Don't overlook scalability when building your facilities management program

Service provider doing work on an HVAC unit
SMS Assist

Running a business means making lots of choices. When it comes to facilities management programs, designing one can feel like encountering a crossroads. Self-managed programs. Outsourced programs. Hybrid programs. They all have their benefits and challenges—your facilities program can be just as unique and tailor-fit as the rest of your business.

Whatever your game plan, scalability matters. When business needs change, your facilities strategy will change with you. Scaling up means handling more volume, and maybe more locations. Scaling down means consolidating with care. But how do you ensure follow-through on your goal?

Here’s what to know about scale when building your facilities maintenance program.

Scale for capacity

Capacity needs change as a natural part of doing business. Whether you build a self-managed facilities management program or work with a third-party provider, you’ll experience what sometimes feels like big fluctuations in volume.

Prepare early. If you’re growing your business, you should grow the capacity of your program. Scale up to handle more work that comes as a natural result of wear and tear.

And as much as we’d like to forget, stuff happens. Weather events and public health scares will inevitably create more work. Without proper coverage, you’ll fall behind and risk customer trust.

If you’re consolidating, focus on flexibility. Look to repurpose your teams during this time. When facilities work starts to pick up again, you’ll have staff on-hand to address those needs.

No matter how you build your facilities maintenance program, you should focus on scaling for capacity. A strong third-party provider network can work like a pressure release valve. Your facilities management provider will have the capacity to handle sudden upswings in need. Meanwhile, you can focus on serving the next customer.

Scale for services

A common weakness in facilities management programs is a gap in services. You might have access to a group of maintenance experts. But are those experts the right ones?

Closing gaps in facilities services is its own form of insurance. Make sure your business can handle all kinds of facilities interruptions—and ensure that those interruptions are brief.

Your program should be built on deep expertise. You should always plan for core services like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical work. But consider possible blind spots, too.

Do you have the know-how to perform full site inspections at new stores? Are you monitoring asset health across your portfolio? Are you prepared to handle disaster recovery at your most vulnerable locations?

In addition, customer expectations are changing. Innovations will continue to reshape the competitive landscape. As a result, the way people interact with stores won’t remain the same. Scaling for new services is one way to help your business stay at the forefront of industry changes.

With access to a wide provider bench, you won’t need to worry about having hired the right experts at the right time. And you’ll be free from expensive last-minute service dispatch charges.

Use data to track performance

As you scale for capacity and add new services, don’t lose track of performance.

Performance shouldn’t suffer as you scale up. Ideally, you’ll continue to fine-tune performance even as you add locations, take on more work, and expand your trade coverage.

Do you know when your service providers arrive on the job? Are you aware of how long it takes for those providers to complete work? How are you validating that work? Can you easily track spending outliers? Do you know which services cost the most? Can you point to when and why?

To answer these questions, take a data-driven approach. It can be challenging to handle all this data on your own—especially if you’re scaling up. So think ahead: Equip yourself and your providers with a modern platform. Make sure you have real-time access to data. When it’s time to scale, you’ll know what to expect.

The cost of any facilities management program is significant. But if you’re weighing facilities management providers, make sure that scalability is part of your purchasing decision. Long-term business success means adapting to sudden changes—managing scale is a critical way to prepare for the future.

Connect with SMS Assist to learn more about scalable facilities management solutions.