3 tips for going digital with your facilities program

Dylan Rogers

Technology is a bigger part of our lives than ever before. From front porch cameras and smart speaker systems to wearable devices that tell us when to sleep, new technologies entertain us, connect us, and help us make more informed decisions.

You can make use of similar technologies to elevate your facilities portfolio and deliver an even stronger customer experience. We’ve put together a set of tips that will help you go digital with your facilities program, garnering insights along that way that improve performance and optimize spending.

1. Go a step beyond work order management

A work order management system is a serious technology investment. And like any other investment, it only justifies its expense when you’re seeing meaningful returns.

To get the most from your work order management system, it’s important to capture not only the basic requests within your work orders, but also the context that informs them.

Asset and warranty information is critical to prioritizing maintenance work and achieving long-term savings. Your work order management system will provide a way to collect asset data and tie that information to specific work orders. With asset data ready at hand, you’ll better understand where to focus your preventative maintenance efforts in the near future. And with asset warranty information readily available in the same place, you could offset the costs of repairs that are still covered by the manufacturer.

Lease abstract documentation delivers the same kind of benefits as asset warranty information. When a new work order is created, your work order management system may trigger a reminder to review lease agreements with your property owner. Depending on the lease of any given location, you could free up repair costs for a variety of maintenance jobs across your portfolio.

Reporting and analytics insights are essential to the smooth operation of any modern facilities portfolio. And if properly leveraged, your work order management system will collect a useful cache of data about every new maintenance request, including provider performance metrics and related spend information. But you’ll get the best results if this information is interpreted by business analytics experts with the experience to translate data into insights specific to your unique set of circumstances.

2. Keep your technicians connected

Like so many other lines of business, the facilities management industry is adapting to new ways of staying connected, informed, and productive.

With a mobile facilities platform solution, your technicians will be able to get more work done each day, and you’ll find it easier to manage maintenance requests for all of your locations.

Calendar synchronization provides facilities managers with a bird’s-eye view of every technician’s real-time schedule. With this information on hand, you’ll have a much more informed sense of the actual state of maintenance coverage across your portfolio—which is especially helpful in emergency scenarios or for planned maintenance requiring special competencies.

Provider skill set profiles will help you determine which provider should be dispatched for a specific work order. Service providers that perform especially well in certain trade categories will be more effectively dispatched to locations with sudden needs; those issues are more likely to be resolved faster, and in the first visit. What’s more, detailed provider profiles are especially useful for building out preventative maintenance calendars.

Geolocation technology provides accurate trip times based on actual arrivals and departures reported in the app. In addition to the convenience of having a more realistic understanding of when a technician will arrive on site, geolocation information provides proof of service that can streamline the billing process. And over the long term, you’ll have a more strategic view of when to schedule services based on how long they ordinarily take.

Photo and video capture provides another layer of important context and validation for work orders throughout your portfolio. Smartphone cameras make it easy for facilities managers to provide useful information or context that’s not always easy to explain in words. And a technician’s before and after photos will provide an additional form of work order validation that speeds up invoice resolution and provides peace of mind that work was completed as assigned.

3. Embrace the Internet of Things

New technology makes it possible to enhance our understanding of how people interact with their surroundings. Internet-connected sensors can report data about real-world events having to do with motion, sound, pressure, airflow, and so on.

These relatively inexpensive sensors are part of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). By deploying these sensors throughout your locations, you’ll gain even more insight into the way people interact with various assets within your portfolio.

For example: Motion sensors attached to doors will give you the hard numbers to know which entrances receive the most attention at your high-traffic locations. This information can be used to prioritize preventative maintenance and minimize energy output from door frame climate control units.

As IoT technology becomes more commonplace within the facilities management sector, it’ll become even clearer that your facilities portfolio is a dynamic, constantly changing environment. When conditions change within your physical spaces, IoT devices will leverage existing systems to trigger work orders, request manual review of specific assets, and notify facilities managers of impending needs—helping you work smarter, not harder.

Facilities management involves the interaction of dynamic parts—people, buildings, tools, assets, environments, and much more. And technology should be a part of any modern maintenance strategy. But there’s more to facilities technology than work order management systems. In this new decade, consider working with a trusted provider that’ll manage the full spectrum of your needs, everything from technology to providers to expert support. Get in touch with SMS Assist and learn more: weknowFM@smsassist.com