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Working hard to innovate in maintenance

Working hard to innovate in maintenance
Working hard to innovate in maintenance

Maintenance of all kinds is a difficult task. With budgets often low and crews sometimes kept to a bare minimum, it can often mean the toughest part is determining how to best organize and confront the often accumulating set of projects that a manager faces. In this day and age, that can usually be kept easier with the latest technological options such as computerized maintenance management software. Even as we emerge from the most difficult period of the Great Recession, some operations need all the help possible, and software can provide that.

The most difficult of circumstances
In fact, it's even more helpful as a contingency option. Consider the recent and tragic case in Industry, Penn., a town near Pittsburgh. There, a terrible accident led to a fire destroying the local municipal maintenance building, according to WTAE. It laid complete waste to not only the building, but the road clearing equipment inside, as well as the chemicals and salt that are put on roads in order to better keep them in safe condition. The devastation has led to a difficult financial situation for the town, according to Chuck Ward, the Industry Borough Volunteer Fire Department Chief

"You're talking quite a bit money lost," he said, according to the source. "We'll rely on mutual aid departments throughout the boroughs to help with the snowstorm."

Trying to recover quickly
It's not a common occurrence, and certainly it's one no municipal maintenance organization can ever be prepared for. But in trying to keep to small budgets, often new technological tools such as asset maintenance software can be very helpful. For now, the town is focused on cleaning up the damage and getting the most essential tools from other local operations, according to Industry's borough council president Keith Hohenshel.

"We'll see if we can rent a truck, or a couple of trucks," said Hohenshel. "(We'll) probably get the other communities to help us out in case it does really snow bad."

Thankfully, no one was in the building at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries as a result, according to the source. 

A more normal issue
In Princeton, N.J., recently, the town's recreation department agreed to assume control of the town's parks, according to NJ.com. In the past, there was often a great deal of confusion regarding whom to report maintenance requirements to, and just what should be done about certain tasks. Now, by consolidating responsibilities, the hope is that local operations will be able to quickly report issues that can be more expediently solved, according to executive director of the recreation department Ben Stentz.

"The most common complaint I heard was that people didn't know who to call. It got a little better through consolidation but not much better," Stentz said. "One of the key parts of this is the rec department becoming the clearing house for all things park-maintenance related."

Innovating to stay on top of problems
Stentz said the hope was to be able to free up resources for other projects, according to the source.

"It frees up some of Bob's manpower to tackle other tasks and projects," he said. "We think it's more streamlined for the residents, which is something they've been asking for for years."

It's always important to make sure that maintenance management departments have as many free hands as possible, and novel plans such as this make that easier. Another way to do so it by embracing technological options such as an asset maintenance management system to make the work of anyone in charge far simpler.

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