DUNEDIN, FLA.—Leveraging the power of the Internet, sophisticated handheld technology and its own innovative software, Mintek Mobile Data Solutions is helping to change the way some of the world’s leading hotel companies manage their assets. At the core of the Dunedin, Fla.-based company’s solutions is its Lodging Asset Management Suite—WinTrack PM, Maintenance Portal, Asset Director, Work Order Kiosk and Alerts.
“Increasingly, hotel and management companies are recognizing the potential savings possible through implementation of a comprehensive, automated asset management plan,” says Mark Sokol, director of product marketing for Mintek. “Some of the most important benefits include extended asset life, more efficient facility maintenance and labor operations, improved access to valuable asset information and reports, and increased guest satisfaction.”
Mintek’s asset management systems currently are in use in almost 300 hotels throughout North America, including properties represented by Marriott International Inc.; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Dolce International Hotel, Resort & Conference Destinations; and many others. Mintek just finalized an agreement with Loews Hotels that will result in its automated preventive maintenance (PM) system—WinTrack PM—being implemented in 18 of the New York-based company’s properties in the United States and Canada.
Easy-to-Use, Bar Code-Based System
The cornerstone of Mintek’s suite of solutions is WinTrack PM. It incorporates easy-to-use handheld devices and bar coding. When engineers scan bar codes on pieces of equipment or other items, it prompts them to answer previously determined questions. After the PMs have been completed, the bar codes are scanned again. Each step is recorded within WinTrack PM.
Engineers use WinTrack PM for rounds, PMs and inspections. It adds accountability to the PM process because managers know exactly when an engineer was at a piece of equipment, what was recorded, and how long the engineer was there. WinTrack PM automates PM scheduling and streamlines the work order process. Work orders can be generated automatically through the handheld based on answers provided by engineers. WinTrack PM adds additional efficiencies by tracking parts and warranty information for each item needing checked, as well as the costs associated with parts and equipment replacement.
“Knowing the amount of labor and money put into an existing piece of equipment is significant,” Sokol says. “It gives a hotel or management company the ammunition it needs to recommend a specific capital investment.”
Mintek’s Web-based Maintenance Portal works in tandem with WinTrack PM and gives chief engineers and other upper level managers the ability to monitor each hotel’s PM progress anytime, anywhere. Specifically, the Portal enables a manager to produce reports that show outstanding work orders, completed and uncompleted rounds, and how long tasks took to accomplish. The system ensures standardized maintenance procedures are accomplished across multiple properties.
One of the many hotels using WinTrack PM is a 384-room property in Calgary, Alberta. Engineers use it to monitor all essential equipment, safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire alarm systems, as well as emergency generators. In guestrooms, the system is used to track HVAC filter PMs.
“The potential for its use is quite extensive,” says Ed Walker, chief engineer at the hotel. “Wherever there is a schedule involved, it is ideal. The end result is a higher level of guest satisfaction.”
Walker says reports generated out of WinTrack PM have helped his staff identify recurring issues throughout the hotel.
“Pumps, motors and fans all get more attention now,” he says. “With WinTrack PM, maintenance is scheduled properly and not missed. The number of major system failures has been reduced. Any mechanical system running properly is also going to use less energy. Where there is reduced friction between parts, reduced leakage of steam, and clean filters, there is definitely going to be energy savings.”
Lorne Toews, lead engineer at the Calgary property, says Mintek’s system has hammered home the importance of doing PMs.
“It is extremely important,” he says. “Preventive maintenance is the backbone of your asset protection. Without PM, you are in a reactive mode and the longevity of your assets is in jeopardy. There will be equipment downtime, and guests and staff will be inconvenienced. PM is absolutely critical to the operation.”
Asset Information Centralized
Asset Director is a flexible Web-based management system that provides the ability to track thousands of assets at multiple properties by centralizing access to asset, warranty and contract information. The ASP application improves and centralizes capital expenditure (CAPEX) planning. Being able to purchase in bulk for multiple properties saves time and money. Asset Director also reduces costs associated with the gathering of CAPEX information, enhances short- and long-term strategic planning, and reduces labor costs.
“Asset Director makes it easier for an asset manager at a hotel or management company to track any asset from purchase to its retirement,” Sokol says. “What is unique about it is that it can track items such as furniture, equipment, beds or any other item throughout a system of hundreds of hotels. It speeds up the internal audit process.”
Companies typically track assets at the property level in spreadsheets and several individuals consolidate this information for use at the corporate level—a tedious, time-intensive task. Using Asset Director, data can be entered or uploaded from spreadsheets into the easy-to-access system and be made immediately available for corporate use. One of the world’s leading management companies is in the process of implementing Asset Director in more than 200 of its full-service hotels.
“Asset Director is a robust tool that provides a competitive edge for management companies pursuing additional business,” Sokol says.
Application Streamlines Work Order Process
Work Order Kiosk, an ASP application, enables anyone outside of the engineering department of a hotel—housekeeping, general managers, f&b staff and others—to submit work orders via a browser-based system. The status of each work order—whether “Open,” “Assigned,” or “Closed,”—is visible along with the name of the engineer assigned to perform the task.
Staff at a 575-room hotel in Tucson, Ariz., began using Work Order Kiosk last fall. Tony Del Rios, director of engineering at the property, says there previously was no standard work order process in place. That made it difficult to track whether or not a work order was assigned or completed.
“After the work order is submitted, the system automatically e-mails the designated supervisor,” Del Rios says. “Supervisors check the Kiosk multiple times a day. When a work order is ready to be assigned, it is printed out and given to an engineer.”
In the Kiosk, supervisors note whether a task is in progress, if there are parts on order, or if the work order has been completed.
“Once a work order is noted as being completed in the Kiosk, the system automatically e-mails the originator of the work order to let that person know it has been closed,” Del Rios says.
Del Rios adds that his staff quickly realized the benefits of Work Order Kiosk.