Why You Need Facility Management Software: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our series exploring why using Facility Management Software for your facility is a smart move.

research-complex-systemsLast time we developed some "common language" to establish a baseline for our future discussions.  The terms we defined were:

1. Work Requests

2. Work Order Process (a better term may actually be Work Order Management)

3.  Scheduled Maintenance

4. Capital Improvement Needs

5. Vendor Management

6. Equipment Cataloging and Tracking

7. Inventory Tracking

So...why should your organization consider using some form of Work Order Management software or Facility Management software?  Isn't that just for big organizations with big facilities and big budgets and big staff and big _____ (you fill in the blank)?

If you have followed any of my past blogs, then you know that I have stated over and over that most organizations facilities are complex commercial structures.  Even if your facility is less than 10,000 square feet, it is a commercial structure...and it is complex.

Regardless of the size of your facility, take a minute to answer the following questions:

1. Does your facility have more than one HVAC unit? If so, do you have more than 5 "tons" of cooling/heating capacity?

2. Does your facility have an electrical service that is larger than 400 amps?

3. Do you have paved parking spaces with a curb cut to a city, town, county, state or federal road?

4. Do you have an automatic fire sprinkler system?

5. Do you have a fire alarm system?

6. Do you have exit signs and emergency lights?

7. Do you have ceilings higher than 10 feet with light fixtures in those ceilings?

8. Is any part of your roof over 30 feet tall?

9. Do you have more than one water heater?

10. Is any part of your building made of steel/metal?

If you  answered yes to 2 or more of the above questions, then you likely have a complex commercial structure and with that type of structure comes the need for scheduled maintenance, repairs, work orders, etc. In most cases, these tasks exceed the ability of the typical "residential" handyman.  They need to be completed by skilled professionals in these trades...whether from inside your organization or not.

I can hear you saying...."OK...we agree with you in principle....but so what?".  Good question.

Well, let me start with 2 of the most obvious this week, and then address more next week.

1. BE INTENTIONAL:  There is a quote that most of you have heard...but I believe it is so appropriate for this discussion..."People do not plan to fail, we fail to plan". We do not plan to forget to change the HVAC filters or to clean the coils or to clean the carpet.  However, without a plan, these things become lost in the hustle and bustle of the "urgent" items that tend to dictate our daily activities.  When that happens, the low cost maintenance items evolve into higher cost repair issues if not addressed early.  Having a proactive system that will serve as your "reminder" for these items will not only save you time, but assist you in being intentional with the care and maintenance of your facility...remember, these facilities were entrusted to your care.

2. CENTRAL DATA BASE/REPOSITORY: Do you have a spreadsheet here...a post-it note there...an e-mail requesting work be done...a legal pad full of ideas...your computer calendar withscratch head with arrows dozens of reminders?  Unfortunately, this is more the norm than the exception.  We met with a new client the other day who said "When all 4 of us involved in the care of our facility are together, we then have all the needed data".  So, what happens when only 2 of them are together...do they only have 50% of the needed data and information? We are hearing this line of irrational thinking over and over from organizations with tens, even hundreds, of thousands of SF.  This "plague" of poor planning  is an "equal opportunity" offender.  Having a single source to input and store your facilities data is critical.  You need to have a single secure place to store data, process work orders, track historical data, evaluate work requests and manage vendors....and it needs to be accessible to all the key players and stakeholders.   Without this single repository, you will always be subject to missing critical data when you need it most.

There are a number of other critical issues to discuss...so join me next time...and please join in and provide some insights that may help all of our readers.