Inside: Facilities-Management Software

Feb. 1, 2002
Private firm to overhaul maintenance program; Online maintenance-management site launched; ASP programs level playing field for small districts


The Detroit school district is turning over management of its maintenance department to a private company.

The district will pay Aramark ServiceMaster Facilities Services $78.5 million over 10 years to manage 2,500 to 3,000 maintenance employees and operations in 271 schools and other buildings. The school system is plagued by thousands of backlogged maintenance requests.

As part of the management plan, Aramark will install a computerized maintenance-management system for work orders that will organize the maintenance requests.

Detroit has privatized many of its operations as it tries to improve its management. Private companies are responsible for information technology, landscaping and food services at the nation's 11th-largest school district.


Nalco Diversified Technologies has established a website for facility maintenance. NDTfacilitycare ( gives maintenance professionals access to various tools, such as online procurement, that can increase operating efficiencies and reduce costs. The site has up-to-date instructions on product use and training materials so workers can maintain a safe workplace.

Another feature found on the site is FacilityCare Advisor, which helps maintenance workers choose the right program to complete a maintenance task, benchmark facility-care practices and plan improvements.

The company describes the site as “a central location and resource to get fresh ideas to improve the maintenance of operations for the entire industry.”


Small school districts are less likely to use computerized maintenance-management systems (CMMS) because of their costs and complexities.

That's the conclusion of, a website for school facility professionals. The website has produced a white paper for small school districts that touts application service provider (ASP) systems as a way for those smaller districts to achieve the efficiencies of computerized management systems without busting their budgets.

“ASP solutions lower the total cost of ownership and…simplify the startup process,” the report says.

It notes that the average size of a U.S. school district is 3,029 students, but the average size of a district with a CMMS is more than 10,000.

“Most CMMS companies focused on the largest school districts… (that) have sufficient budgets to buy a CMMS,” the report says.

But now that virtually all districts are connected to the Internet, ASPs — in which a service provider hosts and maintains computer applications — can bring the benefits of online management to smaller districts.

ASPs reduce the need for districts to have high-tech people on staff dedicated to maintaining systems and servers, the report says.

CMMS CAN IMPROVE EFFICIENCY conducted a study of a 3,000-student district to project the savings it could realize from a computerized maintenance-management system (CMMS):

▪ Estimated size of maintenance staff: 7 ▪ Estimated work orders per year: 2,700 ▪ Maintenance technician hours gained: 2,224 ▪ M&O administrative productivity gained: 800 hours ▪ Productivity improvement: 23 percent ▪ Efficiency gain per student: $18-$20

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