While once it was believed that the success of a business came from the dynamism of the sales team or the breadth of products or services available, facilities management is now increasingly recognised as a contributing factor. In competitive environments, such as blue chip companies, the smooth functioning of the organisation and the productivity of the working environment are both key areas reliant on the FM team, and the results of which feed profitability in the market.
Quality and reputation are the hallmark of a blue chip company, with an expectation of flawless unity even across sites of different ages, regions and maintained by different teams. For the facility manager, the task of ensuring that resources are used effectively and jobs are allocated and completed on time can be challenging. Computer aided facilities management (CAFM) software provides flexibility and transparency to this task, centralising all requests to allow them to be appropriately distributed and tracked. Landlord News UK at London’s prestigious 1 London Bridge Street manages the core services over 92,000 square feet of commercial office space, including cleaning, security and maintenance. Client business needs are constantly changing and the FM team needed the flexibility to be able to support this. Through QFM, Service Works’ CAFM system, they gained improved visibility of the work and improved communication with the outsourced service providers. “QFM removes errors and duplicates in logging jobs and a simple traffic light system shows when jobs are approaching their SLAs,” says Chiara Pyne, News UK’s Helpdesk Liaison Manager. “We have clear visibility of performance and, if something has slipped through the net, this can be picked up before it becomes a problem.”
Information on demand
While a paper-based system is fast and cheap to implement, this ‘quick fix’ is a false economy. Even using spreadsheets can pose problems with information that can be accidentally deleted, or not included, or grow unwieldy as workbooks expand to thousands of rows. Reporting is time consuming at best, and inaccurate at worst. CAFM software has hundreds of report templates that draw live information on demand, and accuracy and speed are delivered easily. DLA Piper, a leading international law firm, moved from paper to QFM at their UK office. Facilities Manager David Wallace estimated that over a 12 year period more than 150,000 tasks had been processed through the system and “at the press of a few buttons, the information needed is there.” With the previous paper-based system, if a problem arose it was difficult to track job history from, for example, three years ago, as the information would have been archived many months before.
CAFM with minimum training
Implementing a CAFM system may have numerous benefits, but a system that takes too long to learn and requires hours of training has no place in any fast-paced, results driven environment. For example, CAFM reports using standard and custom templates can be produced quickly, and a traffic light system showing deadlines is an effective way to manage SLAs. FM teams can also allow building users to make requests and report problems, for example spillages or breakages, when they have a sufficiently simple system. Screens can be customised with drop downs and intuitive icons relevant to the request type, and all requests go straight to the help desk to be allocated and prioritised. Updates can be emailed to the user directly to minimise calls to the help desk.
DLA Piper’s Wallace concludes: “One person uses the software from the London office, taking around 100 – 150 calls each day, and no one has needed a great deal of training.”
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