From the Experts: Key Takeaways on How to Evaluate a Facilities Management Platform
If you missed our recent webinar, we got you covered! Attendees heard from facilities management experts from AutoNation and RaceTrac on why they considered deploying FM technology, the benefits they gained for their FM program (and company as a whole) and some of the best practices they’re now following.
Facilities Management Problems
These experienced FMs first spoke of a number of the issues they each had been grappling with and what they were facing in their day-to-day world. Both worked for organizations with a large number of locations (retail establishments) that needed to be maintained, equipment that had to be repaired and local staff that had to be supported.
During the session, they highlighted some key challenges, applicable to most any FM:
- Inefficient Communication: they needed a more efficient and effective way to communicate across their organization
- Disparate Audiences: inefficient communication was exacerbated due to all the people they needed to talk to: Operations, Field Service and Local Store staff as well as third party vendors and suppliers
- Reactive Driven Approach: without much automation and systematic prioritization, a large amount of attention was unnecessarily directed to low level tasks that truly didn’t require personal involvement
The FMs struggled with these issues as they had to deal w/the fact that “lots of people were in the dark” and “needed stores on their ‘A’ game.” They all quickly realized that they could “migrate 40-60% of the ‘low level stuff’ to automation” thus freeing up resources and enabling a more strategic, value-add approach to facilities management.
FM Software Technology Drove Significant Benefits
Both RaceTrac and AutoNation covered a number of significant gains from deploying facilities management technology. Some of the points they covered included:
- “Able to be a lot more strategic”
- “Can show vendors exactly where they’re not doing well”
- “Reporting is invaluable…we know exactly what’s going on across our business, down to the store level”
- “Vendors can easily check-in and out automatically on site, and attach pictures to work orders, so we can determine what’s right or wrong with our stores”
- “Can update people within minutes” on the issues important to them
And the biggest benefit highlighted was one focused a bit more on an FM’s off-hours (for those that have those!): the FM software simply “helps you sleep better at night!”
Facilities Management Best Practices
The facilities executives concluded the wide ranging session discussing some of the best practices they’re following now by leveraging modern FM technology. Several of those mentioned were:
- Mobile: Mobile access has become critical, allowing them, their teams and local store staff immediate ability to report, track and resolve work orders, service requests and emergency issues.
- Data: Service automation technology enabled newfound visibility to understand how best to manage their programs. Some of the most valuable data let then view and analyze:
- Issue volume by hour, day and week (“used to figure out how to staff [their] team”)
- Field Service data so they could now look at it all by cost (e.g., invoice amount by trade, vendor, store, region, etc.)
- NTE Levels so they could ensure these limits were at the right level and adjust them where applicable (“we could save lots of $ that way”)
- Contractor Management: With objective performance data, they could direct business to the best performing vendors and eliminate poorly performing vendors. This enabled efficiencies through reducing the amount of vendors they engaged (from “thousands to hundreds”).
It’s always great to hear from facilities management pros and how they benefit from the ServiceChannel Service Automation technology.
Perhaps RaceTrac’s Jelani Headley, when discussing what they got out of the platform said it best, “We could see things we couldn’t see before.”