What Every Facilities Manager Should Do Now: On Demand Contractor Work Orders

by David Markowitz   Jun 20, 2017

Contractor Management

This is the next in a series of posts highlighting critical Action Items that every facilities manager should be focused on throughout the year but especially during certain parts of the year.  You may learn about them all in the popular ebook, What Every Facilities Manager Should Do Now.

In our prior post, we explored the importance of automating planned and preventive maintenance. Ensuring all needed scheduled services happens on time is essential for any facilities manager.  In the era of ‘doing more with less,’ automating preventive maintenance is one of the principal ways that small and nimble facilities teams can successfully manage hundreds of locations. This post will deal with the issues of contractor work orders and how the use of service automation software can help sove them. 

For many locations, different seasons bring different required services to the fore.  Summer heat puts huge burdens on cooling systems.  Failure on that front on the wrong days, and sales will melt away as fast as you do.  When winter arrives, timely snow removal is the difference between business as usual and inaccessible stores, buildings or restaurants, prompting ‘your’ business to go elsewhere.  Regardless of time, when lawn care, landscaping, storm preparation or recovery services are needed, and often urgently, delay can prove costly.

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The challenge with many of these types of service requests is that they can occur unexpectedly and/or off-hours.  Having your service providers wait until they’re formally requested (and when they’re likely quite busy) does nothing but delay needed work from occurring and lead to issues like wind damage, faulty HVAC systems, snow-filled parking lots or flood damage not getting resolved promptly.

Improving Resolution Time with Contractor-Initiated Work Orders 

Contractor-initiated work ordersTypically companies wait for an issue to be identified before being reported, and only then reach out to a service provider to remedy. This means issues can fester, customers are impacted, all while costs and risks rise.

For those companies that have trusted contractors or service providers, there are tools and mobile apps that can enable these vendors to create work orders for themselves for certain types of work in real-time while on-site, obviously within certain constraints and with specified permissions, for specific tasks such as snow removal.

These contractor-initiated work orders save you the effort of creating work orders yourself retroactive to the work performed, as well as having to reconcile invoices arriving months later (and with little to no records of what work was performed where and when).  Most important, this approach gets required work done faster, when needed, improving quality of service.

Use Case: Giving Contractors Power and Responsibility

One successful use case of this approach was highlighted by CVS Health.  With temps as they are now it may tough to visualize, but for them, snow removal is always top of mind.  It’s a perfect example of a service request that comes at all hours, often with little notice and is crucial to maintaining open stores and its brand uptime. 

CVS Health’s facilities team relies on a transparent process powered by contractor-initiated work orders via a Service Channel mobile app [VIDEO].  With this approach, its service providers create snow removal work orders on their end when conditions warrant.  

Even though they’re entering work orders themselves, the app validates the who, what, where and when around the work performed.  This way, the facilities team can ensure that these unplanned work orders are handled efficiently, cost effectively and accurately.

Facilities managers can be challenged with snow removal as well as other unplanned tasks like garbage pickup, necessary and time-sensitive work identified on preventive maintenance calls, etc.

Final Thoughts

To handle these most efficiently, they should work with their service providers to provide them this capability via their facilities service automation platform now.  This way, they can be fully prepared to improve service levels when conditions warrant (whether it’s when the snow starts falling or a storm hits). 

In future posts, we’ll highlight where other top performing facilities teams focus their efforts, from service provider performance management to infrastructure checks and audits.

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