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May 05, 2020

logo by Colin Judd, Head of Bids and Pre-Sales

Using Technology to Produce Accurate Costings for Repair and Maintenance Jobs

Accurate costing of maintenance and repair jobs not only allows you to ensure your workforce is being compensated fairly, but also makes it possible to identify areas where costs can be reduced, and operations can be streamlined.

Improving the accuracy of your costings involves gathering detailed data of where costs are being incurred throughout your operatives’ daily processes, including van mileage to different appointments, on-site time, parts and replacements, as well as administrative costs incurred through placing orders to replenish stock.

A robust repairs and maintenance management system can provide extra features to help you not only provide accurate costings for specific jobs, but also to streamline operations and reduce costs. In future, there’s also the potential for automation of some aspects of cost tracking using RFID tags.

The present day: using repair and maintenance management software to reduce costs

A repair and maintenance management system such as Orchard AccuServ Repair and Maintenance can provide invaluable information on the real term costs of specific repair and maintenance jobs. The system itself can also help to cut costs and identify areas for improved streamlining:

Manage parts, stock and ordering more effectively

When parts are logged against a repair job, they’re logged against the UPN number of the property they’ve been used on. This means that they be automatically costed against the specific job, providing an accurate record of exactly what parts have been used for each specific assignment and automatically adding an exact cost to the overall total of the job.

When a part is removed from the van, it is automatically added to an order list for restocking, meaning that time and resource spent compiling order lists is reduced and the risk of over or under ordering due to human error is minimised. Order lists can be automatically turned into a regular replenishment order to suppliers, with operatives only needing to collect their order rather than spending time building a replenishment list.

Additionally, when an item is removed, both van and overall business stock level information is automatically updated, eliminating the need for manual stock take, saving time and ensuring accurate records.

Streamline future jobs and track part locations

When a part is used on a job, its location is listed as the UPN of the property where the job was carried out.

Knowing exactly where specific parts were used can help improve the efficiency of future repair work – for example, if you’re replacing windows in a property, you’ll already have information from the stock that has been issued previously, meaning there’s no need to visit the property to take measurements or assess which parts are required.

Streamline purchasing and approvals

The system features full EDI integration with most big suppliers including Travis Perkins, Jewsons and Buildbase. Purchase orders can be auto-approved by validating product codes, quantities and prices on every line item, eliminating the need for supervisors to review orders, meaning more time and resource can be focussed on more complex cases. Using this method, up to 93% of purchase invoices can be auto-approved, saving time and resource.

Manage employee resources and reduce resource costs

Alongside the costs relating to materials, accurately calculating the costs associated with labour and travel is also important. Using a repairs and maintenance management system, travel time to each job as well as labour time on-site can be recorded, including time spent on no-access visits. Jobs allocated to sub-contractors and other costs can also be added to the total cost of a job. For example, quotations can be captured plus the cost of plant hire e.g. scaffolding etc.

As well as being able to calculate the full cost of a job, the ability to break it down into individual costs is vital for identifying where savings can be made, as well as being able to identify discrepancies or mistakes.

Not only does this mean your costings for jobs are accurate, it means that administrative duties such as stock-take, placing orders and managing stock are automated, and your teams can refocus their energies into areas where they can make a difference and provide excellent service to tenants, customer and service users.

The future: using RFID tags for even greater accuracy

At Orchard, we’re in the process of working on exciting new technology to help make repair and maintenance costings even more accurate and streamlined. By using RFID tags, we’re planning pilot projects with a select number of clients to increase automation and accuracy by tracking part usage automatically.

What are RFID tags?

Radio Frequency IDentification tags are chips attached to items, that can then be tracked using readers that utilise radio frequency technology. When used with repair and maintenance parts, RFID tags can transmit data about each part and can be used alongside software to manage stock and record maintenance and repair data.

Using RFID alongside repair and maintenance management software

A repair and maintenance management system such as Orchard AccuServ Repair and Maintenance can work alongside RFID tags to provide invaluable information on the real term costs of specific repair and maintenance jobs. The system itself can also help to cut costs and identify areas for improved streamlining.

Parts that are tagged with RFID are automatically registered with the system when they’re used. This means that they can be automatically costed against the specific job, providing an accurate record of exactly what parts have been used for each specific assignment and automatically adding an exact cost to the overall total of the job.

When a part is removed from the van, it is automatically added to an order list for restocking, meaning that time and resource spent compiling order lists is reduced and the risk of over or under ordering due to human error is minimised. Order lists can be automatically turned into an order to suppliers once per week.

Additionally, when an item is removed, both van and overall business stock level information is automatically updated, eliminating the need for manual stock take, saving time and ensuring accurate records.

Want to learn more about what we can do to help? Find out more about our Orchard AccuServ Repairs and Maintenance system.

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