A third of the nation is currently being hammered by extremely harsh winter weather leaving city streets, airports and roadways blanketed by ice and snow. Even though most municipal and airport maintenance departments have stockpiles of rock salt, snow plows and utility linemen ready for action, the battle for recovery will test the maintenance efficiency of every community and utility.
2,000 miles of Ice
The storm system which stretches over 2,000 miles, has made the nation’s heartland a gigantic ice rink. From sheets of ice in Dallas to down power lines in St Louis, maintenance crews have their hands full. Maintenance will be tricky as on one hand, ice and snow removal may be scheduled but down power lines and burst pipes are considered unscheduled maintenance.
The challenge is balancing work requests and work orders for the scheduled maintenance against limited resources available for unplanned maintenance items such as:
CMMS and Unplanned Storm Maintenance
- Water main maintenance from breaks from frozen pipes
- Gas leaks from cracked pipes
- Down power lines from heavy ice
- Ice damage to facilities
- Fallen trees and limbs
The good news is cities and municipalities equipped with a CMMS are able to react faster because the work order management system eliminates redundant paperwork as well enables automated handling of work requests and subsequent scheduled maintenance.
With a CMMS, all unplanned maintenance activity is able to be logged, prioritized and scheduled. In addition, completed work orders are recorded noting the results, tools needed, time spent and materials costs. This information can then be used for a more accurate capital expenditure analysis after the storm has passed.
CMMS after the Ice
Once the storm has passed, new problems will take the place of power restoration and snow removal. This winter has seen numerous winter freezes. Other issues may include flooding, accelerated corrosion and pothole production. For instance, roadways are sure to see a huge increase in potholes due to the repeated freezing and thawing of ice.
CMMS software helps pothole and corrosion management in much the same way as it helps manage storm maintenance problems. A CMMS solution, enables inspections to be set up for roadways or other assets to identify problems before they become liability issues. The inspections identify problems spots to be scheduled for repair.
For example, once a potholes has been reported, failure to fix it on a timely basis has often resulted in legal action from people who have sustained vehicle damage and claim negligence. The CMMS can help reduce liability by showing that reasonable efforts have been made to address the issue because all work request and work orders are recorded.
Other CMMS Benefits
One of the true benefits of CMMS software is that it creates a database of all maintenance work performed. This record of maintenance activity can then be used to analyze maintenance trends, vendor performance as well as identify assets that need better preventive maintenance before storms arrive.
On a final note, the arctic temperatures place an usually high demand on energy consumption. Federal, State and Local governments are already facing a financial crisis. Properly implemented, a CMMS will ensure better asset and maintenance management to keep heat pumps and boilers operating at optimum efficiency as well as lengthen their useful life.
A CMMS solution is not an option for governments, utilities and communities, it is a must have. A CMMS may not defeat the ice in battle but it will help win the war.
Tell us how your community has handled this winter and what they could do better. If you liked this article you may also enjoy reading:
- EAM Alternatives to Spreadsheets for Municipality Operations
- Is Wintertime School Maintenance Putting Children at Risk
- Why Don’t We have Time to Plan Maintenance
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