Maximizing New Technology Boosts Performance, Morale
Savje and his team knew their strategy required maximizing the use of technology to support the redefined activities of technicians.
“We also took a look at the EMS (energy management system) to see how we utilize that,” he says. “We took that system and placed it on the custodians’ computers, so we were able to provide front-line communications with the school.
“Now, instead of a cold call or a hot call coming in and creating windshield time with a tech running from one place to another, the custodians have the ability to use their computers and take a reading in the space and tell us if it’s warranted to make an immediate call or if we schedule it down the road. That investment really paid off by cutting down our calls by about 50 percent.”
Technology also is enabling technicians to spend more time in the field.
“We’re also utilizing more iPads,” he says. “The EMS is on all our laptops and iPads, but we’re also using (iPads) for our work-ticket system. We’re getting better and faster communication between the schools requesting service and our staff members who are out there providing the service.”
The department made another move — one of the bricks and mortar variety — to further improve its communication and, ultimately, its performance.
“We used to have individual shops and offices for our boiler and HVAC techs, and we’ve literally taken down the walls and created an open space,” Savje says. “In that space, we have our dispatcher, our EMS control person, and our two supervisors. They’re open to the guys, open for communication.
“Now communications are flowing much better between the boiler techs and preventive maintenance guys and the HVAC techs. Communications between supervisors and the front-line guys is better. The techs are talking more about the problems they’re seeing and how they’re solving them in other schools. It has also helped morale, which I think has increased tenfold.”