that helps us prioritize procedures
for the assets based on criticality.
Look at resources to see the cost of
Attack that misconception
providing the right maintenance
program. If it’s been neglected and
there are higher levels of mainte-
nance required or even replace-
ment, that would be built into the
A more comprehensive preven-
tive maintenance program may
initially look like extra cost to your
company’s decision-makers and
extra work to your facilities crew
even though it will save money in
the long run.
before it grows out of control by
getting all stakeholders on board
early in the process.
“Getting top management on
board requires an approach that’s
nontechnical,” says Whittaker.
“One of our biggest mistakes is
that we try to convince executive
stakeholders through technical
jargon that we know what we’re
doing. An executive is thinking
about what is the return on their
investment and how can we pre-
dict the outcomes of good mainte-
nance programs to drive business
Use this five-category frame-
work from the National Academies
of Sciences, Engineering and
Medicine to demonstrate the
value of preventive maintenance
to executives, Whittaker recom-
mends. It was originally developed
to predict the outcomes of main-
tenance and repair investments in
federal facilities, but can apply to
any building type. Your justifica-
tion for better preventive mainte-
nance should include:
1. Mission-related outcomes.
Helping your company fulfill its
corporate mission includes making
sure the facility reliably functions
as desired and drives business success by providing a good working
environment for employees.
2. Compliance-related outcomes. Through good maintenance programs, you’re making
sure that your organization is 100
percent compliant with codes, regulations and industry standards.
3. Condition-related outcomes. Preventive maintenance
maximizes the value of the building or portfolio. Deferring maintenance means you’re setting yourself up to waste capital later.
4. Efficient operations.
Preventive maintenance minimizes
the total cost of ownership of each
piece of equipment and the facility
itself. Efficient workflow processes
and smarter maintenance planning
optimizes the productivity of the
5. Stakeholder-driven out-
comes. “This may be the human
experience element or your image
with regards to customer satisfac-
tion,” Whittaker explains. “We
have accounts that talk in terms of
good days, and a good day is a day
when there’s no adverse impact
from the facility that prevents
employees from doing their jobs.
If it’s a service-related industry or
a manufacturer, unreliable facili-
ties interrupt the flow of business
and that can have a lasting impact
beyond the costs of assets and
Bringing the rest of the facility’s
department on board will be easier,
but requires good, steady leader-
ship to implement new policies and
procedures in a way that makes
sense and isn’t overwhelming.
Everyone wants to be productive
at work and be recognized for their
accomplishments, Whittaker says,
so implement your new preventive
maintenance practices in a way
that emphasizes doing the right
Creating SMART Goals
Being an effective leader and project manager is a skill, not a talent you’re born with, explains David Auton, senior director of reliability engineering for Cushman & Wakefield. One important strategy for leading your team is
communication. Can you explain what needs to be done with your preventive
maintenance program (or any other aspect of your job) and why? Define your
work processes and determine what success looks like with the SMART goal
Specific: Define goals in simple, clear language. Communicate exactly what
you need without being vague. “Some facilities managers don’t have the technical skills to understand the technical problems, but they do know operational
impacts,” Auton says. “It’s OK to tell your HVAC technician, ‘I have occupants in
this area that are feeling a draft of cold air. Can you figure out what’s going on?’
You don’t have to explain it in technical terms, but you do have to be specific.”
Measurable: Be able to quantify the problem you’re solving, your progress
toward the goal and the fulfillment of the goal itself. With the cold air draft
example, this might mean collecting evidence and discovering that it’s a work
team on the north side of the third floor complaining and the draft happens
around 2 p.m. every day.
Attainable: All goals should be achievable, which means they’re defined well
enough so that you can actually attain the goal with the knowledge and skills
you bring to the table. What does the finish line look like? How will you know
when you’ve reached it?
Relevant/Results-Focused: Is this work you should be doing? Why? What is
your desired outcome?
Timebound: Link the goal to a timeframe. Is it urgent? Should it be done by
tomorrow or just within the next week? All goals need a due date.