Facilities management is a broad and varied discipline – as such, tips for success are equally varied. While some articles might focus on things like customer and expectation management, here the focus will be on the practical steps you can take to make the facilities you manage more efficient.
These tips have been grouped into four broad categories, and following any and/or all of them should make the facilities you manage more efficient and cost-effective:
- First, know your systems. Become familiar with the HVAC, lighting (and other electrical), kitchen, IT – anything that uses power. From there, look for ways you can improve efficiency and cut costs.
- Check your HVAC fixtures. For example, a facility might have a very old boiler that could use replacing – modern day boilers and furnaces are much more efficient, and can give you a positive ROI within a short time frame by taking advantage of government subsidies for high AFUE boilers. Air conditioners can also be replaced with high-efficiency models.
- Lighting is another common power sink. You can reduce or eliminate most night time lighting, and you can replace old lights with LEDs.
- Watch out for vampire power and other power drains. Most IT should be shut off (or at least in standby mode) automatically after a certain time. Some kitchen appliances (chiefly microwaves) should be unplugged or put on programmable power bars to lower costs.
- Check your insulation. Old insulation can lead to serious efficiency loss through thermal transfer, while in some places proper insulation can eliminate your need for a conventional boiler. No matter where you are located, properly insulating your building can seriously reduce your HVAC-related costs.
- There are three kinds of maintenance: reactive, preventive, and predictive. You’ll use all three (more on that in the “Data and Technology” section), but the primary type of maintenance you do should be preventive. It leads to incredible efficiency because things will become far less prone to breaking down when you’ll be needing them.
- Create a preventive maintenance plan. Inventory all of your assets, figure out how each of those assets can fail, and schedule time in which each of those assets will be maintained. From there, make sure you have sufficient spare parts to complete preventive maintenance, allowing for extra time in case reactive maintenance is needed. Schedule the maintenance for any asset during the time that asset is least used.
- Consider using different triggers for the maintenance of different assets – chiefly, by use instead of by time. In other words, don’t count idle time into the number of hours before preventive maintenance should be conducted for all assets because most assets degrade less quickly when they’re idling.
- Don’t be afraid to suggest new layouts for work spaces. Facilities management is your area of expertise – you know how to design spaces that are more easily accessible, promote an efficient flow of traffic, and improve the morale of employees. All of this can seem a bit ethereal to some business owners, so show them the numbers and provide diagrams of how your plan will make their workspace more efficient.
- Adapt quickly. Work-from-home has become an incredibly popular model in 2020, and that has inevitably created inefficiencies in spaces where there were once many more employees. Creating office spaces out of easily moved materials can help you adapt to these changes more rapidly, allowing for efficiencies in workflow, lighting, and other areas.
Data and Technology
- Use facility maintenance software. These things (mostly sold as Saas) do everything, from monitoring your preventive maintenance schedule, allowing you to create specific maintenance triggers for assets, automating work orders, and allowing you and your team to access data remotely.
- Get smart technology to monitor your power use, water use, and more. Smart technologies (like smart thermostats) can help you both monitor how much energy a particular system is using, and automatically program those systems to reduce their output outside of peak hours. A comprehensive energy management system is a must.
- Pair your accumulated data with KPIs. KPIs and good data have a positive relationship – the more data you collect, the more accurate your KPIs can be. Reaching goals built on your KPIs will lead to more efficient data collection processes, less wasted energy, and a better managed facility.
And with that lucky 13th tip, you have a whole toolkit of things you can use to improve how you manage your facilities. There are, of course, a whole lot of other tips, so let us know if you’re interested in more articles like this.
Christie Simon is a writer based in Canada. She writes articles with a focus on marketing and entrepreneurship for a variety of businesses. Some of her favourite pieces can be found on the Funeral Home Marketing website.