What Image Does Your Maintenance Facility Portray?

I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in all sorts of maintenance facilities--from the most sophisticated to the one-bay garage where most of the equipment sits outside all year. No matter how big or small a maintenance facility it is a direct reflection of your operation.

What do visitors think when they arrive at your facility? Can they even find your facility; is there signage on the main road to direct them to you? When they arrive, do they find equipment parked all over the place or is it neatly arranged? Is there old equipment scattered all over making your facility look like a salvage operation? Speaking of salvage operations--the price of scrap is at a record high, so why not cash in some old junk that’s been lying around for years? That extra revenue may help offset the cost of a new weed eater or blower.

What do your buildings look like? Are they falling apart with paint peeling, and weeds growing up around them, or are they painted clean and professional looking? I know what you are saying, “I don’t have the time, money or manpower to maintain my facility because of our workload.” My response is that any operation can improve its facility, regardless of the size of the budget. It just takes one person’s determination to portray a more professional image. And sometimes the cost is very minimal. On rainy days, when the staff is standing around waiting for the rain to let up, have everyone pitch in and give the facility a once-over. You would be surprised how fast the entire staff could make a difference in the appearance of a facility.

The Shop And Lunch Room

I group these two rooms together--although they serve two different functions--because sometimes I can’t tell the difference between the two. I know that sounds harsh, but I know many of you reading this article would agree with me.

Let’s start with the shop. If you have a mechanic, are they the person in charge of the shop, including cleanliness and stocking inventory parts? It has always worked well for me to put the mechanic in charge of the workshop area, since they spend most of their time in there. You need to relay your expectations, such as keeping tools clean and storing them in the proper place. Are fluids disposed of properly or recycled? The shop can be a high accident area, so anyone with access should be trained in safety and the proper use of tools. All machinery should have safety shields in place; proper housekeeping of this area is a must to prevent trips, falls and slips.

The lunchroom should be kept clean and sanitary--remember this is where you eat. What would your mother say about the conditions of your lunchroom? Are there dishes and food containers left lying all over with yesterday’s newspapers and old magazines thrown all over the table? Does the inside of the microwave look like a science experiment gone wrong?

Assigning one or two staff members a week to police and maintain order and cleanliness in the lunchroom will be appreciated. Giving staff a clean lunchroom shows them that you care about them and sets an example of what is expected throughout the facility, which is to be clean, orderly and professional.

Take The Challenge

Challenge yourself the next time you drive up to your facility:

· Was the maintenance center/management center easy to locate?

· Did it look inviting or did you feel the only thing missing was the junkyard dog attacking your car?

· Upon entering the building, were you leery to use the facility or afraid to touch anything?

Hopefully this is not the message you or your organization wish to portray to your staff and the public that visits everyday. Maintaining the facility in a neat and clean order will demonstrate to everyone that you are a professional in both the product (athletic fields, golf course or camps) and the management of the facility.

Sean McHugh , CGCS, is chief superintendent of Golf Turf for Cleveland Metroparks. He can be reached via e-mail at spm@clevelandmetroparks.com