Tips for Reducing Operations and Maintenance Costs
It is possible for municipalities and public works departments to find considerable savings in initial purchasing and procurement by comparing the prices of different providers. Now, the true mark of a well-managed local authority or savvy director is the ability to decrease operations and maintenance costs when already in operation. This is especially important due to widespread cuts in public budgets.
To accomplish this, it is important to know where to look for likely ways maintenance costs can be lowered and to have the tools to process the data gathered in order to correctly identify true cost-savers and calculate savings accurately. Advanced yet easy-to-use solutions like WebDPW™ Public Works Software are designed to save you time and money while simplifying your workflow – but first, let’s look at some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when attempting to reduce operations and maintenance costs.
- PREVENTIVE AND PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE
This should always be a prime consideration. Many operations attempts to skimp in this area, believing they can save money by skipping the occasional scheduled maintenance, or alternatively, making scheduled maintenance less regular. This will, in the long run, result in increased costs as expensive equipment and other assets begin to work far below their maximum performance level, exhibit increased downtime and eventually become damaged beyond repair and require replacement far sooner than expected.
- ASSET MANAGEMENT
This can be considered an extension, or more accurately, evolution of predictive maintenance. While keeping a preventive maintenance schedule is a good baseline of asset care, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) uses more advanced and reliable methods that will further protect your assets and avoid unexpected downtime and expenses. By tracking the condition of assets on a continuous basis, storing documents such as operating procedures, maintenance records and warranty information digitally in one place, and even tracking depreciation of assets the absolute maximum value can be obtained from your assets both during their use and when the time comes to replace them.
- WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT
A common cause of wasted man hours and superfluous asset use is the existence of poor workflows (or lack of defined ones) for regular tasks. The first step is to ensure a cemented workflow is in place – then, through the collection and analysis of data, the next step is to create a refined workflow that maximizes efficiency and minimizes expenditure. A multi-faceted management solution can facilitate this by creating clearly defined service requests and work orders while tracking employee/contractor time, equipment time and costs and marking the end of jobs and projects with the expected final cost.
The ability to track and manage all your materials is imperative to ‘running a tight ship’ and ensuring you have everything you need at all times – as well as prevent unnecessary and unexplained surplus orders. Be it equipment parts, materials or supplies, properly monitored inventory is a must for any organization serious about controlling operation costs.
- DATA MANAGEMENT
The ability to collect massive amounts of data is all for naught if you don’t have the means to process and analyze the data gathered. Conversely, a sturdy data management system can be the key to significantly lowering operational costs. For instance, a well-designed management system will allow you to store pictures, scanned documents and time sheets related to a maintenance job in one place and quickly recall them at a workstation or a mobile device while on the move. With these capabilities, you can immediately see whether work is being done at maximum efficiency and ensure the job has been fully completed. This can apply to all data that cost-effective operation depends on.
This is often where it all comes together. After the information has been gathered and sorted by a data management system, the next step should be the production of an information-rich but easy to understand report. A ‘grand summary’ report can give you a general overview of your operations. This is very useful for end-of-day or other period reviews. However, to ensure efficiency, more specific reports are necessary and should be available in areas such as work orders, service requests, assets, inventory, general ledger and more. Advanced reporting can also in itself directly reduce costs and increase accuracy through paperless reports, procurement and bid management.
WebDPW™’s Public Works Management Software offers an all-in-one solution for your organization’s operations and maintenance management needs. In addition to providing all of the above capabilities in one user friendly program, additional features ensure that you’ll be a step ahead of the competition when it comes to streamlining your operations. Smart Scheduling allows managers to view work orders and their status/priority and cross reference them with information such as employee location and specialty. Jobs can then be reassigned or rescheduled as needed. Meanwhile, the Time Card Auditor tracks how much time is spent on each activity or project, not only allowing managers and department directors to keep an eye on how many man hours are being spent per job, but also assisting in identifying key activities that could benefit from additional training.
To find out how WebDPW™ can help your public works department or municipality dramatically reduce operations and maintenance costs, contact us today or schedule a free demo. We also invite you attend one of our webinars which highlight how Public Works Management software can revolutionize the management of your organization.