The start of a new year is always a good time to take stock and reflect on whether we are ready for the challenges ahead.
This applies to a business equally as it does to individuals, and despite the ingrained rounds of planning due to budgetary processes and financial year-ends, January is still a good time to reassure ourselves that we are in the best possible shape to have a successful year.
At a high level, the top concerns for facilities management organisations this year are likely to include:
- Recruiting and retaining the right people to resource contracts
- Ensuring contracts are keen to renew
- Keeping costs within budget
Unless you are particularly keen on the subject, or are specifically tasked with it, it’s not likely that you’ll be asking yourself “Do I have the right systems and technology to run my operations this year?”
This is a generalisation, and of course, many FM companies place a high value on their systems, but the fact remains that other concerns are likely to crowd out the head-space that would otherwise be applied to system planning.
Despite everything else that may be pulling on your time and attention, why not spend half an hour having a think about where and how technology could and should be applied to your operations?
There are some systems which no modern-day organisation can run effectively without such as finance, HR / payroll or CRM processes, so I’ll assume these are already in place within your organisation. If these systems are not supporting your operations then your life is probably more difficult than it needs to be, and your operations are undoubtedly being impacted. However, they are cumbersome and complex to change or replace (in terms of the wide range of stakeholders affected), so let’s leave these systems for someone else to worry about!
This is where you can really make a difference to your organisation now and in the year ahead.
Undoubtedly, your organisation will have a CAFM system, and the likelihood is, it is the backbone of your operations. Given how established this system is, developments in this area may turn to enhancement and improvement. Ask yourself:
- Are you using all the relevant functionality to effectively manage your assets and services?
- Are your people fully bought-in to the need for compliance with the system, giving you data that supports not only this system, but decision-making throughout your whole operations?
- Is it time to upgrade or refresh?
Less common in FM is a scheduling solution. This will take the work orders generated by your CAFM system (or equivalent) and match them up to your available resources. Meaning you can have both a forward view of your capacity, and a real-time view of your work in progress. Is your current scheduling process providing you with the ability to plan ahead and effectively distribute resource?
If your organisation manages people on a large scale, and needs to provide cover on different contracts at different times, then you may well benefit from a rostering solution. This will allow you to look at changes in shifts and coverage to ensure you are always staffed at the right levels to match your demand. A rostering system can be vital to a large organisation’s customer satisfaction and employee work / life balance.
You’d think it would be a given in this day and age, but it’s surprising how many FM organisations are not really utilising mobile technology to its full effect. Of course, your employees are likely to be using smart-phones or other mobile devices to complete some aspects of their work, but are you truly taking advantage of the power that this provides? Do your employees:
- Make leave requests on the go?
- Feed asset data back into your master system from the field?
- Print out service reports for customers on site?
If not, it’s time to start using mobile technology to its full potential. Simply the power to know where your people are when they are lone-working or operating in unsociable hours could be invaluable. This could be the year to really think about how much of your work can be done while mobile, in the field or on a customer site.
In a future blog we'll consider some of the wider technologies that might not yet be on your radar but really should be!