The Member Of Engineering Team Who Shouldn't Miss: Virtual Assistant
I am sure you know the pressure every DoE is
under. They shouldn't hire more engineering staff, but they need to increase
the team's performance in resort maintenance. Most importantly, they must
fulfill all requests coming to the Engineering department as quickly as
possible. Most of the time, the DoEs are stuck between a rock and a hard place
- maintaining or even cutting costs while increasing effectiveness and quality
of work. Four years ago, I had to reduce my engineering staff by 10 %, all
while doing preventive maintenance jobs which have never been conducted before.
It was quite a challenging situation. How did we get it done? Thanks to the
indispensable member of our team - the Virtual Assistant.
You may be asking who the Virtual Assistant we love so much is? Well, it's not a "who" as much as a "what." When I talk about Virtual Assistant, I mean the Assets and Maintenance Management Software. I implemented it immediately after taking charge of the Engineering department at Velaa Private Island Maldives. In the beginning, this Virtual Assistant was meant to work mainly with and for me. I trained it to know everything about all our assets, their maintenance plans, and conducted corrective and preventive maintenance jobs.
After a few weeks, the assistant was prepared to help the entire engineering team. First, I introduced it to my assistants, then sections supervisors, and later even our line colleagues.
The reason why I speak about software as if it were a person is that it became a true member of our team. The Virtual Assistant is helping to reduce the work and responsibility of the Engineering Coordinator and Assistants Manager in ways we never even thought possible.
Are you not convinced yet? Let me show you the difference in Engineering work with and without such a Virtual Assistant.
Maintenance Tracking without Virtual Assistant
In the last few weeks, I conducted a little research among my colleagues. The question was simple: Can you find out all conducted and planned maintenance jobs on a particular asset within 60 seconds?
Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised when only 23 % of the resort engineering managers can find out the required information. The remaining 77 % is not using any special software, and if a problem with some asset arises, they wouldn't be capable of finding out the whole history of the asset.
Manual tracking and planning of the resort maintenance are still the norms, even today in the 21st century. The common practice is to have a dedicated Maintenance or Engineering Coordinator to plan and track all maintenance jobs on the resort's assets. Excel spreadsheets are the most used tool for this and often only the Coordinator, who is responsible for keeping all records up to date, can access them. That means that the Coordinator is the only person in the resort who can see information about the maintenance history of each asset, and the only one who has any idea about future preventive maintenance plans. The Coordinator's work is not easy, and their spreadsheet seems too complicated and incomprehensible to everyone else. In most cases, this leads to a daily lack of information for assistants and supervisors.
However, such an approach may be changed by the deployment of special software which replaces most of the daily activities of the Coordinator. You know who/what I have in mind, right? The Virtual Assistant helps the Coordinator in his regular job and allows him to focus on other, less urgent but often more important, tasks.
Maintenance Tracking with Virtual Assistant
If used properly, the Special Assets and Maintenance Management Software will become your Virtual Assistant. It will help mainly managers, but supervisors and even line colleagues can increase their productivity and control over their work tasks. All of them can access the system and get up-to-date information about each asset and related maintenance jobs.
In case there are any repairs or maintenance jobs conducted, they can update the information themselves easily in a few minutes. It's much more efficient than handing over the list of performed tasks to the Coordinator who makes the update in some spreadsheet, sometimes misunderstanding the information or omitting some critical details.
Besides speeding up the process of recording and tracking maintenance, the records about each asset will be much more accurate because the person who conducted the task will do them.
From Spreadsheets to Quality Control - the Change in the Engineering Coordinator Work
If you decide to use a Special Assets and Maintenance Management Software - and I strongly believe you should - your team will gain a new member. A know-it-all of the best kind, the Virtual Assistant will provide its services to the entire Engineering team. Once all the team gets to know it, it's a good idea to review the new scope of the Engineering Coordinator work. For example, my Coordinator at Velaa Private Island Maldives became more focused on the quality of conducted Engineering jobs and started to expect the entire Engineering team to fulfill maintenance jobs on time. Primarily, his daily work looked more like the of a Quality Control Coordinator than an Engineering Coordinator. And this benefited my whole team.
The investment in a Virtual Assistant helps you to increase team performance and service quality without the need to hire new staff. Based on my experience, I'd recommend everybody to get more information about all the benefits you get with Virtual Assistant. I encourage you to try it, and I'm sure you will be nicely surprised at how the work of your team will be changed - for the better.