The Financial Challenge of Higher Education Facility Management

Campus facilities are an important part of any college and university experience, but in recent years higher education has been faced with shrinking budgets, smaller grants, and fighting to keep tuition increases at a minimum – meaning that facility managers are faced with the task of keeping up with their growing facility costs as the budget gets smaller.

This challenge is not an easy one to tackle, and facility managers at these institutions have been dealing with them for well over a decade. The facilities costs for a public university have grown over 20% in the past ten years, and that’s only going to continue to grow. So what can be done to help manage this paradox?

Data Collection
Having accurate and updated data is essential for your systems to work and for you to make the right decisions. Take the initiative to collect data on your buildings, equipment, assets, etc. so that you are working with the right details.

Replace Legacy Systems
Do you have old-school CAD data? Do you have rolls of drawings still laying around? Are the books of logs? Anything that you are doing now that was done in the 70’s most likely needs an update. Take advantage of digital information and systems that can save you time and money.

Process Improvements
Do you have to different places for asset data? How do you track changes to the facility? Minimizing the places that you store information and the different processes required to work with that data will help improve efficiency and give you a simpler process. When there are simpler, more efficient processes, the result for the facility manager and their team is indirect cost recovery, better planning, and better insight into your facility’s needs!

3 Ways Facilities Managers Can Save Money In Healthcare Facilities

As a facility manger you can make decisions that can save your healthcare facility a significant amount of money – helping you lower your operating costs and giving you the ability to use that money on other areas of the facility. Ultimately your goal is to run you facility as efficiently as possible and these three simple steps can help you achieve that goal!

Go Generic

Replacing equipment with generic brand equipment can save you big dollars without sacrificing quality. Just because a device doesn’t have a big brand name on it doesn’t mean that it can’t get the job done. Generic brands are becoming more of the standard and can offer nearly the same level of quality as the big brands. Ask your fellow Facility Managers what brands they are using and if the devices are meeting their expectations. Reviews and recommendations will provide some peace of mind when making the switch and guide you to choose the right generic brand!

Invest Into Technology

Yes, to save more you need to spend more! Technology can help you work faster and more accurately and it doesn’t need to be a massive effort to get started. The right technology will rollout quickly and you should be able to see the ROI almost immediately. Solutions exist for every part of your facility: inventory management, drawing management, staff management etc.

Work With Your Doctors

Having a close relationship with the doctors can provide insight into what inventory and equipment they use, allowing you to have an appropriate amount of inventory. Having too much or too little can cost you money in many ways. Establishing a group of physicians that can provide insight into how the doctors operate is a great way to gain control over your inventory!

3 Ways Facilities Can Leverage Technology To Mitigate Risk

Reducing risk for your facility is one of the most important jobs of a Facility Manager. Not only does this create a safe environment for your employees, but this also significantly reduces costs – specifically costs that are not in your budget. Technology can be a game changer for Facility Managers looking to reduce their risk, specifically when it comes to security, access control, and auditing.

Keeping your information secure from the outside world is not an easy feat. Facilities have a lot of information to keep secure (facility drawings, purchase order, internal documents, etc.) and this information can be used for malicious intent. Unfortunately, with nearly 60% of corporations experiencing some type of data theft by means of physical documents, it isn’t as simple as keeping everything locked up in a file cabinet (the good old days are behind us). Choosing the right tools with the right security can significantly mitigate the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands.

Access Control
Your facility has a lot of moving parts and therefore a lot of staff. Any time we use the word “risk” you can bet that the word “employee” is also being used. It’s the real world and employees make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes cost you a lot of money. Technology can help us ensure that only employees that need to access information can access that information. The last thing you need is Bob from accounting deleting all of the drawings for the third floor of your facility!

With all the moving parts of a facility it’s almost impossible for a Facilities Manager to know who’s doing what each second of the day. Ensuring that you have an audit trail of actions allows you to know when changes are made and who is making them. When you take this approach with digital drawings you also have the big benefit of version control – meaning that not only can we see what changes are made and who made them, but we can also view previous version of a drawing!

Using technology to help us mitigate risk can make your life easy and dramatically affect the bottom line. Eliminating risky situations and unforeseen costs is essential to running an efficient facility.

Using Technology to Save Your Facility Money

In any business, it’s common to focus on where you can save time and money, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by implementing the right technology for your facility and your team. Technology helps us save by saving space, allows us to work faster fit more work into our day, and by performing repetitive tasks.

Saving Space and Time

Paper drawings worked great in the past, but now that we live in a world where every inch and ever second cost money we need to ask ourselves if this is really still the best way to operate. How much space do you need to store your drawings? How long does it take to go through those drawings to find what you need? How many drawings have you never even looked at, but you are constantly digging past them to find what you’re looking for? By eliminating paper drawings we can save valuable space, but also make our employees much more efficient. Physically going to where the paper drawings are stored and then digging through rolls of drawings to find what you need takes time. Our product, FASTTAC, allows you to take all of your drawings with you on your computer and iPad and allows you to instantly pull up the drawings you need. This, combined with other features, can save your team member’s up to 25% of the time every day – that’s 2 hours an employee!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

By having the information we need, where we need it, when we need it, we can achieve our tasks faster and more efficient than ever before. In the example above we referenced that FASTTAC’s total feature set can save us up to 25% of the time. How? Imagine that your facilities workers need to perform work on a certain section of a building. Not only can they instantly access their drawings on their iPad, but they can also move from floor to floor (same spot, same zoom technology) and make markups and notes on the drawing as they perform the work. Saving time and improving how we work makes us smarter – meaning we can get more work done in the same work day!

Repetitive Tasks

How many processes, calculations, or tasks do you or someone on your team perform each day,every week, or month after month? By automating as much as possible we can save ourselves the time and also increase our accuracy. No this doesn’t mean we need robot’s moving around the facility to perform repairs – something as simple as automated reports can save us a lot of headaches! A good best practice is to write down all of the things you have to do on a reoccurring basis, and once you have that list you can start researching to see if there are tools or software that can help you accomplish those tasks quicker and better!

Technology is not the enemy, it’s can make our lives easier and save us significant resources. Finding the right tools for your facility is as easy as a simple Google search!

Achieving Facilities Management Efficiency: Expecting Standardization

Efficiency is a popular term to throw around because it typically means saving time and energy. Simply put: Efficiency = Profit. The interesting thing about efficiency is that it has a specific definition when used for technology. By itself efficiency is defined as the state or quality of being efficient, but when you talk about efficiency in technology it is defined as the ratio of the useful work in a process to the total energy used for that process. Basically efficiency means that we want to do something better, faster, and sometimes even cheaper.

When we discuss efficiency for managing facilities there are two key components: processes and information. To achieve efficiency we need to have a repeatable process for each task, and each task that we do requires having accurate information available. Implementing these repeatable process is called standardization. Standardization can help maximize interoperability, safety, repeatability, and quality. Being consistent with our actions and handling situations in a consistent manner paves the way for simplicity and efficiency.

So what do we mean when we say “expecting standardization”? We mean that in order to achieve the efficiency goals of managing your facility (ex. save time and energy), we need to standardize how we manage tasks and the staff should be expected to execute these tasks in a consistent way. Now keep in mind this isn’t just the processes we have, doing a task the same way every time doesn’t achieve our goal. We need to standardize the information available for this task and how we use that information. Your facility is a very complex structure that has seemingly endless amount of information available. Training your employees to find and consume this information in a standard way allows them to execute the processes that you’ve put in place – achieving maximum efficiency every step of the way! Having the expectation of a standardized process and information for daily tasks eliminates unnecessary preparation time, making us more efficient.

In the end our formula isn’t Efficiency = Profit, it’s Standardization = Efficiency = Profit.

The Transformation of the Facilities Manager

A few decades ago the profile of a successful Facilities Manager typically was someone that was a technical expert who grew to be a higher ranking manager. The demands’ of facilities today has dramatically changed this profile, now commonly requiring a college degree and years of management experience. By no means are we suggesting that Facilities Managers are no longer technical people, but there is much more of a stress on a managers ability to handle business decisions and to delegate the technical work to skilled employees. What caused this progression? Why do facilities managers need to be more advanced as a manager and (relatively) less technical?

The availability of technical information through skilled workers, technology, and communication allows the modern day Facility Manager to dedicate more effort and time to critical business decisions and deliver higher quality results than ever before. Technical schools are training future-employees to be subject matter experts to be able to handle the complexities that are involved in facilities today. Technology allows us to access a wealth of knowledge faster and more efficient than ever before. Information that use to take hours to sort through is now instantly organized and available on portable devices. Communicating our work and our changes in a facility has always been key to successful facilities management, but in the past we’ve been limited by paper and pencil and paper documents. Keeping managers and staff always up to date not only allows a Facilities Manager to manage better, it makes the entire team more efficient and accurate.

Facilities Management is now far from a one-man show and the focus has shifted to management. How we handle information and resources is what matters, and a good Facilities Manager will absorb the information, process it, put together a plan, and then execute that plan.

5 Habits of Successful Facility Managers

Being a Facility Manager isn’t an easy task. You’re responsible for multiple tasks a day and ultimately you’re the person who ensures that the facility can operate as expected. It’s a job that other employees don’t notice when it’s done right, but if there is a problem with the facility you are the first person they look at.

So what does a Facility Manager need to do to keep things running smoothly? We’ve broken it down into 5 habits that are common in successful Facility Mangers:

1. Know your Building
Your building is a complex environment with many different systems. HVAC, electrical, security systems, etc. Understanding what is in your building and how it works is key to being effective and makes you more efficient in the time of need.

2. Review your Drawings
We don’t mean just know where they are and look at them when you need them. Knowing the original drawings as well as any changes is key to success. Your drawings should always be up to date and easy to access on the job. Knowing these documents like the back of your hand will make you a rock star in the time of need.

3. Knowledgeable and Effective Staff
Most Facility Managers also manage people, and this is often way more complex than managing your facility. You need to make sure you have knowledgeable and reliable employees as well as the right tools to empower them to be successful. You can have the best employees on the planet, but if they can’t access drawings or see the latest updates, you’re going to have problems.

4. Understand Your Service Contracts
Effective dates is key. When do your contracts start and when do they end? Understanding when your service contracts are in effect and what they cover will save you time and money.

5. Be Visible
Remember how we said no one is looking for you until something goes wrong? Be visible. Be available. This will help people understand how complex your day actually is, and who knows, maybe you’ll make a few new friends!

That’s our top 5. We know there are a lot of other traits that can help you be a rock-star Facility Manager, but these ones are the foundation for success!

3 Ways Effective Facilities Management Software Can Build Your Bottom Line

Effective facilities management solutions for your business may be a way to not only cut costs but improve your company’s bottom line. Such solutions are used worldwide and provide companies with a way to better organize, schedule and manage maintenance tasks. Whether these solutions are local or cloud-based, facility management tools available to you represent a departure from the old way of meeting your ongoing maintenance needs.

Here are at least three ways that affect facilities management software can be a financial boon for your company. These include the cost savings derived from the use of work order management software, how facilities management solutions increase efficiency and reduce redundancies, and, how the use of facility management tools can lead to more productive employees.

  1. Cost Savings with Effective Facilities Management Software

In a 2014 Facility Management trend report published by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), a take away from a prior year’s conference was the promotion of those programs and activities that drive productivity and efficiency. Where most facility management professionals understand those specific business areas that they control in commercial spaces, such as the reduction of costs through energy auditing, the IFMA concluded that greater influence can be exerted over all aspects of the management of a facility. The use of available technologies, such as work order management software, can help you move beyond the implementation of myopic costs reduction strategies and toward more substantial cost savings techniques.

The bottom line for you comes by ways in which facilities management software provides measurable savings. Automated solutions contribute to increasing revenue, a decrease in costs associated with the management of properties, plants, and equipment (PPE), a decrease in the insurance costs needed to cover risks by coordinating monitoring activities and reducing safety breaches, and helping improve your shareholder’s values and stock price.

  1. Increase Efficiency

The use of facility management tools can allow you to be more efficient in the management of your facilities. Whether work is performed in a one or multiple facilities, a centralized software solution is your key in scheduling necessary maintenance work remotely, saving the time and cost associated with traveling between locations. This means your company’s facilities management team can be more efficient in performing their duties and contribute to your overall costs savings.

  1. More Productivity from Your Employees

Towers Watson, a global advisory firm, found that four in 10 employees felt highly engaged while nearly a quarter felt disengaged in its 2014 Global Workforce Study. The IFMA concluded that a direct relationship exists between facility operations and the satisfaction of your employees, through such activities as sustainability initiatives and building controls. Better lighting, cleaner facilities, improved air flow and quality means employees that are sick less and on the job more.

Facilities management solutions that you employ for your business can go along way of lowering the disengagement of your employees. The Towers Watson report went on to further claim that in those companies with effective sustainable engagement processes, which may be achieved through facilities management tools, employee engagement was at nearly three quarters (72%). A look at effective facilities management solutions for your company may be what is necessary for improvements in efficiency, productivity, and your bottom line.

Improve your facility management and discover all the ways it can build your bottom line with help from FASTTAC. Our cutting-edge facility management software provides tech level collaboration within your company to help keep everyone organized and efficient. Stop wasting time on the worksite and request your live demo of the facility management software from FASTTAC today!

7 Steps to Successful Facilities Management

Overseeing the maintenance and management of a facility or production operation can be a challenging task, as you would expect. The arrival of computerized facilities management software has transformed the face of facilities management and enhanced the overall performance of maintenance departments both small and large. With the help of the right software, facility managers can fulfill the potential of their operations.

  1. Manage Spare Parts Inventory

When a maintenance unit is unorganized, it can be hard for maintenance supervisors to locate the parts needed. A CMMS system makes it possible for maintenance administrators to keep track of assets that ought to be taken care of and setup the automatic re-ordering of parts, to make sure they have the appropriate spare parts available and can conduct repairs easily. A CMMS also informs you precisely where the parts needed are stored, which means you don’t squander any time browsing through storerooms.

  1. Eliminate Paperwork

Using software for routine maintenance and facilities administration removes the need for clipboards and paperwork since the software can be setup to record information automatically. In addition, maintenance staff can see all information linked to work orders/tasks on their mobile devices or computers. Therefore, maintenance experts don’t need to search through filing cabinets and folders to obtain the information needed.

  1. Enhance Productivity

Maintenance software may be hooked to mobile gadgets making it possible for maintenance technicians to gain access to real-time data, check inventory, and kick-off work orders without going back to the workplace. This cuts down their journey time. Facilities management software also offers maintenance technicians with information about the processes, tools and parts necessary to accomplish a job; hence they can work without interruption or delay.

  1. Reduce Repair Costs and Downtime

Downtime is expensive with regards to both revenue loss and damage to a firm’s reputation and brand. When you concentrate on planned, precautionary maintenance, equipment down time is lessened. Due to the fact a facility management system allows you to routinely maintain assets and structures, they’re less vulnerable to breaking down, meaning that maintenance costs are also decreased.

  1. Ensure Conformity with Regulation Standards

Maintenance and facilities administration systems must frequently abide by national and global regulatory requirements. All maintenance administrators face occasional random or audits inspections by regulatory authorities. Maintenance software enables you to prove regulatory conformity and decrease the amount of paperwork and preparation that is needed for an audit. Maintenance administrators can simply create reports showing the maintenance work done on essential machinery. This makes conformity traceable and minimizes the risk of non-compliance penalties.

  1. Increase Safety                                                                                                    

Computerized facilities management software helps businesses in regularly maintaining and checking equipment and achieving safety standards to avoid critical malfunction and failures. This reduces the loss of work-time because of mishaps and makes your tools safer both for workers and for the environment.

  1. Reduce Overtime

Computerized facilities management software can trim overtime considerably by decreasing the need for emergency repairs and maintenance. By scheduling maintenance, repair staff can work more effectively and efficiently. The cost benefits that companies gain with the implementation of facilities software can be astonishing, but it’s crucial to pick a CMMS with the appropriate functionality by working with the right company to enhance your ROI (return on investment).

A seasoned vendor can give you the support you want today as your facility operation evolves. At FASTTAC, we have a long background of helping facilities managers accomplish their goals. To figure out more about our services and products, please call us today to schedule your live demo and discover how FASTTAC can keep everyone on the same page.

Why Go Digital with Your Facility Management

Everything is going digital these days, and digital facility management solutions are getting larger and more accessible every day. Digitized facility management is safer and more secure in many ways than traditional facility management solutions. Going digital with maintenance management software means everything from better asset tracking to improved employee management.

On-The-Go Updates at Your Fingertips

Since problems are solved and information is stored digitally, you have access to constant updates whenever and at the location where they’re needed most. Determining whether an employee is in today or there is an emergency maintenance issue at the other end of the facility, information must be instantly available to you. You don’t have to be confined to your offices to have access to your facility information, thereby freeing up more of your time for and permitting you to move about the facility to take care of more pressing matters and keeping an eye out for potential problems that may arise later. Modern building facility management is about having access to the most up-to-date resources available to accomplish much more in much less time.

Streamline Assignments and Productivity

Processes that used to be a chore are resolved in real time and are easier than ever to track. Tracking, assigning priority and monitoring maintenance requests becomes much easier. And that means ‘random requests’ that end up tying up staff can be taken out of the equation altogether. Your maintenance team can focus on the most pressing issues, and you can assign solutions more quickly than ever. Using modern facility management tools means that you can get more done in less time, more efficiently making use of your team.

Making the Most of Your Team’s Time

Since you’ll have access to everything from inventory control to asset management, you won’t have to delegate team time to make sure you have what you need and that you’re not suffering from potential losses. With digital facility management, reporting puts all of that power right at your fingertips. You can pull up reporting for every aspect of facility maintenance and get real-time data to use in making decisions as to how to delegate information – as well as create collaborative effort within your team and across departments. Work orders are a breeze to add from anywhere, meaning layers of bureaucracy are instantly eliminated.

If you’re new to digital facility management, there’s a whole new world available to you based around making your tasks easier, more efficient, and ultimately giving you more control as a facility manager. With everything from employee tracking to work order completion reporting, almost every aspect of modern facility management means that you know what’s going on as it’s happening, and you are in control of the situation. In the end, better control of your facility is what it’s all about, and switching to a digital solution makes it easier than ever.

Give your team fast access to all of your facility’s plan drawings, maintenance tasks and more with the facility management software from FASTTAC. With FASTTAC, staying in control of all your facility’s documents, drawings and operation manuals has never been easier. Our fast and easy solution to facility management helps you cut costs and stop wasting time for your team with tech level collaboration. Stop wasting time and money on the job, find a better solution and request a demo of FASTTAC’s facility management software today.