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Casino Hits Labor Savings Jackpot with Preventative Maintenance Management

David Showalter, the assistant facilities manager of Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale, Washington, was having technical difficulties. The Silver Reef Casino isowned by the Lummi Nation and is and boasts a 50,000 square-foot gaming area, 105-room hotel, full-service spa, and even dining areas. Showalter is responsible for all the systems required to maintain the property including its kitchen facilities and grounds. Plagued with a haphazard array of spreadsheets, paper notes, and verbal exchanges related to equipment repairs, Showalter was frustrated by the lack of a system for managing, tracking and analyzing repairs over time. An engineer could be dispatched to fix the same problem and not know that the machine was a “frequent flyer” in need of replacement. 
Showalter knew that in order to keep guests happy – and willing to make return visits – facility managers in the hospitality industry must solve an array of challenges that range from maintaining glittering casino lights and complex HVAC systems to staying on top of repairs for simple ice machines, kitchen appliances and outdoor sprinklers. Having an efficient way to track those repairs, whether it involves repeat malfunctions in an air conditioner in a guest room or a commercial mixer in the kitchen, is vital to maintenance operations.
Showalter chose to meet his maintenance challenges with the help of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). He selected a web-based program called Bigfoot CMMS, produced by the Smartware Group, Inc.
Ebbing the Tide of Problems Equals a Wave of Cost Savings
Prior to rolling out the Bigfoot system, Showalter admits that the Silver Reef Casino did not have a preventive maintenance (PM) program in place. “Now we have   notices for everything – from the glass washers at the bar, dishwashers in the kitchen, to the rolling press ironers – they are all in the PM scheduler,” he states. “I don’t have to wait for a dryer belt to stretch or crack before we fix it. If a belt was cracked and split apart it would shut down the machine, period. But because the PM schedule calls for replacing a $10 belt at regular intervals it saves us hundreds of dollars in repair costs.” 
Besides addressing his preventive maintenance needs before problems arise, Showalter says the Bigfoot CMMS also provides valuable information after repairs are made to equipment or other systems. Showalter bemoaned the fact that in the past engineers would fix problems but without written records of the repair, management didn’t know if they were fixing the same problem. It was impossible to see patterns of repeat malfunctions. “Now with Bigfoot, we can keep track of what’s been done,” Showalter says. “We’ve saved a lot of time by not having our technicians go back to do the same repair job multiple times on end.”
Another advantage of a CMMS system is that Showalter can easily find information, such as the model and serial number of a piece of equipment, without having to sort through spreadsheets or repair manuals. Instead, all the information about the equipment – including a PDF from the manufacturer showing all components – can be instantly pulled up when needed.
Maintaining the Guest Experience
By establishing PMs on guest room assets, Showalter’s maintenance team can quickly address customer complaints, from running toilets and dripping faucets to malfunctioning air conditioners.  Bigfoot PMs for industrial equipment prevent costly repairs and disruption of guest services.  A small, preventive repair to the kitchen dishwasher, such as checking the water level floats and spray jets saves on disrupting food service operations as well asthe expense of having an outside contractor driving more than 100 miles from Seattle, or ultimately having to replace the machine for $20,000. A simple PM to check the pool pump in the mechanical pool room could make the difference in shutting down the indoor pool or ultimately having to replace the equipment at a very significant cost.
“Dissatisfied customers who spend tens of thousands of dollars a day in the hotel’s casino can gamble at a competitor site less than an hour away,” Showalter said. “We found a better way to ensure that their stay is rewarding – in more ways than one.”

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