The millennial generation may not even realize “CC” on an email actually stands for “Carbon Copy,” let alone have ever put their hands on an actual carbon copy piece of paper. So why are maintenance work orders still managed on these paper forms?
If you’re reading this and you think that you’ve upgraded your process just because you got rid of those old white, yellow, pink forms a long time ago, think again. My guess is the replacement is simply printer paper, still not quite the ultimate solution we are looking for.
In today’s technology landscape, so much focus is being placed on pushing residents towards paperless payments, completing applications online, and signing leases electronically, but what about maintenance? Isn’t there an app for that? Why are we still using carbon copy paper or printed service requests?
Most apartment community websites now have forms for residents to enter their service requests electronically. However, some of them simply send an email which is then printed out. Worse yet the request goes into an online system to track the work, but the very first thing the leasing office does when it’s received is print it.
In my opinion, the persona of the typical maintenance team member might be playing a factor in resistance. These individuals work with their hands and prefer tangible problems they can fix. They are attached to the idea of tearing off the pink copy (that’s the one they give to the resident, right?) of the form and leaving it behind as a show of “my work here is done.”
However, there are a multitude of benefits from managing work orders electronically, mostly through a mobile device. Here are a few:
- Whether the staff is entering work orders on behalf of residents still or the maintenance team hands off paper forms with notes for the leasing staff to close out online, there are plenty of duplicated efforts.
- Ensuring residents submit service requests online and maintenance personnel manage and close out those request directly in the system will eliminate this extra work.
- Plus, who has good handwriting these days? That always makes for interesting transpositions.
- Leaving behind a paper form indicating work is complete isn’t necessarily the form (pun intended) of communication residents expect these days, plus it’s delayed!
- A Facilities Management System will allow the maintenance team to communicate directly to the resident via email and text messages. This lets the resident know their Air Conditioning is fixed while they’re still at work so they no longer have to sweat about making plans on where to sleep that night.
- Remember that stack of work orders in the back of the leasing office? Now what order were they in, oldest to newest, high priority to low? Don’t remember? Well it looks like maintenance will just have to pick and choose where to start, or spend more precious time sorting them all out.
- Storing everything in a Facilities Management System allows you to sort, filter, and even place rules to let the system tell you which work order needs to be completed first.
- Sure, the maintenance team typically has a shop to work out of, but they can be anywhere on the property at any given time throughout the day. Why should they have to go back to a central location just to find out the unit next door to the one they were in just submitted a service request?
- Mobile work order management enables them to spend less time cruising around on those tricked out golf carts and more time making residents happy.
In today’s mobile device driven world, our residents demand instant gratification. The technology in the multifamily industry has certainly lagged, but the tools are now there to help our maintenance teams deliver. Dare I mention the perfectly upkept white board which tracks all those make readies? Don’t worry, that’s digital now, too.