The education industry is buzzing with new ideas and strategies now more than ever, keeping operations managers to their toes as they juggle fine-tuning the old while implementing the new. While staying on top of change is a must to ensure we’re providing the best for our students, one thing that remains the same year after year is the need to do more with less. While striving to make our schools and universities the best they can be, we also have to use time, money and manpower within our means. The good news is that many advancements have been made in the world of education software to help institutions work smarter, not harder.
In the years to come, you’ll need to think one (or many) steps ahead of your operations so that you’re controlling them, not the other way around. To begin, get to know the five operational management trends you’re sure to see.
Trend #1: Preventive and Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is no small trend. It’s a game-changing approach to maintenance and facility management.
If you’ve been familiar with Dude Solutions for any length of time, you know the phrase that lights up our faces: preventive maintenance (PM). It’s not wise to put off to tomorrow what you can get done today, especially if putting it off means your facility’s HVAC system breaks and your students are shivering, or a small leak turns into a big issue that closes your doors or cancels classes for a week.
PM is scheduled maintenance in an effort to keep all your assets functioning properly for as long as possible according to best practices. Not following this approach means operations teams are always in reactive mode, rushing to correct the latest breakdown.
What keeps schools and campuses from implementing a PM program, however, is that it takes some effort, time and money to get up and running, though the return on investment is more than worthwhile. When preventive maintenance isn’t a priority, schools run into serious deferred maintenance (DM) issues. Putting off maintenance needs and capital projects until the time and budget are right can have major consequences that put schools in a much deeper hole than the efforts invested to get a PM program off the ground.
In the last five years, overdue maintenance needs have risen 18 percent, equaling $6,462 per student, and studies show our country currently faces approximately $500 billion in deferred maintenance. To say a prevention mindset is important to the future success of our schools is an understatement, especially if we want our buildings and equipment to last and our budget dollars to count. Deferred maintenance and being caught in the loop of reactive fixes isn’t economical, nor it is in what’s best for our students.
The Perks of Prevention
The benefits of running an effective PM program are many, including:
50-60%REDUCTION IN THE RATE OF EMERGENCY WORK.
28-39% REDUCTION IN AVERAGE COST PER WORK ORDER.
We all know emergency, corrective maintenance takes more time, money, disruption and stress. To make the concept personal, imagine you have a nagging cavity. Will it take time to have the procedure and recuperate afterward? Yes. Will you have to pay money you’d rather not to have it taken care of? Definitely. Will it involve pain or stress? Of course. But, you’d take all three compared to that of a root canal, which is what you’re in for if you keep putting off the initial fix.
What’s Around the Corner
While preventive maintenance is now a must for operational success, there’s an even smarter way to work: predictive maintenance (PdM). Predictive maintenance is no small trend. It’s a game changing approach to maintenance and facility management. While it’s important to have an effective PM system in place to effectively tackle the recurring tasks of your institution, wouldn’t it be nice to have a system that could analyze your data and identify trends and issues you’ll encounter down the road in advance?
Where PdM differs from PM is the level of intricacy and customization. While having a PM program is great, it does allow for a bit of guesswork. PdM on the other hand knows your assets so well it can see what’s coming and communicate with you before the problem arises, helping you optimize each asset’s performance according to its individual needs.
Where preventive maintenance says your roof should last 30 years as long as you perform these maintenance measures at this cadence, predictive maintenance responds to the actual condition of the roof versus its age or manual guidelines. It takes into account factors like the weather the roof has been exposed to and its work order history to calculate how the roof is truly holding up as opposed to relying on a blanketed time table. This prevents unnecessary time or money spent on maintenance that may not actually be needed at the time.
Smart Schools = Smart Operations
So how does PdM work? You may have heard the buzz around the IoT in the last few years, and for good reason. IoT stands for the Internet of Things, and it’s a term used to refer to a web of connected devices, often communicating through the internet. It’s how your refrigerator can report the news, how your Amazon Echo can order you a pizza and how your phone can turn on your home’s security system.
How does that help schools and universities? The IoT enables us to accomplish tasks without human intervention. Time equals money, so does manpower, so being able to rely on smart technology means big operational upgrades. This is the foundation of PdM, equipment and other assets using smart technology to predict their own issues well before they occur.
That’s the kind of data that empowers education leaders to make decisions that take their institutions from good to great and great to leading the pack.