Want to Increase the ROI of NaviGate Prepared? Try This One Easy Tweak
Anyone who has used NaviGate Prepared knows how indispensable it is to school safety. The cloud-based safety plans, flip charts, and interactive maps can cut precious minutes off your emergency response time. But did you know there’s a way to expand its use to increase efficiencies in your custodial program? It’s incredibly easy. Keep reading to learn how.
As the business manager for the Pickerington Local School District, I’m always seeking out new, innovative ways to increase our efficiency. I look for opportunities to make our custodial maintenance, food service, transportation, and safety run more smoothly while also decreasing our cost and effort. Often this doesn’t just mean implementing new initiatives or protocols, but maximizing the value of those already in place.
About two years ago, we started to really look into our safety procedures and analyze the time it took staff to access and execute the plans outlined in our safety binders. As anyone who watches the news knows, in emergency situations it’s all about time. So, we reviewed our existing practices and looked for anything that would help us increase our efficiency, because a matter of seconds could mean the difference between tragedy and safety.
The first point of delay we noticed was access—access to the safety binders that outlined the critical measures to take in case of an emergency. The problem wasn’t the information within the binders, but the fact that the binders were stored in specific locations throughout each facility. Emergencies don’t wait until you’re at your desk; they happen in the hallways, on the playground, where this crucial safety information isn’t quickly accessible. Having our safety plans available to all staff anywhere and anytime, especially for substitute teachers or new personnel who may not be familiar with our standard procedures, was a high priority for us.
As a team, we began to look around for technology that would allow us to make updates to our safety protocols as quickly as possible, submit information to the state for compliance, and be accessible from anywhere. Through our research we came across NaviGate Prepared, and after reviewing their capabilities and cost, decided NaviGate Prepared was a good fit for our district.
Implementation was seamless, and once we had our safety binders virtualized so they could be accessed from smartphones and tablets, we started to think about ways we could use the software to increase efficiencies in other areas. Our goal was to figure out a way for principals to determine the cleaning square footage for custodians, but traditional software like AutoCAD was just too complicated for our needs. Then we remembered the mapping tool in NaviGate Prepared. While the original purpose of the interactive maps and floor plans function was to give staff and first responders the precise location of evacuation sites, fire exits, and staging areas through 360-degree interactive floor plans and color coded key areas and rooms, it also gave us a terrific method to accomplish our new initiative.
The cleaning square footage—office space, kitchen, etc.—and the type of cleaning that needs to be done all goes into determining our custodial KPIs. We wanted to be able to analyze and adjust these as well as assign staff to be responsible for specific areas in order to maximize their efficiency. And these factors change based on shift. For example, the square footage is always smaller for the first shift because they’re addressing issues while kids are in the building, whereas the second crew can handle larger areas because there’s less impediment to their work since the school is empty.
Being that the maps of each facility were already in the software, it was actually very easy to repurpose the existing function to meet our needs. These layouts can be color coded based on square footage and then easily clicked and dragged to define each area according to our own parameters (i.e. percentages of each custodial staff’s duties based on area and cleaning needs). This new use case felt like a natural extension of the program, and to be honest, was easier than we could have imagined.
Now, when we have a sub come in, even if they have no previous knowledge of the building, they can get acquainted and know their assigned area and duties within seconds by merely pulling out their phone and reviewing the sub checklist. Plus, principals have clear visibility into what work has been done and what is left to do, and they can shift personnel as needed.
We are continuing to explore new ways to maximize our return on investment with NaviGate Prepared, like using the software to digitize our safety checklist. This means door checks, safety shutoff maintenance, and playground safety reviews are done on time and can be reviewed by principals at any time from any device.
In addition, our plans for the future include uploading safety videos to NaviGate Prepared so they are housed in one central location and easily viewed by every staff member. We also want to extend the mapping function to provide aerial views of our grounds for landscaping and maintenance purposes. As we define our KPIs further, we’re discovering new ways to harness NaviGate Prepared to increase our efficiency in all areas of the school district—and all without having to add additional cost or software. By configuring our existing tools to meet more needs, the more equipped we are to provide the best environment for the children of Pickerington Local School District, and at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about.