How to Take the Headaches Out of Resource Scheduling
One of the most common challenges facilities managers face is being told to “do more with less.” As a facilities manager, you must know how to make the most of your current resources since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to acquire more in the near future.
Resource scheduling can be complicated and frankly a huge pain if you don’t know what you’re up against and how to resolve the issues you’ll encounter.
Here’s how you can make resource scheduling easier for both you and your team.
The Basic Steps of Resource Scheduling
To increase the likelihood of effective and efficient resource scheduling, you have to understand the fundamental steps of the process:
- Create a list of all personnel. This list consists of all on-site and remote employees, as well as contractors. (Since this information can change frequently, we recommend keeping these details in a digital format that can be updated in real time.)
- Identify dependencies and task constraints. Do you have a sufficient number of team members? Does each member of your team have the ability to complete their assigned tasks?
- Determine resource demand. Establish the amount of time as well as the type and number of resources needed to complete each task. Remember that because your team is a resource, you need to schedule their time appropriately.
- Keep a digital inventory of all workspaces and assets. To ensure everyone on your team has access to the spaces and equipment they need to do their jobs, you’ll also need to keep a list of workspaces and assets. If your organization has a lot of office space and equipment spread over multiple locations, you’ll want to invest in an integrated software solution that allows you to manage both of these elements from anywhere.
- Calculate future resource availability (also known as capacity). You need to ensure your team members aren’t underutilized or overburdened. And you need to be confident the team won’t suddenly be without important tools, assets or workspaces. Start by calculating how much work each team member does daily and what their current and forecasted workload is. Then use current and historical data to calculate projected availability of assets and workspaces.
- Monitor the status of tasks, communicate with your team and stay flexible. Track the progress of each task and use an analytics dashboard to adjust task requirements and schedules as necessary. Stay in communication with your team so you can proactively resolve issues. And stay abreast of the real-time location of assets and availability of workspaces.
Common Resource Scheduling Challenges
Many organizations have historically used a set of spreadsheets, a Gantt chart or even a paper binder for resource management. While this may have worked fine in the past, it can quickly become overwhelming as your organization grows. This results in resource scheduling challenges such as:
- Poor planning. If you don’t have accurate data about resource availability, you’ll be putting yourself and your team 10 feet behind the starting line.
- Lack of transparency and accountability. If you are the only one with access to the plan, tasks can quickly fall through the cracks. Unless you give team members the ability to see which tasks and assets they are responsible for managing and a timeline to adhere to, you can’t expect them to follow through.
- Failure to record resource utilization. Without an accurate record of asset status, location and utilization, space occupancy and employee availability, you’ll be flying blind. But if you have the tools to properly document this information, you can make more accurate, data-driven decisions.
How to Optimize Resource Scheduling
Without accurate visibility into resource availability, it will be nearly impossible to complete tasks efficiently and cost-effectively. To truly optimize resource allocation, you need the technology to manage your employees and jobs as well as your workspaces and assets.
Managing Employees and Jobs With Electronic Job Sheets
When it comes to keeping track of which jobs are happening and who is doing them, electronic job sheets are a resource planner’s best friend. The best ones allow you to manage not only ongoing jobs but also create invoices and reports and monitor lone worker to ensure they stay safe. With a cloud-based platform, you can stay connected to employees and communicate with them throughout the day.
Managing Workspaces and Assets With IWMS Software
Let’s say your facilities team is undertaking a big maintenance project, servicing HVAC units located across multiple campuses. They need to know know where each one is located, when it was last serviced and what repairs were done to avoid duplicating efforts. With space management software, you can store floor plans and easily pinpoint the locations of each. Asset management software adds another layer of information, including lease details and maintenance records. Fortunately, with an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), you can have real-time visibility into both space and assets at the same time.
An IWMS can provide you with important data on the spaces and assets your workforce uses so your team can be as efficient as possible. You can even gather further insights like on occupancy data using IoT sensors that relay information to your IWMS. For instance, if you have sensors installed outside meeting rooms, your team will be able to see when those rooms have been used throughout the day or week so they can prioritize maintenance schedules accordingly.
With insights from electronic job sheets, an IWMS and IoT sensors, facilities team members can create a comprehensive resource management plan, build powerful analytics dashboards and make more objective decisions about necessary updates. The data IoT sensors communicate to an IWMS also eliminates the need to manually build complicated reports, saving time and money.
While having adequate resources (or even more resources than you need) would be grand, it’s highly unlikely that will happen anytime soon. But with resource management software, you may just be able to “do more with less.”