Business (Controlling Your Resources)

Doing More with Less: 5 Behaviors for Success

Although it may feel like you’re stuck in a cycle of reactive work orders and last minute asks, there is a way to not only begin prioritizing your work but also take control of budgeting so your resources are spent where they make the most impact. Through our work with some of the most effective and innovative facilities teams, we’ve created best practices that will help you increase your team’s efficiency with clear data on your current workflow management, state of your assets, and your overall effectiveness as a team.

By arming yourself with this data, you can present budget information for upcoming fiscal years with accurate and detailed information. You can justify your budgets through your unique insight into what your department truly needs to be successful. It may sound like a large task to take on, but it’s doable (and effective) with just five steps — or as we like to call it, the APPEM framework: Assess, Prioritize, Plan, Execute and Maintain.

1. Assess

The first stage of the APPEM model is to assess what you currently have. This includes everything from AC units to replacement parts well as your current method of data collection (if you collect data at all — if you don’t, you should!). Of course, this is where a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) comes in. Having the detailed data from this assessment offers unique insights into the state of your facilities, and coupled with your historical facilities data, it’s a valuable piece to move forward onto Step 2.

2. Prioritize

A typical workday can feel like you’re running around putting out fires and doing last minute tasks if you don’t properly prioritize. Plus, it can leave you open to unexpected failures and take valuable time away from planning for preventive tasks and bigger projects. This step involves looking at the most important tasks on your plate from your Assessment and taking into account longer-term projects. For example: Is there a piece of equipment that is going to need be replaced immediately? Or can it simply be taken care of with routine maintenance to make room for other, more pressing tasks?

3. Plan

Through proper Assessment (Step 1) and Prioritizing (Step 2), you’ve been able to identify the tasks that take up your day and order them by level of importance. At this stage, you can make a plan to both focus on those high priority projects while figuring out a game plan to minimize the tasks that distract from your goals. Having a plan of action is crucial and it can protect your time from getting taken up by last minute requests.

4. Execute

At this stage, you’ve prioritized and your plans are set. All that’s left to do is execute by solving the most important problems at hand first. At this step in the process, you may experience growing pains, and it’s important to take them as learning opportunities to improve the process even more.

5. Maintain

In order to maintain the process as you intended, you need to make sure that you’re still balancing reactive and proactive work with your projects. This includes using the data that you’ve accumulated to make better decisions for the future that will allow you to maintain your facilities while continuing to minimize tasks that take away from big projects.

Taking Control of Your Resources

Assessing, Prioritizing, Planning, Executing and Maintaining (our APPEM model of success) should be a cyclical process that you can return to. These steps provide you with standards for the data you collect so that you can create reports that prove the worth of your department, highlight cost savings opportunities and eliminate the tasks that undermine your productivity. Plus, you’ll create a feedback loop that helps give visibility to management and clear goals to your personnel. Of course, any best practices you adopt should also work hand in hand with your maintenance solution so you can continuously improve and record.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.

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