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Planned maintenance strategies help avoid breakdowns, minimize backlogs

Solving maintenance challenges for local governments

4 min read


Juliet PagliaroHerman465x225

This post is sponsored by Johnson Controls.

Challenged to provide more with less, many local governments are choosing to defer equipment inspections and maintenance. The consequences of those decisions can be unplanned breakdowns, interrupted services and costly repairs.

In this post, we talk with Juliet Pagliaro Herman, director of service marketing and product management at Johnson Controls, about the benefits that planned maintenance can deliver.


What challenges do local governments face with respect to maintaining their buildings?

Reduced spending, declining operating budgets and the pressure to do more with less are forcing local governments to defer maintenance on key infrastructure and equipment. As a result, they face increasing backlogs of deferred maintenance and find themselves taking a reactive approach to service and repairs. In most cases, this approach is more costly and time consuming to building and facility managers — and inconvenient for building occupants and city residents — as deteriorating conditions lead to breakdowns and repairs.

Additionally, those responsible for purchasing decisions are robbed of the opportunity to follow a structured replacement or repair process that allows time to research options, solicit bids and check references. Consequently, they risk acquiring equipment or systems that meet an immediate need but don’t match their long-term requirements.


How does a local government develop a maintenance strategy to overcome these challenges?

Begin by understanding which equipment and systems serve which spaces throughout a portfolio of buildings. Then, rank the equipment and systems according to how critical they are to day-to-day operations.

The next step is to assign a risk profile to each piece of equipment by answering questions that include: Does it represent a large capital investment? How old is it? How critical are the spaces it serves? What risk do you bear if the equipment fails?

With these steps completed, it’s time to develop a maintenance strategy. For most pieces of equipment, the strategy will include some level of preventive maintenance. But run-to-fail may be an appropriate strategy for less critical, less expensive pieces of equipment.

Finally, assess the capabilities and capacity of your staff to execute the strategy. If your staff lacks the knowledge, skills, tools or time to carry out the plan, consider a planned service agreement with an experienced partner.


What is a planned service agreement?

A planned service agreement is a contract between a customer and a service provider to perform the required inspections and maintenance for a piece of equipment. The goal of the provider is to deliver smooth, uninterrupted operations; reduce operational costs; prevent unexpected downtime; and increase efficiency.

By providing for regular inspections and maintenance to head off problems before they become emergencies, a planned service agreement can, for example, minimize the risk of a chiller shutting down and consequently compromising a data center’s critical services or eliminating cooling for building occupants during the hottest time of the year. The agreement should be customizable to provide services based on the maintenance strategy the customer has identified. It should consider, for example, the frequency of service; assigning responsibility for simple tasks such as changing filters; covering the cost of repairs in the agreement; shifting the risk of smaller investments/less critical equipment to the customer; and incorporating remote monitoring/troubleshooting.


What value does a planned service agreement deliver?

Local governments and those operating facilities within a city expect a planned service agreement to deliver specific benefits. Based on its experience as a provider of service agreements, Johnson Controls has identified five reasons to choose planned maintenance: to identify energy savings opportunities, to reduce future repair costs, to extend asset life, to ensure productive environments and to improve environmental health and safety. All of the services Johnson Controls performs on its customers’ controls and equipment are aligned with these five values of planned maintenance.


Juliet Pagliaro Herman is the Director of Service Marketing and Product Management for Johnson Controls Systems and Services North America. Prior to this role, she served as the product manager for planned service for North America and as program manager for energy and sustainability for Johnson Controls globally. Before joining Johnson Controls, she worked for General Electric Healthcare in various roles in global service technology. In addition to her work at Johnson Controls, she serves on the board of Milwaukee Community Service Corps.