On solid ground: outsourcing facility operations and maintenance keeps school buildings up-to-date and contributes to a positive learning environment.
IT SEEMED like an impossible task for the school district: cut energy consumption, enhance building cleanliness Cleanliness
See also Orderliness.
Cleverness (See CUNNING.)
unkempt herself, demands cleanliness from others, especially children. [Ger. Folklore: Leach, 137]
continually “washes” itself. and streamline work-order management--all within a short time frame.
Yet, that's exactly what occurred at Detroit Public Schools Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is a school district that covers all of the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The student population of the Detroit Public Schools is 116,800. , says Robert Brown Noun 1. Robert Brown - Scottish botanist who first observed the movement of small particles in fluids now known a Brownian motion (1773-1858)
Brown , executive director of facility maintenance for the district that serves about 170,000 students. Detroit managed to cut costs while strengthening its operational efficiency by outsourcing (1) Contracting with outside consultants, software houses or service bureaus to perform systems analysis, programming and datacenter operations. Contrast with insourcing. See netsourcing, ASP, SSP and facilities management. its facilities maintenance.
"Using an outsourcing company has allowed us to get a much better handle on what needs to be done," says Brown, adding that his district now has access to a wealth of professional resources from custodians
The Custodians is terminology in the Bahá'í Faith, which refers to nine Hands of the Cause assigned specifically to work at the Bahá'í World Centre in attendance to the Guardian of the Faith. to engineers. "We've been able to reduce our facilities budget and get increasingly better results. That's hard to beat."
Detroit is among many school districts throughout the country that have discovered the true value of outsourcing. External partners help districts better manage their facilities by implementing a variety of strategies that can reduce utility consumption, maximize resources and empower employees. As a result, buildings and grounds are better kept, run more efficiently and become a source of pride for the district's staff, students and community.
MONEY IN THE BANK
With tight budgets, many school districts face financial challenges, especially when it involves purchasing expensive equipment or completing major repairs. Outsourcing facilities management The management of a user's computer installation by an outside organization. All operations including systems, programming and the datacenter can be performed by the facilities management organization on the user's premises. is an option, which can provide financial relief, while simultaneously improving operations quality.
Several years ago, Bob Cooper Bob Cooper can refer to:
After a few years into the contracted program, employees then transitioned to ARAMARK, who continued to offer competitive wages and benefits. To help ease the transition, ARAMARK made financial and managerial commitments to ensure the employee transition would be seamless. Within six months of the contract, the district saved millions in operational costs and reported a jump in overall employee and student satisfaction.
"We appreciated how ARAMARK looked at what our district needed and came up with a proposal from there," Cooper says.
Other times, outsourcing partners have helped districts raise the skill level of employees, which often reduces employee absenteeism ab·sen·tee·ism
1. Habitual failure to appear, especially for work or other regular duty.
2. The rate of occurrence of habitual absence from work or duty. , injuries and workers' compensation workers' compensation, payment by employers for some part of the cost of injuries, or in some cases of occupational diseases, received by employees in the course of their work. claims. Skilled and trained employees are usually more proactive and prevent or control situations before they escalate es·ca·late
v. es·ca·lat·ed, es·ca·lat·ing, es·ca·lates
To increase, enlarge, or intensify: escalated the hostilities in the Persian Gulf.
v.intr. into major problems. Consider Detroit. The school district is so large that emergencies can easily pop up anywhere at anytime within its 260 buildings.
"As opposed to just running around, fixing problems, we're able to get a handle on the projects that are most essential," says Detroit's Brown, adding that outsourcing such management duties has allowed the district to gain a better level of effectiveness.
The Houston Independent School District The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest public school system in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities. has experienced similar results. Eight years ago, the district partnered with ARAMARK to implement a variety of facility management strategies. The company first helped the district establish an innovative maintenance program that brought its facilities up to speed and then worked on raising productivity.
So far, the district has realized a savings of nearly $43 million. Likewise, employee satisfaction jumped by 40 percent and employee productivity soared.
BOOSTING SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE
Although controlling expenses is at the top of most school districts' must-do lists, so is developing a satisfied, productive and loyal workforce. Oftentimes of·ten·times also oft·times
Adv. 1. oftentimes - many times at short intervals; "we often met over a cup of coffee"
frequently, oft, often, ofttimes , outsourcing facilities management services can boost morale within a district and give employees better access to professional resources, equipment and training.
East Baton Rouge's Cooper says since the district outsourced facilities management, employees have received additional training opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them from the district. Skilled and knowledgeable employees can evolve into empowered employees who provide better service to the district, he adds.
"We've already seen dramatic improvement in how the employees operate" he says, explaining that they now follow established standards covering a variety of areas. "For example, cleaning and floor care chemicals used across the district are now uniform."
For similar reasons, Ken Bird, superintendent of the Westside Community Schools Westside Community Schools, also known locally as District 66, is Omaha's 3rd largest school district. The district has one high school, one middle school, ten elementary schools, and one alternative high school. in Omaha, Neb., relies on an outsourcing partner to manage his district's facilities maintenance. Although clean, safe and attractive buildings are a critical component of any learning environment, he says Westside didn't possess the necessary in-house knowledge or expertise to maximize its facilities operation. So it selected an external provider that has since demonstrated its ability to provide cost-effective management and improve and streamline communication for service employees.
"The training level of the employees is so much better and now completely documented/' he says.
In the past, the district also suffered from poor communication problems. Bird says different departments rarely shared information with each other, work instruction was sometimes provided verbally, which often led to misinterpretation, and there were long delays in distributing phone messages.
So when facility requests surfaced--anything from cleaning up a soda spill to fixing a leaking pipe--it took staff a long time to handle them, he says.
But now the department has established communication standards, which have led to requests being resolved with speed and efficiency.
"The communication and timeliness of solutions for issues is significant" says Bird, explaining that employees are much happier and the district has developed a strong, positive image among the students and workforce.
People appreciate working or learning in attractive surroundings. Educators and students are no different. By partnering for facilities maintenance, districts can offer this intangible benefit to both staff and students.
In East Baton Rouge, the facility services staff was struggling with keeping its grounds tidy. Approximately 56,000 students walked across its lawns every day, inadvertently damaging the landscaping. To make matters worse, the grass typically appeared shaggy shaggy /shag·gy/ (shag´e)
1. covered with, having, or resembling rough long hair or wool.
2. having a rough texture or surface or hairlike processes. and its edges blossomed with weeds 1. weeds - Refers to development projects or algorithms that have no possible relevance or practical application. Comes from "off in the weeds". Used in phrases like "lexical analysis for microcode is serious weeds."
It didn't take long for its facilities management partner, ARAMARK, to restore the grounds back to their natural beauty. The results were noticed immediately. "Everyone is extremely pleased with how things look," says Cooper, explaining that the grounds are now a major point of pride for the district. The lawns have "a finished, manicured look, which is really nice to have."
The attractive grounds are in part the result of very specialized spe·cial·ize
v. spe·cial·ized, spe·cial·iz·ing, spe·cial·iz·es
1. To pursue a special activity, occupation, or field of study.
2. expertise and a full range of professional grade equipment newly introduced. "Alone, we could not have applied the resources to make our grounds look like this," Cooper says, adding that the cost for outsourcing is much lower than if the district performed these services in-house.
That's also what Upper Darby School District Upper Darby School District is a school district of approximately 12,000 students in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania.
It consists of an 8.3 square mile area including Upper Darby Township, Clifton Heights borough, and Millbourne borough. (Penn.) discovered. Since the district received numerous benefits from outsourcing its food service program to ARAMARK, it hoped to experience similar success from outsourcing its custodial services to the same partner, says Joseph Galli, Sr., superintendent at Upper Darby Upper Dar·by
An unincorporated community of southeast Pennsylvania, a residential and manufacturing suburb of Philadelphia. Population: 81,821. .
"We wanted the buildings cleaned to a certain level of expectation," Galli says. "We wanted a bottom line met."
Since then, the company has introduced managers with expertise in a variety of specialized areas to share best practices. Galli appreciates such a strong resource bank, knowing that his district's issues would be quickly and efficiently resolved.
As many districts have found, handing over the management reins reins
The kidneys, loins, or lower back. of facilities maintenance to experienced professionals can raise the level of a district's overall ability to better serve its students, staff, and community.
As Westside's Bird says, "We are a high performing academic district and we want our district to look as such. Outsourcing helps us do that."