There’s nothing worse than a roadblock without a detour. Yet, despite their best efforts, facility managers are faced with them constantly. From dealing with perpetual emergency work to managing complex data, there’s no shortage of challenges—regardless of industry—for even the most well-intentioned facilities managers.
If you’re a facility manager encumbered by these pain points on a weekly (or even daily) basis, we know for a fact that you’re not alone. Here, we’re covering the most common challenges, issues, and scenarios that facility managers face, how to get around them, and more importantly, how to prevent them in the future.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Think about some of your biggest challenges as a facility manager: Chances are, at least one of them is on this list. Are they frustrating? Absolutely. Is your situation hopeless? Not in the least.
Numerous as they may be, fortunately, there are ways to mitigate and even eliminate these challenges. So without further ado, here are eight of the most aggravatingly abundant roadblocks that facility managers face—and how to get around them.
When you’re managing a facility, you don’t want to get stuck playing defense. Why? If you’re constantly putting out fires (including literal fires, for some facilities), there’s no time to think or act proactively. Not to mention, emergency maintenance is incredibly stressful on both individuals and the organization as a whole.
Emergency maintenance can drain resources; it’s disruptive for your maintenance team and can take hours or even days of their time. It’s also costly in terms of equipment repairs and downtime. And in terms of workflow, it can cause a ripple effect as other maintenance tasks are paused in order to remedy the emergency at hand. That’s called deferred maintenance, which can lead to a slew of other costly problems down the line.
Emergencies can never be fully eliminated (sh*t happens, ya know?), but there are a few things facility managers can do to reduce the number and frequency of emergency maintenance tasks.
Number one on the solutions list: have a proactive or preventive maintenance plan in place. Since proactive maintenance involves regularly scheduled inspections and tests, you’re more likely to catch small issues before they snowball into larger problems or emergency situations. There are various strategies that can be employed within a preventive maintenance plan, including condition-based maintenance and predictive maintenance, depending on the needs and capabilities of your facility and maintenance team.
The best way to manage these maintenance strategies is with a CMMS that can handle it all and help you stay organized. When it comes to maintenance tasks, having the ability to generate work orders seamlessly can save time—especially when you’re dealing with a multitude of moving pieces. What’s more, a CMMS like FlowPath can help you perform proactive maintenance tasks more efficiently, thanks to project management planning and automation, and calendar and event planning capabilities.
Record-keeping has been an invaluable engine boost to help organizations know where they’ve been, what they have, and decide where they’re going. It’s also a process that nevertheless remains a thorn in the sides of many facility managers. Keeping manual track of facility assets is nothing short of hard work that often goes unfinished.
But if facility managers don’t have an understanding of and a way to document their assets, then they can fall behind on important things such as asset maintenance management and asset output.
It’s hard to document and keep track of the status of assets. From an item’s purchase history to equipment model numbers, the devil is in the details and one wrongfully documented item could spell disaster.
Fortunately, the world of automated software has changed the face of asset management forever, and once you implement a solution, you’ll never look out your back window again.
Automated systems can reduce system volume complexity, but they also have reporting capabilities. With these detailed reports on the state of your facility’s assets, facilities managers have the data they need to make better business decisions, as well as increase the efficiency and simplicity of their documentation processes.
The cherry on top? CMMS platforms like FlowPath are exceedingly user-friendly, meaning that switching to a software platform and digitizing your documentation and processes will not only improve the accuracy of your documentation and tracking, but also be a time-save and a headache-preventer for you and your employees.
Organizational knowledge, also known as tribal knowledge, is arguably one of the most important assets that any organization possesses. Defined as “the sum of unwritten information, knowledge, and capabilities of people within a company,” organizational knowledge is a psychological phenomenon that intelligent and agile companies know about and should attempt to harness because of how important it is.
Do you have that one employee who does things better than all the rest, and you don’t know why? The way they understand and execute their tasks falls under the category of tribal knowledge. Their process is unique and unwritten, yet invaluable information when it comes to running your business better. And oftentimes companies make the mistake of thinking that this information makes their individual employees better.
What it really does is make the whole of the company weaker than what it could be. Companies instead should seek to document their tribal knowledge, because if there is no way built out for employees to pass their knowledge to other employees, your company will be losing out on the benefit of having all of their employees doing their jobs optimally.
To clear up this roadblock, employees need a way to document organizational data. If your employees don’t have a place where they can document their tribal knowledge, then chances are you’re losing the positive effects that that information could have on your other employees.
Invest in a system that collects data, keeps records, and most importantly, allows your employees to easily document their processes and tribal knowledge. When this documentation becomes accessible to younger and less experienced employees, it makes everyone more confident in their jobs and less dependent on higher management. Plus, it reduces the cost of taking on and teaching employees and allows for organizations to scale faster.
You might be ready for what happens now, but what about what happens next? Future-proofing your operations is a huge challenge, but also hugely important. Companies saw just how important future-proofing is with the COVID-19 pandemic; those businesses that were able to adapt to the changing nature of work were able to survive and even thrive during that time. The more future-proofed your facility is, the less operational risk your organization will face in the years to come.
Developing an operating model that truly fits the flow of your company is one of the most important yet hard to achieve aspects of running a business. Technology is a huge part of not only creating an operating model that is future-proof but also building an operating model that helps your facility run smoothly and efficiently.
Having insight into your operations by digitally transforming your processes is the first step in future-proofing your facility. After all, you can’t know where you’re going until you’ve seen where you’ve been. Manual, paper-based operations do not allow you to readily have these critical insights and trends available. You also need standardized, fool-proof communication so you can act quickly and efficiently when new challenges arise.
Implementing a built-for-purpose system, like FlowPath, that’s intuitive and connected can help with seamless data collection and record-keeping as you plan for the future.
No matter what industry you’re in, growing pains are a real thing. Out-growing a CMMS system due to difficulty in scaling with increased headcount can be hard to identify as the operational issue within an organization. After identification, it can be a difficult and costly problem to solve.
Growing pains can look different to different facility management professionals, but let’s run through some of the most common signs that you need new processes to continue to scale your business.
First off, do your facility managers find themselves frequently blindsided by shortfalls in accountability, documentation, and preventative maintenance? Chances are, your company had the right intentions and tried to use the CMMS to implement process, however the functions of the system were siloed or missing features, and thus did not get properly used amongst your employees as increased levels of communication, access, and functionality were needed. In other words, what used to work did not scale.
Inefficiency in data documentation can also be a sign that your company is growing out of its operational systems. Re-entering data over and over again is a huge waste of time that often results in errors. If anyone on your team is entering data more than once, then you need to re-think your facilities management system.
This re-entering of data leads us to our last harbinger of outgrowth: backtracking. Backtracking occurs when an employee realizes they are using either an outdated or incorrect data set, meaning they have to go back and find the right data and perform their duties all over again. This is often a result of poor business software that spells a lot of wasted effort.
Make sure to invest in facility management software that is able to meet your company’s current needs as well as its future needs. Invest in a system that is simple to use across multiple teams and offers reporting on data to allow your company to make data-backed, strategic decisions.
In this 21st century age of automation, building facility management should seek to rid their companies of as many manual processes as possible. The bottom line is that core department functions need to be automated.
Manual processes pose a danger to the function of your facility, as data can get lost or misplaced when it is input through paper-based systems.
But the difficulties of maintaining manual processes don’t stop there. Onboarding new employees can be incredibly difficult to do manually, and whereas communication, best practices, and training “guard-rails” often happen in facilities management software, manual processes have no built-in structure for this.
Take advantage of all of the new automation technology on the market today and utilize it to manage work orders, protect customer data, automate reporting, and more.
Automating processes will change the face of your operational facilities management, completely revolutionizing while simultaneously simplifying your processes. It will reduce system volume complexity and increase reporting capabilities in order for your facilities management team to make better business decisions, increase efficiency and simplicity, and enjoy an end-user-friendly experience.
Are you overwhelmed with data and information? Are you working with a complex system that is hard to manage correctly? You might want to consider a different data management solution.
Having multiple datasets that multiple different departments utilize is a waste of time that leads to inaccuracies. Oftentimes, facilities management could benefit from switching to a simpler, more streamlined system that is a better size for both small and large teams alike to manage efficiently.
Consistency is important for facilities management across the board, but it is especially necessary when it comes to managing internal data. The data gathered through inputting it into an automated system will then help facilities to create actionable insights into the performance of their facility. These actions could include:
Manage data like a pro, and more importantly, own your data, with a work order management system. With a built-for-purpose system for data collection and record-keeping, your employees have instant and updated access to information that shows how your business is performing over time, and why it is performing how it is. This allows for a better understanding on how to duplicate or improve certain processes, among other important factors.
The internal management system of a company is composed of the policies and procedures that allow goals and objectives to be achieved within the company.
In smaller businesses, the facility manager usually controls all of the activities of the company by direct participation and/or supervision. However, as a company grows, this hands-on approach becomes more and more difficult to utilize and challenges can arise.
How to Reroute
Growing businesses of any size need the ability to provide clients and employees with an internal management system that can act as both the business’s operating system and their client’s internal software. Setting standard operating procedures and optimizing both the internal and external user experience are two ways to do that.
A CMMS like FlowPath can help you with both. For one, our easy, intuitive platform works as a centralized system of record to help you stay organized. It’s also incredibly user-friendly, making it easy for internal and external users alike to communicate effectively. Ultimately, an internal/external management system helps build customer relationships, reduce complexity, assist with vendor network management, and drive revenue.
We’ve covered the eight most common roadblocks—but what if you’re still getting stuck? Check out these frequently asked questions to see where other facilities managers are getting caught up (and what you can do about it).
How can facility management be improved?
Technology is the number one way facility management can be improved—at least in our book! In the past, many tasks and facility management responsibilities had to be performed manually, which makes things difficult for a number of reasons: it’s slow, tedious, and opens the door for mistakes. Now, so many of these tasks can be automated and managed across digital devices, freeing up valuable time that facilities managers can use for big-picture planning.
How can facility management be changed through technology?
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, technology can also be a valuable reporting and communication tool. FlowPath provides seamless and customizable reporting tools to support data analysis and foster consistent stakeholder communication.
What’s the best CMMS to help improve facility management?
You know the answer… FlowPath! Why? Our CMMS can do it all. From automating workflows and streamlining communication to inventory and asset management, FlowPath makes it easier for facility managers to stay on top of their operations and goals.
The road facility managers travel can be fraught with twists and turns. Let FlowPath help you navigate your job’s biggest challenges. Talk to an expert and see how our software can transform your workflow, and be sure to schedule a demo to see it in action.