Skip to content
<p><iframe allow="autoplay" frameborder="0" height="110px" src="https://player.pippa.io/5a7367eb2219bdf808ec93f8/episodes/creating-a-data-driven-culture-ep-97?theme=white&amp;latest=1" width="100%"><!--cke_bookmark_349S--><!--cke_bookmark_349E--></iframe></p>

An Interview with Travis Tracey

We’ve got our first Dude University speaker interview to share with you and it’s all about building and sustaining a data-driven culture with tips from Frederick County Public School’s CMMS Data Quality Specialist Travis Tracey. 

SHOW NOTES: 

SHOW SCRIPT:

Brian  
Welcome to the Operate Intelligently Podcast, the podcast for all things operations.

Thank you everyone for joining us. This is day three of Dude University 2019. And joining us at the podcast now is Travis Tracy. He is the CMMS data quality specialist for Frederick County Public Schools. Travis, welcome.

Travis  
Thank you for having me. 

Brian  
So Travis, tell us a little bit you know about what you do and your history of Dude Solutions.

Travis  
So I work for Frederick County Public Schools, and I work with their CMMS solutions. And what I do primarily is work with our data, both collecting the data, analyzing the data, and export the data as well as some user management of our CMMS solution.

Brian  
And you have a chance to speak at Dude University. 

Travis  
I did, I spoke this morning, and we were talking about data-driven leadership and data-driven decision-making. So in my session, we were talking about how we go as an organization, how we have grown not to start database, but we've also built a culture around that data collection, and the decision-making processes we have in place. And we were talking about the makeup of this data-driven culture from the perspective of people, process, and product, where if we're looking at it from a percentage basis, 50% of our culture is people driven. It's all about the people. It's about generating buy-in and getting the people to support your culture. So it's important to have a stable product and good product to use. And the dude provides a suite of products that allow us to do that. But we have used those products to build an internal culture around The Dude lineup. And we built processes internally, that allow us to document and to make data driven decisions to make sure we're making accountable decisions that support our organization's mission. And to date, we're currently over 70 buildings, over 6.7 million sq. ft. of maintainable space. And we have nearing a quarter million assets inventory. And we're running roughly 70,000 work orders a year through the system. So we've really grown and we're expanding, and just like any other client, we're growing and learning every single day, and through our work with Dude, we've been able to do that. And that was a lot of the discussion in my session this morning was, how do you foster that culture to build that, it's one thing to collect a lot of data, it's another thing to have a plan in place of what you're going to do with it, and have processes that support what your ultimate mission is. So it's, it's not just about collecting numbers in a spreadsheet, it's about starting with the end in mind and working backwards to determine what you're doing today to support your organization's mission. And our mission at the end of the day is to educate students. But internally, we want to provide the optimal learning environment. So when that student comes to school every day, they can learn and when that teacher comes to school every day, they can teach. And at the end of the day, that's what we're here to do. And through our data driven processes, we're able to support that.

Brian  
And I like that you talked about, you know, really building that culture, because I think that is key when especially if you're using technology, there has to be a lot of level of trust in the data, because, you know, you only get one chance to roll it out. And if you roll it out, and there's a lot of you know, faulty data or just not a lot of confidence, I think it makes it even harder to build that trust. 

Travis  
Right, right. 

Brian  
And you have a team of people that I think they share that end in mind of like, you know, hey, how do we become smarter and more intelligent, and what we do, how do we use data to help us make the decisions, but there's, you know, there's a big road between that point and getting there and, and having that culture in place, and people accepting it and trusting the data and trusting the tools and trusting all the process.

Travis  
And I think you mentioned tools. And that's a key thing we were talking about this morning as well. Things such as tablets and technology being put in the hands of our staff. And to use the term selling, we're selling them as tools, this isn't something we're just putting in place, just to see what you're doing every single day, we're giving you this as a tool, we're giving you a tablet that you can take out in the field. And if you need parts, you're ordering those parts on a tablet, if you need maintenance manuals, operations manuals, you can go online and find them. Maybe even there's a YouTube tutorial that can help you do the work you're trying to do. So we're putting a tool in place for users to use. And I think that's also what's helped us generate buy-in, this is a tool, this isn't something we're just making you do, we're giving you this, we're providing you another tool in your toolbox that opens up a world of data, it opens up a world of information. And it allows you to know things about maybe even your facilities that you don't even know today, it allows you to pull up floor maps, and, you know, manuals, O&M manuals, that allows you to pull up as-built drawings, architectural drawings, it gives you access to that data and that information at your fingertips to make decisions even out in the field as a technician. And then in turn, as we're empowering the technicians. we're empowering our organization. And it's a growth process. And we were talking about that transition or that transformation this morning. And we were talking, one of the key points I really tried to drive home was start small and grow. You don't want to try to bite off more than you can chew, start small it, find your problem areas, find the data you need today, and grow. Don't try to tackle it all. If you try to rush out and like we were talking about assets, you don't collect a quarter million assets and inventory overnight, you don't it's a growing process. Every day we're growing, we're changing. And maybe it's important to start with your critical features. And I talked about three things when speaking about preventive maintenance, three things that you need to know. And this is something we discussed back at the office in Maryland. What is it? Where is it? And what do you need to do? That's what you start with? What is the piece of equipment? Where can I go to service it? And as a technician, what do I need to do? And you start PM, because the serial number, the model number and all the other information you can collect out in the field, when you get out to that piece of equipment cause the technicians go into the equipment anyway. So why send a technician solely to collect information when that individual is going back to the piece of equipment to perform service anyway?

Brian  
I agree with how you talked about you know, at the tablet or the computer, the phone being a tool I've had for years, people asked me, you know, like, what kind of computer should I buy? And so I go back to that same question, what do you want to do with it, this computer is a tool for you to accomplish what you need to do, if you want to just write word processing, then maybe you don't need a high end tool that's good for graphics, or for audio, video and those type of things. And I think the other thing is helping them realize that this computer is not going to you know, do anything than what you use it to do. So for example, I would say like, if you need a hammer and a nail, you're not going to use a screwdriver, you're going to use a hammer, you know, so picking the right thing tool for the job is so critical and then realizing the benefit and value it can deliver in what you're doing.

Travis  
Right. And I think sometimes there's users that almost hit that stumbling block, they're worried about making things perfect. Well, I need to have all these aspects in place before I do a rollout. And that's not the case, you start small and you grow. And you're not going to build a culture in a day. We're still building our culture today. And we'll be building our culture tomorrow. It's not a switch you flip, you don't just hand out tablets and say, everyone, here you are this is the new way we're doing things. It's important to transform as an individual basis, as well as an organization. And I think sometimes there's that stumbling block of, I need to make sure I have the right CMMS, I need to make sure I have all these pieces in place. You need to start something and I heard a story, I think it was at the last Dude U about an individual that was running a CMMS using nothing more than an email account. And people would request work by sending an email to this email account. And he built out rules in the email to direct the type of work based upon words that were in the email, and it would dump into different folders in this email account. And when it came time to assign work, you'd go into this email account, and he'd forward this work out to the emails of his technicians. And when the technician was done, they would reply and if they had invoices or anything, they would attach them to the email. And he'd keep those email chains and categorize them into folders. So you can reference it later. So it was very, it was very primitive. But it was functional. And the important thing is he was doing something he was growing something he was starting from somewhere and he was building that culture and then when he would migrate to something like a full featured full fledge CMMS, he starting with that culture, and he started with the basis that the by is going to be a lot easier. Because it's not a complete 180. 

Brian  
Yeah, they're already used to a process that's at least doing the capture 

Travis  
Yes 

Brian  
and assignment aspect.

Travis  
And for him to sell it to the individuals that work for him is going to be so easy, because he's going to be able to say this is how we did it before. It was paperless. But look how hard it was, look how easy this is going to be.

Brian  
Especially with like reporting, I mean that that process definitely can do some of the day to day blocking and tackling. But then at the end of the month, I'm thinking in my mind, like how you gonna report on this, like, now you got a you've got all these separate email messages. And you're going to have to manually now calculate and do all that stuff. 

Travis  
Exactly. But he was starting with something he was starting to build that culture. And he could then easily grow into a solution. And it was primitive, of course, but it was functional. And I think this goes back to the point of people were very focused on I have to make sure I do a and b and c. He was diving in headfirst and just giving it a go and seeing what would happen. And he was trying to get his ducks in a row and he was trying to grow. But he was ultimately building a culture.

Brian  
We just wrapped up Dude University 2019 a few weeks ago, and what an amazing event it was. We welcomed over 1,000 of our clients to our hometown of Raleigh, learning, connecting, and sharing their passion about the work they do. We even recorded several episodes, interviewing operation management leaders that you'll be hearing from in the next few months. If you want to get in on the action next year, Dude University will be held on May 3 through 6. And you can register online at university.dudesolutions.com 

Brian  
I think like small prototypes like that, and pilots definitely start moving you in because otherwise you've gotten inertia, right? You're sitting there, you've still got this paper based process. It's tedious, nobody's happy, everybody's kind of grumpy every time him to deal with it. So yeah, I think Yeah, biting up the small bites the crawl, walk, run approach. And that's kind of like what we tell a lot of our clients like, especially large facility, you have millions of assets, you're not going to catalog all these inventory them, it's going to take a long time. So let's maybe pick one when facility, or one small campus group of buildings and start there.

Travis  
And you mentioned about starting with something and slowly going through and collecting more and more and more. And something we found is we're starting to reach a point where we're capturing cost of inventory. And how we've done this, looking to the past, I had a lightbulb moment, so to speak. And we were collecting inventory, we had technicians go out collect inventory, and it'd come into us we sometimes it was at this point in time, it was still paper based. And some of it was on Excel spreadsheets because we were still in the process of getting people in move into digitally collecting inventory. And demonstrating to them how that was an easier way to do it, then walking with a pencil and paper and showing them the functionality on their tablets of something like Google Sheets, or even a mobile version of Excel when it could offer to them as far as even numbering the assets. how that process could become easier, instead of just handwritten notes, and then

Brian  
having to try and transcribe that again.

Travis  
Yes. So we found ways to eliminate duplication of efforts. But what we found is we didn't have a gauge for what we were inventory and how long it was taking how much it was costing. And like you were talking about checking out those assets you need. Sometimes, even if it's not a maintenance requirement, you find yourself asking, Is it worth inventorying this huge volume of things? But if you have no gauge for how much that's really costing you in terms of hours or dollars, how are you supposed to make an effective data driven decision? So what we did was, we used our work management system, we use our CMMS. And it seems like such a simple solution. But we came to the realization of we're sending individuals out to collect inventory. So why are we not collecting that inventory using the tool that we use to manage all the other work these individuals are doing. So we create work orders that would be issued for each facility. And in the request description, it would detail what the individual is supposed to inventory, instructions and other information that they needed to go do the inventory. The technician will go out, collect the inventory, record their hours, and through labor hours, we started to get costs, they record materials, maybe they used a marker, or maybe they use tags. So we really got a true cost of what we were actually investing in inventory. And then when they were done, they attach the spreadsheet, their inventory, and they marked the work order complete. I pulled the completed, take the data from the spreadsheet, put it into our CMMS and I close out the work order. But we started to get a true gauge for how much time how much money was wrapped up into this, which allows us to make decisions when we're picking out those items. What do we need. So unless it's a regulation required maintenance item, it's all part of the cost. It's part of the life cycle of that equipment, the true cost of ownership, not just the maintenance, but there's all these other soft costs that quickly get overlooked. And that adds up when you're walking several million sq. ft. of buildings to collect inventory, it can quickly become a substantial cost. But that allows you to optimize that process as well.

Brian  
Yeah, I've done similar things in my field with communication, other things like you know, how do we automate some of these simple tasks. And I've even had some of those kind of aha moments where you kind of got to go through the same process over and over again, for then you're like, Okay, and I have a similar thing where it's like, it seems so clear and easy once it hits you, right? That you're kind of a bit angry, like, why didn't I think of this a few months ago?

Travis  
We're doing this is a form of work. We have a work management system, why are we not managing this work with the work management system?

Brian  
So you mentioned that you, you've been to Dude University, for how many years have you attended.

Travis  
This is my third year.

Brian  
Okay, and how's it going so far for you?

Travis  
it's really good, I really enjoy the opportunity. I love seeing all the familiar faces, whether it's The Dude or the other clients, it's an opportunity for me to network and to talk to others and find out their successes or their failures, or the stumbling blocks. And it's, it's beneficial for both parties. And it gives me an opportunity to really get right in the same building with The Dude, talk about the issues we're facing, and find solutions to benefit both parties. So it's, Dude U is an awesome, awesome experience. There's educational sessions, and that networking piece, that that's where I find this so powerful to even get outside of your industry. Because in a lot of cases, the problems we face in K through 12 education are the same problems that are being faced in the other industries. And it's good to hear the solutions that are coming from all different areas to find out what we can incorporate and how we can incorporate things that maybe others are doing.

Brian  
Yeah, you almost wish like we could do this more than just once a year.

Travis  
Oh definitely. 

Brian  
Like quarterly or even monthly. And I try to do some of those in our local community where it is people coming together and sharing information, best practices. And I agree that's invaluable where you can be like, Hey, have you tried this? Are you experiencing the same issue? Whether it's technology related, whether it's, you know, could be from regulatory whatever, or just a change in behavior of your audience, you know, new technology is there now consuming information differently, or they're, they're searching for you in a different way, or whatever it may be. So I think, I think it's great that you guys are able to get together and collaborate and really share stuff.

Travis  
And it's a culture and you mentioned about the quarterly meetings, that's something we are trying to foster as part of our culture at FCPS having those quarterly professional development sessions, where we bring in staff and we train them on technology data, we give them vendor trainings, and we give them hands on trainings. And that's become a part of our culture that we have that. So when you mentioned that this is one in the same, it's just building that culture, networking with people, because across our even our maintenance department, our facilities department, everyone's facing similar issues. And if they're not facing similar issues, they may soon be facing similar issues, because maybe someone has a new system or new piece of equipment that other groups have maintenance personnel, they haven't worked with that before. So to hear the problems that others are having can better prepare them for when the issue may arise in their facilities.

Brian  
And they also have somebody they know they can even go to in case it doesn't work out as planned. And it's like, Hey, you know what, I ran into an issue? Have you seen that? Yeah, I agree. That's a great way to do it. So I have one other quick question for you. And I want to kind of ask you, what do you see kind of the future of operations, what's really getting you excited about what you're seeing out there?

Travis  
More data. And I know, that's a very quick, very blunt answer, but more data, more growth, and smarter operations. So as we're growing, we're collecting more data, on thinking of things such as the Internet of Things and the connectivity piece where the networking isn't so much just all in person, the networking is within the data itself, where our organization is using a specific make or model of a piece of equipment, we now know about other organizations that use it, here's how they're operating, here's the problems they're facing. And getting us to a point where based off of other use cases, we can do things such as predict failure, or predict what our costs are going to be maybe before we make a big investment into something. So I'm looking for that more quality data piece that I think we're growing into. And I think that's the future and seeing what's coming down the pipe. And something we talked about in my session was a transition going from a mentality of what happened to what will happen. So going from this perspective, looking in retrospect, of what has happened, or maybe looking back and saying, Well, why did this happen to now we're transitioning over to another side of the spectrum, where we know what's going to happen as an organization, when that allows us to plan, allows us to operate more intelligently, which is our whole aim is to operate in a more intelligent manner, using things like business intelligence. And I think looking to the future, that's what I'm excited about more data and more quality data.

Brian  
Yeah. And I think the ability to do that comparitive analysis, sometimes you don't have that, that data and you have to say, Okay, what is the benchmark? What, what should I expect as a return on whatever effort I'm putting forth. So I want to thank Travis for coming in and sharing some really just awesome tips and what you guys have been able to do to grow your school system and make it a better place for this.

Travis  
And thank you so much for having me. It's been an honor. I really appreciate it. 

Brian  
Thank you, Travis. 

Travis  
Thank you.

Brian  
Thank you for listening to the Operate Intelligently Podcast produced by Dude Solutions. You can reach us by emailing dspodcast@dudesolutions.com or check us out on the web at dudesolutions.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Interested in learning more?

Request a demo Talk to an expert
Back to top