and utility bills.
Budget cuts are rampant in the education industry, so it is critical for a school to keep its costs down. All of the issues above really equate to one fact: Using a CMMS (and implementing it properly) greatly reduces a facility"s costs. Introducing maintenance software can prevent budget cuts that lead to dropped programs and reduced staff.