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State of Facility Management in Our K-12 Schools 2021

K-12 schools have been through a lot this past year. COVID-19, virtual and hybrid learning, and changing guidelines forced schools to adapt quickly. Some schools sat empty for a year. Some are still not back to full capacity. While teachers and administrators were able to work from home, facility teams didn't have that luxury. They stayed at the schools redesigning learning environments, disinfecting spaces, improving air filtration systems, and maintaining the grounds. 

For K-12 facility management professionals, dealing with daunting challenges is just part of the job. These teams have been maintaining continuously older buildings without the budgets or headcount they need for years. 

COVID-19 has presented some new challenges, but it also has presented an opportunity to facility leadership. Now more than ever, school boards and superintendents are focusing on their facilities. They are finally paying attention to the needs and deficiencies that you have known and talked about for years. 

With this in mind, AkitaBox recently conducted an extensive survey of K-12 facility management professionals to understand where they stand today. Here are four takeaways that caught our attention. Want more insights? Download the full State of Facility Management in our K12 Schools report!

Link to State of Facility Maintenance in K-12 Schools 2021

The K-12 facility management workforce is going to look a lot different in the next decade

Look to your left. Now look to your right. Two out of the three of you are probably retiring in the next decade. Of the respondents in our survey, 62% will be retiring in the next 10-12 years or close to it. While this isn't an issue specific to K-12 schools, you may find it harder than other industries to replace the expertise walking out the door. 

This changing of the guard is set to drastically change the K-12 facility management space. With new and younger team members moving into leadership positions we are expecting a growth in innovative solutions and technology being deployed in the coming years. Having the right technology in place now can help protect that institutional knowledge from walking out the door and jumpstart this innovation into healthier, safer, more reliable school buildings. 

Most facility teams are stuck in a reactive maintenance cycle

It feels good to know you aren't alone right? Only 17% of K-12 facility professionals disagreed with the statement that their team was more reactive than proactive. This reactive cycle has been built over years of older buildings, shrinking budgets, and small headcounts. This reactive cycle can have major effects on our schools, including increased deferred maintenance and employee burnout. 

Facility Team Reactive vs Preventive Fire FightingThere is always talk about how preventive maintenance can help reduce reactive work. Yet most respondents indicated they did have a preventive maintenance program in place. If you find yourself stuck in a reactive cycle, it is important to determine the root cause. Are there particular assets that are causing a large amount of this reactive work? It might be time to replace them. Is the maintenance being completed correctly? You might need to do some additional training.

Only half of K-12 facility teams use a facility management software to track their assets

When you think of your CMMS, do you think only of work orders? While most respondents use either a CMMS or facility management software to manage maintenance, only half use that system to manage their assets. CMMS are built to manage work orders primarily, with assets being an afterthought in most systems. This leads to half-baked features and clunky user experiences that force many K-12 facility professionals to rely on their trusty spreadsheets to keep an asset inventory. In most CMMS, your assets are only available in a list view which is basically a spreadsheet with some sorting ability. 

You need a system that helps you manage both your assets and work orders! Your assets and maintenance go together like PB&J. Having a single source of truth that brings together both asset and work order data helps connect your entire maintenance operation. Best in class K-12 facility management software can deliver this in a visual format that makes it simple for users to find asset locations and track assets across all your buildings. This functionality gives you time back in your day to focus on mission-critical initiatives, for some up to 5 hours a week!

Not only is asset tracking helpful in daily maintenance but allows teams to respond faster in an emergency. For example, if a pipe bursts a maintenance tech can quickly find the shutoff valve on a floor plan instead of having to search through a list and then guess at where it is in the building. 

There is no standard KPI that K-12 teams utilize for tracking and reporting

Key performance indicators (KPI) are a measurement of your teams and buildings performance. There are hundreds of different facility management KPIs you can track, and our responses reflected that. No single KPI choice got more than 32% of the vote. The most chosen response ended up not being a KPI at all. 35% of respondents said they don't track any KPIs! 

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Too often reporting and analyzing performance get pushed to the backburner. It can be easy to lose sight of the value tracking KPIs can bring. KPIs can help identify maintenance trends that are easy to overlook. By tracking these trends you adjust maintenance strategies, like deciding whether that AC unit that keeps breaking down needs a new preventive maintenance schedule or should just be replaced. Measuring the right KPIs also makes it easier to communicate your team's performance and needs with your school board in language they can understand.

Tracking planned vs reactive maintenance, average work order resolution time, and open vs closed work orders in your facility management software can provide a good baseline for understanding your team's performance. 

Learn more about the State of Facility Management in our K-12 Schools

If you thought these insights were interesting, you should see what else we learned. Download the full report and find out whether K12 facility teams feel valued by their schools boards, what factors are considered most when buying technology and more! Link to State of Facility Maintenance in K-12 Schools 2021

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