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What is Facilities Management? A Complete Guide

What is Facilities Management?
What is Facilities Management?

Facilities management (FM) is the tools and services that keep the day-to-day operations of buildings and infrastructure operating smoothly, safely, and sustainably. It includes tasks such as maintenance, repairs, space planning, health and safety, security, energy management, and more. FM professionals handle a wide range of responsibilities to ensure that buildings and spaces are well-maintained, safe, and functional.

Why Is Facilities Management Important?

Facilities management is a vital piece of allowing a business to operate like a well-oiled machine. It affects aspects of your facility such as:

  •     Employee productivity
  •     Energy efficiency
  •     Cost reduction
  •     Sustainability
  •     Technology optimization
  •     Scalability
  •     Automation capabilities
  •     Employee experience

For businesses that own and manage their facilities, strong facilities management allows your employees to be more likely to have the functioning equipment that allows them to do their jobs along with the safe, comfortable workplace they need. Your facilities management affects your bottom line more directly too, allowing you to prevent or delay costly repairs and replacements, keep your energy costs low by maintaining energy efficiency, and more. For businesses that lease and manage facilities for their tenants or clients, facilities management allows you to uphold your contracts and establish a positive reputation to grow your business.

What Does a Facilities Manager Do?

Facilities managers can go by many titles and may have their responsibilities divided across a whole team too. Generally, though, a facilities manager maintains the building, its assets, and its mechanical operations.

This can look different in owner-occupied buildings compared to commercial real estate buildings. If your business owns the building where you operate, your facilities manager oversees all the building’s systems (such as HVAC, water, energy efficiency, exterior security, and so on) as well as all the mechanical needs inside the building (such as operational equipment, workplace safety, internal security, and often employee experience).

If your business leases your facility, on the other hand, your facilities manager will only be responsible for your business’s mechanical needs inside the building. The building’s systems and exteriors will be managed by your landlord’s property manager instead.

On a daily basis, facilities managers are responsible for tasks such as:

  •     Sustainability planning
  •     Preventative maintenance
  •     Coordinating repairs for building systems and/or equipment
  •     Creating and enforcing strategies for workplace safety
  •     Scheduling and completing legally required inspections
  •     Overseeing facility cleanings
  •     Planning for disaster mitigation

The work of a facilities manager is varied and complex, making facilities management software a vital tool for facility planning, operational efficiency, and staying on top of your essentials.

What is Facilities Management Software?

Facilities management (FM) software enables organizations to manage their entire repair and maintenance program from a web-based dashboard. This type of software is designed to help businesses save time and money by properly managing their buildings, assets, and occupants more efficiently and effectively.

With a robust facility management platform, multi-site facility managers can perform a range of functions related to ongoing maintenance and repair, including asset management, commercial contractor sourcing and compliance, work order fulfillment, preventive maintenance scheduling, invoicing, and data analytics. The right tools allow FM teams to adequately track the usage of space, analyze spending patterns over time, ensure compliance, increase energy efficiency, and cut costs – all while enhancing communications with service providers and internal stakeholders.

Key Benefits of Facilities Management Software

A robust maintenance software platform will facilitate a range of tasks necessary to ensure 24/7 brand support across all locations while also providing strategic insights into maintenance costs and resource allocation. Key benefits of facilities management software include streamlined contractor invoicing and payment processing, improved visibility into work order management, and increased access to facilities data.

Repair & Maintenance Management

The primary responsibility of any facilities management team is keeping assets in optimal working condition, which involves proactive scheduling of any needed repairs or equipment maintenance (R&M). The right software makes it easy to submit asset maintenance work orders on the go, track their status, and ensure completion. 

Parts & Supply Management

Facilities management software provides an easy-to-use mechanism where businesses can buy approved sourced and contracted materials. Maintaining control over these purchases helps businesses save money, ensure quality, streamline ordering, and keep track of warranties.

Settlement/Payment Processing

Using facility management software, contractor invoices can be submitted online, validated against contracted rates and applicable sales taxes, coded for G/L processing, and linked with third-party accounting systems. 

Asset Management

Facilities management software provides a single platform where a comprehensive record of all equipment and locations, including all work history and maintenance records, can be stored. This simplifies how to manage assets – the tagging, management, and tracking of equipment warranties, mandatory inspections, and planned maintenance.

Proposal Management

Most facilities management platforms offer digital RFP management, which allows FMs to easily send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to one or more contractors, monitor RFP status, and quickly accept or sign contracts. 

Call Center Access

Facility management software often includes call center access for 24/7 work order submissions by location staff over the phone. This allows for formal follow-up of time-sensitive service requests to ensure timely contractor performance and reassignment if needed.

Contractor Sourcing and Management

Facility teams can access qualified, vetted, and insured contractors and all contractor data, including W-9 forms and insurance information, through a centralized database. This simplifies the contracting process and ensures higher-quality work at a lower cost.  

Preventive & Scheduled Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping R&M costs down. With FM software, you can schedule, authorize not-to-exceed (NTE) pricing, and validate all preventive and scheduled facility maintenance events – including mandatory inspections.

Open and Scalable Architecture

Cloud and SaaS-delivered facilities management software works regardless of the underlying IT platform and can easily be adapted to company-wide system updates or changes. 

Facilities Management Software Features

  •     Simplified Work Order Management – Location staff can enter facility maintenance service requests directly into the system; work orders are then routed to the appropriate contractor at appropriate, pre-approved rates. 
  •     Staffing Support – One-on-one support from experienced ServiceChannel staff for ongoing solution upgrades and maintenance, contractor and site-specific location onboarding, and scalability as your organization continues to grow. 
  •     Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform – Our continually updated, cloud-based facility management system eliminates costly software installs and upgrades and removes the burden of supporting additional hardware – all of which dramatically reduces the total cost of ownership.
  •     Spend Analysis – All facilities management spend data and analytics are displayed in real-time in easy-to-read dashboard graphics. View historical data, identify trends and outliers, benchmark against goals and industry standards, and forecast future spend.
  •     Third-Party Integrations – ServiceChannel’s facility management software easily connects to other corporate platforms, such as third-party accounting and payment systems, minimizing data input errors and streamlining payment and audit processes.
  •     Easily Source and Credential Contractors – Enjoy simple, automated processes for maintaining and updating contractor contact and payment information and tracking insurance and certifications. Plus, access our contractor directory to find qualified service providers with the right skills for the specific project. 

FAQs About Facility Management Software

Facility management software is designed to streamline repair and maintenance programs by automating the work order process, facilitating preventive maintenance, and providing a wealth of valuable data about facility performance and spend. 

Of course, every business has different needs when it comes to facilities management. Before implementing an FM software solution, businesses should consider the following questions:

What is an FM management system?

An FM management system (or facility management system) is a comprehensive software solution designed to help organizations efficiently manage and oversee their physical assets, spaces, and infrastructure. It provides tools for planning, tracking, optimizing, and maintaining various aspects of a facility’s operations, maintenance, and services. Key features of facility management systems may include asset management, work order management, space management, maintenance, vendor, and energy management, resource allocation, and reporting and analytics tools. Facility management systems are used in a wide range of industries, including commercial real estate, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and government sectors, where managing complex facility operations and maintenance is essential for optimal functioning.

What are the two major types of facilities management software?

Two major types of facilities management tools are on the market today. CAFM software, which stands for Computer-Aided Facility Management, and CMMS software, which stands for Computerized Maintenance Management Software.

CAFM offers administrative capabilities to facilities managers, such as tracking assets and maintenance requests, management, planning, and reporting on physical spaces and business locations. CAFM software serves primarily as a database for FM-related equipment, spending, and activities and often includes BIM or CAD functionality.

CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software) is another type of facility management software that contains many of the same common features used as CAFM software but provides a somewhat deeper look into a company’s maintenance planning and execution. CMMS software may include automated maintenance scheduling and tracking capabilities and is particularly geared toward preventive maintenance.

How can facilities management software help businesses cut costs? 

Implementing a software platform is one of the fastest ways to reduce facility management spending. Simply moving from an error-prone, inefficient pen-and-paper system to a digitized and automated platform decreases the time and resources that must be dedicated to work order management, allowing teams to instead focus on forward-thinking, preventive measures. Plus, access to advanced analytics makes it easy to pinpoint patterns of overspend and core areas of improvement so that these can be quickly addressed and reversed. 

Top facility management software also integrates with third-party financial systems to help businesses improve transparency in R&M spending, avoiding the time-consuming process of manual data entry. Businesses can access valuable metrics such as cost per square foot per year, per user, per workplace, per month, and many other relevant reports. This data helps facilities teams identify areas that need improvement and come up with solutions to strategically reduce costs. 

Finally, the best facility management software makes it easier for businesses to enact preventive maintenance schedules.

Preventive maintenance saves money by reducing the number of breakdowns and emergency repairs that a business experiences each year while also preventing warranty leakage and unnecessary equipment replacements. With an automated preventive maintenance schedule in place, assets will last longer, and overall maintenance spending will be greatly reduced. 

What is the ROI of facility management software?

Facility management software typically has a strong ROI, especially for multi-location businesses whose facilities programs have previously been run on pen-and-paper. Oftentimes, the savings brought about solely by switching to electronic payment processing (as opposed to manual invoicing) is enough to offset the cost of a facility management platform and then some.

To estimate potential ROI for facilities management software, multiply your total annual maintenance expense by the total annual savings percentage expected as a result of the software implementation. This value represents your total annual efficiency savings. Subtract the cost of the FM software from the total annual efficiency savings to determine total annual ROI savings. 

What is the role of facility management?

The role of facilities management (FM) is to ensure buildings and spaces run smoothly. It involves tasks like maintenance, safety, security, energy consumption and efficiency, budgeting, and emergency planning. FM aims to create a safe, productive, and comfortable environment while managing costs and regulatory compliance. It’s vital for a well-functioning organization.

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