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Maintenance and engineering managers for years have been judged based largely on their ability to keep wildly divergent areas of facilities operating effectively and safely at the same time. Whether the task at hand is related to the technological intricacies and subtleties of HVAC systems or to the relatively straightforward issues involved in grounds care, a manager’s duty is the same: Ensure that the task contributes to a facility’s safety and effectiveness.
This issue’s cover articles exemplify just how much more broad a manager’s areas of responsibility have become, as well as how central the emphasis on the bottom line has become in all organizations.
In our Facility Issues coverage, Senior Editor David Kozlowski profiles the efforts of the physical plant department at the University of Miami to improve employee productivity through the use of wireless technology and an upgraded computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Department managers hope that the leading-edge technology will enable managers and front-line technicians to access all types of information more quickly and to interact more rapidly as the demands of a project dictate.
In our Specifier Perspectives coverage, Jeff Evans makes the case that, although too few managers pay adequate attention to proper roofing systems inspection and maintenance, managers who do so can deliver big benefits to their organizations. The benefits result from stressing thorough inspections and rapid response to problems, actions that keep problems small and extend roof performance life.
The articles also emphasize the increasingly dominant criteria by which maintenance and engineering managers are judged — the extent to which their areas of responsibility go beyond ensuring efficiency and safety and actually contribute savings to an organization’s bottom line.
As the cover articles point out, investments in maintenance can create substantial savings for organizations. Wireless CMMS can generate time and cost savings by enabling technicians to be more productive in almost every aspect of their jobs. And savvy roof management minimizes costs related to major repair jobs and to roof replacements before the end of a roof’s designed performance life.
Once, the common-sense nature of building maintenance — buy quality products, maintain them properly and they’ll last — almost sold itself to building owners. Now, it’s increasingly up to managers to sell them on the wisdom of investing in maintenance by demonstrating the benefit of such actions to an organization’s bottom line.
Editor’s note: The list of employees in NYU Downtown Hospital’s engineering department in our November 2001 cover story, “Engineering at Ground Zero”, omitted one employee: Richard Becker, mechanic.