I’m constantly surprised when I talk to FM professionals who haven’t implemented an FM system to manage their responsibilities, whether it's CMMS, CAFM, IWMS or other systems for managing processes, space or maintenance.
Having started my career over 20 years ago at a company who had an FM system back then, to not have an FM system today given the flexibility, availability, benefits and relatively low-cost of many web based systems is surprising. It's an essential tool for effectively managing facilities.
For Facility Management, an FM system helps you manage your business because it forces you to have a process for doing very important key activities such as preventive maintenance and responding to work requests and emergencies or tracking and managing office moves and related furniture and other assets, for instance. It also provides documentation about systems, staff and supplier performance that helps you develop your capital management programs, manage space, assess resources and reduce your risks.
Information is critical to managing effectively. If you don't have it, you can't make decisions or get results. Relying on paper and people's memories is simply not acceptable these days. Whatever your organization does, it's likely that other departments and even your company's core functions use computerized systems to do their jobs.
If you haven't been able to develop the business case then here are a few reasons why you should:
Good service and effective use of resources requires consistency in how you deal with your requirements in an increasingly chaotic environment. A system enables you to develop structure around service delivery that enforces consistency so you respond the same way to the same requirements all the time. When your employees and your subcontractors are consistent, it contributes to successful results and higher satisfaction by the occupants.
Imaging being able to tap into your computer and at a glance understand where you are with your preventive maintenance, look at the activities undertaken by your staff, review occupant work requests, see status and volume for office moves and more. If you can see what is happening, you are in a better position to manage your resources, both in-house and external, as well as manage the issues better.
If you don't have a work order / request system, you don't have a good handle on how much time and energy staff and/or contractors are spending on the request received by the occupants. You also can't accurately track which departments and individuals are consuming the most amount of time and resources or how much work you're doing in a given area or function. As a result, you can't effectively assess services or change the way you deliver services to be more efficient and deal with issues or moderate requirements that will reduce costs for your company as a whole.
In this day and age with regulatory & legislative compliance and the increasing liability of managing facilities, not having a system that documents compliance and enables you to retrieve evidence that demonstrates your compliance means that you are putting your organization and yourself at risk. Regulatory authorities do not accept excuses and usually go after both the company and the individuals responsible.
Whether you manage an office or a factory producing something 24 hours a day, your company needs their environments to be reliable. A CMMS system helps ensure reliability by allowing you to schedule and then track completion of preventive maintenance routines that are required to maintain reliability. With an effective system, your technicians or service contractors can also provide feedback that you can review and use to make changes that improve results and save money. Without a feedback loop and without information and the consistent process, you won't be able to make those kinds of decisions and therefore you are putting reliability at risk and possibly spending money you don't need to spend.
The space your organization occupies is a large part of their total annual costs so managing it to make the best of it without having to acquire more space is one of the best uses of your efforts. With a CAFM system, you can see usage and vacancies, calculate efficiency and effectively develop relocation plans and implement moves to save time and money. If necessary, you can use it to charge back costs or at least identify costs to the users and develop business cases for changes to space standards, for instance. It's harder to do without a system and you will probably miss the easy savings and efficiency improvements.
Total cost of ownership
The maintenance you do is only one part of the total cost of operating and maintaining a facility. The other part is repair based on failure and occupant requirements and capital renewal based on planning both of those things all three of those things come together into the total cost of ownership. Balancing them in getting the right amount of maintenance and the right amount of repair including renewal help you reduce the total cost over the long term. If you don't know how much money you're spending on maintaining and performing emergency repairs on your large pieces of equipment, you don't have the information you need to make informed decisions about replacements and renewal capital they can reduce your overall cost of ownership. Without information, you cannot effectively balance these and are likely wasting money as a result.
The Bottom Line
As a professional facility manager it's your job to convince your organization that this is the tool you require to do a professional job and support the core business of the organization. Use these points as part of your business case and do your research to find an effective solution that fits your business requirements, organization size and your expectations.
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