CCRC; 544,000 sq. ft.
Managing aging buildings with a higher demand for quality care
Embracing technology creates a more efficient maintenance team that is always improving their processes
If you were the first CCRC (continuing care retirement community) established in your area, you might be able to guess that you have unique needs with aging infrastructure, not to mention all of the other responsibilities that come with maintaining independent living units, personal care and nursing areas. This is the case for Canterbury Court in Atlanta, Georgia, where their oldest residential tower opened in 1965, with others added in 1990 and 2005. “Each building is in its own time zone,” says Brandon Fowler, Plant Operations Director of the not-for-profit CCRC.
Brandon has been in his position for four and a half years and has seen the impact a positive environment can have on residents, noting, “Moving into a facility like this will make you live longer.” He attributes this to amenities like the beautiful gardens, a variety of committees for residents to be involved in (more than 40 at Canterbury), and of course the well-kept facilities.
Those are managed by Brandon and his team, which includes an interior designer to oversee apartment renovations and seven maintenance technicians (one of whom is a licensed HVAC technician). Each team member has been on staff for a minimum of three years, and you could relate some of that to the quality of communication they’ve experienced using a maintenance management software like TheWorxHub by Dude Solutions.
Brandon and his team have been using the maintenance module of TheWorxHub for more than five years, and due to their success they have added other modules including housekeeping and transportation. They are looking to add room bookings as well.
“TheWorxHub has helped us streamline certain aspects of maintenance,” Brandon says. For example, it’s help cut down the amount of work order calls that come into his office. He can now direct them to the front desk where they will enter them into the system, or a resident can use their unique username and password to submit work requests online themselves.
It’s also easy to use, he says, which makes a difference in adoption. “On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 2 on complexity.”
He says compliance and simple reporting are some of the biggest benefits of the system. For example, they have to spot check water temperatures on their second and third floors, so he set that up as a PM (preventive maintenance task) to be checked three days a week for random apartments. If the temperature goes above normal, then it automatically creates a work order to fix it.
When the Department of Community Health showed up to do an inspection recently, Brandon was able to print off a report and hand it to them with all of the information they needed. “They thought that was the coolest thing,” he said.
Reporting from the system even led to Brandon adding a member to his team. When he compared the number of work orders from October 1 to September 31 in 2015 to that same time period the next year, he noticed that they had 1,600 more work orders in 2016. After providing this insight during a short conversation with his boss, he got permission to hire another staff member.
“I was able to provide that data and show him exactly the months we had spikes."
It was one meeting, a 30-minute conversation and he gave me approval to hire someone else.
“If I hadn’t been able to compile that data, it wouldn’t have happened,” Brandon says.
There have also been marked changes in the maintenance team’s workflow since using the software and maximizing the mobile capabilities with tablets in the field. “My staff has gotten more efficient since we started using timers. I can clearly tell the staff is getting more work orders done per day than prior to having mobile,” Brandon says. He also posts his team’s man-hours in the shop every two weeks, which has been a motivator for each person to average six to six and a half hours of work per day.
In the future, Canterbury Court would like to explore using barcoding to help them run more detailed reports and aid in repair or replace decisions.
Dude Solutions has become a critical component to their success. In fact, Brandon says to others not using software like TheWorxHub: “If you’re looking to make your life more difficult, stick with what you’re doing. If you want to make your life easy, go with the Dude.”
He says some of the biggest benefits are the flexibility of the software paired with Dude Solutions’ “top of the line” customer service. “There’s never been a time where I have called and they said ‘we’re too busy, can you call back tomorrow?’” He has also attended Dude University, Dude Solutions’ annual user conference, four times, where he has met and built relationships with other operations professionals across the country.