How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
In an effort to create accountability, prolong the life cycle of equipment, and streamline maintenance activities, Northside Independent School District in San Antonio has built a satellite maintenance facility that is garnering rave reviews inside the district.
In addition to the primary maintenance facility that has always served the 12.8-million-square-foot district, the organization built an additional building, Maintenance North, which houses three teams that each handle 12 different campuses. These teams are comprised of technicians well-versed in the latest building technologies, including plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems.
"That (approach) gives my organization a new level of accountability," says Bernie Morin, the district's director of maintenance and operations. "All of the technicians are there at that one campus, and they're being supervised by that one foreman on that campus. That foreman is going through, checking work orders for every trade and every craft. I've received rave reviews about this new program."
Aside from the 36 campuses Maintenance North covers, the maintenance and operations department features a typical structure that has technicians who maintain specific zones and schools. For example, a plumbing technician works independently from an HVAC technician, though they might be responsible for the same 10-12 schools. The team concept makes the satellite facility unique.
"We're trying to address anything that might come up," Morin says. "We might not be aware of every problem area that exists on a campus. But I feel that by doing the smart team approach, we may be able to head some things off at the pass, so to speak, and be aggressive about handling problems."
If the new approach continues to be successful, Morin says he is ready to expand the program beyond the 36 campuses.
Says Morin, "It's a very important program ... for the future development of the maintenance organization at Northside."
Maintenance 'Smart Teams' Make Department More Efficient