Planned Preventive Maintenance: Are you doing it right?

Today’s fluctuating demand creates an opportunity to rethink Hotel’s Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) and make it more efficient.  So, Hotel Owners and Management are rushing to advance on their Asset Maintenance Management Strategy during occupancy gaps.

The question is: Are you doing it right, or is this turning into an expensive inefficient exercise?

A continuous, well-scheduled and prioritized process improvement strategy focuses on improving your property’s physical assets’ safety, reliability, availability, and longevity in an efficient, cost-saving manner. In summary, if you are not improving the product while saving costs, then you have room for improvement. Let’s look at how to approach this in a simple manner:

1.      Apples to Oranges

To start, move the noise away: a common industry indicator is 20% for corrective maintenance, i.e. ad-hoc repairs. Whereas the 80% of workload should be PPM based on your Asset Maintenance Management Strategy.

To continue, separate the two major planned preventive maintenance areas requiring attention:

  • Facility Operation needs: FF&E and essential Building systems to operate
  • Cosmetic needs: The Spaces, i.e., Rooms and Public Areas

Next, define the responsible Head of Department (HOD) for each area. For example, for Facility operations, the Chief Engineer holds the overall execution accountability. On the other hand, the cosmetic PPM is usually the responsibility of the Director of Operations or the Executive Housekeeper.

Defining the accountable/responsible roles is the first step to a successful PPM rollout. A clear ownership is what will ensure PPM deployed only as needed, when needed and where needed. That is the key to avoid unnecessary expenses and maximize revenue by limiting off-market periods.

2.      Define The Scope

Inventory facility equipment/assets with warranty and dates

Start by using your architectural drawings to list every item that requires preventative care, including systems, facilities, equipment, and processes. Next, go one step further and note:

  • location
  • delivery date
  • warranty expiry date
  • maintenance plan if available
  • required licensing
  • manufacturer recommended care schedule
  • local authorities/other required care frequency and processes
  • insurance coverage and lease end-dates
  • repair history

Having an overview of every asset ensures your Chief Engineer uses all available resources smartly, avoids rework, understands where to outsource, and stays within timelines. Also, tracking resources and actions will help decide on future leases, maintenance contracts, and capital expenditure (CAPEX) projects. Last but not least, using warranties (that often restart upon piece replacement) and utilizing insurance where available, will also save on unnecessary expenses.

Cosmetic Inventory

Next, have the Cosmetic PPM Owner do the same for every room and public area, sorted by location. Ensure the list is exhaustive and includes corridors, foyers, flooring, lighting, Wi-Fi strength, elevators (the aesthetic side of it). In this area, note only the dates for last refurbishment or PPM.

3.      Let The Experts be The Experts

Have the Engineering team define the PPM tasks required for each area and what can be managed in-house. Consider manufacturer expertise, recommendations, and training to complete the task lists. After one year, revisit checklists to ensure relevance, compare outsourcing costs, and incorporate newly raised wear and tear challenges.

4.      Facility Operation Planning:

Focus On RISK

Where are your highest utility costs? It is essential to prioritize the equipment that could potentially incur the biggest repair/operating/downtime expenses or impact your guest experience. Generally, most of your costs are incurred by a few items of your Facilities PPM list, so let’s start there:

HVAC and Plumbing: regular inspection, filter replacement, and maintenance keep lower utility costs, higher performance, prevents mold, bad odor, and sickness, all of which impact the guest experience.

Chillers and Boilers: this machinery has to be inspected often as it shapes energy consumption. Moreover, malfunctioning can result in both monetary and safety risks. To avoid this, ensure energy use, meters, valves, leaks are closely monitored, in addition to their scheduled PPM.

Laundry and Kitchen: you may have experienced first-hand how a machine change at home has significantly reduced your utility costs. Hotels are no different; picture your utility bill multiplied by 100. The complex equipment utilized in laundries and commercial kitchens is worth inspecting to ensure operational efficiency.

5.      Cosmetic PPM Planning

Focus on USABILITY and CONDITION

Traditional’ methods of yearly Planned Preventive Maintenance for each area’ are obsolete and inefficient. Instead, your Asset Maintenance Management strategy must make sense for how spaces and systems are utilized at your property. 

Usability: Be observant and understand the real use of space before defining frequency. Is the condition of the sofas in the lobby area the same as in elevator landings? How about the carpet in the corridor of the best-view floor, versus the lowest floor? Also, look carefully at the family restaurant’s furniture, as it is probably different from the adult-dinner-only outlet. Let your expert Exec. Housekeeper use their expertise. Provide occupancy history and let them establish the frequency and tasks for PPM.

Entrance and Guest Areas: guest areas are the reason the hotel business exists. Keep that in mind and ensure there is a dedicated team for all cosmetic PPM. For this area, the checklists must be extensive to maintain Guest satisfaction. Add proper planning and you will ensure that you never affect room availability when we can generate revenue. 

6.      Scheduling As A Team Effort

To start, PPM completion should be part of the Bonus scheme for your top executives, with more weight for those handling the execution.

Revenue Management, Food and Beverage, and Recreational Heads are to assist the Chief Engineer and Exec. Housekeeper in pre-planning. Their departmental knowledge is required to determine dates, and adjust timing to start and complete PPM for each area. This insight will ensure e minimal off-sale time and revenue dilution. Besides, the Leaders can then coordinate the closure periods with vacation, training, and service journey reviews.

The Chief Engineer should manage all other Facilities scheduling. After all, planned maintenance accounts for about 80% of the Engineering workload.

7.      Give The Right Tools To The Right People

To manage this all, ensure that you have given your experts the tools they need to manage your operation. Your existing systems (if any), namely the Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) and Service Requests Management system should meet your needs.  Ultimately, when upgrading or changing a system, selection should be based on both functionality and how information interfaces. So, review systems every couple of years, and ensure they remain relevant to operations.

The reach of software and a systemic process lies well beyond its initial use, as it is often an ignitor for a change in mindset. That right choice will be what brings your effectiveness to the next step.

Also, establish a process for performance audits and tracking (faults, temperatures, meters, etc.), and also record work orders with their frequency to allow future planning. When implemented, your processes will provide more efficient value capture, operating speed, planning, reminders, tracking, transparency, and accountability. Also, they will put up-to-date communication at the core of your operation.

In short, Planned Preventive Maintenance is essential, and your approach will determine its success. So, while trying to rush this during a low demand period may seem practical, it may not be efficient. Rethink your process and make the most out of it.  And remember, If you are not saving costs and improving your asset, there’s room for improvement.

Marta Maluquer

Marta Maluquer is a ZOGO Consultant specialized in leading organizations by rebuilding their service and operational journey and providing integrated solutions. With a strong background in senior roles in the Hotel business in global brands, Marta has a proven track record of change and progress management results. In her spare time, you can find Marta exploring new family adventures in her current destination, Costa Rica.

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