Michigan School District Integrates Maintenance & Facility Usage Program
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CLIENT: Clarkston Community Schools
GEOGRAPHY: Clarkston, Michigan
VITALS: 14 buildings, 8,100 students
CHALLENGES: Different systems for managing work orders and facility scheduling
RESULTS: Cost recovery with event scheduling process
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS: Significantly improved turnaround time for work orders
Similar to other districts, Clarkston Community Schools in Michigan had disparate systems for managing its maintenance department’s work orders and facility scheduling. In 2002, the district ceased outsourcing its maintenance operations and chose Dude Solutions for its work order and event management. While Dude Solutions automated the work order process, the facilities department’s processes were still manual.
The district’s facilities department had attempted to implement a cost recovery program for the community use of Clarkston’s facilities; however, the current system in place was not conducive to an automated invoicing process. In order to implement a full cost recovery program that integrated with the district’s other systems, the department knew it needed to switch to another solution. Clarkston first looked to Dude Solutions because of the district’s success with Dude Solutions Work & Asset. The district quickly decided Dude Solutions Event Management met all its needs for facility scheduling and cost recovery.
The work order process for maintenance requests is now streamlined and automated. Faculty and staff can use the district’s website to submit work orders, which are automatically routed based on The Dude’s customized routing rules to either the building’s head custodian or the facilities office. The turn-around time has improved significantly since implementing Work & Asset; requests are either addressed or escalated within 24 to 48 hours. “At first, it was difficult to get teachers acclimated to the online work order system,” said Jessica Kimmel, Manager of Facilities and Energy. “However, they quickly became champions of Dude Solutions and the online request portal when they saw response time improve significantly.” Additionally, the facilities department now runs more efficiently because of The Dude. “There are more eyes on maintenance issues because teachers identify and submit more issues,” Kimmel said. This allows the department to catch and fix things earlier. Managers also have increased visibility into technicians’ and custodians’ workload and can improve load balance between staff.
Dude Solutions’ preventive maintenance module has greatly improved the buildings and equipment in Clarkston Community Schools. The maintenance department started by inputting all equipment and buildings in the solution and created maintenance schedules based on manufacturer, consultant or maintenance recommendations. The team created proactive maintenance schedules for filter changes, boiler checks and many other items. Now, the maintenance team simply checks their work orders and handles preventive maintenance work orders as they become due. The district is now evenly split (50/50) between preventive work and reactive work, extending the life of equipment and reducing deferred maintenance.
Facility Usage Solutions
Bethney Kerr, District Scheduler and Head of Facilities, manages the district’s use of Event Management for all facility scheduling and invoicing needs. The system allows her to schedule all events from school recitals to community Girl Scout meetings and baby showers. Community groups submit event requests directly to her and fill out the required application. She can then approve the event based on scheduling availability. This process is streamlined with the scheduling and calendar functions in Event Management. Kerr no longer has to chase down community groups and can easily keep her facilities calendar organized. “We handle over 15,000 events per year, and it’s just me,” said Kerr. She needs no additional resources to handle the scheduling and planning of all the events that take place thanks to Event Management.
In addition to time savings, Kerr implemented a successful cost recovery program for community events. She began with a task force who looked at surrounding districts’ procedures to determine guidelines for pricing. She then used a process in which the community was gradually introduced to paying for space to ease community members into the transition. To implement her plan, she applied a 50% discount rate for the first two years of the program, followed by a 25% discount in year three, and slowly did away with blanket discounts. This process made the charges easier for the community to handle. She now has a standard process and standard hourly fee in place. Event Management also generates professional invoices that Kerr sends on a set schedule, including initial notices and past due notices. The facilities department brings in over $190,000 per year in revenue through its cost recovery plan and has reduced non-payments to just 1%, from over 15% in the first year.
Kerr has been able to increase rates while still remaining competitive and books facility spaces such as gyms nearly every night. The community has been very satisfied with the event scheduling and payment process. “I continue to get repeat and new customers requesting facilities for their events,” said Kerr.