Multi-Tasking In Maintenance

There was a time when a maintenance manager needed to store paper records in numerous filing cabinets to try to keep up with the multitude of systems that need preventive maintenance. Technology companies now offer an abundance of computer software or web-based programs to document preventive-maintenance cycles and automatically alert managers when something needs attention.

In today’s environment of reduced budgets and manpower and no reduction in assets or customer expectations, recreation-facility maintenance managers really need all the help they can get.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems

Chapter 3 of Park and Recreation Maintenance Management is devoted to “Technology in Park Maintenance.”

Payne notes: “Customized and packaged software programs known as Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) have become readily available to local government agencies. A CMMS can fundamentally be viewed as the automation of a paper-based preventative-maintenance model.”

“In today’s maintenance world the CMMS is an essential tool for the modern facilities maintenance organization,” says Dan Sapp in an article on the National Institute of Building Science website (

The November 2011 report provides a comprehensive assessment of the potential capabilities a CMMS can provide a manager. Among the points Sapp makes in the article, one in particular stands out. He emphasizes that a thorough management evaluation of the CMMS is required before it is purchased.

“Not all maintenance organizations require the use of a complete set of CMMS modules,” he writes. “Those that have implemented CMMS programs without a complete study typically fail to use the capabilities incorporated in the software, and may eventually view the program as a failure.”

While CMMS capability has been around for a while—especially in the manufacturing and fleet-maintenance management arenas—incorporation into local parks and recreation maintenance operations may not be as prevalent.

The systems have become more mobile and user-friendly in recent years.

“Web-based systems have become more widely accepted, especially for municipal and county maintenance practitioners,” says Rona Palmer, Marketing Director at Emaint, a New Jersey company that specializes in CMMS for all applications.

“With web-based systems you don’t need to buy computers and servers or maintain them, and you don’t have to be in the office; the systems are mobile to serve staff in the field,” says Palmer.

“This model has been particularly helpful for the smaller or even individual user.”

Most contemporary systems can be tracked on cell phones, smart phones, laptops, or other mobile devices. So, no matter where a facilities manager is, any time of day or night, he or she can keep tabs on assets.

But the best CMMS in the world will not be successful without well-trained staff members who are committed to the program.

Bringing all of the staff in on the front end of planning for a CMMS system will make them part of the process, and ensure their needs are met.

Most of the systems on the market provide various staff-training options in package deals with the product.  Managers should carefully research these options before making a final decision to ensure they and their staff members receive initial and follow-up training.

Training can be on-site or in face-to-face classes with instructors for key staff members, who will then train the remainder of the staff.  Or, it might be a distance-learning process over the Internet or another option.

Managers must ensure the training meets current and future needs to make maximum effective use of the system’s capability.

So, whatever the season, regardless of how one defines a park and rec facility, establishing a forward-looking preventive-maintenance plan will help establish a budget to keep the facility in top-notch shape.

Works cited:

Roger Warren, Phillip Rea, and Scott Payne. Parks and Recreation Maintenance Management. Urbana, Ill.: Sagamore Publishing, 2007.

National Institute of Building Science.

Randy Gaddo served for 15 years as a director in municipal parks and recreation after retiring from 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He developed, wrote, administered, and presented maintenance plans as well as recreation master plans during that time. Gaddo earned his Master’s in Public Administration and now lives in Peachtree City, Ga. He can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email


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