Dealing with Inflation – Cost management

How can I deal with this inflation?

Yet another gift left over from the pandemic is that everything costs more and it is unclear if or when we might get some relief. Product shortages, supply bottlenecks, hiring difficulties, increased wages, delivery cost increases and more, are affecting bottom lines and squeezing budgets everywhere.
In the facility maintenance industry, the effects are widespread. Normally, facility maintenance is a fairly insulated industry, if a toilet is clogged, it needs to be unclogged – no matter what the economy is doing. However, there’s a labor shortage and companies are simply having a difficult time finding workers to fill jobs. There are backlogs for parts and supplies which makes it more time consuming to get things, plus it will cost more when it does arrive. Trying to outsource work is not typically a good solution right now either as providers are turning down work saying they just don’t have the technicians to complete the work and the jobs they do are at a premium price. This has all led to “substantial” cost increases within the facility maintenance industry.

Many of today’s vehicles and other equipment are being kept in service beyond their scheduled replacement or PM intervals due to limited availability of replacements and spare parts. They are now experiencing the predictable uptick of unscheduled repairs which ultimately drives up costs.

So what can be done to help mitigate some of these costs? Here are some top maintenance cost management strategies.

Make sure that the workers you have feel appreciated and connected. Keeping the techs you have can be a huge savings over having to replace and re-train new ones. Cross train current workers for more skilled jobs so you can hire less trained personnel for simpler tasks. It is typically more cost effective to give a current employee a raise than to find a new tech with all the skills you desire.

When extending equipment life rather than replacing, be sure to use high quality lubricants and greases that will stand up to the increase in workload and lengthened PM intervals.

Train workers to use tools and equipment properly. Over-using a piece of equipment or using it for anything other than its intended use can increase the chance of a breakdown or malfunction. 

Continue to follow a preventive maintenance routine. Preventive maintenance is the best way to minimize workplace hazards, machinery malfunction, and other unexpected delays that could impact how a business is run or the safety of employees. The goal should be to keep your facilities and equipment in top condition to prevent sudden costly surprises.

A checklist can also help ensure that maintenance is on schedule and to specification, so every machine or piece of equipment receives the top standard of care regularly, and nothing is missed. 

If you have an unorganized closet full of mismatched parts and products, you could be spending unnecessary money on things you already have. Take the time to carefully and strategically go through your inventory and document what you have. Order what you need as early as possible to avoid delays and possible additional shortages later. 

Use extra time wisely and invest in training. Training your workers on how to use all of the equipment properly and how to notice signs of malfunction or wear and tear can help you reduce the need for repair. This kind of training can also increase the number of eyes and ears that are paying attention to the condition of the equipment.

Cleaning faucets, fixtures, tiles, walkways and other areas to make them look new will save replacement costs while still providing a facelift and positive customer experience in your facilities. The right cleaners can help make the job easier and more effective.

Being proactive is one of the most effective maintenance cost management strategies.

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