8 simple steps to save time, money, & stress with your repairs & maintenance

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Repairs & Maintenance (R+M) is an often-neglected line on the standard P&L – barely glanced at, written off as a loss, and then promptly forgotten until the next month.
More often than not, this operating line is costing a lot more than it ever should.

I want to share eight steps that I have learnt (the hard way) to think differently about R+M, which has helped my business, and countless others to save both time and money by implementing a repairs and maintenance program.

“Thinking differently about R+M, and not just following the “way we’ve always done it”, will help your business pivot today, to save time and money tomorrow.”

1. Have a single point of truth

The area that causes the frustration for retailers managing R+M, more than any other, is knowing what the facts are.

“Of course, I logged the job.”
“No one ever told me.”
“The contractor didn’t turn up.”
“Why did this repair cost so much.”

Sound familiar?
Predictably, this confusion kicks off a chain of events where more than a handful of people are trying to understand the truth – which, more often than not, is an unrecorded conversation or phone call.

Have a central source of truth; a system where information is transparent and all necessary facts easily recorded and verified. Some retailers use excel while others use cloud systems. No matter which you choose, the key here is to be vigilant in using a single platform and referencing it as the only source of truth to avoid the finger-pointing game, and stay focused on outcomes.

 

2. Keep good records along the way

At some point, we have all heard a colleague say “I’ll look through my emails and get back to you”.
Cue the eyeroll.

Email is great for a lot of things but storing and recording information to share with relevant people is not one of them. It relies on teams using it correctly, 100% of the time. Say goodbye to the “email filing system”.

Record all relevant R+M information in your central source of truth – work requests, photos, asset warranty information, contractor information & SLA’s, work reports, invoices, etc. There are cloud-based maintenance systems as well as legacy ‘portal’ style systems, but the key is to use a system that makes it easy to record & find information to avoid the scramble for answers.

Are you still using email chains, noticeboards, or archaic ‘portals’ to manage your R+M program?

 

3. Manage what is most important

When it comes to managing facilities, no two retailers focus on the same goals. They can differ according to brand-specific KPIs or even the people managing the R+M program.

For some, the top priority is safety – ensuring that there is a system in place only to engage contractors with valid insurances or to track pre-start risk assessments or incident reports. Others might focus on managing costs and increasing asset efficiency – ensuring that processes are in place to only pay for works that are requested, approved, and completed while avoiding to pay for any items covered by a warranty. Finally, for some, it’s about matching the urgency of the job request with the service provided – ensuring that any issue that affects trade is actioned immediately, and all other jobs are completed within a reasonable timeframe for the best possible rate.

Identify the goals that matter the most to your business and align your R+M systems and process to deliver tangible results against those goals.

“Over 10% of all jobs are delayed, or have inflated costs, due to wrong contractors sent onsite.”

4. Engage the right contractors

Unlike many other sectors, R+M in retail or hospitality is different. When something goes wrong and needs attention, it could have a significant impact on the businesses ability to make sales. On these occasions, you can’t afford to be looking for someone to help. You need proven contractors who can respond quickly and a bank of other contractors for everything else.

Over 10% of all jobs are delayed, or have inflated costs, due to wrong contractors sent onsite. Maybe the situation wasn’t described accurately, or there were no photos for the facilities coordinator to triage the request appropriately, therefore requesting the wrong contractor to attend site.

Use a system to ensure your sites are providing accurate information. Prepare a central list of your contractors you can select depending on the urgency, location, and their contractor rates. The key here is to prepare ahead of time.

 

5. Track contractor performance

Some retailers avoid tracking the SLA and cost performance of their long-time contractors to escape any potentially challenging conversations. As you’d expect, this short-sighted approach backfires every time.

Having easy access to detailed information to share this with your contractors ensures that everyone is focused on achieving the desired outcomes, together.

Review your R+M performance regularly to see where improvements can happen to reduce spend or improve job agility. It is essential that data leads this conversation and not anecdotal beliefs!

Manage your contractors and R+M program with a data-first mindset.

 

6. Have your detailed spend data easily accessible

Most retailers rely on their finance departments to provide reports on R+M spend. Those that do often don’t trust the accuracy of this data, and when it comes to budgeting, they’re using last year’s numbers.

The real problem here is that financial reports don’t allow you to drill down into specific usable data; such as what was spent, by location, job type, asset, urgency, or anything else for that matter. To make decisions that save time and money, you need access to your data, in real-time.

Use a reporting system that gives live, accurate and detailed data that can be referenced at any time to understand precisely where you are against your goals, and why. In uncertain times, retailers often look to turn the R+M tap off, and it’s essential to know where the belt can tighten to reduce downriver impact on the business.

 

7. Manage your controls and approvals

In empowering people with various responsibility, retailers need controls in place to effectively and efficiently manage R+M. For example, a Store Manager may believe a squeaky back door is urgent, while a National Co-ordinator may think otherwise.

Good retailers have controls and approval levels in place to ensure urgent jobs that impact trade are actioned quickly and possibly without a lengthy approval process. Other jobs of a more severe nature may require multiple quotes that would necessitate a more senior approval level.

Have a transparent system of controls and approval levels in place for your team. They should be easy to understand and manage to support effective and efficient delivery of all R+M requests.

 

8. Use a system that gets used

Facility management companies often have the systems and processes mentioned above in a contract that does not allow you to easily use anyone else or forces you to use their portal and only their contractors. This is a red flag.

The only important objective when implementing a system, in any area of retail, is that it gets used. It should be simple to understand and easy to use for everyone from your site teams and up. Unfortunately, many retailers continue to use legacy systems in the belief that having a system that ‘ticks all the boxes’ is too hard to implement. The key to success in any system is its usage.

Its time to move on from Excel or your ’email filing system’.
Find a platform that aligns with your goals, can be your central source of truth, and most importantly, is accessible to for anyone on your team, from anywhere.

The key to success with any R+M system is a platform that your team will actually use.

 

Ticked Off helps retailers to have the best of both worlds; a retail & maintenance solution that enables you to manage everything, from anywhere – in one simple to use platform. Plus, a network of thousands of highly skilled contractors ready to fill the gaps in your contractor database, if you need them.

Thinking differently about your repairs and maintenance program can help your business pivot today, to save time and money tomorrow.