As buildings become more complex, with all sorts of electrical, heating, cooling and other systems that need consistent routine maintenance, it can be a daunting task for facility managers and maintenance personnel to keep up – especially as they deal with increasingly scarce skilled staff.
Each component has a maintenance schedule to adhere to, myriad parts that may be required, and providers who perform the work. Work needs to be scheduled so as to minimize (or completely avoid) downtime. Once a maintenance job is complete, there are invoices to deal with and reports to produce, to document what was done – and when the next scheduled maintenance job should happen.
The never-ending cycle of scheduled building maintenance
Consider what’s involved in performing scheduled maintenance on any given building management system. It first involves scheduling time to complete the job, at a time that works for both the facility owner and the maintenance provider. Then you perform diagnostics to determine how the system is operating and whether any components need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced. If so, you need to determine what part(s) you need and order them. Once they arrive, now you need to schedule more time to conduct the fix, again perform diagnostics and test the system to ensure all is well. When it’s all done, you need to write up a report on the fix for all interested stakeholders.
Now multiply that single maintenance job by however many systems in the building require routine maintenance. It’s no wonder you’re so tired at the end of every day.
In this age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and all manner of cloud-based applications and services, it doesn’t have to be that way. New tools are emerging that enable service providers to far more easily track assets and quickly take corrective actions.
And it’s all available from a smart phone.
The idea is to simplify building maintenance operations in the field, using cloud-based tools that perform a variety of functions. Using the tools, various operations maintenance team members, customers and other relevant third parties can collaborate, sharing information as necessary. Onsite maintenance personnel can get live support from remote teammates and other experts, for example. They can access relevant documents such as manuals and diagrams from wherever they are in the field. And problem resolution information can be communicated in real time to colleagues and customers.
The tools can help with maintenance planning, storing schedules for required maintenance and issuing reminders on upcoming jobs. QR codes placed on equipment makes loading the predefined maintenance plans a snap.
All the data the tool gathers each day can be turned into maintenance reports with a single click and distributed to relevant parties. That means no more sitting down at the end of the day and writing out information on all tasks performed, parts used and the like. The tool can also store historical data, which can be used to create reports that show trends over time, helping maintenance personnel keep ahead of problems.
Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ Facility Expert
Schneider Electric has just such a tool available now to help maintenance teams and facility managers. Click here to learn more about EcoStruxure Facility Expert and how you can put the power of IoT and the cloud to use to improve the efficiency of your maintenance teams.