Case StudiesNews

Supported Living Services Organisation Moves to Digital Maintenance Forms

Posted

Use Case: All-in-one mobile form and dashboard system and a seamless streamlined workflow that tracks maintenance requests through to resolution

After realising that a lack of a centralised, priority-driven maintenance request system was causing frustration and slow task completion between internal teams, this voluntary organisation sought a change. Here’s how they used Ultan Technologies to smoothen, speed up and track the maintenance job process.

Who Are They

This voluntary organisation, provides a wide range of residential, respite and day services to almost 400 children and adults with disabilities. Service users are at the centre of their support, services and decision making. They own multiple properties such as buildings and homes that facilitate supported living services, and employment, respite and new direction supports.

From Too Many Maintenance Request Emails, Calls, Texts to One Powerful Solution

On a regular basis, staff work inside the buildings and homes, and these properties need ongoing maintenance to ensure building safety, living standards and quality.

However, the organisation had no system in place to report, track, manage maintenance requests and jobs.

  • This put the Maintenance Operatives, the ones who would receive the requests, under pressure. Maintenance requests came from emails, calls and texts so it was stressful to regularly check different communication channels and remember all these inquiries. When regulatory bodies like HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) ask for the type of work completed on maintenance, it is difficult to gather info from email trails.
  • In addition, multiple staff may send an inquiry about the same maintenance issue. The high volume of requests made it difficult to prioritise which tasks were the most important.
  • Maintenance Operatives are unable to track jobs through to completion and record all the details on their phone. With no system to organise maintenance requests, manage the maintenance task pool more efficiently, and the inability to allocate a new job to someone who is already in the area, this slowed down the turnaround time for Maintenance Operatives and their work.
  • This impacted the Maintenance Requesters, the staff working in the houses as their requested tasks would take longer or sometimes be forgotten.
  • Despite the buildup of maintenance requests, there was no method to track any trends or common maintenance issues at a property, job or asset level. Therefore, there were no preventative measures to help avoid future issues.
  • If an external contractor was needed, the Operatives would have to manually reach out to the contractor and address the situation, which would take up more time as there was no way to track communication with the contractor except for email trails.

The organisation needed all the teams to work from the same playbook. They wanted a complete view of the maintenance work process, from the first request to job completion, and Ultan Technologies was the best way to get that. Usability was also a factor, and it was important that the Maintenance Requesters and Operative could use it from day one..

A Single Platform for Maximum Efficiency With Automation, Collaboration and Mobile Access

With over 5 years of experience working in healthcare (such as working with St.John of God) and facilities maintenance processes, Ultan Technologies understood how to create a system that would make all levels of staff happy and their jobs easier.

Our team used mWorkerCIS, an all-in-one easy digital form system to submit and keep track of maintenance requests, automatically create maintenance forms and assign jobs based on maintenance priority (which is automatically determined by the system).

After individually and collaboratively speaking with Maintenance Operatives, Requesters and relevant staff about their frustrations, we created a digital form and system, accessible on any mobile device and on a desktop.

The first step was to organised all the staff into three roles in the system:

  • Maintenance Requesters
  • Maintenance Operatives
  • Admin User: Can add new staff, properties, external contractors and used dashboards to track the status of maintenance forms created, number of properties, cost of materials that Operatives spent and more

For each property, there is a Person In Charge (PIC). All staff must notify and address the maintenance request to the PIC in order for the request to start.

Making Their Jobs Easier At Every Stage

We created two types of digital forms to help the organisation save time and improve their workflow process.

  • 1. Maintenance Request Form. Once filled in, this triggers:
  • 2. Maintenance Work Form

The Maintenance Operatives can now take the forms on-the-go and work in the field on any mobile device, offline and online (ex. phone and tablet). Also, the Maintenance Request Form helps avoid manual data entry by adding a drop-down menu for all the important fields.

For example, a drop-down feature of all the PICs, which department they work in and email and phone number. Not only does this predetermined selection speed up the form filling process, but the correct email is important because the email will be sent back to the Requester with a PDF attached stating the job is complete.

This applies for the Property address field as well, so the Maintenance Operative can go to the correct building or homme address and avoid confusion based on a misspelt data entry.

Automatic Prioritisation and Job Allocation Based On Skill

Perhaps the most significant change has been the positive, productive relationship that has developed between the Maintenance Requesters and the Maintenance Operatives. We removed the pressure on Maintenance Operatives to personally prioritise requests and assign jobs by creating a streamlined prioritisation and job allocation method for incoming maintenance requests

There are two types of jobs: personal jobs and group jobs. A personal job is when a specific job is assigned to someone. Whereas a group job is where it’s assigned to a group of people and anyone from that group can select if they want to take it on!

In addition, each user has a predetermined task they always do based on their ID code. Therefore, the system identifies the type of task requested and pairs it with a specific user who they feel is the best fit and automatically assigns it to that person. For example, if Mary is known to complete any Paint jobs, the system will automatically grab her ID code and pair it with the Paint maintenance requested.

To ensure quick job delegation, the Admin User can look at the system dashboard and check if no one has taken the task in the group. They can follow up with the group and ask for someone to take ownership.

Streamline Invoicing and Billing and Cost Tracking

In the Request form, users can select the property and the property details such list of property name, address, type (ie. residential, day services community) will automatically be filled in, including a Cost Centre code. Each property has a Cost Centre code. This code tracks the cost of each building being maintained; so when the Operative or external contractors come into the building to complete their job, they can attach the cost to the Cost Centre code. This helps the Admin user when it comes to invoicing as they can use the code to pull financial data and help highlight costs spent on a particular building or any overspending trend. 

 

Additional Form Features
  • Take photos and videos. Great for proof or evidence of request.
  • Section where they can note Covid or any other Virus

.

Prioritisation Saves Maintenance Team Time

In the second section of the form, there is a checklist that determines the priority of the task (results on the level of priority is only seen by Admin).

The selection of answers determines the priority of the task. This way, the Operatives don’t have to personally decide which job is more important. Everything is taken care of with mWorkerCIS.

Once the Maintenance Request form is submitted, it turns into a report (see below).

Once the Maintenance Request form is submitted, this triggers the creation of a Maintenance Work form:

In the Maintenance Form, the Operatives can use text, capture photos and videos, drop-down selection and more easy form functionality features to improve productivity every down on the field. All Maintenance Form activity is tracked and recorded so that the Admin User can have a deeper insight into the job progress. 

In particular, there is a section where the Operative can update the status of the job based on four steps.

  • Work Completed
  • More Work Needs To Be Done (Operative can take a photo of unfinished work)
  • Could Not Do Anything
  • Contractor Required (For example, a pipe bursts and the plumber can’t fix it)
    • If selected, a new section drops down and a list of contractors are available to click. Once the Operative selects a contractor and types a quick note of the reason for the contractor service, the system automatically creates a default text that states the reason, property location, assets, name of Maintenance Operative and other important details. This text is automatically emailed to the contractor once the form is submitted.
    • This automatic messaging and email contact system saves the person time from going into their email account and manually typing in the contractor details and request details, which avoid human error!
  • Once the contract is sent out, they can access and edit in the Maintenance Work Form until the request is complete.

We also have a dashboard that gives a snapshot of the number of contractors that closed out that task versus the ones that didn’t. Management now has a good overview of the progress on Maintenance Requests!

In addition, but not limited too, the dashboards can:

  • Identify trends: which properties, types of maintenance requests and contracts are being alerted more
  • Display cost of properties to maintain 
  • View a single property or compare multiple properties
  • Track Maintenance Operative jobs and process of the Maintenance Requests until completion
  • Invoice and billing for contractors

All this information can be exported into a Report and emailed to management on a scheduled basis. This includes when regulatory bodies like HIQA ask for maintenance records as they can easily be pulled within a click of a button!

Impressive Individual and Workflow Efficiency and Happier Teams

Since working with Ultan Technologies, the organisation has surpassed its expectations with the new system from focusing on creating an effective workflow, utilising automation and creating a good mobile form experience that has sped up the process.

Going forward, they know increasing the effectiveness of their maintenance process will be a key to growth and keeping their residential and service users safe and happy.

Engage with an Expert today!

Email cathal.brady@ultantechnologies.com or message an inquiry below.