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Welcome to Part 2 of our series on the Top 5 Facilities Management Challenges.

Today we are going to look at the 4th challenge (Remember we are reviewing these in reverse order. To see Challenge #5, visit Top 5 Facilities Management Challenges – Part 1). As a reminder, the research we are quoting from was published by Corrigo, Inc who specializes in work order and time tracking solutions. There article lists the Top 5 Facilities Management challenges based on a survey they conducted of over 1,200 companies.

Challenge #4: Making changes without having enough reliable data

Approximately 30% of survey respondents considered the capturing of reliable data as one of the top two pressing needs in their organizations. This proved to be the case for both larger and smaller companies, although for somewhat different reasons.

Facility managers and directors of the larger firms expressed the need to capture relevant historical data across all facilities and vendor types in order to make strategic decisions and to report out accurately on maintenance and repair spending. According to an individual at one national chain, “We spend millions on facility management a year. I know there’s waste – I just can’t say for sure exactly where it all is.”

Medium sized and smaller firms, while caring about the strategic value of accurate archived data, were typically more interested in the operational value of real time data. “We spend too much time reacting to repair situations that have already gone wrong,” said one individual from a retail company. “The brass ring for me would be being able to see the status of break/fix work as it’s happening – see which contractors are responding fast to work requests, who is waiting on parts to finish a job, etc.”


Capturing and then making use of the information associated with all your service and maintenance work equips you to make informed and effective business decisions.

What Facility Managers are Doing
• Comparing spending trends across their organization to target areas of waste
• Using historical repair data to inform new equipment and warranty purchase decisions
• Monitoring real time progress on important repair work


  1. As a general rule…at least from my experience…most churches do a substandard job of tracking the real costs associated with their facilities. While I have found some churches that have retained full time professional Facilities Managers that have invested in CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) software for the tracking of maintenance issues, repairs, preventive maintenance and historical data retrieval and processing, most do not. However, most churches use a spreadsheet or a legal pad if anything at all. There is no way for us to stay on top of trends or even plan for the future without a deliberate and proactive process for tracking and projecting facilities issues. (I am sorry if that feels like a hand slapping…)
  2. Without this kind of historical data, how can we realistically project future years budgets? Do we just guess? Do we put enough money in the budget for Band-aid issues only and then cross our fingers and hope for the best? We would suggest that a more proactive and forward thinking process be implemented into you budgeting process. However, you can not implement this kind of thinking without clearly knowing the life expectancy of your systems and components or without knowing the real costs (remember Part 1) of maintaining your facilities.
  3. The data that is needed is far more than just historical…it is also real time. How long does it take us to respond to a repair issue? Do we wait for the trustees or deacons to have a monthly meeting to address these issues? How long is the downtime caused by repairs and how do these times impact our ministries? Did we lose an opportunity to impact lives because it took too long to correct a facilities issue? Do we have systems and process in place to reduce the downtime? In church “speak” we do not often consider the “costs” associate with downtime. If we were operating a hotel and the air conditioning went out or we own a retail store and the plumbing floods the building, we could determine the exact cost that every minute, hour and day that downtime would have on our financial bottom line. What about the “eternal” bottom line for our ministries. Is that not even more costly than the monetary loss of a retail store?

CONCLUSION: Historical and real-time data is critical to the understanding of past costs/trends, downtime and projection of costs for our ministry facilities. Develop or buy a system that can track this kind of data, or partner with someone that can do this for you. An Excel spreadsheet will most likely not work unless you have a very small facility. Be proactive and don’t use the SWAG methodology to predict the past, current and future costs required to maintain the resources and tools God has provided.

Stay tuned for Part 3

Does your church meet in a facility (rented or owned)? Do you believe God has entrusted the care and stewarding of those facilities to you (or your church)? Are you proactive and intentional with these efforts? If any of these relate to you, then you need to get your copy of the Intentional Church Series: Facility Stewardship Manual.


Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the President and CEO of Smart Church Solutions and takes great pride in helping churches optimize their facilities. When he’s not at the helm of his company, he’s dedicated to his family, being a husband to Lisa and a father to 27-year-old triplets. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Tim enjoys the simplicity of hiking in the North Carolina mountains.