As a facility manager, you use a huge variety of tools and systems every day. From hands-on equipment used to perform actual repairs to the servers and data systems that are essential to your building's operation, managing a facility is a process of applying the right tools at the correct time to achieve the best results.
But there's one tool that is particularly crucial for your building's success - your reporting system. Data collection, management and storage is rapidly becoming an integral part of the facility management industry as cloud computing and Web-based applications take off. Here's why you should consider giving your facility's reporting an overhaul.
The top-level goal of any facility manager is to maximize his or her building's output, however that is measured, while simultaneously minimizing operating and capital costs. This delicate efficiency dance benefits greatly from a CMMS that emphasizes real-time reporting and offers data visualization.
For example, if you want a picture of how efficient your maintenance practices are, you can measure your completed work orders against the total number of work orders filed. Even this simple data can reveal how effective your maintenance operations are, and how quickly these repairs are being carried out - invaluable data for identifying potential operational weaknesses and fixing them before they affect your bottom line.
Making your case
Ultimately, facility managers depend on building administrators and finance departments to determine things like operations budgets or future capital expenditures. This means that every facility manager should become an expert at extracting useful operations data and using it to demonstrate efficiency.
It's crucial for facility managers to understand not just the hands-on aspects of operation, but also the financial underpinning. Using robust data collection and CMMS, it's possible to demonstrate your facility's return on investment, return on assets and return on equity - all of which are affected by how you run your building. These are abstract figures you can use to paint a very real picture of how your efforts are helping your facility operate more efficiently. For example, if you can demonstrate the amount of money a lighting retrofit would save over the course of a year, you can make a good case for funding for such an operation based on the ROI demonstrated by your data.
Balance the books
Every facility manager works with a variety of budgets, but even so, many factors can affect spending on a monthly basis. Fortunately, collecting data pertaining to cost and amount of repairs can help you identify patterns and potential areas of improvement.
For example, if your HVAC system breaks down in August, it will obviously take a significant spend to repair or replace it. Collecting data month-over-month can help you identify if this is an anomalous occurrence or if it's indicative of a certain pattern that could potentially be addressed through more proactive preventive means.
Plan for the future
Nothing lasts forever, including building infrastructure. You can greatly improve the efficacy of your capital planning through collecting data on equipment life cycle, repair schedules, and industry standards and benchmarks. All of these factors can influence when you'll need to have money saved up for a major retrofit or replacement so you can start planning early and keep to a schedule.
The best part about CMMS and cloud-based data collection is the ability to update such information in real time or even on the go. The easy accessibility of work order information, accessible to anyone with an Internet-connected device, offers additional peace of mind so you know when you're adjusting your budget the figures you're seeing are the most recent and accurate.