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Staffing, supply chain issues and workplace changes are the challenges facing FMs
Sean Devaney is the director of maintenance, mechanical and electrical systems at Broward College in Davie, Fla. Broward is a recipient of a 2015 Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award for Personnel and a two-time winner in the six-year history of the FMDAAs. He discusses the transition to and benefits of the centralized program with FMD Associate Editor Dave Lubach.
Director of maintenance, mechanical and electrical systems
1.What were the reasons for centralizing the college's facilities services?
The main reason for centralizing facilities services was to improve the quality of services provided college-wide and better manage the annual budget to address the day-to-day operations of such a large institution. The college has grown from a small system to a large system of upwards of 70,000 students. There was a very real need to start looking at prioritizing resources and annual allocations based on a priority set of deferred maintenance needs.
2. Briefly describe the transition process.
The first year, 2013, was spent examining the decentralized structure and looking at the current quality of services. This was done with the help of outside consultants and with in-house management staff. Following the analysis of the operation a plan was presented to the college administration and board of trustees for approval. Once approved, the restructuring kicked off with a team meeting of all the facilities staff to discuss the changes moving forward. The staff was very receptive from the beginning. The overall number of full-time employees did not change significantly. It was rather a restructuring of existing staff, including some reassignments and promotions.
3. How did your staff adapt and embrace the changes?
Staff has overwhelmingly been receptive of the changes. There really have been no adverse reactions to the change. In most part, I know the staff is very happy with the changes. I hear it daily in comments and witness it in positive employee attitudes and in improved services provided.
4. How much training was needed to get employees comfortable with the new arrangement?
There was little training necessary for most as the staff was all on board previously. The biggest change was for managers, supervisors and administrative assistants. With the change came a new approval path for procurement and project submittals. What was once an approval path at each campus location was now channeled up through district facilities.
5. How was your role as a manager affected by the new arrangement?
My role changed from a director level to a district level directors position. The restructuring provides for taking on responsibility of all locations and managing the human resources as well as the financial resources. With this change I am able to prioritize funding more efficiently.
6. What have been the biggest benefits of the move to centralize the facilities maintenance staff?
Happy, productive employees, and improved quality of services provided to the campus community. All the changes are leading back to student success, which is why we are all here.