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How Retail FMs Balance Proactive vs Reactive Maintenance [Retail Store Maintenance]

Reactive vs Proactive Which FM are you?
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August 12, 2022

Regardless of sector, location size, geography, traffic or facilities staff size, optimizing required maintenance is one of the most important jobs for the facilities management team.  In particular, making smart decisions about when to be proactive and when you can be reactive can drive results from both a service quality and cost perspective.

Facilities managers know that implementing planned maintenance programs can put themselves in a better position come summer with heavy HVAC usage.  And winter storms that necessitate rapid reactive snow plowing and other related services also can have significant revenue impact.

PRSM Retail Store Maintenance Cover This balance for FMs between taking a proactive and a reactive approach to maintaining stores and other locations was recently highlighted in Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) Retail Store Maintenance magazine.  The story provides a number of trends and best practices from ServiceChannel CEO Tom Buiocchi and service supply chain management company Ferrandino & Son COO Kevin Smith.

Tom and Kevin each raised a number of interesting points, coming from their perspectives as service automation technology and service providers, respectively:

Balancing Proactive and Reactive Plans

Tom mentioned how the ServiceChannel customer base relies on both planned and scheduled programs as well as emergency ones, and how “our more forward-thinking customers make sure to emphasize planned maintenance as much as possible across their locations.”

FM Software for Proactive Maintenance

Data is the key for any modern facilities program.  Having visibility into what’s happening is the only way to identify trends, patterns and outliers.  Tom shared an example of knowing when a particular model is failing across locations, and how that can let the FM team take proactive action with assets such as specific maintenance or other planned service “ahead of time or even replace them to eliminate continue failure elsewhere.”

Another key point Tom raised was on the Internet of Things (IoT) and its maintenance impact:

“With more equipment internet-enabled or integrated with connected devices, FMs can get automated warnings of sub-optimal operating conditions and take proactive action before facing expensive equipment downtime.”

We’re working with a number of IoT-focused partners focused on particular verticals and types of equipment that monitor assets and can automatically detect failures or problems, and then automatically create work orders for needed service.

For example, Ecofit Networks deploys connected devices on gym & fitness equipment that integrated directly with the ServiceChannel service automation platform.  Any issues that arise with equipment can be detected and addressed immediately; even actual usage can be monitored so preventive maintenance can be scheduled on a more appropriate basis, rather than on arbitrary time-based schedules (think changing your oil after 5,000 miles rather than simply after 3 months).

Most Important Reactive FM

To Ferrandino & Son’s Kevin Smith, snow removal’s the most important reactive maintenance service.  From safety issues to bottom line, simply keeping stores and locations open for business, makes this type of maintenance service essential.

He adds that keeping A/C functioning all summer is of course critical – “if a store is 110 degrees, nobody will shop there” – but there’s typically not a safety issue in play vs winter-related issues.

Driving Store Managers to Spend on Proactive Maintenance

Again, data and visibility come into play.  If you want to spend money to save money in your facilities program, one thing that helps is comparing planned maintenance spend to emergency repair spend.  We’ve seen a lot of customers benefit from this type of analysis.

As Tom highlights, “By analyzing those locations that spend proactive money, it’s often apparent that they’re reducing the likelihood of larger reactive expenses in the future.”  Taking action like this is one of the strongest ways to generate ROI on your FM software investment through smarter, most cost-effective decision making.

Learn more about how proactive maintenance can help your business reduce reactive maintenance spend long-term.

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