How Two Days Away from the Office Made Me a Better Facilities Manager
If you’re a facilities manager, no one needs to tell you that you’re overworked, as you’re jumping from fire to fire, and likely getting pulled in hundreds of different directions most of the time. That’s the job. But what about moving your business forward? In these belt-tightening times, everyone always needs to be adding value, helping the overall business, beyond simply getting one’s day-to-day responsibilities done.
When managing a repair & maintenance (R&M) program for an array of a company’s facilities, there are lots of opportunities to be forward thinking, increase service levels and customer satisfaction, support Brand Uptime and otherwise improve your organization’s performance across a number of areas. But how do you really know if you’re doing all that you can, particularly with respect to what others in similar positions are doing? You may find that leaving the office is just what you need to do.
In speaking with lots of facilities managers like you, we’ve seen how important it is to gain knowledge from – and share knowledge with – your peers. But how exactly can you do that? Before the recent PRSM Mid-Year Conference in Columbus, OH, ServiceChannel held our User Group Meeting. Throughout, there was a lot of knowledge sharing among the attendees.
While attendees overwhelmingly felt they were benefiting from the ServiceChannel platform (overheard: “I can’t believe how much time we wasted before we started using this…”), most FMs were focused on learning how they could maximize the value they were getting from the technology. Importantly, everyone was excited to engage in this collaborative environment to learn from each other.
Some of the ‘best practice’ highlights that attendees found most informative and useful included:
- Self-reporting Equipment: One attendee shared a particularly fascinating story of how he is planning to have some of his food equipment configured to actually place a service request through ServiceChannel – automatically and wirelessly – to perform necessary repairs and maintenance. (We plan to share more details on this innovative approach to FM in a future post.)
- System Integrations: Attendees shared a number of benefits they’ve gained from integrating other systems they have in place with ServiceChannel. For example, several are importing location-specific energy management data into ServiceChannel. Then by running ProView’s business intelligence report engine on this data, they get a better sense of each store’s actual spend. Combining R&M costs with energy costs provides both facilities and store/restaurant staff new insights in how to increase efficiencies and reduce spend.
- Risk/Liability Management: Another interesting discussion focused on the importance of establishing clear rules and responsibilities with a location’s property manager(s). The need to define for each location who’s responsible for what, what the escalations procedures are for both regular and emergency R&M issues, and how costs are allocated was stressed. Not having these issues explicitly defined – particularly ahead of any major problems that inevitably arise – can leave a company open to significant liabilities (e.g. a minor problem within your store causing a major detrimental impact on an adjacent establishment).
As everyone learned, it’s easy to say you’re following FM ‘best practices,’ but without benefiting from such shared experiences, are you really? Can you be sure? Regardless of what FM system you might be using, it’s important to ‘get out of the office’ and regularly connect with your fellow FM professionals. With FMs representing a client base of over 200 retail, restaurant and convenience store brands, our recent User Group is just one instance of FM community-based knowledge sharing. How can you be the best without knowing what others are doing?