Commercial buildings are a requirement for organizations to provide a safe environment for their employees and consumers. Facilities management must be sustainable through energy conservation, waste management, planned maintenance, and more.
Still, many business owners fail to understand that sustainable success and growth cannot be achieved without effectively planning facility management.
What is facility management?
Facility management is a professional discipline that involves efficient and sustainable delivery of services and facility improvements to ensure uninterrupted productivity.
Here are the top tips for driving long-term facility management success that we have learned after interviewing 20+ experienced facility managers.
Six ways to improve facility management operations
1. Automate facility management activities by using facility management software
How can you streamline facility management and reduce operational costs? It's a common question asked to facility managers. The solution is data that can be used to analyze and forecast various facility management processes.
An investment in an integrated workplace management software system that can automate facility management activities can help you create a well-orchestrated workplace in your facilities. These systems offer numerous features and resources that facility managers can use to get deeper insights. This data can help them make decisions that can drive beneficial changes.
When you can automate most facility management services such as vendor management, in-house service tracking, availability to track work orders, automatically invoice vendors, and advance notify workers about upcoming maintenance of service requirements, you can manage facility service much more efficiently. A software system does much more than one person can ever do - streamline facilities management services.
2. Implement a preventive maintenance plan to make it easier to forecast when a repair is required
Facility managers must be able to operate services at optimum efficiency. For this, assets must be managed carefully with a preventive maintenance plan. Experienced facility managers understand how with preventative maintenance, the life of the assets can be extended, infrastructure can be maintained, and downtime can be reduced to a bare minimum.
Key performance indicators or KPI analytics data can help you make data-driven decisions for constructing a preventive maintenance plan.
Some facility managers find maintaining and tracking necessary performance indicators for preventive maintenance plans overwhelming.
It often happens when there is no software maintenance to help you collect and analyze data. Again, the importance of an integrated facility management software system is highlighted here. When you can manage and track as much information about equipment within the facility, you can forecast preventive maintenance better.
Facility management software records all important equipment details such as manufacturer, serial number, emergency repairs, warranty information, and recommended checkups. It is beneficial because you are no longer susceptible to reactive maintenance as you proactively fix faulty equipment or wear and tear before it halts operations at facilities.
3. Centralize all the facility management operations
Decentralization can be a significant hurdle in facility management. When facility managers do not have access to all the information regarding the operation process, there are more likely to make mistakes. This is why centralizing all the facility management operations using the software is how you can improve facility management.
There are several benefits of centralized federal facility management operations. You get real-time data on repair and maintenance management, easily track parts and supplies, inform settlement and payment processing, perform asset management more efficiently, and provide faster support to contractors, vendors, and customers.
You can open a new frontier for futuristic facility management services by correctly leveraging the facility management software. Digitalization of businesses is mandatory today. If you want to stay relevant and beat the competition, you have to initiate data-driven decisions. Centralization of the facility management operation is how you can achieve that.
4. Engage with their employees across all departments and know about the issues
To improve facility management operations, facility managers must collaborate with other stakeholders. Engaging employees from technical teams, janitorial crews, packers and movers, waste haulers, and others will help you manage operations and eliminate miscommunication.
Building relationships with these key stakeholders and encouraging feedback can help reduce facilities' environmental footprints, increase recycling rates, and ensure operations run smoothly.
When facility managers can encourage and engage with employees across several departments, they create a sustainable and positive environment. Employees feel encouraged to take accountability for their roles and perform at their best.
5. Upgrade your equipment
A core responsibility of facility managers is to ensure that building assets and equipment remain updated at all times. You must keep an eye on the newest technologies that can help optimize facility management operations and cut costs. For example, for most facility buildings, upgrading HVAC systems, installing solar panels, replacing old lighting with LED, and replacing or repairing old equipment will boost efficiency and sustainability.
Potential cost reduction can be accessed by upgrading HVAC systems as you can provide ventilation on demand, saving heat and electricity. Automatic adjustment of ventilation within the facility building is also eco-friendly. Lighting, ventilation and air conditioning should be optimized automatically based on the occupancy of the facility buildings.
6. Track employee attendance properly
Facility managers cannot be at all places at all times, making it extremely difficult to manage the facility's workforce without automated software. Another way to improve facility management operations is to adopt employee attendance tracking software to ensure workers are performing tasks allotted to them at the designated location within the facility.
Truein is a hardwareless time and attendance management system based on cloud infrastructure. Facility managers can use Truein to track employee locations using geofencing and GPS targeting. For facility workers, the app offers the option to record attendance using their smartphones. This software uses face recognition technology to identify employees.
As a facilities manager, you will come across opportunities and face new challenges, but with appropriate tools, you can streamline the operations. We hope these tips on improvement of facility management operations will help you improve overall sustainability and cut operational costs.
Facility managers are essential employees for any business that operates in a physical location. These professionals are responsible for maintaining equipment, developing skilled staff, optimizing operations, and facilitating business growth.
According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), a qualified facility manager must be able to successfully optimize facility management operations and "ensure functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology."
If you are planning a career as a facility manager, then there are some essential skills that you should focus on. In this article, we describe crucial facility manager skills that are essential for a successful career.
Six essential facility manager skills
Not just facility managers but any leadership role requires good communication skills. Whether written or oral, facility managers should be able to present ideas or communicate any other information in an engaging and motivating way. Facility managers often look after the workforce within the facility and must communicate with vendors, suppliers, and customers.
This is why one of the critical skills for facilities managers is to communicate effectively. As a facility manager, you will delegate responsibilities, guide employees, explain ideas, suggest changes, and support customers. All these responsibilities require you to communicate transparently with stakeholders.
2. Team management
Leading staff members is one of the primary facility manager skills and responsibilities. Any facility will have several workers across different departments, such as maintenance, cleaning crews, security teams, and logistic. Facilities managers must be able to manage and navigate individual employees at all levels.
They must also be able to design weekly schedules, delegate jobs, and tasks, and make them perform as a team. You will often be confronted with situations where you must promote unity, resolve conflicts, and mediate issues between staff members. Without proper team management skills, you cannot deliver efficiently on these requirements.
3. Create and manage the facility management budget
Facility management operation is greatly dependent on numbers. Essentially it involves inventory management, the number of hours workers work, operational cost, and budget forecasting. The basic foundation in financial math is another skill required from a facility manager.
A responsible facilities manager must be able to create monthly, quarterly, and annual budgets. Operating a facility is an expensive affair. There are a lot of machines, extensive electrical systems, and equipment. Facility managers must be aware of the lifespan of appliances and equipment to create an achievable budget for maintenance or replacement.
Budgeting is not only for forecasting, but it is also crucial for guiding appropriate staffing decisions that affect the overall facility management. As a facility manager, you must purchase software and other automation systems that meet the standards set by superiors.
As one of your core responsibilities, you will complete budgetary assessments, create financial reports, and submit the facility management budget forecast to the management for review.
4. Time management and scheduling shifts for employees
Facilities managers are solely responsible for maintaining a functional unit. It is their responsibility to manage projects and lead multiple teams. This is why time management is one of the critical facility manager skills needed to ensure that projects are completed on time and the workforce is appropriately trained.
To ensure smooth functioning, facility managers must maintain records of the infrastructure, facility management operations, machines, and maintenance. Additionally, as part of staff management, they have to work on schedules and create staff shifts according to workload.
Most facilities use software like Truein, a total employee time and attendance management system for time management and shift scheduling. An AI-based face recognition attendance system, Truein offers real-time employee monitoring with geofencing and GPS.
Facility managers can use this software to track employees and ensure they are at their designated location within the facility. As facilities managers are also tasked with reviewing and assessing each worker's performance and progress, they can use Truein to calculate overtime, absenteeism, leaves, and other employee attendance and scheduling reports.
5. Project management
Project management falls within the scope of facility manager skills and responsibilities. Facility managers must follow the functional organizational structure to deliver on the project quality as the senior executives define. With project-based organizational structures, teams are given a degree of autonomy to manage projects as they see fit.
Therefore, facility managers should have project management skills to deliver revenue and budget goals. If you are a proficient project manager, you can quickly move up the career ladder as the project requirements become more complex.
6. Technology skills
By the nature of work, facility managers face dozens of daily challenges. Many of these challenges demand creative technological solutions. Fortunately, with the influx of so many new technical solutions, it is possible to automate many aspects of facility management operations.
Counted among critical skills for facility managers, technological creativity is essential to build an innovative workplace. If you are not technologically proficient as a facility manager, you risk falling behind on many important tools.
According to industry observers, facilities managers should focus on three critical aspects of technology to be successful.
They must keep an open mind about new opportunities becoming possible due to technological advancements in service management, delivery, and reporting.
Facilities management is a people business, so technology making it easier to manage people should be integrated into this service. For example, cloud-based technologies offer greater flexibility in managing the workforce due to their decentralized architecture.
The facility manager should find a solution that keeps people and assets safe. Some technologies include IoT sensors that can detect faulty equipment, employee tracking software, and logistics management software.
If you have these crucial facility manager skills, then you are ready to take up the challenge. However, if you think you need to improve your skills further, here are some tips.
Three tips to improve your skills as a facility manager
1. Talk to your staff and know their problems
Facilities managers should constantly communicate with their staff to know their needs and requirements. When you build a relationship with your staff, you can create a respectful work environment.
You can use anonymous forms and other feedback tools to encourage employees to share their feelings regarding the work environment, duties, and culture. You are responsible for taking honest feedback and using the information to design work policies that provide satisfaction to workers.
2. Provide goals and feedback to employees
Employee training and encouragement are required to motivate the workforce. You must provide each worker with appropriate assignments and achievable goals to help them improve in their role. As a facility manager, you must be aware of the skill sets of your workers so you can task them with duties managing their skills.
Sharing honest feedback is also your responsibility once employees have submitted their work. Provide constructive feedback on the areas of improvement, and don't forget to complement quality work. Goals and feedback are essential for workers as they take them as an indicator to develop skills and perform their duty better.
3. Track productivity and check employees are working properly
You won't be able to ensure optimal functioning and operations of the facilities until you track your employees' productivity. Evaluating productivity is how you can track each employee and help them improve their skills. Facility managers can sometimes have to guide huge teams.
To keep track of the productivity of such enormous groups, you need software like Truein. Such tools can help you closely monitor the performance and productivity of employees, helping facility managers identify the staff's training needs.
While a facility manager must have all the required leadership and managerial skills, the above-mentioned ones are crucial. Expertise in these skills can improve your job, separating you from average facility managers. We hope this guide will help you keep your skills shaft in an era where the role of facility managers is changing beyond on-site responsibilities.
1. The increased cost of unplanned periodic expenses on maintenancePoor facility management can escalate the need for unplanned periodic maintenance, a considerable cost to the operating budget. Often the facility management cost does not factor in the building maintenance as it is prepared during the construction phase. It leaves facilities susceptible to frequent damage. Weather, wear and tear, excessive use, etc., affect the infrastructure within a facility, and the inability to routinely conduct checkups for any maintenance requirements can result in faults enforcing unplanned maintenance. It directly translates into increased operating costs. The fix Businesses must hire professional facility managers aware of the building maintenance requirements. Such managers have the technical know-how to deploy measures that facilitate the smooth functioning of operations within the facility by keeping a check on buildings and other utilities. It is essential to hire professional facility managers as they can perform tests on the efficiency and durability of the building equipment to ensure productivity or operations are never stalled.
2. Multitasking and coordinating teamsCommunication is essential to ensure facilities run smoothly. Still, one of the most commonly reported facilities management issues is that multitasking and coordinating teams are hectic and unmanageable. Such issues are common at facilities where teams still rely on manual methods to report failures and document other operational tasks. The fix It is relatively more straightforward to fix this facility management problem. For the constant flow of communication to streamline the organization, innovation, knowledge sharing, and productivity, you need to choose a centralized cloud-based facility management software. Such tools allow you to automate failure reporting and inventory management and generate automatized reports. It makes facility management incredibly simpler. Most facility managers are overwhelmed with handling all the tasks, so you need facility management software to allow them to be at the top of things. One example to facilitate multitasking and team coordination is implementing digital calendars to let workers and managers know their maintenance responsibilities and plan the workload accordingly.
3. Poor time management due to lack of real-time dataFacility management is highly dynamic, and managers have to micromanage several daily processes, like coordinating teams, attending urgent communications, participating in meetings, consulting vendors, supporting customers, and much more. In most scenarios, these processes require managing workers within the facility. In the absence of real-time data, many facilities management issues arise. You cannot immediately decide on tasks when you don't know where an employee is or how the shift is scheduled. You cannot plan or prioritize tasks. The fix For better facility management use of automated employee tracking software is beneficial. Truein is a software that offers employee attendance and tracking options backed with geofencing and GPS targeting. It provides complete workforce attendance and shift management. Facility managers can ensure that employees are at the destined location during shifts. It also generates auto reports regarding overtime, absenteeism, leaves, and shift schedule efficiency, improving facility management services.
4. Maintenance of old equipment and facilitiesWear and tear of the facility building and equipment is inevitable. While you might have to replace the components of the facilities at some point, proper measures to maintain and prevent any damage to old gear and facilities can help prevent any severe damage. Poor maintenance of equipment results in facilities management issues that require a large budget to restore the facility's state. Without planned maintenance, facilities can fall into a state of disrepair and lead to a poor standard for habitation. The fix As building structures and equipment become old and technical problems become frequent, facility managers need to plan ways to extend the life of existing assets following the allotted budget available for maintenance. Prevention, timely repair, and replacement of faulty components will ensure that maintenance costs are always within the proposed budget and that funds are always available for emergency repairs and replacements. Here again, facility management software tools can be utilized to evaluate and forecast the maintenance budget, accounting for worn-out equipment and buildings.
5. Struggle managing techniciansApart from facility managers, technicians are essential to keep things running smoothly. However, they can be a bit much to handle. A poorly managed facility makes tracking the technician's performance and professionalism difficult. You will never know if a fault or accident occurred due to the poor state of facility equipment or improper technical repair. It puts a lot on facility owners, driving up the operation cost and making it difficult to sustain the business and deliver quality customer service. The fix You can also explore options to increase the budget to allow the right tools. If you face challenges with dishonest technicians, you can outsource the facility management. facility managers quickly identify incompetent technicians. This will ensure that you have the best facility management staff focusing on core business activities such that you get continuously high returns from facility management services.
ConclusionThe above-listed facility management problems occur in every organization. The solution to these problems is to approach facility management from a facility manager-centric perspective. Technology can quickly fix most facilities management issues by empowering employees to manage problems as they emerge. An integrated facility management software can aid your decision-making. Truein is one such app to easily manage workers within a facility through centralized control, real-time tracking, geofencing, and GPS tracking.
6 Facilities Management Improvement Ideas
1. Lower operation costs with preventive measuresOne of the core responsibilities of your role as a facility manager will be to strive for optimum efficiency of operation of all the assets to cut the maintenance cost to a minimum. One of the critical facilities management improvement strategies to employ here is to implement preventive maintenance.
What is preventive maintenance?Preventive maintenance is proactive actions taken by facility managers to extend the life of equipment within a facility and reduce downtime. It is opposed to reactive maintenance when you respond to any malfunction, but you must stop the operations from doing maintenance. It costs revenue and productivity. You need to invest in intelligent solutions like IoT for facility management to track metrics and access maintenance schedule KPI analytics that help you make data-driven decisions and reduce reactive maintenance costs. Organizations that effectively deploy preventive maintenance plans reportedly save 12%-18% on annual maintenance expenses. Preventive measures also ensure that your facilities provide a safe work environment. If left unattended, faulty equipment can cause workplace accidents, endangering staff. Furthermore, facility maintenance managers must keep things charted to avoid later overwhelming maintenance. It would help if you routinely replaced old hardware and equipment like lights, wiring, and motors to fix wear and tear and keep things running smoothly. Also, adopt eco-friendly practices like using LED lights, biodegradable materials, and saving power and water.
2. Set a customized facilities management operations plan that fits your organization's needsFacility management is not the same for every organization. This is why you must access your business model to understand your organization's priorities – preventive maintenance, event scheduling, asset management, workforce training, etc. The workflow you create for facility management must be tailored to accommodate your organization's unique facility maintenance needs. Discuss how to improve facility management services for your business with supervisors and consultants. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. When creating customized facility management workflows, you can capture, track, and report all the crucial metrics surrounding the facility's processes. It provides you with essential tools that are required for operation success. A customized facility management operations plan also ensures that all services are aligned with the organization's best interest.
3. Communicate with your employeesCommunication is the key to success in every aspect of business operations, and facility management is no exception. Clear and effective communication is one of the essential facilities management improvement ideas. Communication among team members, inter-department communication, and communication with outside vendors must be aware of what is going on in your facility for a smooth workflow. All the stakeholders must be updated about the changes within your facilities. You must communicate with your employees if any changes are made to the facility processes. Any emergency repairs must be notified to all stakeholders. As a facility manager, you must always be open to listening to the workers' concerns and be ready to answer their queries. Proper communication is vital for facility management because:
- It improves the overall productivity and accountability of the teams by informing them about the current state of affairs at the facility.
- You maintain cordial contractor and vendor relationships when communicating planned maintenance, service requests, training programs, equipment changes, etc.
- Eliminate any confusion that can result in unnecessary tasks allowing your workers to focus on facility management.
- Transparent communication is how you encourage workers to participate in the conversation regarding important decisions. It is also how you attract honest employee feedback that can play an essential role in facility management improvement.