Administrators are constantly looking to streamline operational spending. For facility managers, the easiest way to work toward this goal is to improve inspection, maintenance and reporting processes to be more efficient. The less time and resources spent performing maintenance operations, the fewer dollars will be expended from the operations budget and the more money overall you'll be able to save.
As facilities grow and become more complex, operational efficiency may be more difficult to achieve. One reality facing the facility management industry today is that the tools of the past are no longer adequate, in most cases, to facilitate the level of efficiency needed to keep operations running smoothly. Luckily, there are tools emerging that can help establish a new era of operational efficiency.
Determine your goals
Efficiency doesn't exist in a vacuum - it's a process of finding the shortest and most effective distance to a given goal. That means that in order for you to streamline your operations, you need to have goals set in the first place. While you don't necessarily need to know every detail, having at least a general direction can be a big help. Even things like increasing sustainability by complying with new LEED standards can set you on the right path.
The goals you set for your facility are also important because they determine which benchmarks you'll sight as your guideline. In order to achieve a goal, after all, you need to know what success looks like. Industry benchmarks for things like energy efficiency can be useful tools for determining concrete markers to strive for.
Technology will help
The past several years have seen a huge surge in the development of technology designed to improve operational efficiency. Perhaps the crown jewel of this trend is the CMMS. A CMMS can take a lot of the guesswork out of processes like tracking work orders and equipment life cycle information. As an added bonus, CMMS allows facility managers to track operations costs, as well as provide a base for capital forecasting. The marriage of operational spending and capital planning through the use of one useful tool is a huge boon to the facility management field in terms of boosting efficiency.
Another tool that can be extremely useful throughout all stages of a building's development and operation is a building information system. A BIM takes the idea that benchmarking is one of the more effective ways of predicting, tracking and adjusting performance. Facility managers and administrators can create a model of how their building will operate given its current state of maintenance.
BIM is also useful in that it incorporates facility management into nearly every aspect of a building's operation, from design and construction to maintenance. With increased industry and government focus on sustainability, retrofits are no longer enough to keep facility managers on top of changing regulations. Just like maintenance teams are encouraged to take a proactive approach to building maintenance through preventive means, BIM allows for facility managers to extend that proactive perspective to the very design and construction of the building.
As an added benefit, it can provide important insight into how each specific facet of a facility's infrastructure impacts the outcome of the whole. If, for example, you lay out energy efficiency as your overall goal, BIM can provide detailed information into lighting systems, essential equipment and other facets that may have an impact on energy usage. This better allows for facility managers to make small corrective changes where needed rather than relying on larger-scale operations like upgrades and full retrofits, which can eat into a much-needed capital budget.