The basics: what are audit checks?
Building owners must have external organisations check, or audit, their equipment at recurring intervals. These audit checks aim to highlight the areas of improvement and/or sometimes risks that the maintenance provider should address to ensure the safety of all users. It is audit checks and recurring maintenance visits that are key to good maintenance overall.
The current market
To begin creating audit check processes, we first had to understand the main pain points and limitations within the industry by asking experts from lift companies. We found that it is common for maintenance providers to prioritise defects that drive revenue above those included in the client contract. In addition to this, we found few companies actually fix that many defects and rarely on time, and for a company where compliance and safety are at the forefront of our operations, this didn’t sit right with us!
So from this point onwards, we thought, how can we improve this? How can WeMaintain become the best in class when it comes to audit checks?
Audit checks process: version 1
In a market where key information is still primarily stored and exchanged on paper, we followed our mission to put the best of people and technology at the heart of the built environment and implemented a radically different, tech-based approach.
Our customers hire an auditor to assess and list all defects on their assets which creates the audit report that is later sent to us. Unfortunately, these audit reports are in a non-standardised format.
The crucial action is to convert these PDF files into database items: this is the transcription. This semi-automated process creates individual defects that are then validated by our operations team and categorised depending on whether they are included in the contracts, the type of defect, etc.
After that, they all appear in our interfaces: on the mobile app for service engineers to fix, on our internal tool for operations teams and on the client platform for every client to see the live status of their equipment’s defects.
Ultimately, we have this representation almost in real-time of the status of an elevator, including all defects!
Audit checks process: version 2
That was the first iteration of the process that, although we thought worked very well, we felt there was the capacity to create a second, smoother and more efficient version.
We had a few objectives in mind for this next version:
- to be able to receive more reports
- to make defects easier and faster to fix for engineers
- to help our clients gain transparency and visibility on defects.
The aim was to really tighten up the pipeline to ensure efficiency and productivity were high, whilst also ensuring compliance and safety was at the forefront of our operations. For WeMaintain, fixing defects isn’t a once-a-month occurrence, but rather a continual effort.
To show our commitment, we set ourselves some ambitious targets, going further than what the regulations state:
- all UK defects would become mandatory, including those that are officially optional.
- and in France, the deadline for all defects would be set to 6 months - instead of 1 year or 5 years.
To figure out exactly what the weaknesses and pain points of the existing system were, we used our custom product analytics to highlight the slow and complicated areas of the process.
We interviewed our system users: clients, our internal service engineers and operations managers, who provided us with insightful feedback about how they handled audit checks and defects, and specifically their pains and ideas for improvement.
So, our development team and product team set out to come up with solutions, collaborating with our users to design new features on the web interfaces and mobile app.
With the new system in place, all users of the app and platforms including our engineers, operations managers and WeMaintain clients, benefited from a number of new features.
Clients can now access on their own via the client platform, defect certificates, and automatically generated PDF files that certify WeMaintain has fixed the defect. Clients can view in one place the progress that has been made and even view comments made by the engineer upon visiting or carrying out works in their buildings with accompanying photos. Our aim is to give our customers as much visibility and transparency of their assets as possible.
Another feature we’ve developed is to notify customers of missing audit reports. When one of our engineers goes on site either for a call out or for a visit, a report is generated and sent by email to the clients and all the building contacts. In the event that there is at least one missing audit report, a message notifies the customer and kindly asks them to send it to us.
We don’t plan on stopping there, this is far from the final iteration of the process, as we are constantly communicating with our users to develop new features that benefit both our clients and our team. Collaboration sparks innovation and great change, though it is our attitude to compliance and health & safety that will remain the same.
If you’re interested in finding out more about WeMaintain’s solutions, click here.