Let’s face it, we have all been in a situation where the temperature is either too warm or too cold. One person’s comfort zone is another person’s misery. But what happens when getting the temperature adjusted turns into a maintenance management nightmare?

Why Maintenance Management Goes Crazy

In some offices, the temperature can be adjusted by anyone, in other offices it takes a supervisor or someone with a key. In larger facilities like a casino, the temperature is controlled by casino management and the maintenance department as part of an overall operations plan to watch energy usage as well as keep casino guest comfortable.

When the environmental controls can only be adjusted by maintenance the normal procedure is to turn in a work request using a handheld device so that work can be scheduled as soon as possible. But what happens when similar requests are turned in just minutes apart. One work request asks for the temperature to be raised and the second work request asks for the temperature to be lowered.

When this happens it is commonly referred to as Newton’s Third Law of Work Requests, which clearly states that for every work request there is an equal and opposite work request guaranteed to annoy the facilities management and maintenance team.

The Facilities Manager’s Dilemma

When opposing work requests arrive, how do you tell which one to turn into a work order and which one to deny? The simple answer is to respond to the person that is higher up the management food chain. When this information is not available maintenance management must:

  • Track down the person who submitted the work request.
  • Ask for additional details such as area, reason such as if the request was guest proposed versus employee request.
  • Submit additional information to management for a decision.
  • Wait for the unhappy party to generate a third work request or have an executive override to come in.

Actually, the possibilities for action can be endless. The truth is, it is impossible to make everyone happy. The best that facility or maintenance management can do is make sure they have the best information available when accepting work requests. This can be accomplished by making sure all staff have been properly trained in submitting work requests using their EAM CMMS systems.

EAM and CMMS Facility Management Tools

EAM CMMS tools features include the ability to automate much of the work management lifecycle including work requests, work orders, inspections and preventive maintenance. However, their true value comes from increasing maintenance efficiencies, lengthening the lifecycle of assets and giving facilities management the ability to evaluate the work that has been completed to make better repair, refurbish or replacement decisions.

EAM CMMS tools are most effective when they are used properly. This means that the software has the needed asset detail in the system and that proper EAM CMMS training is conducted both during implementation and over the course of time. It is the facilities manager’s job to make sure that all staff are using the system as it was intended to be used.

Applying EAM CMMS Tools to Newton’s Third Law of Work Requests

The key to submitting work requests AND completing work orders is making sure that you have all the detail. For our Casino example, the information that is missing includes:

  • Which part of the Casino floor (lobby, slots, poker tables, restaurant…)
  • A better description of the problem such as how cold or warm and who is complaining (asking for the change (guest, employee).
  • More details including if the problem is related to a vent issue, a door stuck open or is the HVAC not working etc.

This is critical as one of the goals of facility maintenance management is to maintain the proper environmental conditions that lead to maximum productivity, guest satisfaction and energy savings. Having the proper temperature affects humidity which can affect the performance of equipment as well as lead to corrosion (if too humid).