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K-12 Workflow Management Blog

11 Key Facilities Management Goals for School Leaders

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Dealing with work orders and repairs every day can feel like you’re trapped in one big hamster wheel—as soon as one job gets completed, another pops up. It’s an endless cycle that many K-12 facility managers and their teams can’t seem to get out of.

So what’s the fix?

Technically, there is no “magic bullet” to make managing school facilities easier. However, with proper goal-setting (and the right set of tools), K-12 facility managers can start implementing new maintenance procedures and increase the effectiveness of their facility management operations significantly.

It all starts with long-term and short-term goal setting that will align your maintenance teams on high-priority tasks and get them “unstuck” from the maintenance hamster wheel. Need some inspiration to get started? Here are the five key goals of school facility management leaders and some actionable steps you can take to start executing them immediately.

Overall Goals in Facilities Management

Before we jump into listing the various school facility management goals, it’s important to outline the tasks, responsibilities, and initiatives they’re connected to.

Maintaining & Optimizing School Facilities

This is the north star goal of all school facility managers. K-12 maintenance teams will be assessed by their ability to keep school infrastructure well-maintained and safe for teachers, students, and staff. This will also ensure that your teams are allocating space in their busy work schedules for upcoming maintenance projects.

Streamlining Maintenance Operations

This is one of the biggest hurdles facility teams face in their day-to-day—especially if they have a small team or belong to a large school district. Streamlining maintenance operations begins with adopting an effective work order management system. If you’re still fielding work order requests via email, you might relate to these pains.

Supporting K-12 Students, Faculty, and Staff

You won’t technically find this in the job description of a school facility manager, but it’s still an integral part of the job. You can ease the friction between your busy maintenance staff and concerned K-12 parents by establishing clear lines of communication. Keeping parents informed about upcoming repairs or maintenance activities can reassure them that their children are safe on school grounds. 

Improving Project Management

School facility managers are tasked with identifying and outlining maintenance projects throughout the school year. These could range from replacing an old HVAC system, making renovations, or allocating space for an upcoming maintenance project. The ability to create a clear project plan will not only make hitting specific goals and KPIs more achievable, but it will also help you systematize the tasks your teams need to complete for routine maintenance tasks.

Keeping Inventories Up to Date

Even if your maintenance teams have the skill-set to handle incoming work orders, your operations will come to a standstill without the right equipment or parts. Facility managers are responsible for keeping track of maintenance assets to ensure their teams are always equipped for the job. If your Facility teams are not currently using a dedicated asset management platform to track your equipment and parts, you’ll quickly lose track of what you have in stock to complete your maintenance projects.

Challenges in Facilities Management

When working to achieve the goals listed below, there are a few challenges that K-12 facility management leaders frequently need to overcome.

Controlling Costs

Just like other K-12 leaders, school facility managers are responsible for their district’s bottom line. Your department’s overall operating costs can be kept low by monitoring labor, equipment, and general facility maintenance costs.

Extending Asset Lifespans

School districts spend serious money keeping their campuses well-equipped and up-to-date for both teaching and learning. Facility managers need to audit the condition of their school assets and conduct regular maintenance to avoid sunk costs and wasted school budgets. 

Organizing Workflows

An optimized workflow will keep your labor costs low by reducing the time spent on maintenance. School facility managers must create a seamless order-to-completion work order process to keep up with school repairs. Pursuing workflow optimization will also reduce any decision-making that needs to be done when you’re priotizing your maintenance projects through the year.

Optimizing Work Order Processes

Creating open and effective channels of communication between maintenance teams and requestors is both challenging and necessary. K-12 facility managers need to build or adopt a system that makes the work order submission process easy for everyone involved. 

Staying Informed on Facility Management Trends

Facility management best practices are constantly changing, so it’s important to stay current on recent facility management trends, including the latest technologies, software tools, and sustainability best practices. Networking with peer leaders and attending industry events allows facility managers to learn about beneficial trends that support goals of increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved sustainability, and enhanced safety across their school facilities.

11 Facility Management Goals for K-12 Leaders

Now that we’ve outlined the responsibilities and challenges of K-12 facility management, it’s time to break down the strategic goals that will help your maintenance teams succeed. We recommend facilities managers develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goals around the following initiatives.

1. Ensure Building Safety & Security

The first and most important goal of a facility manager is creating a safe school that supports everyone’s well-being. That means overseeing the upkeep of buildings and grounds, identifying potential hazards, and completing timely repairs and replacements of faulty equipment.

Strategic planning is critical to establishing and maintaining a healthy learning and work environment. Think about how you can continue to enhance your facilities moving forward, allocating resources and maintenance team members to jobs that provide long-term value. This might include installing new security cameras, repairing broken playground structures, or upgrading an outdated water or air filtration system.

2. Prioritize Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Maintaining school facilities is part of the job, but an effective maintenance team understands that the work doesn’t stop there. Facility managers should be thinking of new ways to improve the performance and efficiency of school workspaces and infrastructure.

For starters, you can set goals to approach facility management tasks like replacing school assets, landscaping, and making repaits more sustainably to decrease your energy consumption, prioritize sustainable practices, and cut costs. These automations also play a huge role in energy sustainability and allow maintenance teams to extend the lifespan of their HVAC systems,lighting fixtures, and other important school infrastructure.

3. Improve Space Utilization

Effective space utilization and management is another effective way to get the most out of your school facilities. It is often overlooked as a low-priority task but plays a huge role in the daily operations of a K-12 school.

When reviewing the ground plans for school buildings, it’s important to keep your peers in mind. Open walkways, stairwells, emergency exit doors, and common areas make it possible for students, teachers, and staff to travel safely on school campuses. Facility managers should consistently monitor the use of space in their schools to avoid unnecessary foot traffic.

4. Streamline Facility Maintenance Processes

Improving your internal facility management processes will reduce outstanding work orders for your maintenance teams. To improve internal processes, facility managers should:

  • Keep accurate service and maintenance records of district assets
  • Filter work order requests by location, type, equipment needed, priority, etc.
  • Schedule preventive maintenance of school assets in advance
  • Give K-12 teachers and staff a dedicated portal to submit work orders
  • Communicate with maintenance technicians via mobile app or chat threads
  • Maintain an updated school facility safety checklist

Using facility management software to optimize processes allows you to gain actionable feedback through analytics and metrics. Generate reports that allow you to track work order completion times, SLA times, how long work orders took, and more.

5. Increase Focus on Preventive Maintenance

Creating a preventive maintenance schedule is one of the most effective ways to extend the lifespan of your district assets. Preventive maintenance gives busy K-12 facility management teams the ability to avoid equipment breakdowns due to negligence or irregular maintenance. In a preventive maintenance model, school technicians are required to keep district assets and infrastructure well-maintained and safe for students.

Making the shift to a preventive model also helps facility management leaders achieve goals, such as:

  • Effective scheduling and reduced downtime for technicians
  • Increased asset and equipment lifespans via regular maintenance
  • Longer time frames between replacing existing equipment
  • Updated equipment and spare parts inventory by scheduling work orders ahead of time

One of the biggest benefits to adopting a preventive maintenance model is that it requires little to no investment upfront. School facility managers can improve their project management skills and the effectiveness of their teams without having to make huge operational changes overnight.

6. Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Operational efficiency and safety aren’t the only things on a facility manager’s mind. They’re also trying to prevent compliance violations that could result in financial penalties. Following established processes is one way to make sure that your facility meets state-determined safety measures.

For example, some states require schools to keep their entrance doors locked during the day. Regularly inspecting locking mechanisms prevents the school from inadvertently violating this regulation and putting students in harm’s way. Likewise, many school health statutes include requirements for indoor air quality. Properly maintaining and repairing HVAC systems is critical to preventing the air quality from degrading, which increases student illnesses and could result in an expensive fine.

7. Maintain Asset Service Histories

Facilities teams that regularly review service histories and stay aware of assets that are reaching the end of their lifespans are able to keep assets longer and reduce purchasing costs. As a faciliites manager, you should keep track of expected equipment lifespans, their current operational status, and any deviances between actual and expected timelines. Speak with maintenance teams who service the equipment to gain qualitative feedback and assess the true condition of your school’s assets and equipment.

8. Reduce Maintenance Costs

School facility managers would have a much easier job if they had an unlimited budget to work with. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Keeping costs low and staying above the bottom line is another key goal K-12 facility leaders should try to achieve. Here are a few strategies to you prirotizie cost savings in your district.

  • Invest in upgrading older equipment. Preventive maintenance is a great way to expand the lifespan of assets that are early in their asset lifespan. Still, it’s usually too late for older equipment to see any real benefit.
  • Schedule technician shifts to reduce labor costs. Whether you have maintenance workers on-site or contract them externally, setting up detailed maintenance schedules allows facility managers to save time and reduce labor costs. You can then work these reduced costs into your school budget planning for the following year to see how you’re realizing cost-savings in your district.
  • Review vendor relationships for parts, equipment, and CMMS software. Take the time to review your vendor relationships every school year. Then, cut costs on expensive parts manufacturers or additional software that isn’t adding value to your facility operations.

9. Improve or Maintain Communication Channels

At times, you may need to communicate with K-12 students, parents, faculty, and/or staff to inform them of upcoming maintenance and repairs, or in-the-moment emergency alerts. A school campus can quickly turn into a construction site when/if something breaks down. Maintaining regular communications with stakeholders within your K-12 community will keep them informed of upcoming maintenance that could affect their daily schedules.

10. Build Vendor/Supplier Relationships

If there is an emergency repair needed in your school or district, you’ll need to know right away who can get the job done quickly, effectively, and at an approved rate.

For this reason, facilities managers must make contacts with vendors and suppliers in all areas of facilities management. Build relationships and establish agreed-upon rates for most services, if you can. Then, keep your book of approved vendors, and their contact information, handy.

11. Increase Team Collaboration

Clear and consistent communication is the key to a successful and efficient maintenance team. Enhancing collaboration with additional communication channels and digital records reduces miscommunications that could lead to costly errors or repeated repairs.

Collaboration also contributes to a healthier work environment with higher morale and more engaged team members. Employees with good communication are more likely to have a positive outlook on their job and their coworkers, which makes them more motivated and productive.

Implementing Your Facility Goals with Incident IQ

At Incident IQ, we’ve developed a service platform that connects facilities leaders with other K-12 departments that are crucial to carrying out school operations. Using our school facility management software, facility leaders can plan, organize, and achieve their goals with tools built specifically for K-12.

Ready to streamline your facility management operations? Speak with one of our K-12 workflow management experts to learn more.