News: Turning less into more
Story by Pfc. Garrett White
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - In a time where sequestration is cutting the government’s budget, military units need to find ways to cut expenses while still accomplishing the mission with the same level of quality and precision.
The facilities maintenance department on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., is working to accomplish both of these things at the same time, said Peter Barela, facilities manager here.
Facilities maintenance, under the public works division, is responsible for minor maintenance, repairs, and upkeep for MCLB Barstow, explained Barela.
Typically facilities maintenance handles work orders that take between 16 – 20 hours to complete. They have several programs and contracts in place to help reduce operational costs and energy consumption while providing the same level of service to the base.
One way they reduce cost is through preventative maintenance, explained Barela. If wearing parts can be replaced before a serious breakdown occurs, it will save on the time that piece of equipment is out of service, which can affect productivity.
“Right there that cuts the costs of every day breakdowns, (which lowers) work loss,” he continued. “Time is money, so the less time lost from broken equipment means more money saved.”
There are also contracts and programs in place to have replacement parts and supplies on hand, Barela added. When something breaks or needs replacing, there is less time that piece of equipment is inoperable.
Another way facilities maintenance is improving its efficiency, is in the way it handles work orders with the use of USMC Maximo, said Stephen Cichoski, MCLB Barstow Yermo annex maintenance supervisor.
USMC Maximo is a computer based information sorting system, where the customer can easily submit a work order ticket, said Cichoski. Maximo then organizes the work orders for facilities maintenance to look through and prioritize them. This allows facilities maintenance to resolve work orders quickly and efficiently, saving the base time and money.
Recently facilities maintenance contracted a resource efficiency manager (REM), said Anthony Mesa, energy manager with facilities maintenance. The REM can go into a building and can come up with a project for the whole building and see what can be done to save energy.
This can range from using different light bulbs, water heaters, air conditioning units, or even implementing the use of solar panels, Mesa explained. As long as he can ensure the change will reduce energy costs, a plan can be made to implement the change.
Sometimes savings can occur by accident, said Cichoski. As technology improves, so can its energy efficiency. For example, when changing out AC units on base, the newer units are simply more efficient than the old ones. It’s hard not to take advantage of new hardware.
The bottom line is that facilities maintenance’s goal is to reduce spending costs, while providing the same or better service to MCLB Barstow, said Barela.