Three of the top five costliest U.S. hurricanes on record occurred in 2017. This season, NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms. Of those storms, five to nine could become hurricanes, and one to four could be major hurricanes that are category three or higher. While many businesses are still attempting to bounce back from last season, it is equally important to implement preventive measures that can soften the blow of future disasters. Below are a few recurring actions that can prepare vendors, remove responsibilities and save time, so facilities managers do not have to scramble when hurricane season arrives.

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1. Take Time to Build a Process for Effective Communication

Documented and constant communication is vital to every aspect of a business, especially in hurricane preparedness. When a company dispatches a work order to a vendor, the conversation often ends there. Well-documented contact with vendors helps build trustworthy relationships and ensures they complete the work correctly. It is a breeze to confirm all completed work order information when communication is frequent and verified through a mobile app with time-stamped photos and geo-fencing. There is also a higher chance that vendors are responsive to requests during times of emergency because the mobile app is available on their phone.

Do you know if your technicians have access to enter storm areas in their local municipality? Imagine calling your vendor in a frenzy to repair your location after a hurricane, only to find out that they do not have the necessary authorization or credentials to enter your facilities and provide service due to the incurred damage. While some areas do not have access restrictions in place, some require licenses, lanyards or medallions as authorization credentials that must be present or documented when entering emergency clean-up areas. Effective and constant communication makes it easier to verify that vendors have the appropriate local and national government certifications to access your locations and make efficient repairs. Knowing in advance provides businesses with relief compared to the bothersome nature of discussing certifications in the midst of a storm.

2. Keep Landlord Responsibilities Organized and Accessible

Retailers often focus on securing insurance that covers equipment, business interruptions, flooding, natural disasters and more. However, businesses that rent their space from a landlord can eliminate stress by creating a habit of identifying landlord responsibilities and keeping them organized and documented in one central location. Staying organized and having documentation saves time, and every minute counts when a hurricane is in the forecast.

Responsibilities vary per lease, and an expansive company with nationwide locations is likely to have an abundance of lease agreements from many different property owners. Sorting through leases and determining the responsibilities can significantly streamline repairs and save costs at every location. If not, someone has to dig through files to find the right lease, identify the obligations in the lease, draft a demand letter for the repairs or the cost for the repairs and send it to the property manager. These tasks often become distractions that get in the way of other responsibilities, and there is always a chance that the landlord will decide to challenge the demand letter, which only adds to the time and effort lost. Bottom line: strategic coordination saves stress.

3. Secure All Your Important Documents

Keeping business documents in a safe digital place during a hurricane is essential for obvious reasons. Companies are often encouraged to protect documents like third-party contracts, site plans, asset and warranty data, contact information (and even landlord responsibilities) by using a centralized work order and asset management system.

Work order history is a form of FM data that identifies where a company spends their FM budget and provides awareness on past services. While this information is vital to have, collecting past work orders and invoices can be extremely time consuming and difficult to track down. The best method to keep data safe involves enabling vendors with a cloud-based technology platform throughout the year. Work order histories are just as essential to a business as third-party contracts, asset and warranty data, and contact information. Adding technology to the work order process ensures all the information is safe and allows a company to pick up where they left off and get straight to work after a storm.

How Can Preventive Maintenance Affect My Business When a Hurricane Isn’t in the Forecast?

Preventive maintenance affects every aspect of business whether its employee productivity, brand perception or the budget directly or indirectly. Read this blog for specific examples of a few measurable effects: 4 Proven Ways Preventative Maintenance Pays Off.

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