Skip to content
<p><iframe allow="autoplay" frameborder="0" height="110px" src="https://player.pippa.io/5a7367eb2219bdf808ec93f8/episodes/data-for-smarter-decisions-ep-106?theme=white&amp;latest=1" width="100%"><!--cke_bookmark_591S--><!--cke_bookmark_591E--></iframe></p>

Listen to this interview with John Dufay

We’ve got another quick interview from Dude University 2019. This one is with John Dufay, Executive Director of Operations for Albuquerque Public Schools, to talk about how he uses data for decision-making and budgeting to improve their operations. 

Show Notes:

Show Script:

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

Thank you for joining us on the operate intelligently podcast. Today, we're coming to you live from Dude University in downtown Raleigh, and joining me is John Dufay, who is the Executive Director of Maintenance Operations at Albuquerque Public Schools. John, welcome to the podcast.

John Dufay  
Thank you very much. Good morning. What a beautiful day it is here in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Brian  
Yeah, it's nice and sunny out. Beautiful, beautiful today. So John, tell us a little bit more about your role with Albuquerque Public Schools and your history with The Dude.

John Dufay  
Well. I've been with the school district 30 years, and in my 31st year, I'm the Executive Director of Operations, which is part of maintenance and operations, and we've been using School Dude, really from day one almost back in 2002-2003 and then went full bore in 2004.

Brian  
Wow. So yeah, quite a long history.

John Dufay  
Yes and love it. And it's just, it's what we really need to move forward in today's world of, you know, technology and all kinds of automation systems and things and information and data.

Brian  
So you had a chance to speak today at Dude University. And could you tell us a little bit about what you spoke.

John Dufay  
But mostly about using data for data-driven decision making and how we use data to do predictability and all the things that we do at this level. Now, it's no longer maintenance operations like a wrench and things like that. You have your technicians carrying a laptop, having them carry a tablet, they can plug into everything. So it's a different world. Yeah, even the mechanics carry a laptop because they plug into vehicles. They don't open the hood and look at and kick the tires anymore. It's a different world. 

Brian  
Yeah, you have your diagnostics tools, you also have, you know, the ability to retrieve information that, you know, in older days, we had to carry around manuals or go back to a central storage facility or something like that to look up that stuff. But now we have that ability to get it in real time.

John Dufay  
Absolutely. And that really goes for even the technologies that we're using in buildings now, whether it's air conditioning systems, elevators, systems, lighting systems, all the things that we're seeing out there the controls, DDC controls, digital controls, everything seems to have just really jumped forward with technologies and products that are driven, whether it's just Bluetooth, but everything's connected. We were listening matter-of-fact yesterday, to someone saying, you know, in another 10 years, you'll have 10 or 15 items connected to some digital thinking. We've got that now. You don't need to wait 15 years. You got it? Yeah, you know, I could go "how could I forget? I'm all the way here?" And I think, "Oh, did I shut the garage door?" I'll pull it up and I can check on my phone that I shut the garage doors and "Oh, who's at the door? You know, let me look." It's now. From lights to everything. Same thing in the schools. 

So you know, talking about kind of becoming more data-driven. Did you find that you had like a challenge and like kind of the the cultural shift of how people were, you know, more so going to go back to that data reporting tour, that automation tool that's giving them data versus maybe other ways they were getting it before?

Brian  
Well, I think there's a huge culture change in many different ways. You have a culture of going from, like we said earlier, from the shade tree mechanic or from somebody that you know, you open the hood, you look at it, you listen to the engine, you kick the tires, try to figure it out to now plug it in and looking at it, so it takes a whole different level of thinking. It takes a level of training until you have technicians who when someone says my air conditioners not working, and you go, okay, it's not just going out there, put a ladder up there and go see if the motors want me to turn on a switch or whatever. First thing you're doing is you open up the laptop, you go into the controls and you see if something's off/on, and then you drill down deeper and look for which motor is the problem. Is it reversed? You can have graphics, you see all that stuff. Then you can make the diagnostics piece there doing the analytical work, and then you can send either 10 out there or you can fix it right there on the computer by turning on a switch. "Did it just trip? Is it off? Is it occupied? On unoccupied mode, maybe?" You can fix it there or you have me send a tech, but you're you already know what you were/where you're sending that tech for. And he goes immediately to that unit. If it's a school, there may be 12-15 units, I don't have to look at know which one I'm going to and I know what part I'm looking at.

So is there any other trends or technology that you're looking to kind of see for the first time or explore a little bit more while you're here at the University?

John Dufay  
Well, I think you're we're looking right now we were into the Energy Manager. Energy Manager is an incredible tool that taught that you're able to look at it real-time. You can look at the energy usage, every 15 minutes, whatever you want it as, where the energy is being used, what areas is being used, what school. Are we having a problem controlling peak demand surcharges? Those are so punitive to where it's important to, to follow those and to monitor what's going on. Where we're able to then shut units down, whether we're curbing some usage or whether we're do a slow start up in the morning, like during the wintertime, or during the summer, and instead of having hard starts were able to control a soft start meaning that we staggered each unit to start so we don't have a big surge of electricity and then gives us a peak chart demand charge. So there's a lot of things you can do. And also controlling what/where there's a problem. Is electricity being used at night that's above and beyond what there is? So you can monitor night usage, weekend usage. And I think that's the one thing that how we drive the future of our school business and it's any business facility, but for us, in the school business, where do we put our resources. Resources are limited to that away, what time but in education, they're limited, and do you put it in this building, do put it here? You can do forecasting. And so we're looking at where our problem schools are. And you can always say, "Well, I know it like schools, but can you really show me?" and that's what the data does. And the thing is, it's the idea is have information going to the school board saying I need money for this, but you bring the data and show it to them. Also it's very, it really helps diffuse the political side of things from it. We're in a situation where in our school board where they're done, they're not at large, they're done in elected in districts. So Albuquerque is a very large school district in the sense of square miles. We're over 1250 square miles. 

Brian  
Wow. 

John Dufay  
So it's huge. And we're in three counties. So what happens is you really have the haves and the have nots, and you have this school, older schools for, you know, 60-70 years old. You have some schools that are brand new that we get the number of new schools and that the new schools are built a lot of times in the areas that are growing, because that's where a great need is. And then you're able to take some of the older schools, repurpose them or rebuild them and things like that. But you have that so a lot of times you you get into a situation where the neighborhood or people that go, their parents feel that they're not getting somebody else got, You always have it, in every city, the political side of "Well, if this was in the northeast heights, I wouldn't have this problem. They would have fixed it right away." And so what happens with with us in what we do is we track everything that we do by district. We also track everything we do by zone. And every work, order anything that's done by each school, we can list it. And we do this to create this big report every year. And it goes to in its pumps. We give it across whether it's through with Council, Great State Schools, school here, Dude Solutions. And it shows everything that we do and where the dollars go. And so what happens is when we take the information, we're able to go to the school board at a district meeting and say,"Here it is. You can see exactly what we spent at your school, your school and your district." And it takes away the emotional side.

Brian  
Yeah. 

John Dufay  
And it also takes away that political side because they see them where what the money is spent. They see we are spending the money where its most needed. The schools where they spend a lot of it, well that school 75 years old, and your schools 20, your school's only umphteen, it's a newer school. It gets a lot of work, but it doesn't mean the same as a school that's 75-80 years old. And so it takes away that. That's a big plus. 

Brian  
Yeah.

John Dufay  
And it's also a huge tool advantage for me when I go to budget, because I take all this information I give it and I show them and I say, here's my needs, I can show them the number of work orders, the number of callbacks, all these different items that we're having, I can take to them and I lay it out and I say "here it is". And they, you know, you are either you're going to say yes or no, but you can't argue about the data.

Brian  
Exactly. 

John Dufay  
And so they see the bigger need, they see the need for it and they're like wow, you know, it's it's hard to argue data. You have feeling to feel that you still you know something but the data is there and in what we do is we utilize that data for data-driven so am I going to do this or do I do this if there's a bigger need. It also helps the technicians. The technicians can look at work orders and they can see, we have a policy where we try to say, look, we want to limit bandaids, you know, and that's based on some budget to limit that it's but if you have the data since they have tablets, they can look up. And if they don't remember how many times they've been there, they could look at the school, they could look at the work order and say, wow, I've been here four times on the same air conditioning unit. You know, it's time to replace this motor, it's a bandaid or it's a time to replace this controller or something. Or, you know, if it's a boiler or hot water heater, maybe I just replaced the unit. I've been here three times. To have the data ready to show them and it justifies it. The other thing that happens is now when they do that, we all of the sudden see a trending, because we follow each work order, we can trend them for particular items, whether it's mechanical, and all sudden we see there's no more callbacks on this one. We we don't see three or four work orders coming up for that same problem. We see that it's only one work order now that they fixed it, so we limit what work they've had to do there and now they think they'll do some other work orders and they're not coming back. And we have less chances for catastrophic failure then and it's huge. It's a big deal.

Brian  
But that I mean that definitely increases your staff's productivity, too, because you're not sending them back out to do the same thing over and over.

John Dufay  
Absolutely. In part of like, what we're presenting today was trends, you start to see the trend where your cost of a work order may go up because we're not band-aiding, we're replacing, but you don't see any more work orders after that. So in the long run, your work order counts are going down, the amount of money you're spending on those are less so there's their minor repairs, they are not major repairs, because we replaced it, something may go wrong. So you see your costs and that's the same thing that happens with our PMs, our preventive maintenance costs. Work order costs have gone down because we're doing preventive maintenance with the PM schedule. And it's a big push where all those costs tend to go down. And even when you're doing PM constantly, even your PM counts will go down, you're not having to do as many PMs because you're doing them on a regular schedule, you don't have those extra work orders that come in. So it works in so many ways. And one of the biggest things is like when I go to budget, we're all fighting for the same money in the sense that I'll have a different division of operations or somebody going there or a program so on and you know, you don't want to put one thing above something else, because it's all for the kids in the long run. But everything we do is for the kids, to give a better environment that's conducive to learning. And so we're just as much of a major player in school operations as a teacher, whether, in that sense, and that's what you have to do. You have to create that. So the other thing that happens is when we do go to budget, we're kind of fighting for the same dollars. The data carries a lot more weight and more credibility than someone who's saying, this is a great program. It's so amazing. You will love it. It's heartwarming, and all of the sudden, you know, I had that same case happen, and they ended up giving me the money I asked for, and unfortunately, a program didn't get funded. And when we were leaving, the gentleman tried to get that money. I felt bad for him. And he said, he told me says it's unfair. What's atrocious, you know, because I had all this data and I can just present a graph after graph and everybody got it. It was like, just overwhelming to me. So it's unfair. And I know like since you brought a gun to an iPhone. So it's like, okay, you know, so it's been wonderful. You know, it has helped us succeed. In doing the things where we feel we're part of the success, anything we do if it doesn't support the academic master plan, maybe it's something we shouldn't be doing. Yeah. So everything in our resources have to support the education of children. It has to support that environment that's conducive to learning and help be a part of the kids' success.

Brian  
 Yeah, definitely. Alright, well John, thank you so much. I hope you have a great rest of the time here at Dude University. 

John Dufay  
I will. I'm sure I will and I'll learn a lot, too.

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