Maintenance On The Clock, Finding Minutes Adds Hours

Whenever some one mentions time management, the first thought generally centers on improvements to the administrative operations at an apartment community.  Time Management offers huge opportunities to improve maintenance operations as well.

It seems the frustration of not enough time plagues the maintenance team, as often as the leasing staff. It was a really busy week, so “we didn’t…..” This explanation is why a turn wasn’t finished.  Preventive maintenance was not completed.  The order for supplies was not sent to the supplier.

Work Load Analysis For Time Management

time managementThe amount of available time never changes.  There will always be 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week and we schedule forty hours in a work week. Reviewing  maintenance performance can identify startling results. Using the work order software, total the work orders completed in a week, or month. Happy Acres has a hundred service requests received, assigned and completed for the month. The first reaction is WOW, a hundred service requests. However, to break down the work flow, there are 20 working days each month. This translates to five service orders each day, a staff of two, or three? This doesn’t appear to be a very busy daily schedule.

The frustration, “maintenance didn’t get this done,” usually isn’t a maintenance time management problem. It’s a scheduling and communication problem. Imagine starting the day with the team meeting:

-Quick review, any emergencies
-Any service requests not completed from the previous day?
-Which apartments are scheduled for move in this week, and next?

Scheduling time for the service orders, with the expectation, “this morning we’ll get these five service orders completed. This afternoon one person will finish the turnover, one maintenance will change filters. At four p.m check with the office to see if there are any emergency service requests that need to be completed today. Last, update the list of any supplies that need to be ordered.

The Schedule

Scheduling each day can give structure to the maintenance plan for the week. Balancing time allocated for turnover prep and work orders can assist to make certain both items receive adequate attention.  It can also be beneficial to establish anticipated completion time frames.  Blocking out times for preventive maintenance and unit inspections will improve the execution of these important maintenance functions.

Depending on the size of a community, batching work assignments by physical location can eliminate “travel time” between service requests.  If maintenance supports several locations, establishing specific days can minimize repeated hours of travel time to perform one service request.

Following a schedule for placing parts orders can prevent delays.  Eliminating unnecessary trips to a local hardware for miscellaneous parts can add an hour to the workday.

Lori Hammond
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3 thoughts on “Maintenance On The Clock, Finding Minutes Adds Hours

  1. Thanks for the information so often managers tend to overlook the obvious that service techs have little if any time management skills. In addition the service managers tend to allow two or more techs to “team up” this practice is a killer for productivity. Being aware of assigned duties and having the ability to estimate time needed for typical service requests is paramount for a successful maintenance department. Whenever possible tasks should be combined ( example: changing a/c filter should also include a quick check for leaks under kitchen and bath sinks along with installing flappers and toilet handles) this can be then entered in preventative maintenance logs and the following month add a different item such as smoke detector batteries done with appliance inspections.
    To properly implement preventive maintenance all items should be addressed semi annually with pre ordering and delivery of goods needed scheduled and received on a set schedule and included in monthly budget.

  2. The information was great and I would like to add another tool which will also help in the time management struggle. I personally log each days activities in my “little black book” (as my team has named it), it is a very valuable tool especially when it comes to contractor invoices and even depositions. You have the ability to recall so much information that would normally be forgotton, such as times and dates. As a tool for the team I don’t know if I would suggest making it a full time expectation but maybe an exercise that you can ask them to do for a specific period of time and use the exercise on a monthly basis or as detirmined.