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K-12 Workflow Management Blog

Selecting and Implementing a Maintenance Ticketing System

Selecting and Implementing a Maintenance Ticketing System

Efficient maintenance operations aren’t just a necessity for industrial giants or high-tech firms. They’re a game-changer across the board, including sectors like educational institutions and universities.

The right maintenance ticketing system can transform the controlled chaos of maintenance requests into streamlined, automated workflows, minimizing resolution times and maximizing outcomes for staff and students alike. However, maintenance ticketing systems are not plug-and-play implementations. Though they all serve the same core purpose, an unoptimized ticketing system can actually increase downtime, frustrating end-users with extra steps, manual inputs, and inefficient workflows.

Dive into our guide to learn about the pivotal role of maintenance ticket management systems and discover how the right solution can help ensure streamlined, scalable technology and facilities maintenance operations for your school.

What Is a Maintenance Ticketing System?

A maintenance ticketing system, also known as a maintenance management system or work order management system, is a software solution that automates and streamlines maintenance service requests and work orders from issue entry to resolution.

Maintenance software streamlines maintenance requests and work orders. These systems also centralize maintenance tasks and automate the documentation, routing, tracking, and resolution of maintenance issues. Some have a library of pre-built templates available to users. Ticketing systems may also provide ways to manage assets, schedule preventative maintenance, improve response times, and track inventory.

Top Benefits of Maintenance Ticketing Systems

A maintenance ticketing system, or MTS, enables educational building and facilities staff to streamline work orders, reduce downtime and improve customer satisfaction – in this case, staff, students, and administrators. Some of their key benefits include:

  • Maintenance Ticket Assignment: Giving the right tickets to the staff with the right expertise can help get issues resolved quickly.
  • Creation of Work Orders: Ticketing systems automatically create work orders that include every task within the ticket’s lifecycle, including specific tasks, timelines, and instructions.
  • Ticket Prioritization: At many schools, work orders are prioritized based on who corners the facilities staff in the teacher’s lounge. Ticketing systems can instantly assess an issue’s impact and quantify its urgency, allowing maintenance teams to focus on high-priority tasks first.
  • Communication and Notifications: Leaving maintenance requestors in the dark leads to teachers, staff, and administrators badgering maintenance staff for updates or submitting multiple requests for the same issue. Many maintenance ticketing systems provide several communications and update features, such as mobile app updates, real-time messaging features, and in-ticket comment threads to centralize discussions and boost internal comms, keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Ticket Progress Tracking: Being able to track a ticket from creation to resolution enhances accountability, improves transparency, and ensures prompt attention to lingering issues.
  • Centralized Documentation: Attaching notes, photos, items from the resource hub, and other relevant documents to tickets provides everyone involved with the current and historical information needed to handle each aspect of resolving the ticket.
  • Easy Integration with Existing Systems: When all of your systems can talk to each other, things are more efficient for everybody. Maintenance ticketing systems featuring API integrations reduce data entry and streamline operational efficiency.
  • Robust Reporting: Using metrics and analytics to measure results helps schools develop an informed plan for improving maintenance processes. It can also help highlight high-performing team members for extra recognition or advancement.

Maintenance ticketing systems significantly enhance operational efficiency for educational facility management by enabling streamlined maintenance task prioritization, tracking, and communication. Used effectively, these systems help facilitate better human resource allocation and real-time updates, leading to increased accountability and reduced downtime in your school or district – benefits that directly impact the learning environment for staff and students.

Features to Look for in Maintenance Ticketing Software

Choosing a maintenance ticket system can seem like a daunting task. Almost any help desk software can help streamline existing maintenance processes, especially if this is your first time implementing such a system. When considering options, it can be helpful to consider the system characteristics most important to your school system.

  • Which one will serve your school’s specific purpose best?
  • Which will be easiest for your students, teachers, and administrators to use?
  • Which one is priced to fit your budget?

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve compiled some of the most valuable features educational institutions should look for when choosing a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Customizable Workflows

Customizable software tools allow schools to tailor their user experience to their unique needs, like outlining SOPs for fixing an overflowing toilet in the girls’ bathroom and a broken stove in the cafeteria. Flexible workflows can improve task routing, streamline escalation protocols, and help you optimize maintenance operations to fit your specific situation.

Knowledge Base

A comprehensive facilities management resource hub that includes how-to guides, requirements, FAQs, best practices, and templates offers a single source of truth for everyone involved in ticket service management. Knowing where to go for answers removes slowdowns, eliminates ambiguity, and expedites problem-solving.

Self-Service Portal

An intuitive self-service platform is integral to creating a positive customer experience. According to a recent survey, 75% of respondents said self-service is a convenient way to address customer service issues, so make sure a user-friendly self-service portal is on your checklist of features when choosing ticket management software.

Self-service portals allow teachers and students to submit tickets and monitor progress without needing to prompt support personnel. This allows your teams to focus on fixing problems instead of writing emails.

Automatic Routing

Many maintenance ticket systems feature artificial intelligence that automatically audits incoming ticket content, urgency, and context to route requests to the appropriate team or individual. Intelligent systems can also automatically prioritize tickets based on predefined criteria set by users, ensuring the appropriate allocation of personnel resources to address your school’s most critical issues.

Help Desk

Help desks handle the receipt, logging, and tracking of maintenance requests or issues reported by users. This includes categorizing, prioritizing, and assigning tickets to the appropriate maintenance personnel or teams. In some cases, help desks may attempt to resolve common issues directly through troubleshooting or guidance before escalating tickets to specialized maintenance teams.

By offering assistance with the actual ticket process along with SLA management and user feedback options, a help desk feature is worth its weight in gold.

How to Implement a Maintenance Ticketing System

While every ticketing system implementation is a bit different, some best practices hold regardless of whether you’re a school, a healthcare provider, or a corporation. Following the steps below is a great way to get on the path to success – as is having the right partner at your side during implementation.

Determining and Documenting Your Goals

Before executing the implementation, identify the goals you want the ticket management software to achieve for your educational facility. Look at your current processes and pinpoint any holes you want the new system to fill.

Once you answer these questions, create a detailed plan for improvement and outline the desired goals. If you’re working with Incident IQ to implement your ticketing system, our team can help you create a detailed goal and standard operating procedure (SOP) documentation to ensure everyone, from maintenance staff to school board members and admins, has the same objectives in mind.

Define Your SLAs

Clearly mapping out your SLAs, or service level agreements, takes the guesswork out of your ticketing process. Proactively set user expectations by defining details like:

  • Response times
  • Resolution times
  • Prioritization levels
  • Escalation procedures

Doing so minimizes the risk of dealing with nasty surprises like confusion about accountability, unprioritized tasks, and inconsistent service. The Incident IQ platform lets you clearly note what tasks the maintenance team is responsible for and when users can expect a resolution for common issues.

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

Establishing a clear definition of each person’s role and responsibility is essential for any successful undertaking – and an MTS implementation is no different. This approach gets the project off on the right foot by increasing communication and transparency during and after implementation.

Start by identifying who will be part of the maintenance process, whether it’s administrators, maintenance managers, technicians, or end users. Assign tasks for each role, then add or update roles as needed to support your ongoing maintenance operation. Certain maintenance ticket systems, like the Incident IQ platform, make it easy to note which common tasks need to be assigned to which person or team. Clear responsibilities mean accountability – and accountability drives results.

Create Ticket Workflows

Effective ticket workflows are essential for assigning and routing tasks within a maintenance ticket system. Your workflows should encompass all facets of your maintenance process, including creating and assigning tickets and tasks, ticket prioritization, escalation protocols, and ticket resolution.

Systems with flexible workflow capabilities, like Incident IQ, allow you to develop workflows that reflect your current process. This is great if you have a process that students and staff already like, as your system will be able to introduce greater visibility and consistency in your ticket management. Automation can also remove redundant manual work, like assigning tasks and tickets, based on predefined workflows.

Test & Optimize Processes

No matter how thorough your implementation plan is, at some point, you’ll likely need to revisit and optimize some of your processes as your needs or organizational capabilities change. Ensure the ticket maintenance system you choose makes it easy to understand which pieces are functioning optimally and which ones need further tweaking (or scrapping).

Identifying and addressing issues early means fewer post-implementation disruptions, so undertake rigorous end-user testing during your initial implementation to identify process and workflow bottlenecks, inconsistencies, or gaps. Gather and review feedback to determine whether the system is meeting user expectations. If possible, work with your provider to address concerns. If you have students, teachers, and other staff who think the system is inefficient or clunky, they may refuse to use it.

Report on Performance

Data-driven decisions on system improvement and optimization depend on your ability to easily monitor, measure, and report on performance. Use tracking measures to analyze common maintenance analytics metrics like ticket volume, response times, escalation rates, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Identifying and addressing troublesome trends in system performance will help you create a high-performing, low-friction ticket system. Incident IQ platform users can quickly get up to speed on their system health by diving into several pre-built analytics reports.

Following the steps above can significantly improve your chances of a successful maintenance ticketing system implementation – but nothing beats having the right partner at your side. This is especially true in K-12 and educational environments, where administrators, faculty, parents, and students’ competing priorities can quickly complicate an implementation.

Check out Incident IQ’s long list of happy clients to learn about our proven track record of success, then schedule a quick demo of our system today to find out why our valuable facilities management products make us the right partner for your maintenance ticketing system implementation.