A quick recovery starts long before disaster strikes. CMMS software helps hotels and resorts come back strong from earthquakes, fires, floods, and storms.
At their most basic levels, disaster preparation and maintenance both come down to mitigating risk. You want to have everything in place so that when there is a problem, you can deal with it safely and quickly, spending the least amount of time, effort, and money. So it makes sense that maintenance management software helps with both natural disaster planning and recovery. In a real sense, it was designed for it.
Let’s look at how CMMS software helps before and after natural disasters.
Manage risk with maintenance planning software
The first step is narrowing down the list of possible natural disasters, which you can do by looking at location and then season. If you’re located in California, you’re more likely to experience earthquakes. If you’re in Kansas, tornadoes. Time of year is also a factor. California has its fire season, while Florida has one for hurricanes. You can’t prepare for everything, but you do need to prepare for what’s most likely.
The next step is to look at your assets to determine which are most vulnerable. For example, you’re a resort on the banks of the Mississippi with a riverboat casino. Flooding is an issue for the hotel on land, but less so for the casino docked on the water. Prioritize your planning around the assets that are most at risk.
CMMS software makes this process much easier because it already has a detailed, searchable list of your assets and equipment, with complete data on type, manufacturer, year of production and installation, and maintenance and repair histories. You can systematically decide which are most at risk, plan how best to protect them before, and then repair them after a natural disaster.
Schedule and track preventive maintenance for emergency supplies with maintenance planning software
Natural disasters often disrupt power and water, so recovery plans for hotels and resorts should include alternative sources. The challenge is that to be reliable these backup supplies need to be actively maintained.
For power, you might decide to use backup generators. To ensure they’re in good working order when you need them, you need to periodically check for:
- Cracked seals
- Degraded fan belts
- Leaking oil
You also need to check the fuel, and not only for leaks. Gasoline and diesel both degrade over time, reducing combustibility. Old fuel can still be used, but it produces a lot less useful energy. If you are not careful, you can end up with a much smaller window of generator-powered electricity than you need.
You can use batteries for power, but these also need to be properly stored and looked after. First, put them in a cool, dry location in their original packaging. Periodically, check for leaks. One bad battery can ruin an entire lot. It makes sense to store them close to the equipment they’ll power, but never leave them inside the equipment, where they can leak and cause a lot of damage.
The easiest way to make sure supplies are there when you need them is to set up preventive maintenance work orders in the CMMS software. It’s not easy to remember to check on batteries every three months, but it is easy to set up the maintenance management solution to send you an email reminder that can then be quickly assigned to a technician.
Create safety checks and emergency SOPs with CMMS software and work order templates
Some maintenance departments coast on “tribal knowledge.” Because technicians have done the same maintenance and repairs on the same assets and equipment for so long, the feeling is that there’s little need for detailed explanations. This is a dangerous habit to develop. When things are running smoothly, it can lead to missed steps and unnecessary downtime and costly repairs. After a natural disaster, when teams are being asked to do critical but unfamiliar tasks, you absolutely cannot rely on technicians to know what to do. They need detailed explanations that ensure everything is being done properly.
CMMS software lets you write data-packed work orders that include everything technicians need, including:
- Detailed, step-by-step instructions
- Customizable checklists
- Digital images, schematics, and O&M manuals
- Associated parts and lists
- Interactive site and floor plans
Once you have a work order set up, you can then save it as a template, which you can quickly call up and fine-tune when you need it.
A fast recovery starts with planning and preparation. CMMS software helps you get organized, prepare the necessary supplies, and keep them ready. But what about after natural disasters? How does CMMS software help get your operation back on its feet after the storm has passed?
Prioritize work orders with CMMS software and pause/play for PMs
With a good CMMS, you’re already running an effective preventive maintenance program, with a mix of time- and meter-based PMs. After a natural disaster, pause all scheduled work orders to focus on guest and staff safety and security. For example, most of the time, keeping the pool heater running might be a top priority, but after a storm, it takes a backseat to more pressing demands.
A good CMMS solution makes it easy to adjust quickly to shifting demands by letting you to pause PMs individually or the entire preventive maintenance program with one click, freeing up resources.
Using the calendar view, you can then start moving work orders around with simple drag and drop. Technicians are then informed of the changes to their assigned work orders.
Secure critical inventory with maintenance planning software and purchase orders
With a traditional paper- or spreadsheet-based system, a lot of important information is lost in a natural disaster. Fire burns paper, and water destroys desktops. But with a modern cloud-based CMMS, you never lose your data. Because you CMMS provider does all the heavy IT lifting for you, including keeping your data safe and the software secure offsite, you never have to worry. As soon as you’re online, you can access your CMMS data from any computer or mobile device.
Included in the CMMS data is all the contact information for vendors and third parties. In fact, a CMMS solution does more than just safeguard contact information, it also automates key steps for creating purchase orders. You’re able to quickly reach out and start bringing in the supplies and help you need.
Support insurance claims with maintenance planning software and task comments
A CMMS solution is an efficient way to communicate information to technicians. They can access data from anywhere, at any time. And because it’s kept in one central database, maintenance data is updated in real-time. Everyone is in the loop and working from the same set of data.
But it is also an efficient way to collect information from technicians. A CMMS solution is a clear, dependable two-way channel of communication. As technicians are working, they can upload comments to tasks and images to work orders.
Outside of disaster recovery, this provides better oversight and transparency. Technicians can add comments to explain why a task is taking longer than expected to complete, for example. Or they can upload images of completed work to request remote approval. In the wake of a natural disaster, the information sent back by technicians can help the organization prepare and submit more accurate insurance claims. You have clear records of the state of assets and equipment right after the disaster, what work, if any, was performed, and their current condition. And remember, software for maintenance already includes digital copies of warranties and insurance coverage.
Avoid getting caught unprepared. If you don’t have maintenance planning software, it’s time to find the solution that works for you. For hotels and resorts, a quick recovery from a natural disaster depends on all the work that gets done now.
And avoid getting caught with maintenance planning software that falls short of your expectations. When comparing providers, make sure to look beyond features lists. Because in the end, features are only valuable if everyone in the maintenance department can quickly learn and reliably use them. If they’re trapped behind a poorly thought-out design and a clunky user interface, you’re paying for something no one is using. Your organization ends up even less prepared than it should be.