Facility Managers — the men and women behind the curtain keeping it all together — are the unsung heroes of the company. Most employees are unaware of the amount of ‘fire-fighting’ the Facility Manager does on any given day — but if they did, they’d certainly compare it to last summer’s end-of-the-world blockbuster. The truth is, ‘Facility Manager’ is a rather broad term for a role that blankets a vast portion of behind-the-scenes business within a company.
With an assortment of facility management and maintenance software choices, it’s easy to forgo the time investment of proper research, blindly pick a platform and MacGyver the solution to try and meet your needs. While it is possible for facilities teams to manually manage processes, requests and outages — the amount of time involved to do so, the difficulty of keeping important data together and the risk of items falling through the cracks aren’t worth it. To phrase it simply: now is the time to implement or upgrade your facility management and maintenance software.
Below are the top five facility management software features to look for when shopping for an FM solution:
If you’re managing your maintenance schedules with Google Calendars, paper printouts — or even worse, post-its — you may be in for a world of hurt in the near future. These methods of scheduling may work for individuals in certain fields, but facility management is not one.
Platforms on the market today offer varying degrees of customization and allow for advanced scheduling and tracking across multiple locations. Additionally, with a quality FM solution, you’ll gain the ability to collaborate with the team or client — to set up, perform and verify specified tasks within the contract or preventative maintenance plan.
Managing work orders, pending requests and preventative maintenance schedules can be a pain. Facility Managers are constantly fighting an uphill battle, in an area of the business that never sleeps. What’s more, with the cost of paper and printer supplies on the rise, using outdated print-out technology costs the company and the environment over the course of the year.
With the implementation of a facility management software application, Facility Managers will see drastic improvement in the time it takes to create, assign, perform and bill open work orders. Some tools on the market feature a hyperlink on your website where customers or employees can note a hazard, or request work to be performed. Additionally, tools that automate this process, reduce paper and speed up the entire workflow allow for quicker and more streamlined billing.
In addition to managing schedules, maintenance and work orders, teams must also manage the inventory of chemicals, products and equipment. To properly clean, sanitize and upkeep spaces, it takes an assortment of tools and machinery that are often expensive to purchase and maintain.
Programs now offer the capability to assign identification numbers, barcodes and even scannable QR codes to pieces of equipment. The benefits far outweigh the cons of initial setup, as this automated and digital tracking procedure can aide in routine maintenance, protect against theft and hold the user liable when checking the equipment out for usage.
We’re a breed on the go. Our iPhones and Androids have become extensions of our personal lives — why not use that device for more than sports highlights and selfies? To keep a facility running, it takes laser precision, and with mobile applications your team stays in the loop with all eyes on the common goal.
Mobile access allows for work order and purchase order creation from virtually anywhere in the world. Additionally, applications offer a way for managers to stay connected to their staff, review and approve various forms and seek out real-time updates on a job.
While some may not initially see the value in reporting, the practice is extremely beneficial, if not crucial, when working on scaling your business. Effective reporting can shed light on areas of the job that need extra attention or revision, such as bidding, billing and scheduling. With customizable reports, there’s an optimal vantage point of which areas within the company or department need to be addressed.
To learn more about the top facility management solutions, stay tuned for Part II of the Facility Management Mashup — tomorrow!
[Photo courtesy of flickr user Ghenady.]