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Repair and maintenance


To reengineer the structural, electrical and mechanical repair organizations within MIT's Physical Plant.


Why: Improve quality, service, time and cost.

How: Interviews with customers and employees.

Survey of best practice at other universities.

Analysis of the current system.

What: Develop hybrid system:

  • Initiate multi-trade teams that are responsible forgroups of buildings (local zone).
  • Maintain a central group (central zone) that performs large repairs, undertakes some new construction and renovation work and provides specialized support.

Features: Empowered multi-trade teams familiar with and accountable for building maintenance.

  • Create a new building maintenance mechanic position to perform a broad scope of non-trade-specific repair tasks.
  • Customer communicates directly with local zone.
  • Less time getting people and material to jobs.
  • Improved stockroom service.
  • Less paperwork.
  • Breaking down barriers between trade shops.
  • ������������������Greater emphasis on Preventive Maintenance.
  • ������������������Free up operations center to focus on environmental controls and emergency response.

How a local zone would work:

  • Each morning zone mechanics coordinate work requests for the day.
  • Mechanic picks up materials from zone stock area and goes to job.
  • Mechanic does what is requested, inspects space, repairs another problem and moves on to next job.
  • Or mechanic does what is requested, notices another problem but does not have the time or parts, reports problem back to team, team takes action.
  • End of day meeting to discuss the day's activities, prioritize work requests, order materials and review building costs and charges.
  • Central stock room delivers materials to local zone by 6am next day.

How the central zone would work:

  • Customer or local zone contacts the central zone.
  • A team of trade and stockroom supervisors evaluate, plan and schedule the work and staff a project team of trades people who coordinate among themselves to complete the entire job.
  • Customer gets summary bill for the entire job.

Benefits: Better maintained spaces and systems (fewer breakdowns).

��������������������������� Reduced backlog of deferred maintenance.
��������������������������� Trades people will be familiar with, and accountable for their buildings.
��������������������������� Hassle-free service.
��������������������������� Customers are familiar with trades people.
��������������������������� Fast response; fast repair.
��������������������������� Many repairs will get done before customer notices (or reports) them.
��������������������������� Lower cost per repair.
��������������������������� Positions Plant to do in-house renovations.
��������������������������� Some previously contracted work will be done by repair and maintenance.
��������������������������� More time spent on work (less non-productive time)

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1995.

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