Maintenance teams have traditionally played an undervalued role at multifamily properties. In reality, they are the unsung heroes, the front line of resident service and the last line of defense for asset protection.
The demand for qualified maintenance technicians and supervisors has escalated during the decline of the Covid-19 pandemic, and amid the current economic climate service talent has been scarce. Many apartment communities have been forced to forge ahead with understaffed maintenance crews and make do with limited resources. The importance of maintenance teams is finally being realized, and technicians need to be supported by solutions that make their jobs easier, and thereby the lives of residents better.
To optimize maintenance team performance, technicians need to be equipped with tools that streamline their workflows and build efficiencies into their daily routines. Mobile-first maintenance platforms that prioritize logistics, as well as the speed at which maintenance personnel can be deployed and complete their tasks, have become an integral aspect of operations.
Here are some of the ways that mobile-first maintenance solutions enable maintenance teams to work more efficiently, even in the most trying circumstances:
Work Efficiency 🛠️
As the name suggests, one of the primary workflow improvements delivered through mobile-first maintenance platforms is mobility. Mobile platforms enable maintenance team members to receive service requests through their mobile devices, communicate with residents from anywhere on the property, and update task status on the fly.
When technicians can remain in the field without repeated trips to the maintenance shop for the next service ticket or task description, they spend their time working effectively. The time savings results in additional task completions each day, and dozens more each week.
Internal Communication 💬
Unreliable internal communication processes create their own set of inefficiencies. When service requests have to be recorded by leasing teams and relayed to maintenance crews, the potential for human error and inaccuracy is prevalent.
By automating the process, service requests are routed directly to maintenance crews through the workflow system. Mobile-first platforms eliminate confusion and time spent sorting out mistakes made by the middleman.
Resident Communication 🏘️
Mobile platforms that include a voicemail feature enable technicians to hear directly from residents to better discern the nature of their request, as well as its urgency. The feature empowers maintenance teams to effectively prioritize tasks and attack task lists strategically.
Maintenance solutions that establish direct lines of communication between maintenance teams and residents also enables technicians to pre-diagnose the issue and arrive at the resident’s home better prepared and with the right tools in hand to complete the work. Technicians can ask quick questions or request a photo of the issue through the mobile app to get an improved understanding of the work required. Workflow is streamlined when technicians don’t have to backtrack to retrieve a tool they didn’t realize they would need.
Real-time correspondence through the mobile platform also gives technicians the ability to request an early arrival if they complete a previous task ahead of schedule, which could create time to complete additional tasks throughout the day.
Deploying Technicians Strategically 📲
Some maintenance tasks require specific tools. Others require a specific skill set. When maintenance teams have a direct communication channel with residents, they can request additional information. Savvy mobile-first maintenance platforms can then leverage the detailed information to more accurately determine whether a technician with specific training or certifications is required for the job.
It can be frustrating – both for maintenance teams and residents – when a technician is assigned to a task that they don’t have the training to complete. The ability to strategically assign maintenance tasks based on associated skill sets improves both resident satisfaction and the quality of work.
Mapping Maintenance Tasks 🗺️
Maintenance workflow will become even more streamlined as innovations are moving to assign tasks by location. Technicians will be able to tackle their work more efficiently as tasks are mapped out geographically and set based on the most logical route from one task to the next.
As mobile-first technology continues to evolve it can assign a new service request as it comes in to a technician who is already in the vicinity, saving a trip back to the maintenance shop or a walk across the community. When a maintenance emergency arises, like plumbing leaks or flooding, mapping technology will enable the deployment of a technician who is already in the same building or on the same floor, again saving valuable time and limiting damage.
Mapping capabilities will prove to be particularly vital for centralized maintenance teams that serve multiple communities. Without a dedicated technician on site, maintaining resident service and reputation management requires calculated coordination and effective deployment of resources. Drive times must be accounted for, and task status needs to be updated in real time to avoid redundancies. Mobile-first workflow platforms enable remote maintenance teams to monitor tasks and remain as efficient and agile as possible.
By consolidating task management, internal communication, dynamic resident correspondence and mapping features into a single mobile platform, operators can equip maintenance crews with the tools needed to remain nimble in the field and overcome the logistical hurdles that have historically hampered multifamily.