By January 22, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Are Your FM Systems Boat Anchors or Wind in Your Sail?

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I continue to talk to senior FM managers who have computerized maintenance management systems such as CAFM or CMMS installed - often installed before they arrived on the job - and they know they aren't being used the way they are supposed to be used, if at all.

Their organizations are sold on the systems and the software consultant or vendor gets it up and running, but that's it. There are a lot of reasons for this fundamental problem:

  • No advance work establishing why they need it, building it into their strategic planning and deciding what they will use the information for.
  • No selling the idea to staff, showing them the benefits, giving them training, building it into their daily schedules and processes in a way that makes it easy and shows benefits.
  • Not change management - changing pre-conceived notions, weeding out those who are roadblocks and promoting change.
  • No recognition and planning for the effort needed to keep it up-to-date with processes, resources or support.
  • No monitoring usage, tweaking procedures, doing quality control on the information.
  • Not using or sharing the information to support and demonstrate that it's useful.
  • Not getting any real value out of their investment.

Information is the most important ingredient to managing facilities and buildings successfully and getting better results. Without it, you are working blind and relying on inaccurate or misleading anecdotal information, sometimes from staff who have been doing the same thing the same way for years or decades.

To be more successful, consider these steps:

  1. Before you implement, decide what your objectives and requirements are before you buy, including what you will do with the informaoitn you get from it, and strategically plan for more than just a software implementation. Don't rely solely on the software consultant/vendor for this stage.
  2. When you implement, make sure it's meeting objectives, put the procedures in place, give your staff training and re-training, educate everyone on it's value to promote support and ensure success.
  3. After you implement, make sure you use the information it gives you, monitor and tweak processes, re-train your staff, conduct quality assurance on the inputs and continue to sell it's value to your organization.

The kinds of systems you should consider for your operation are wide and varied. These provide functionality including Asset Management, Lease Administration, Help Desk services, Preventive Maintenance, Corrective Maintenance and Work Order management, Capital Planning, Financial Management, Chargeback and Project Management. You can even get key control, conference room booking and more, some of which is included in other systems.

They provide services equally applicable to Corporate or other Facility Management or Commercial Property Management. This includes Real Estate Management, Lease and Occupancy Management, Maintenance Management, Asset Management, Financial and Performance Management and Building Systems Management. There are many types and names of systems. These are some common examples of system names and their acronyms. Keep in mind that these are just names - the functionality is most important.

  • Computer Aided Facility Management ( CAFM )
  • Computerized Maintenance Management System ( CMMS )
  • Computer Aided Facility Management ( CAFM )
  • Facility Information Management System ( FIMS )
  • Integrated Facilities Management System ( IFM S)
  • Building Automation Systems / Building Management Systems ( BAS / BMS )
  • Energy Monitoring & Control Systems ( EMCS )
  • Integrated Workplace Management Systems ( IWMS )

There is an impressive array of vendors and software consultants who provide these systems. They include Mainboss, Maximo, SewoodFM, FM System, Archibus, Maintenizer, Maintenance Connections, Megamation, Meridian Systems, Skire, Planon, Bricsnet, Accruent, Manhattan Software, Tririga, Archibus and many more. They range from single dedicated functions to fully integrated systems and from desktop based to server based to Web based access.

The bottom line is that CMMS and CAFM aren't just about the software. They are valuable tools, but you need to put everything in place - often beyond what the software vendor or consultant will do - to make sure the tool is used effectively and puts wind in your sail instead of being a boat anchor.

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