Business intelligence solves 4 big facilities management challenges
Despite their best efforts, facilities managers (FMs) don’t always have enough information for decisions affecting their work orders, service providers, or assets.
For example, when selecting a quality service provider in a distant location, they may use gut instinct, which, while valuable and honed over decades, does have shortcomings. More likely, they’ll solicit referrals for a new provider from other FMs familiar with the location, but that can take time and places a lot of emphasis on individual experience
Business intelligence (BI), on the other hand, can suggest high-performing service providers vetted and ranked by their own customers. Using this “crowd-sourced” approach can be much more reliable than “gut” or “individual opinion.”
Gut instincts and referrals are not data-driven sources of information, and they can’t be scaled. Plus, when aging FMs retire—an increasing trend—they’ll take their vast experience, referrals, and institutional knowledge with them. BI, however, is permanent.
Business intelligence is an essential component of professional facilities management (FM) software. It crunches mountains of data and generates insights, often presented in easy-to-understand, visual dashboards with a high-level view for the C-suite and links to details for FMs.
4 big FM challenges and solutions
Challenge 1: Maintenance costs are out of control, and there’s no portfolio-level visibility to pinpoint bottlenecks, inefficient workflows, and underperforming assets.
Solution 1: With BI dashboards, FMs can see the performance of their entire portfolio and identify the installations with high maintenance costs. Installations can even be compared against each other. Metrics for work-order completion times and invoicing turnarounds identify inefficiencies creating bottlenecks. Removing these bottlenecks cuts costs, saves time, maintains budgets, and boosts FM performance.
Dashboards can also show the percentage of assets currently on preventive maintenance (PM) schedules and identify others that aren’t but should be. Transitioning managed assets to PM saves money over time, reduces reactive repairs, and brings costs under control.
BI data saves time for understaffed teams. FMs don’t have to spend hours, possibly days, digging through data, organizing, filtering, and analyzing it—and then doing it all over again the next month. Software automation relieves FMs of all that work by generating new insights and analyses on the FMs’ behalf to improve operations.
Challenge 2: Understaffed FM teams struggle to keep up with work order demand and need a reliable network of service providers along with insights into their performance.
Solution 2: BI dashboards show metrics for service-provider performance over the short term and long term. With Corrigo, for example, overall score is visible as well as the percentage of first-time fix, on-time performance, and changes in labor rate. FMs can drill down into individual vendor relationships to see if performance is improving or declining over time and use this information to negotiate new rates and SLAs.
BI data helps FMs decide if it’s time to make a change due to cost or performance or both. Switching to lower-cost, higher quality vendors yields near-immediate savings that positively impact FM budgets.
Challenge 3: Repair-versus-replace decisions for equipment are uninformed without data.
Solution 3: Large FM programs manage hundreds, sometimes thousands, of assets, including equipment and machinery. FM software tracks repair histories, useful life, book values, asset age, replacement costs, and more for each managed asset.
BI analyzes these metrics to determine when asset replacement is more prudent, financially and operationally, than continued asset repair. Corrigo even provides recommendations for the hierarchy of equipment replacement.
Because replacing assets can be expensive, FMs need metrics to justify the cost to leadership, which may be skeptical or reluctant. BI generates the replacement recommendation based on hard metrics rather than opinion—often a default justification when data isn’t available.
Challenge 4: Other departments, like accounting and finance, need details about monthly FM spend and budget compliance, which always makes the end-of-month crazy.
Solution 4:BI tracks all facilities data in one convenient place with dashboards showing current FM costs visible to all stakeholders with permissions. Dashboards can be configured to include FM budgets and specific accounting and finance metrics. This is convenient for internal departments and for FMs freed from the barrage of emails and calls at month’s end. FM schedules for preventive maintenance and asset replacements give other departments advance notice of upcoming large expenditures.
BI automates the collection and presentation of financial and operational data with little, if any, FM input. If requested to do so, FMs can export data into larger BI, A/P or data-warehouse tools for easier access by other departments.
BI benefits the entire business
BI offers essential insights for expanding PM, extending asset life, selecting new vendors, creating and maintaining budgets, and boosting operational efficiency. Taken together, they multiply the contribution of FM to the larger organization and elevate the value of the FM team.