While you can’t escape service issues in property management, you can manage them more efficiently. We know first-hand the trials and tribulations that accompany managing, organizing, and distributing work orders to technicians. That’s why we’ve compiled five steps to improve your maintenance team’s workflow and streamline your work order management.
Step One: Ensure Engagement
Clear and open communication between managers, technicians, and residents is critical to keeping everyone happy and on the same page. In a rush to address a maintenance request, property managers or leasing offices may call on their favorite technician without realizing that their workload is already maxed out. Avoid such scenarios by staying on top of your technicians’ schedules and distributing service issues evenly. Better scheduling enables you to ensure that every member of your team keeps busy. Staying on top of work order assignments also increases resident satisfaction and resident retention.
Digital solution for managing service issues can help maintain balanced workloads. The right software resource will even show you how many work orders each technician already has when assigning new tasks. When managers, technicians, and residents all have access to the same digital request information and receive real-time updates about requests, communication improves.
Step Two: Plan Ahead
Assign tasks at the beginning or end of the day to give your onsite maintenance team a chance to clarify details, schedule visits, and ask the right questions. Did someone order the necessary parts to complete the request? Do they have all the tools and parts they need? When will the resident be home? Does the resident have pets they need to secure? By planning allows, maintenance technicians to secure the correct tools, purchase any missing materials beforehand, and plot the most efficient route.
Step Three: Play to Your Strengths
Even if a technician doesn’t have a particular specialty, chances are they have professional strengths and weaknesses. A technician who enjoys fixing cabinets will do a better job on that type of repair than one who doesn’t. The right person will complete the job faster and do superior work, leading to fewer callbacks, which boosts your residents’ confidence in your maintenance team. By sending the appropriate technician to each job, you’ll save time and increase resident satisfaction.
Sending an employee with the right skillset can also save you a lot of money. Replacement costs make up a significant percentage of your operating budget. Imagine the difference in costs between a technician who knows how to fix broken AC units, versus one who automatically defaults to replacing them.
While this step is obvious in principle, it can be difficult to implement. It’s hard to know which of your maintenance employees excel at which tasks, or which technician will be better for a particular project versus others. You can keep an eye out for differentiators over time and discover individual strengths through trial and error or employ a software resource to help you manage your teams’ skillsets.
Step Four: Work Efficiently
Now that you’re assigning work orders the night before scheduled appointments, or first thing in the morning, you can further streamline your technicians’ days by checking for work orders within the same building, unit, or property. This keeps your facilities staff from running in circles and wasting travel time. Doing so will also alleviate your maintenance teams’ frustration levels and make your residents happier by efficiently completing their service requests.
Step Five: Do It Right the First Time
Callbacks are the bane of every maintenance team and resident. Technicians don’t like having to go back to units to readdress repairs, and tenants expect issues to be fixed on the initial call. To increase maintenance efficiency, it’s vital to track and reduce callbacks. As with skill assessment, technology can help manage and eliminate return visits. Imagine being able to see how many callbacks each technician gets within a specific time period, broken down by categories. If Tech A gets more callbacks when fixing refrigerators, then it might be better to send Tech B on those types of calls instead. Or if Tech C gets a callback with almost every task they’re assigned, then it might be time to find a new technician altogether.
Reducing return visits decreasing redundancies makes technicians, residents, and property managers happy—it’s a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.
Work Orders and Technology
Greater efficiency in work order management and cutting-edge technology goes hand-in-hand. The ideal software resource will allow you to ensure that each maintenance team member has a manageable workload, adequate lead time for their tasks, is assigned the tasks best suited to their individual skillset, and can group tasks by location. The same platform should provide supervisors and managers with comprehensive data and analytics to improve skill assessments and reduce callbacks.