Streamlining Planned and Preventative Maintenance (PPM) for the Plumbing Industry

 In Plumbing & Heating

Many businesses in the plumbing industry are utilising Planned and Preventative Maintenance (PPM) as part of their work for clients. PPM is the practice of carrying out inspections and maintenance on clients’ plumbing infrastructure on a regular basis, to proactively monitor it, predict fixes and prevent damage from occurring in the near future.   

This is in sharp contrast to the traditional plumbing service model of fixing damaged pipes, replacing sinks, and unblocking drainage systems. The historically reactive method of delivering plumbing services is still perceived by many as the primary role of the field technician. But as more clients demand maintenance services in addition to unscheduled repair work, plumbing firms have had to integrate proactive strategies to meet these clients’ needs.

The benefits of PPM for plumbing businesses and their clients

PPM confers a number of advantages to companies that adopt it. It helps them detect and deal with minor faults in their clients’ plumbing before they worsen. This saves the client from the disruptions to their business or domestic activity that any major damage would have caused. It also cuts out the costs they would have incurred on repairing failed infrastructure if it had deteriorated further. 

If customers understand that preventative maintenance saves them time and resources, they will be eager to have technicians conduct periodic PPM checks on their facilities. Plumbing companies often offer this service on a subscription basis, allowing for regular income and customer loyalty if the service is of a consistently high standard.

Some customers may feel a bit uncomfortable with the regular financial commitments they have to make under the PPM model, but they could be willing to keep up with the agreement because it takes the burden of plumbing maintenance and monitoring off them.  

So what’s the catch? Streamlining PPM for business can be difficult. 

The biggest challenge that plumbing firms face with implementing PPM is setting it up so that it works seamlessly for them and their clients. This goes for any business automation, but within plumbing specifically, because the damage potential of faults can be catastrophic for a building or residence, when implementing PPM for the clients, plumbing firms need to be sure that all processes are robust. 

Plumbing businesses may choose to outsource their maintenance contracts to property maintenance specialists to manage PPM end-to-end. In theory, this means they won’t have to bother with their PPM projects or substantial parts of them. But it’s not clear how they would benefit from this. Indeed they may find that it’s more costly to delegate this responsibility to someone else. 

When managed in-house, it’s often difficult to manually organise maintenance tasks, due to the large volume of data that may need to be collected and held. Field technicians have to record the assets they will be keeping tabs on, as well as their location, details of previous work, and dates for future inspections.

There’s also the challenge of assigning duties to the right workers for each job. A system that allows for seamless communication between the office and field technicians will be needed to support the preventative work that they do or to get them on those tasks in the first place.

Factor in the maintenance of records, payments, periodic communication with clients, and scheduling issues, and it becomes clear why some firms are still reluctant to fully embrace the PPM approach. 

It stands to reason that a real-time field service management software solution, such as Workforce, can support businesses with this transition. Digitising scheduling, billing, job management, PPM and more, will undoubtedly make all business processes smoother. Recently more and more businesses have come alive to this fact, which is why software and mobility solutions are part of the growing trends we’re likely to see in the field service management sector this year. PPM is made much simpler with these tools.

A growing number of plumbing companies, in particular, are turning to maintenance software and mobile apps to simplify their PPM. Workforce’s field services management software that lets its users coordinate their maintenance projects on their smart devices. With it, plumbing firms can assign work to field workers, field workers can share pictures of the assets they are working on, companies can generate invoices, and set times for upcoming visits. With plumbing, which involves intricate work with many moving parts, the options to share pictures, share previous breakdown information, schedule recurring appointments and automate communications to inform customers about upcoming jobs, are invaluable. With this level of detail captured centrally, when it comes to the next scheduled maintenance check, the most up to date view of detailed fixes is available for the next technician at the click of a button.

In essence, applications like Workforce allow plumbing businesses to manage their field maintenance operations and transition from planning to execution with ease. They unite the disparate parts of PPM and make it a more attractive model for service companies and their clients.   

The future of plumbing is preventative maintenance. As more clients drop one-time payments for subscriptions, businesses in the plumbing industry will continue to adopt this model. At the core of this change is PPM, and its emphasis on proactive infrastructure management. Innovative plumbing companies will do well to have it built into every project they take on.     

About Workforce

Workforce is a real-time management solution for Field Service & Service Management businesses. Whether you have a small mobile team of five field workers or a large enterprise with hundreds of field staff, Workforce field service management software makes your job simple. Increase productivity, reduce paperwork and save admin time with our easy to use field service software for both the office and your fieldworkers. Why not trial our software for free today?

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