We had the chance to sit down with Travis Tracey from Frederick County Schools while at Dude University 2019 on the Operate Intelligently podcast, and we thought he had some great tips to share.
Our discussion was focused on how to create and adopt a data-driven culture across the board. With a school district of over 40,000 students and over a quarter of a million assets having a data focus is crucial to the condition of Frederick County’s facilities.
With our help, they have been able to create their own culture around the collection and importance of data in their district.
Here are some of the top tips from Travis to help you in creating your own data-driven culture.
People are the most important factor in creating a data-driven culture. Without people, there is no culture – it’s as simple as that. Adopting habits such as logging every work order or time it takes to complete a task is providing valuable data to make insights down the road. It is important to recognize that in order to become data-driven, the effort has to be driven by the people who input data and inform your database of information. This is why it’s critical to train your people on the importance of entering correct data and how it can help prove the need for resources and show the impact of their work.
Implementing technology, although an effective strategy, is not the only way to provide an environment that encourages a data-driven culture. Frederick County Schools provides quarterly professional development classes for their technicians that cover a variety of topics. These classes create a learning environment that gives them the chance to network and communicate about their day-to-day work.
Having the correct tools helps significantly when it comes to creating a data-driven culture. Choosing the right tool for the job is so important. For example, when you need to hammer a nail, you don’t use a screwdriver. The same applies to asset tracking and data collection. Providing technicians with laptops, tablets and/or mobile devices gives them the perfect formula for inputting valuable accurate data on-site.
According to Travis, their technicians use tablets and they saw an increase in efficiency almost immediately. Not only does it lower the time it takes to complete tasks and work orders, but it improves buy-in from the C-suite. By presenting data from the field to prove a need for additional resources, it elevates your voice to another level.
The most important tip when it comes to becoming data-driven is to start small.
In the beginning, you should investigate your problem areas, find the data you need and grow from there. Once you figure out the problem area, ask yourself where it is and what do I need to do to fix it?
The better you get at adopting a data-driven culture the easier it will be to expand data collection and solve problems faster.
Ultimately, a good goal for a data-driven operations culture is to transition to preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance shifts from a reactionary mindset to a proactive mindset increasing asset and building longevity, cost reduction and the quality of environment for students.
Data collection and facilities management is more than just caring for machines and tracking information. When you adopt and create a data-driven culture by starting small and providing tools and learning opportunities, it impacts everyone inside your facilities.