4 inspiring stories from the front lines of asset maintenance
When I think about what makes my job exceptional, it’s that I get to work with people who infuse honesty, intelligence and integrity into everything they do. It is more than just the technology we use or the awards we win. For starters, it is the feeling of knowing that every customer we serve has the transparency they need to make better decisions and improve how their business operates. It is also the knowledge that we employ hundreds of people with disabilities including veterans. Finally, it is the ability to constantly reinvent our processes to save our customers’ money to reinvest in new projects.
Doing the work we do – managing 8 million sq. ft of facilities space, performing thousands of vehicle repairs, operating 500,000 sq. ft of warehouse space, and managing an inventory valued at $750M – provides many opportunities for stories of innovation. Today, I wish to share some of my favorite front line stories.
1) Meter readings go mobile
When we assumed maintenance responsibilities at Army Base Fort Lee located in Richmond, VA, we took responsibility for meter reading and reporting for the facility. At the outset, there were three individuals who would go and manually record the readings. They would then come back and feed the data into the system. As you can imagine, this was time-consuming and prone to error. We installed Maximo and provided hand-held devices to the technicians.
Immediately, we saw accuracy and efficiency go through the roof! Not only were we inputting the data in real-time, we added parameters that would guide the technician with their input if it was outside expected parameters. If the reading was outside the anticipated parameter, the technician could take an image of the reading and attach it to the work order for verification, then move on to the next meter. By keeping them focused on reading meters, we gained efficiencies while allowing Maximo simultaneously create a child work order to diagnose the potential issue by specialists.
We went from three people reading meters to one individual with disabilities – creating fantastic increases in efficiency. As a side benefit, the ability to locate via GPS, communicate via text or video allows for peace of mind as well. A win- win for all!
2) The smartest people we work with are technicians
In some ways, maintaining the barracks of an army base is like managing hotel rooms. Before each occupancy, the barrack must be inspected. Using “eForms”, a Skookum developed electronic form, the technician enter the barrack and perform the necessary quality inspections. Checking the lightbulbs, power outlets, confirm the a/c is working, look for holes, check the screens, etc. For each item, the technician would toggle an affirmative ‘Yes’ on the “eForm” using their iPad. With thousands of rooms to inspect, they quickly found it was very time-intensive to constantly toggle ‘Yes’.
To improve efficiencies, the technicians proposed the idea of assuming everything works and flip the form on its head. Instead, they would only toggle ‘No’ if there was an issue. This allowed Maximo to create real-time trouble work orders, route it accordingly allowing for resources to repair. This tiny change in process saved our customer thousands of hours increasing efficiency. All because of a simple great idea from our technician.
3) Transparency in asset maintenance leads to client satisfaction
For nearly any task, there is a series of steps that, if followed, will ensure the job gets done right. We knew if we could get the right “recipe” for every task, we would save hours and gain efficiencies for our customers. This is why we created automated checklists, again based on the” eForm”. These checklists give the technicians the right recipe every time to ensure high consistent quality and save time with paperwork. Over time, we were able to incorporate a history for each asset and by having this information at the technician’s fingertips, they can best service the device. All of this work is available to our customer as they too have access to our systems as well as regular reporting proactively routed to their inbox.
4) Customizing inventory needs by technician
We had a huge inventory of spare parts – thousands of warehouse square feet all of which we inherited from a prior provider. Over time, we were able to schedule our preventive maintenance activities well in advance, coordinate the technician, and build the of PM parts needed for the month. Knowing this, we took these scheduled activities to our parts provider and asked them to shrink-wrap the parts by technician. The part “kit” was shipped to our site just in time allowing us to reduce our inventory handling costs. Once again, we achieved savings and shared it with our customer. This is often returned to us in the form of more work.
Honesty, transparency, & quality are the keys to our success
As you can see, the qualities that embody Skookum weave their way into every aspect of our business. Using Maximo, and empowering our technicians to think of innovative ways, allows us to continue to see incredible growth and create opportunities for people with disabilities.
Learn more about Skookum and read about why we won the 2017 Uptime Award for Outstanding Maintenance & Reliability Program.