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Save Time and Money Using a CMMS with Walt Petters

Director of Maintenance and Plant Operations
Brevard County Public Schools

Walt Petters
Director of Maintenance and Plant Operations
Brevard County Public Schools
Rockledge, Fla.

What are the main functions your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provides for your department?
Our entire organization is focused around our CMMS. It is the way our customers communicate their needs. We document work efforts, productivity, reoccurring facility problems and the need to demonstrate a particular area of need. For example, if we have continuous work-order requests with roof issues, the CMMS allows us to demonstrate the need to create and fund a roof-replacement program.

What role does the CMMS play in your department's preventive maintenance and work-order processing?
Everything we do is tied to a work order and categorized – routine, service, vandalism, etc. Preventive maintenance work orders are generated to document efforts in keeping warranties in place, such as monthly chiller inspections and testing. We also use preventive maintenance work orders to generate repetitive work, such as mowing competition football fields.

When specifying a CMMS, what tools are most important for maintenance and engineering departments?
Flexibility. The systems should have a user-friendly report-writing system since everyone looks at and needs information in a different format. It also should be easily adaptable to the way the customer does business, not the way the software wants to.
Support. The user needs to have reliable, 24-7 support with quick response.
Training. Ongoing training and feedback that comes from the vendor and user groups to help identify common operational issues that others have encounter and solved. That information helps make the system a collaborative effort between software and everyday personal experiences.

Can you talk about the importance of training technicians on the proper use of a CMMS?
Training the technician is paramount in the CMMS having validated data and providing useable information. The information provided from the technician must be accurate for the CMMS to have value. It is just as important for the supervisors and managers to evaluate the data and make decisions based on facts. It also helps eliminate the politics of who gets what.

How has the CMMS made your department more efficient? Has it helped save money? Can you provide an example of how it helped save money?
Absolutely. We have created our own weekly productivity reports each supervisor reviews based on estimated man-hours. Supervisors use the reports to help discuss any large overruns in time or material with the employee. The reports assure everyone we are watching the store. The reports’ substantial documentation helps avoid situations in which the amount of time spent on a job is substantially different than the original estimate.
It also helps us whenever we have a parent or citizen question what we have done related to a particular issue.

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posted:  11/5/2008