The primary question most organizations have related to making any purchasing decision is what is the return on investment. For facilities managers, attempting to build a business case that identifies a specific ROI for investing in an IWMS, can be challenging. The primary challenge is time. Workplace managers don't have the extra time or resources to conduct a time study analysis about how much effort and redundancy exists in their current manual processes. They are busy making sure the space and services are being managed to expectation. However, there are some baseline statistics that can be used to help establish the monetary value of implementing technology. This week we are going to explore specific examples that hopefully will allow you to define an ROI so that you can take your facility operation to the next level.
For companies who are still stuck in the past, hesitating to adopt the latest facilities management software, it can be tricky - not to mention expensive - to manage their facilities effectively.
Say, for example, your facilities department uses other software for managing the office building. You've got Excel for tracking data, Acrobat for creating PDFs of floor plans and Outlook for managing your calendar. Those strategies will be effective to a point, but are they the best way to go?
Probably not, and there's a big reason why - you'll be wasting money. According to John Harris of PSI Webware, it can be tremendously costly to rely on convoluted methods of managing all your facilities information. The goal of a maintenance system is to avoid downtime, as any delays in your service can lead to less money in your pocket.
"Time management is important for any business," Harris stated. "Coordinating all of the activities required to keep your facility running smoothly is another potential savings. Preparing an automated schedule in advance helps to spread workload while providing a preview of materials needed and costs estimates for performing work. The ability to optimize workload to correspond to peak demand can save a considerable amount of overtime while providing greater safety, security, and comfort for the people using your facility every day."
Facilities management is an endless series of little tasks. Every item on your agenda takes time, and time is money. If you don't handle each piece of your to-do list in the most efficient way possible, you're throwing cash down the drain.
Just think of all the benefits of a facilities management software can speed the process along.
Scheduling preventative maintenance
Say, for example, the light bulbs in your office are known to go die after about one year. If you wait for them to burn out and replace them after the fact, you're just subjecting your building to unnecessary downtime - but if you use FM software to schedule tasks in advance and carry out preventive maintenance, you can nip the problem in the bud before it happens.
Processing Move Add Change requests
Perhaps you need to take care of a bigger project, like rearranging your office or making a large-scale move. The process of requesting such a change, then negotiating it back and forth, then finally executing a plan can be long and convoluted. If you've got the right software for the job, you can automate the conversation and make it easy.
Seeing them through
Once these tasks are complete, whether they're minor maintenance jobs or bigger undertakings, you need to log everything you've done for future reference. You also need to notify everyone involved - managers in each relevant department, employees who use the facilities regularly - that the job is done. Using FM software can ensure smooth communication throughout the entire process, starting with its initial conception and following all the way through to the final communication.
What about when office supplies go out of stock? It might be something as minor as pens or as major as computers, but whatever the case may be, it's important to have a seamless process for logging your inventory troubles and ordering new products. If you're using software, that's no sweat.
Especially with a bigger job like a move, there's always the chance that your project might go over budget. If you're using a software solution to oversee the process, this is much less of a problem - you can just set a budgetary goal from the start, monitor your progress and stick to your plan from start to finish. A facility management software can help facility managers as there is no need to fly by the seat of your pants when you have an automated solution to keep you in line.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance