From high-speed wind to torrential rain and floods, we might not be able to prevent it, but we can prepare ourselves for how to deal with them. For field service businesses, extreme weather can result in an increase in calls and demand for reactive maintenance.
Let’s take a look at what reactive maintenance is and how it differs from other types of maintenance. We’ll also look into one main cause of reactive maintenance – extreme weather – and how you can prepare for and manage these jobs.
What is Reactive Maintenance?
Reactive maintenance is maintenance that is carried out when there is an unexpected fault or breakage to equipment. When the equipment is damaged in this way, it is unable to function correctly until the maintenance is complete. A part might need replacing or repaired to restore the asset to working condition.
Sometimes this is caused by extreme environmental circumstances, such as extreme weather. We’ll be discussing what you can do to help prepare for these kinds of instances. But first, let’s dive into the distinct types of maintenance.
What is the Difference Between Reactive and Preventative Maintenance?
There are so many types of maintenance that it can be difficult to differentiate between them sometimes. The main types of service maintenance include reactive and preventative. These can also be narrowed down into planned or unplanned maintenance. The difference between these types is generally down to the scenario in which they are carried out.
Reactive is needed when the equipment is considered to be unusable in its current condition. Emergency maintenance is an example of reactive maintenance and has to be attended to as soon as possible to rectify any faults, leaks or broken assets.
Examples of reactive maintenance include emergency maintenance and corrective maintenance.
Unlike reactive, preventative maintenance, or PPM (planned preventative maintenance), is typically planned in advance and on a schedule.
You could have a contract with one of your customers to carry out routine checks on a particular piece of machinery annually. This is to help ensure the equipment is in working order and gives the opportunity to flag any potential issues that could cause damage in the immediate future.
Extreme Weather and Reactive Maintenance
Environmental conditions can be a big factor in the condition of equipment and facilities management. Often unexpected or uncontrollable, extreme weather such as storms, snow and floods can cause masses of damage. When this does happen, your business will need to be prepared.
The service industry is already a business in demand. Extreme weather can only further increase that demand. In fact, the demand for trades on Checkatrade was substantially higher due to the damage caused to homes by Storm Eunice back in February 2022. This included destruction to fences, roofs, chimneys and more.
As a result, you’ve got an influx in calls and service requests to fix roofs, put up new fences and remove trees from roads. It’s a lot to manage and organise, but it can be simplified with the right tools.
4 Ways to Prepare Your Trade Business for Reactive Maintenance
If you plan to offer reactive maintenance services to your customer base, it’s important to know how to plan and prepare. You might not be able to exhaustively plan ahead for each job, but you can prepare your team for these scenarios.
Reactive maintenance might not be the best course of action for all jobs, but when unexpected problems do arise, it can be a satisfactory solution to get components back to working order quickly. Here are four ways to prepare you and your service team for the unexpected.
1. Manage Your Jobs With Service Management Software
Getting jobs organised is one of the first steps of preparing for reactive maintenance. And there’s no better way to do that than use service management software. It’s built with your industry in mind, to make sure you have all the tools, buttons and features you need to take a job from start to finish.
Managing mass amounts of paperwork and physical job sheets can become tiresome. It can be hard to keep track of multiple jobs at once. Introducing software into your management strategy gives you more ways to automate certain processes. Make managing your growing customer base easy and never miss or lose a job sheet.
2. Prioritise Your Jobs With Service Level Agreements
When emergency maintenance work arises due to extreme weather, it’s important to know how to prioritise them. Prioritisation is especially important if your team is limited in some way. This could be due to a lack of equipment, time or engineers
Service level agreements (SLAs) can play a huge part in organising and prioritising jobs when using service management software. SLAs are agreements set out when a service is established to outline a deadline between customer and company. These agreements can also be used internally for staff to ensure work is completed to a company-wide standard.
With service management software, you can set up your own custom service level agreements that reflect the realistic response times you want your engineers to abide by. Specify how long you want the agreement to be active and when you want them to start.
Once you have established your service level agreements, you can assign them to your incoming jobs. Track and monitor every service level agreement from your jobs list and get an overview of jobs that are past their SLA response time.
3. Plan Your Routes With Maps
With so many jobs to sort and assign, it can be difficult to keep up with where your engineers are and who is available for new work. Travel time can build up, costs can rise, and you could end up with jobs being missed.
Having a system in place to efficiently plan routes and schedule engineers can streamline so much of your reactive maintenance work. You can make sure the right engineers are assigned to the right jobs, at the right time.
Using service management software Google Maps integrations, you can easily track your engineers and plan routes to site. No need to copy and paste into an external browser. If you’ve already done some jobs for the customer before, it’s even quicker. Find the customer and their site in your CRM (customer relationship management) system and utilise the maps integration to calculate the best route in a few clicks.
4. Monitor Your Business With Remote Dashboards
When there are so many jobs active at once, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. As a service manager, you might need to action any unassigned jobs, check in with delayed engineers and make sure jobs are invoiced all at once. This is a lot to juggle.
You can make this all easier by implementing a dashboard to display important stats and figures that are important to your business. Keep an eye on your jobs, quotes, invoices and engineers with a glance. You can display this on a monitor in the office for everyone to see or on your second screen in your home office if you work remotely.
With a constant live feed of the important statistics, you can then action them immediately, if necessary. For example, you can track the number of jobs that have triggered their service level agreement. If this number gets too high, you can chase them up and check in with the assigned engineers.
With service management software, you have all the tools you need to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Manage emergency jobs, assign your engineers and give your team instant access to their ongoing work.