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11 Ways Facilities Departments Manage Spend Better with ServiceChannel

Modified on

March 10, 2023

Saving money is often a primary motivator for facilities departments to implement an FM system. However, not every system has the comprehensive functionality to drive cost savings across all aspects of a facilities operation.

ServiceChannel’s Service Automation platform has worked with over 200 leading multi-site brands, uncovering savings in all parts of their businesses. Here are 11 specific opportunities for your company to reduce expenses while increasing performance and quality of service – all without any added capital investment.

1. Real Time Reports and Alerts Focus on Bottom Line Impact


Whether it’s receiving an alert when excessive calls occur at a particular location or getting a text message when a technician is late for an emergency call, ServiceChannel’s Service Automation enables facilities departments to manage by exception, focusing on those 15% of issues that have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

Our real-time reporting helps facilities departments drive efciencies into the work order lifecycle. By focusing on only those work orders in trouble such as those rejected, late on the ETA or in progress for too long, you better spend your valuable time.

2. Scorecarding Boosts External Contractor Performance

Have more constructive conversations with your contractors that lead to better service levels and stronger relationships with our Contractor Scorecard. ServiceChannel’s Analytics gives you visibility into industry-standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through easy to use dashboards and visualizations. This intelligence allows you to compare one contractor to another, or even one region to another.

For the first time, gain new insight, visibility and quality of service monitoring across your entire set of contractors. With the Contractor Scorecard, you can now easily find out how your contractors are performing by measuring them overall and individually against KPIs like:

    • First Time Completion Rate
    • On-time Arrival Rate
    • Overall Time to Resolution

“ServiceChannel is in the process of transforming the industry, assisting companies to better understand and run their operations, and assisting their service providers to better understand and compete. The Contractor Scorecard is already yielding signicant results.” – Paul Walsh, Former Director of Strategic Sourcing, Gap Inc.

3. Reduced Broker Management Fees Cut R&M Expenses

National/regional brokers that focus on targeted specialties and bring real expertise to the table are great for the industry and can be valuable partners. But many facilities departments use brokers when it is not necessary (and pay upwards of 25% markup) because of the paperwork required to work with self-performing contractors.

In fact, when a broker is used outside its area of expertise, it often sub-contracts the work to another broker, doubling the markup to the client. ServiceChannel never markups contractor invoices; we help you avoid markups by finding self-performing specialists via ServiceChannel’s extensive directory of commercial contractors (Fixxbook). Fixxbook empowers you to manage more relationships without increasing workload so you can lower your spend on needless markups.

4. Online Troubleshooting Reduces Unnecessary Calls & Work

When a service request is placed by your location staff through Service Automation’s Dashboard, prior to the request being dispatched to a contractor, the system offers a series of helpful troubleshooting tips designed to solve the problem without contractor intervention to avoid the call or minimize work in one of three flavors:

    • Descriptive (e.g., if the lights are out, check the breaker)
    • Interactive/Sequential (e.g., for ceiling damage, ask about tiles that are damaged, lights that need to be repaired, etc.)
    • Visual (e.g., the system shows the user a picture of the issue and how to solve it)

ServiceChannel has a wealth of best practices we offer to every client. By combining our work history reports and years of experience along with your team’s site-specific knowledge, we can assist in optimizing your troubleshooting processes, which can result in savings up to 8% from call avoidance.

5. Taking Control of NTE Means Taking Control of Spend

Your ‘Not to Exceed’ (NTE) limit is a key tool for effectively managing spend. Yet many facilities departments have a flat NTE by trade, contractor or region simply because it is difficult to change. But an emergency plumbing fix in New York shouldn’t have the same budget limit as one in Nebraska.

With ServiceChannel’s Work Order Manager, metrics-based NTEs can be set by problem, trade and geography. Facilities Managers can easily analyze their historic spend data to find the NTE levels that help reduce spend while limiting the number of proposals.

Use Case

One ServiceChannel client, by tracking costs and implementing tighter and more accurate NTE controls saw significant cost reductions. Over a one year period, this national restaurant chain:

    • Reduced average invoice cost by 12% and
    • Saved over $1.7 million

6. On-Site Check-In/Check-Out Helps Validate Contractor Services

With the On-site Check-in/Check-out functionality in Work Order Manager, there’s no more paying for work not received. For example, you don’t want to pay for preventive maintenance that never happened, or for 4 hours of work when the contractor was only on-site for 2 hours.

ServiceChannel lets you validate contractor presence and labor invoicing via real-time updates with GPS and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technologies. This way, you ensure every invoice accurately reflects services rendered. And with Caller ID verification and GPS tracking, you know the technician was on-site, when he arrived, and when he left.

7. Work Order Bundling Reduces Spend While Maintaining Your Brand

You can implement a deferred maintenance program which “bundles” non-emergency calls and dispatches them in batch at monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly intervals, reducing spend on trip charges while maintaining your brand.

Continually optimize your cost savings by using Service Automation’s Analytics to monitor results and tweak your dispatch frequency.

8. Flexible Preventive Maintenance Aligns Location Spend with Location Revenue


Without a mechanism to effectively schedule and validate preventive maintenance, facilities departments are flying blind – they have no idea if the preventive maintenance visits they are paying for are actually occurring.

With the Planned Maintenance Manager, you can deploy location-specific preventive maintenance programs that align with location requirements and ensure services occur when needed, and only when needed. For example, you can assign more rigorous preventive maintenance programs to locations with higher sales numbers, foot traffic or brand equity, and easily adjust your locations’ frequencies on the fly, as their needs change. Importantly, you can sleep well knowing, you are only paying for maintenance received.

9. Prevent Unsatisfactory Service Calls and Repeated Issues from Becoming Problem Invoices

After each service call, Work Order Manager prompts the location manager to leave feedback. Similar to eBay®, location managers can rate a work order as positive, neutral or negative, and until that rating is made, the contractor is unable to invoice for the job.

When negative feedback is provided, both the contractor and the Facilities Manager are notified and the NTE limit is automatically changed to zero. This prevents the contractor from submitting the invoice until the work is completed satisfactorily.

A similar concept is employed when your locations find a problem that was a result of something not being addressed properly during a previous visit. Your locations can submit a work order as a “recall” which sets the NTE to zero so the contractor can’t invoice for the work.

10. Accrual Reporting Allows Powerful Budget Control

Compiling regular accrual reports requires so much manual work, there’s barely time to analyze the data contained in them. With ServiceChannel’s Analytics, accrual reporting is a powerful spend management tool.

Our analytics factors in your invoices and uninvoiced work orders by their NTE, providing you with powerful insight into your “budget vs actual” performance.

11. Electronic Invoicing, In-house Accounting System Integration Eliminates Manual Data Entry

Processing paper invoices from contractors costs money and takes valuable time away from higher-value FM activities. With Invoice Manager, all invoices are entered electronically by your external contractors (ServiceChannel trains and supports them) and validated by our system according to your business rules. (E.g. a contractor would not be able to invoice $1,000 for a job that was only authorized with a $500 NTE unless a proposal was approved by you.)

The result is you spend less time reviewing invoices with no issues and need only focus on those activities that will “move the needle.” Now, all invoices arrive in a common electronic format with all backup and work order history as part of the digital file. Once approved, your invoices are sent to your in-house accounting software (e.g., Oracle®, SAP®, Great Plains®, Lawson®, etc.). Payments can be posted back to the ServiceChannel system so your contractors have visibility into payment status and you field fewer payment related inquiries.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for a free demo.

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