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The Bigfoot CMMS Blog

Buried Alive: How One Hotel ‘Cleaned House’ with Maintenance Software

July 30, 2012 | Asset Management, CMMS Case Studies, Preventive Maintenance, Reporting, Work Orders/Maintenance Requests | no comments

When one director of engineering at a world-renowned hotel reported to work on his first day, he couldn’t find his office.  Not because he didn’t know his way around the building, located in Seattle, Washington, but because hundreds of boxes of maintenance notebooks blocked the entrance and filled up every square foot of space.

“Our maintenance management system consisted of thousands of notebooks containing handwritten updates on equipment repairs,” said the director.  “I had to set up a hoarder’s path just to get in and out of my office.”

This trendy hotel chain caters to young business travelers, with females accounting for 60 percent of its clientele.  The director of engineering manages a team of 12 engineers, electricians and mechanics, and is responsible for the physical maintenance of over 400 rooms, and the remaining interior (except for housekeeping) and exterior.

“When I first arrived, repairs were just dispatched; record keeping was haphazard at best,” he said.  “Meanwhile, the maintenance department was paying $800 a month for an asset management product that no one was using because it required our staff to track all 20,000 pieces of equipment in the hotel by code numbers exclusively; it didn’t accept word descriptions.”

After evaluating several Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) solutions, the engineering director selected Bigfoot CMMS because of the product’s simplicity, flexibility to adapt to the hotel industry, and affordable cost. The hotel CMMS contributes significantly to guest satisfaction by ensuring that every piece of equipment on the premises – from guest room televisions to the outdoor pool heater – is running optimally or repaired promptly.

Good maintenance is a must for any industry, but especially within the hospitality industry. Hotels use maintenance software like Bigfoot CMMS every day to ensure maintenance operations is running efficiently and effectively for a superior customer experience.

“We are frequently audited,” he said.  “We’re constantly checking maintenance quality and costs.  Thanks to Bigfoot, our hotel regularly scores highest in the chain in customer satisfaction and lower maintenance costs per guest room.  Bigfoot tracks everything automatically.”

Bigfoot automates preventive maintenance (PM), repair functions and schedules.  It issues work orders for repairs and based on repair history overtime, activates preventive maintenance schedules so that repair personnel can get ahead of equipment breakdowns before they occur.

For this particular hotel, Bigfoot houses about 30 assets per guest room – anything in the guest room that needs repair or replacement at some point, including furniture, is on a preventive maintenance schedule.  Bigfoot also manages maintenance of the HVAC system, pumps, plumbing, steam and fire control equipment; washers, dryers, ironers and folders; all kitchen ovens, dishwashers, stoves, mixing machines, vacuum packers, slicers and more.

With Bigfoot, the engineering director can schedule PMs by the day, week, month, quarter, or even semi-annually or annually.  He can bring up a list of PMs that need to be done on a particular day.  Bigfoot issues ongoing reminders, which have detailed instructions, pictures, diagrams, documentation, assigned staff, and other pertinent information associated with the repair until the work is complete.  This way, the director of engineering is assured that PM work never slips through the cracks.

In the last year, the hotel has averaged approximately 270 repairs a week; about half are unplanned repairs; all repairs are managed by Bigfoot. A Bigfoot work order utility is installed on every computer used by hotel personnel.  If a guest calls the front desk to report a malfunctioning remote control device, for example, a request is submitted to the hotel call center and a work order is created by Bigfoot.  Within five minutes an engineer is dispatched to the guest’s room to make the repair or replace the device.

Bigfoot tracks work orders from start to finish, assuring that the repair has been made while providing a history of the work.  Instead of handwritten notes, Bigfoot organizes and tracks all ongoing corrective maintenance.  The director of engineering can then go back and review all past work orders on faulty ‘remotes.’

“I can look at the last 28 days and analyze how many calls we’ve gotten about nonworking TV remotes,” he said.  “One month we averaged five calls a day.  That work order history informed how often we now replace batteries in all guest rooms.”

Bigfoot also let him set up comprehensive work order forms with a drop-down list that he can search and sort by a specific component.

“We set up each guest room as a piece of equipment so when I look at a room I can check its repair and maintenance history,” he said.

When the engineering director submits his annual budget, he will produce a report from Bigfoot on maintenance labor activity and costs – where labor was used; number of hours of unscheduled repairs; and planned maintenance.

“I can show management how Bigfoot has helped lower maintenance costs and stretch the life of the hotel’s assets.”

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