July 14, 1997
Volume 49, No. 35
Facilities Management will roll-out a new, universitywide zone maintenance program on Sept. 1. The rollout is an extension of the successful E-zone (east side of Clifton Rd.) pilot maintenance program that began September 1996. The new program will include custodial, maintenance and project management teams that provide services to customers in four zones-B, C, D and E-that include on- and off-campus facilities serviced by FMD.
The zone concept depends on decentralized units working from satellite locations that are closer to customers. FMD plans to locate small shops in the Lowergate South, Michael Street and Peavine parking decks as well as in the FMD building.
"We are going to have a see-it, fix it approach to cleaning and maintenance," said FMD Director Bob Hascall. "To the extent possible, we want to be proactive." That means that customers should have to call in fewer work requests and workers will be trained to provide a variety of routine maintenance tasks.
The traditional lines between craft workers such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and heating, ventiliation and air-conditioning specialists may blur, said Hascall. FMD employees will "have to become more flexible, still retaining their skill set as their primary function, but expected to help each other service the needs of the customer," he said. Employees will undergo cross-training to learn the basics of other crafts, explained Kyle Duncan, who is site manager for the E-zone. "Not to the extent that a carpenter is a specialist in electrical work, but to where he can work on a ballast or light fixture and feel comfortable."
"On a large building we will have a dedicated mechanic and a set size of custodial staff," explained Al Herzog, director of plant operations for FMD. "But every building will have one person to call on to take care of their building." Herzog said the zone teams will be responsible for servicing 2.5 million square feet of interior building space.
Since arriving at the University earlier this year, Hascall has met with customers in the pilot area. Accustomed to coordinating maintenance jobs through numerous craft supervisors, E-zone customers like the one-stop program, Hascall reported, and for the most part FMD employees do too. "Employees like it because it gives them a chance to demonstrate new skills," he said, "and it's more self-directed in terms of how tasks are accomplished, more unstructured.
"Just by definition, if we're closer, we're able to respond quicker," Hascall added. "Employee teams also find ways to do things more efficiently."
Duncan, who's worked at Emory 11 years and "has come up through the ranks here," plans to use that experience to help ease the transition to zone maintenance for FMD employees who didn't participate in the pilot program. "I know what mechanics are facing out there and I know what supervisors and managers are facing," he said. "It is about team building and communicating with customers and we do consider customers a part of the team."
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