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    What Will Work Orders Look Like in the Future?

    by Elizabeth Dukes on May 11, 2016

    Trying to field work order requests without help from management software and other tools is like trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver. It might be possible—but not without a lot of unnecessary time and effort. And it borders on ridiculous.


    This explains why advancements are rapidly pushing facility management into innovative new territories. In addition to increasingly sophisticated management software and mobile applications that enable field service employees to respond, view and update work orders on the go—the workplace of the future has big changes in store for work order requests, and it’s all thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).

    Machines & Humans Will Communicate Differently

    In the past decade, we’ve experienced revolutionary changes in the way machines and humans interact. Facilities managers can now trigger machine controls remotely using applications on their smart devices. Appliances can initiate communications with technicians (for example, sending an alert if something isn’t functioning properly). We can expect this level of remote control and communication to increase over the next few years, which will substantially reduce unnecessary (and unexpected) service visits.

    Predictive Maintenance Will Become the Norm

    Instead of routine inspections, technology will monitor equipment and send notifications if updates or replacements are required before more serious issues arise. Machines will be equipped with safety sensors that alert facilities personnel when a machine starts to trend out of specification (when abnormal environmental conditions breach safe operating limits). This means maintenance will only be required if a machine deems it immediately necessary, which will reduce parts and labor costs.

    Even Bigger Data & Real-Time Analysis

    Machines aren’t just talking to us humans, they’re also chatting with one another. IoT harnesses all the data associated with these machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and delivers it to FM teams in real time. This means data can be collected and examined to generate better predictive analytic models.

    Automated Repair Recommendations

    More data also means more information at a facilities manager’s disposal when an immediate repair is required. As cloud technology continues to advance, we will be able to aggregate and analyze failure data from numerous sources in real time, and access recommended solutions that are automatically generated without FMs having to spend time digging for answers.

    Connected Stockrooms

    Maintenance managers can also expect technology to drastically change the way businesses keep inventory. Technology will monitor inventory movement and track trends in item utilization to ensure businesses store only what they need. This degree of insight will also optimize spare parts lists and free up capital that can be spent elsewhere.

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    Robotic Technicians Operating With Greater AI

    Existing robotic technicians can perform simple tasks. But scientists are beginning to build robotic technicians with artificial intelligence (AI) that enables them to maneuver in occupied, active environments. As this technology continues to advance, we will eventually be able to send robotic technicians into dangerous environments—instead of humans.

    What_Will_Work_Order_Future.jpgAs machines communicate more information, and greater data becomes available, work order management software will need to adapt and evolve. Already, we are seeing more sophisticated work order management software solutions that coordinate on-demand requests and manage scheduled and preventative maintenance tasks. Software also can provide real-time information about your entire operation and generate specialized reports or status updates on the health of your facility and its various components.

    The grand takeaway is this: The workplace of the future is creating visibility that yesterday’s facilities managers only dreamed of having. As machines become more intelligent and able to better communicate with us, and one another, FMs will have extraordinary insight into their facilities. But even more exciting than the depth of our visibility is the way this technology is shifting how we address facility maintenance.

    Historically, facility maintenance has been reactive. If something breaks a work order is made, a technician is dispatched, the equipment is repaired and the ticket is closed. But the future has facilities management adjusting their footing and taking a more proactive approach to maintenance. Preventative care will become the primary focus. Instead of chasing fires, facilities managers will have more time to monitor machines and prevent issues before they become catastrophes.

    Ready to learn more about how workplace technology can improve your environment today, and well into the future? Grab a copy of our free eBook, 4 Ways Innovative Leaders Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve.

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