Having the best facility management software is challenging if you don’t know what to look for in a solution. But having a solution that maps well to your organization’s processes will help you better achieve your goals and improve your overall facility management strategy.
Every company has a different definition of what the perfect facility management solution should encompass because every company has different processes and building operations. However, there are a few elements that any great facility management solution should have. Here are a few fundamental components that the best facility management tools should have:
Building Occupant Work Request Portal
Your building occupants – whether those are tenants in a commercial setting or employees in a corporate setting – are arguably one of the most important pieces of your organization. Keeping them satisfied and happy with the facility management team will not only make your job a little easier but it can also have a significant impact on your bottom line. This starts with providing your occupants an easy way to enter a request and then routing those request to the appropriate person or vendor for quick and seamless follow up.
The best facility management software works seamlessly with your work order system (as one complete solution) which enables you to follow up with request quickly and efficiently. By using a work order management software that directly ties into your facility management solution you will be able to manage requests form your tenants better and collect valuable data to better understand their wants and needs. This will help you meet the expectations they have of the facility management team.
An online work request portal is essential to your building operations but one challenge that typically hears from our clients is the lack of user. One of the easiest solutions is to provide them with a system that is simple to use and doesn’t take a lot of clicks or steps to enter a request but here are a few more tips to encourage user adoption:
- Prepopulate form fields based on the location of building occupant, company, user etc.
- Auto-populate form fields based on the work request they enter (work type, department, etc.).
- Consistently ask for feedback on the work request portal including what types of improvements can be made to simplify the request process.
Seamless and Connected Mobile Application
Another element of the best facility management solutions is a mobile application. Facility management mobile apps enable facility managers to collect more accurate, real-time data, save time, improve transparency in their organization and shift to a more proactive strategy. Facility management apps also help improve response times – arguably one of the most important benefits.
Many facilities are still using Excel and email – or worse, pen and paper – to track and follow up on work requests. Without a streamlined process coupled with a mobile app, your processes can easily become over complicated, disorganized, and you can lose a lot of valuable data dealing with all of that paper. If you are still using outdated facility management processes, chances are you aren’t meeting your goals or the expectations of your building occupants.
A mobile facility management strategy will allow you to be connected to your building operations in real time. Here are a few things the best facility management apps should have:
- Simple inspections processes that are as easy as swiping left or right to mark as complete.
- An easy to read list view of open work orders for each facility manager or vendor.
- The ability to set up automated notifications to your mobile device if equipment drops below a defined range so the issue can be quickly addressed before occupants are affected.
Automated workflows are very important to your facility management strategy and the best facility management software will allow you to implement them to help you manage by exception. Even though data is important, it is impossible to look at every single metric to identify every operational issue before they arise. But you also shouldn’t be the last to know about a building emergency, equipment malfunction or unhappy occupant. Instead, rely on your facility management solution to give you automatic alerts when the facility management team or areas of your building aren’t performing properly or up to standards.
Depending on your organization’s goals you could have varying workflows but here are a few core workflows that we typically see:
- Escalation processes to team managers if occupants aren’t happy with the completed work request.
- Automatic generated corrective work orders when equipment inspections fall below a defined threshold.
- Escalation of work requests by priority.
- Internal and external escalation when a vendor-assigned a work order isn’t addressed according to the SLA in place.
Centralized, Secure and Easy to Analyze Data
Gathering and analyzing data is key to every organization. Every facility, building or company produces a ton of data – too much data sometimes – and facility managers are tasked with sorting through that data to figure out what really matters to their organization and the goals that they must meet. Figuring out what to measure and key performance indicators for your facility is step one.
Step two is to track and compile that data in one central location. The best facility management software should act as your central hub for everything to do with building operations and this includes all of the data that you collect from your processes whether that be data from inspections, work requests, visitors, PO’s, etc. For security reasons, your facility management solution should also have different settings depending on who in your organization should see what data.
Once you have one location for all of your data your facility management solution should have an easy to read dashboard that can show you trends that are related to the operations of your facility. Having your data shown in an easy to digest manner will help you be able to make quick, informed decisions about how your facility is performing. If you see a signification change in something you will be able to identify the problem quicker which will help you solve it before it impacts building occupants. For example, say you are tracking data about certain HVAC units and it falls out of a specific range, your dashboard should show that there is an issue with the HVAC unit and you can address it before you get hot/cold complaints from unhappy tenants.
Having critical data in a central location is key to managing your organization by exception and managing your organization by exception will eliminate constant interruptions throughout the day and allow you to focus on what needs to get done today.
An Open Solution
There are so many tools on the market right now to help you with different processes in your facility. In an ideal world, there would be one single solution to use in every department for every process, but this isn’t a possibility for many organizations. In order to find the best facility management for your company, you need to pick a solution based on which processes or goals are most critical to your operations.
For example, if you are trying to improve the response times to work requests form your building occupants, focus on investing in a solution that provides an easy to use request portal that ties directly to your database. If you also wanted office space planning but the solution you want doesn’t have that feature, try looking at other software vendors that can seamlessly integrate with the facility management solution. It’s not always a bad idea to have multiple systems as long as they can integrate with each other, passing valuable data back and forth, to help you better achieve your goals and improve your processes.
One tip to keep in mind is to avoid striving to have the same software as everyone else just because it seems like everyone in the industry uses it. Remember: find a solution that compliments your business processes, help you achieve your business goals and incorporates these five key elements well into your facility management strategy. That’s how you get the best facility management software.