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FM for Operational Stability - software not spreadsheets

When deliberating the underlying principles of FM, one of the last things people consider is data management –  yet it is one of the most important. While operations can be managed on spreadsheets, the difference between this and using computer aided facilities management (CAFM) software is akin to trading up from a scooter to a sports car. This week’s blog looks at how operational stability can be improved through FM technology.

Information not data
A spreadsheet is a viable tool for some, but hundreds or thousands of rows of data can quickly become unwieldy, leading to accuracy as well as security issues. A CAFM system not only securely stores data for easy access, but manipulates this data to provide usable information  through customised reports, create cost-effective maintenance schedules to increase asset life and warn of impending deadlines so service level agreements (SLAs) are not missed.

Performance Management
Any business looking to improve their FM performance management should consider minimum acceptable service levels, quality criteria, complain resolution, how supplier contracts will be managed or gain share contracts to incentivise contractors. CAFM can provide real time, historical, and projected performance analysis and visualisation of end-to-end performance, enabling service providers to improve performance through early detection and proactive monitoring.

Those not using a service provider must also consider  their responsibility for legal and regulatory compliance,  a potential minefield of dates and required actions. CAFM can centralise all compliance related information, such as gas safety, electrical and PAT testing, legionella, asbestos and waste management, alerting the facilities manager of impending dates and allowing works to be scheduled alongside  reactive or PPMs to reduce repeat visits  and increase efficiency. Importantly, CAFM software will keep a record of these actions to provide a valuable  audit trail.

Multi-contract management
CAFM provides the ability to manage, report on and compare multiple contracts with the data from each ring fenced and secure, but with the option to share common ground such as contractors, parts or help desk functionality to save time rekeying information and increase accuracy.

Mobile has become an essential tool to manage FM, whether in-house or service provider. Good CAFM systems are optimised for use on any mobile device, and allow operatives to access live data from wherever they are, at any time of day. As priority jobs come in, they can be sent out immediately  by the helpdesk – who can see the skillset of each worker as well as using GPS location tracking to decide who it should be assigned to.

Technical Support
Investing in a new CAFM system means an avenue of technical help and support. A good vendor will assist in organising the data (whether it be held on spreadsheets or another system) and customise  the system to the specific  business requirements. Software like Service Works’ QFM can be quickly mobilised  by dedicated project teams with the option for a Quick Start deployment program for those looking for an immediate solution.

CAFM systems are becoming a stalwart to the FM industry, and with good reason. Whether organisations choose to manage their FM in-house or outsource to a service provider, this software is a valuable tool to organise resources and uncover insight that can be the difference between getting by and managing a successful FM operation.


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