CFO Maintenance

Can you Cut Costs in Facility Management and Increase Productivity?

Facility Management for CFO’s


The Bottom Line of Cost Cutting

Controlling costs in facility management has significant impact on the bottom line – both in the short term and long term.  The challenge for CFO and facility management is cutting costs while maintaining the KPI’s important for the organization – whether that’s asset management, customer service, time on tools/wrench time, or cost per square foot.  

The goal of this article is answer the question – can you cut costs in your facility while increasing productivity?

To do so we’ll provide a CFO level overview of facility costs and a facility managers overview of the impact for cost reduction strategies.  We’ll also provide strategies and tools for getting the most out of facility management from physical assets to people, while maintaining and cutting costs.  

Example Facility Management Cost Center

Every cost center is unique, but we pulled a few common items for discussion.

 The CFO’s goal for facility management is to minimize the cost per square foot while maintaining operational service levels.

Look over this example cost center and pull out the levers that we can actually control, and think about the levers that have the biggest impact – from a cost perspective and a service perspective.

The high level categories include Property Costs, Premisis and Facility Services Costs, Business Support Service Costs, and Staff Costs.


Pull the Lever – Get a Prize

So which levers do we have control of in our operations?  

Indirectly we have control over building maintenance, technical maintenance, grounds maintenance, cleaning, and security.  But pulling any of those levers most likely has an unintended consequence.  There’s one big consequence that every facility manager faces daily, but isn’t even on the CFO’s radar. 

Can you guess?

Less work orders completed.

And less work orders completed leads to more equipment breakdowns.

More equipment breakdowns leads to higher costs.  Higher Costs leads to unhappy management. Unhappy management leads to unhappy workers. Unhappy workers leads to less work orders being completed. So the ripple effect of a poorly planned budget cost goes.

We have to take a deeper look at these line items to understand what costs we have direct control over, and ultimately to determine where we can cut costs without a negative impact to operations.

Start With The Biggest Cost

Afterall, the biggest cost has the biggest impact.  

For most facilities that cost is labor. Labor is a great lever for another reason – it’s the biggest variable in productivity.  Typical cost cutting for labor is simple – cut the labor. But again, that has unintended consequences and rarely makes a business better unless you’re grossly bloated.  

Labor is not variable because you can easily cut personnel. It is variable because you can easily improve productivity. Improving productivity has two positive outcomes – get more done, with less resources.  

Let’s go a little deeper.  How does a unit of labor spend its time on a single work order?

  • Time Spent Reviewing Work Order – 5%
  • Time researching problem (Operations Manual, P&ID, Exploded Parts Diagram, etc) – 30%
  • Travel Time to Work Site – 10%
  • Location of Utility Isolation, Lock out Procedures, Gathering Materials. Clean Up – 25%
  • Wrench Time – 25%
  • Complete Work Order – 5%

Where can we have the biggest impact on a single work order to improve productivity.  We’ll break this up into Non Value Added Time and Value Added Time.


  • Time spent Researching the Problem – 30%
  • Travel Time to Work Site – 10%
  • Location of Utility Isolation, Lock out Procedures, Gathering Materials. Clean Up – 25%


  • Wrench Time – 25%
  • Reviewing and Completing Work Order – 10%

I know we’re making a lot of assumptions here, but if you’re in agreement at this point we can break up the time spent on a single work order as 65% Non Value Add, and 35% Value Add.  So the next question is whether we can control and minimize NVA time on a work order

Minimizing Non Value Added Time on a Work Order

Now…let’s go even deeper and find out why so much time is spent in these NVA steps.

Time Spent Research the Problem

Work orders start with figuring out the problem.  

Maintenance staff has to answer questions like where exactly is the problem in the facility?  If they need to get behind the walls to access a pipe or move shut important equipment down to access something, then they need to know exactly where the problem lies so they can minimize downtime/damage.  

So how do they do it? They go find the P&ID. They go find blueprints. They go find Gary that’s been working here for 30 years. All that takes time. A lot of time! And let’s say they find the P&ID. Did they find the latest version? Or, are they looking at an old version before your last expansion project.

That’s pretty deep into this part of a work order, but it’s true for every work order that’s not routine (and even routine work orders.

Travel Time to Work Site

This one seems pretty simple, and you may think you don’t have control.  But consider a work order in which the exact location isn’t known, and the employee has to walk from point A to B, B to C, C to D, and D back to B when they realize they were right the first time.  The time to complete the work order increases with every step, while the number of work orders they can complete in a day is decreasing.

Location of Utility Isolation, Lock out Procedures, Gathering Materials. Clean Up

Finding and assessing the problem includes a bulk of the non value added time in a work order – everything from location of utility isolation and lock out procedures to getting materials to the work site and clean up.

This time can be spent reviewing the physical location of a problem to measure size/fit of replacement parts, studying an exploded parts diagram, searching and reviewing warranty documents, and more.

These documents are typically stored in a physical location.  Unfortunately as the months and years go on those documents are moved, used, and worn down which makes them difficult to find.  That means that the time people spend in this NVA category tends to increase over time.

Photo by Guilherme Cunha on Unsplash

Common Thread in These NVA Activities

There’s a common thread in these NVA activities – each is amplified in time spent finding out what, why, who, where, and how.

What’s the problem?

Why is it happening?

Who has the warranty?

Where is it located?

How do we fix it?

By answering these questions more quickly, a technician can reduce the NVA time spent on a work order and increase the Value Add Wrench Time from an industry standard of 22% to a best in class 50%.  By doing so we’ll increase the productivity of every worker and increase the number of work orders being completed.  This is facility management for CFO’s.

Organizing The Information Your Team Needs to Increase Efficiency

Tools like Fasttac solve this problem for facilities by bringing all of the documents required for maintenance together into one place.  This allows your technicians to access the information they need, when they need it, and complete work orders faster. Here’s how time spent on a work order using Fasttac changes


  • Time spent Researching the Problem – 30% 10%
  • Travel Time to Work Site – 10% 5%
  • Location of Utility Isolation, Lock out Procedures, Gathering Materials. Clean Up – 25% 10%

Our biggest Value Add – Wrench Time – can be increased to 50% just by providing faster, and up to date information.

The goal is to improve the operations of a facility with accurate and up to date information.  Fasttac organizes all of the documents required to improve efficiency by quickly accessing things like the following, but not limited to.

  • Up-to-date Drawings
  • Organized by floor and trade
  • Drawing Sets – design grid, shop grid, design details, shop details
  • Store any document you can think of a link it to a specific location on a drawing including pdf, xls, doc, mp4, and more.
  • Add markups and notes directly onto any drawing
  • Version control for all documents and drawings
  • Connect Specific Locations with Other Documents

Get More Work Orders Done This Month

Fasttac provides a free trial that allows you to complete 10% more work orders during the trial period quickly and easily, and without a credit card.  Fasttac will load your drawings and connect your documents for you, allowing you maintenance staff to quickly access the information they need. You can get 10% more work orders completed in this trial period, and expect bigger improvements as you grow your decisions.



How to Increase Productivity by Linking P&ID to a Location in the Facility

Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID) show the relationships of process equipment and the instrumentation used to control the process.  The P&ID usually contain information on process piping, sizes and identification, mechanical equipment, process control instrumentation, interfaces for class changes, computer control systems, and identification of components and subsystems delivered by others.  

A Piping and Instrumentation diagram is originally drawn out during the design stage of new construction, but it plays an important role during the lifetime of a facility. The P&ID supports maintenance, modification of a process, control and shutdown schemes, safety and regulatory requirements, start-up sequences, and operational understanding to minimize the knowledge gap inherent in most facilities.  The International Society of Automation has great resources on developing and reading a P&ID, while this article focuses on using it in production and maintenance.

The Shortcoming of P&ID Today

P&IDs provide immense value to a facility and its maintenance team, but there are inherent challenges in efficiently using the P&ID.  


The P&ID does not require scaling, and they are often designed for ease of interpretation.  Without scale (including the physical placement and location) it’s easy for an engineer to design new equipment according to a P&ID, but find out that it does not fit in the designed location.  That means it’s important for an engineer to find the location and look at the physical space they’re designing to ensure a proper fit.

Revised P&ID

Another challenge for engineers to use the P&ID is that they are constantly being changed – redlined, revised, added to – and it’s common for them to design to an old P&ID.  The risk is obvious – they might design for the wrong process, equipment, location, etc. Facility managers have to make it easy for engineers to access the latest P&ID.

The Business Problem – Higher Costs

Lack of scale and location and revised P&IDs mean one big problem for the business – higher costs.  Let’s consider an example in a facility in which maintenance needs to solve a problem using the P&ID.  The first step is locating the most up to date P&ID – that may take a few minutes, or more depending on how you deliver.  Providing it through a computer allows everyone to have access to the latest P&ID without extensive searching.

Next, maintenance has to find the problem and check the physical location.  Unfortunately, the P&ID does not include the location on the drawing so locating it might take a few minutes, or a few hours.  Without identifying the location from the P&ID time on tools might 30 minutes, while locating the problem could be hours.

By linking the location to the latest P&ID you can save 25% on every work order, and complete 30% more work orders.

Link to a Location

For these reasons (Maintenance, safety, shutdown schemes, etc.), maintenance refers to the P&ID weekly, if not daily.  By simply linking to a location the time and cost saving accumulates quickly – average wrench time (Time on Tools) is 37% while providing the right information at the right time increases wrench time by 25%.  Here’s a similar scenario – maintenance needs to solve a problem using the P&ID. The first step is accessing the information through a tool like Fasttac which takes less than a minute. They review the P&ID as usual and then use Fasttac to identify the location of the system to be checked.  Location time went from possibly hours to seconds, and the only non-value added time in this work order is walking from the computer to the exact location.

Linking the P&ID to a location will allow your maintenance workers and engineers to complete work orders more quickly, and complete more work orders every day by moving that path to information from the twisted reality, to the goal of a straight line.  

Value of the Straight Line

Providing a straight line path to the information required by maintenance workers and facility management allows your human resources to access required information instantly, make real-time decisions, and maximize efficiency in a facility.  Learn how to calculate how much work your facility actually completed.

Instant Information

Empower engineers and maintenance workers in a facility to instantly find up-to-date information, view documents, and work from any location.  

Real-Time Decisions

Facility managers can Improve communication and make real-time decisions by providing the data needed to make those decisions at the right time.  An example is if a maintenance technician receives a notice that a pipe is leaking, but they aren’t sure where the shut off valve is located. Typically, they’d check the P&ID, or run around to find the nearest known shut off valve or the main shut off valve.  With a tool like Fasttac, users can look at their facility plan, find the exact location of the shut-off valve, and proceed to shut it off. This may include additional information like manuals to shut off, videos, or warranty information.

Maximum Efficiency

The facility management team can increase the speed, accuracy, and quality of their work by accessing the information necessary to do their job.  In the previous example, the maintenance technician increases speed by finding the information faster and reduce the walking time to the problem.  They improve accuracy by identifying the exact location of the shut-off valve to solve the immediate problem. Finally, they improve quality by stopping the leak faster and preventing other issues.

When Connecting the P&ID to a Location Makes Sense

The obvious, low-hanging-fruit-answer is new construction. New construction is a great place to start, but in reality, most facilities aren’t new construction.  So for the facility managers and CFOs trying to improve efficiency and reduce cost in their existing facility, there’s really never a bad time to start working with a tool like Fasttac.  You’ll reduce wrench time immediately, and see the cost and efficiency improvements over time.

Starting Small

It’s easy to start small with a single room and grow with time.  Start by uploading you facility drawings.  Fasttac organizes 2D drawings in a 3D grid, meaning they are organized by floor and trade.  Users can quickly navigate between floors and trades, and access any documentation needed in the facility from P&ID to manuals, videos, notes, warranties, and more.  

About Us

Fasttac provides cutting-edge software solutions for facility management to digitally control, distribute, and update all of the information needed to maintain a facility including blueprints, manuals, P&ID, videos, notes, warranties, and more.

6 Reasons Why You Must Implement CMMS in Your Facility

While Fasttac isn’t a CMMS, our universal CMMS integration provides a critical connection to make sure facilities have the information they need, when they need it.

6 Reasons Why You Must Implement CMMS in Your Facility

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a software program that streamlines and automates a company’s maintenance processes. It greatly helps in increasing productivity of your business and cutting down the maintenance costs as you can automate the maintenance schedules, increase asset lifetime, forecast inventory needs, and keep track of work orders via computer and mobile devices. Here are 6 ways CMMS helps in achieving it.

  • Reduced Downtime and Overtime Costs

Implementing an asset management software will help in streamlining planned, preventing maintenance. This reduces downtime significantly. If the repairs are planned in advance, then you won’t have to stop production for any kind of unexpected breakdown.

Moreover, when you have a solid preventive maintenance plan, you can be assured of minimizing or avoiding the extra staff-hours required for emergency repairs.

  • Manual Workload Gets Reduced

If you still use unstructured manual tools such as spreadsheets to drive routine work processes, you would be spending an average of 2 days a week on administrative tasks. This adds up to more than 800 hours of wasted time and unproductive work in a year!

Implementing a mobile CMMS can help in cutting down these days and hours of manual work time that is spent in filing and keeping records. When your employees spend less time on record keeping, they will be able to devote more time to asset production, management and care. This will even help in increasing your asset lifetime and bottom-line as well. CMMS also reduces human error that is common in traditional documentation.

Moreover, CMMS can offer you critical insights from data, something that spreadsheets can’t do. You can access important metrics like time being spent on downtime or asset maintenance with just a click of a button. The data will provide you with the insights necessary for making production improvements.

  • Improved Employee Performance

When you know how exactly each employee is performing, you can take the right measures to close the gap between their expected and existing performance. If you identify the employees requiring extra training, you can arrange training sessions for them using CMMS.

CMMS also tracks metrics like how much time an employee is spending on an individual task or if they have been in any accidents on the shop floor, etc. You can take the necessary steps to improve their performance and safety using this information. When employee productivity goes up, so does the productivity of your business.

  • Built-in Safety And Compliance

Every employee expects to have a safe environment to work in, which definitely isn’t a lot to ask for. Computerized maintenance management systems lend a helping hand to achieve the same. You can implement safety checks and compliance into each maintenance job, thus ensuring that technicians and operators stay safe and abide regulations while making repairs.

It also has safety and compliance checks built-in to your systems which will help in preparing your facility for an OSHA inspection or review.

  • Simplified Implementation of Preventive Maintenance Plan

Having a preventive maintenance plan means that you can schedule maintenance work in advance before a breakdown occurs or to avoid corrective, emergency repairs. It is possible to implement a preventive plan with spreadsheets and a calendar too, but it would be much easier with a preventive maintenance software.

CMMS will automate the preventive maintenance process by keeping track of and forecasting maintenance dates, technician schedules, tasks, repair reports, part inventory, etc.

  • Data Enhances Productivity

When you have data insights, you can reduce risk and increase the bottom line. You can get the data required from warehouse management software to increase productivity, decrease risk, and improve workplace safety. One of the biggest benefits of using CMMS is the ability to monitor the KPIs which is a set of data that tracks productivity and employee performance.

Make CMMS an integral part of your business and watch it develop organizational intelligence which will lead the managers to make better and informed decisions for achieving higher profits.


Written by Fasttac Guest Blogger
Lindsey Walker

Author Bio:
Lindsey Walker is the marketing manager for NEXGEN Asset Management. She specializes in business development, project management and asset management. She loves to read and the books in her library are her prized possessions.