Automation Doesn’t Have to be a Four-Letter Word for FM Pros

Automation Doesn’t Have to be a Four-Letter Word for FM Pros

Automation technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics are getting a bad rap these days as a job killer with predictions as dire as one-in-three jobs being replaced by automation over the next 15 years. As we discussed in a recent blog post, this process is known as “creative destruction,” and it’s been going on for centuries since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It’s perhaps enough to incite impacted workers into cursing a blue storm about the evils of technology.

However, we know technology can also greatly enhance jobs and even whole industries. More importantly, according to this article, the right type of technology can provide critical new skills and capabilities that can help professionals successfully transition to the realities of modern economies and operational models.

Let’s take a look at how the facilities management industry is benefiting from service automation technologies.

FM Efficiency Through Service Automation

This is core to the ServiceChannel mission, which is about helping FM pros and their contractors operate more efficiently and intelligently through service automation. There are countless benefits associated with this such as:

  • Enhanced visibility throughout the entire lifecycle of a facilities work order
  • Insights gained through constant analysis of real-time and historic data such as costs, vendor performance and operational efficiency
  • Accelerated invoicing and payment processes that slash the high costs associated with manual processing

With these capabilities and many others, FM teams can assemble a dashboard full of key performance indicators, giving them a comprehensive view of their world, literally at their fingertips. In the days before service automation technologies, having such an actionable window into one’s facilities program was likely an impossibility.

Service Automation Analytics
Sample dashboard offering a wealth of real-time and historic data available to service automation-enabled FM professionals

FM Automation Success Stories

The good news is that none of this is mere theory scribbled on a whiteboard in a conference room somewhere. Service automation is making a real difference in companies of all sizes in just about every industry that exists today.

Over the last two decades, we at ServiceChannel have seen all kinds of success stories in how service automation has driven meaningful innovation for facilities professionals for the better.

We’re not referring to innovation for innovation’s sake, as in whiz-bang features and functionality that FM pros can tinker with. Rather, we’re referring to how service automation has created real opportunities for its users to innovate within their very job functions in highly creative ways.

Here are a few recent examples we’ve come across:

  • The FM pros at a big box retailer used the photo-sharing capability in the mobile app to take pictures of structural issues with one of its buildings to secure more favorable lease terms with its landlord.
  • The operations team at another retailer ingeniously figured out a way to use the interactive troubleshooting tool in Work Order Manager to give employees a self-service way to diagnose issues with key store equipment before they opened service tickets. This has saved the company nearly a million dollars since implementation.
  • The asset management team at a fresh pet food company was able to provide its refrigeration manufacturer valuable insights into what equipment parts were susceptible to failure by analyzing repair and maintenance trends available through Analytics Custom. The manufacturer used this data to change its assembly process and reduce equipment failure rates dramatically over time.

Service Automation = People + Technology

The key point in these success stories is that none of these capabilities is spelled out in any of our software specs or application notes. You won’t find them outlined in our data sheets or in our product descriptions.

Instead, these success stories reinforce the important idea that human ingenuity enhanced by technology is what true “digital transformation” is about. This is certainly true for our customers who find more and more innovative ways to use our service automation suite every day.

So, the only four-letter words for service automation that you’re likely to hear among our users are WHAT and NEXT.