By Tim Brunner, Associate Director – Power Plant & Utilities
It has been a significant year for change within K-State’s Division of Facilities. The implementation of iPad’s, time clocks, and other additions have challenged us to be flexible and open to new ideas and methods. Change brings growth but sometimes, the growth process can be painful.
Our employees’ opportunity to use iPads was the result of several months’ preparation from our leadership team as well as hours of training. Finally, it was time to sit down, open the app, and attempt to use it to do our job. It was a process! Many of us were tempted to go back to our locker, set the iPad inside, walk back over to the computer, and print out our work orders. However, we learned to trust the system. We made our share of mistakes in the beginning but learned from them, made the corrections, and even made constructive observations that helped to make our experience more positive.
The next thing you know, we are using iPads and finding out they are actually pretty handy. The good news is that we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible yet. Our daily tasks will go even smoother with the addition of scan-able bar codes, easy to complete checklists, and GPS asset tracking to help plan your day in a better order to cut down travel time. Preventative Maintenance work will become the norm along with smaller repair work orders. Radio calls from the Service desk will slow down and emergency calls will reduce significantly over the next few years. If we continue to learn about the tools we use and check our work, our time will be used more efficiently as we find issues while they’re small problems and fix them before they become big emergencies. There are always going to be glitches to solve but this system will help us catch 98% of problems before they cause a breakdown. My challenge to all of us is to keep using our iPads and don’t be afraid to experiment with it so you can get everything out of it you possibly can. When you see something that will benefit your co-workers and/or improve efficiency, bring it up. Let’s all change together.
Time clocks brought a new set of changes. We have been using them for a little over a month now and things are starting to fall into place. It took some getting used to, but overall I see it as a positive. No more paper slips,no more trying to remember if someone called in, and no more delivering paper forms to payroll. I can easily save a couple of hours a month. That’s a good change.
Maintaining the status quo is not an effective way to live or work. We all need to evolve to keep up with expectations that are constantly changing. Whether solving the problem of being short-staffed, adapting to new devices such as iPads and laser alignment tools, or simply learning how to fill out a leave request on the computer, we all benefit from change. It is not always easy and can take some grit and determination but the effort is worth it. When you see change coming, I challenge you to embrace it. Spend your energy thinking of ways to make the change better and/or easier. Most change is going to happen regardless of how we react to it. I recommend we climb aboard and enjoy the ride!