Buildings writer Janelle Penny advises that facilities act as a “business within a business,” by acting as a vendor selling different services to departments. FMs should decide how much money they can allocate to different departments, then use those figures to stay on target with their spending. When a department reaches its budget limit with facilities, that department should seek funding through another source, such as “supplemental funding from the organization.” However, CAFM software is also a useful tool that can supplement your budgeting efforts.
Once your company reaches a certain size, it’s important to have the right infrastructure in place. Nobody likes the stress of a chaotic office, of course, but a problem like disorganization or chaos runs deeper than low worker morale. Disorganization can do critical damage to your bottom line. This is why having the right CAFM software is so important. Without it, everyone in the company, from the CEO to the new intern, is affected. Let’s look at just a few of the specific players who can run into problems if they don’t have the support they need.
Without CAFM software to streamline the process, creating occupancy/vacancy reports can take hours. That’s because the information, instead of being in one central location, is fragmented between floor plans, occupancy-vacancy spreadsheets, and do-to lists.
On top of managing each of these items separately, the facilities manager has to take the time to physically walk around different floors of the building, noting what’s empty so they know where to move employees. When they have that information, not only do they have to update those spreadsheets, lists, and floorplans, they also have to enter this information into their computer systems and notify all necessary parties. FMs lose hours doing this process—and they often have to go through the entire cycle again a few months later.
The IT team is affected by poor infrastructure, too. IT workers are responsible for setting up phone lines and computers whenever someone moves to a new location. Without the right system in place; however, the information about the move may get lost or forgotten. If the IT team has a move scheduled and doesn’t remember it until they get an irate phone call, it’s likely that whatever projects they’re working on will have to be put on hold. Obviously, miscommunication interferes with their own schedules.
Just as it takes time to locate your favorite store on a mall map, the same is true with employees trying to find a certain person or resource. If they’re on a floor that they visit four times a year at most, finding what they need can eat up their precious time.
Moving can also be a confusing time for employees if there’s no clear communication between the necessary parties on what needs to be done. The delay caused by having to talk to the facilities manager and wait for the space to be set up can cause a delay in their own work.
The right software can prevent all of these issues. Facilities managers will have an easy tool for transferring a person from one space to another. Instead of having to deal with a paper trail, they’ll have a resource that only lets them update floorplans, but also alerts all the people needed for the move. Instead of having to make rounds around the building, they can manage all the moves without having to leave their desks.
This integrated system will also prevent any communication breakdowns with the IT team, so they can plan their schedules accordingly. More importantly, however, the right software will be easy to use, meaning they won’t have to spend hours providing support.
The software will be user-friendly for employees, too. It will give them a searchable map so that they can easily find what they need, just by entering a last name or keyword. If they move desks, they can simply sit down at their new space and start working right away, since IT and the FM will have already coordinated the move without any problems.
Without the software, many different departments will feel the effects. They’ll lose time on their work, and as a result, the company won’t be performing at maximum level. But with an effective software solution, everything can be business as usual. The software will take care of every aspect of the moving process (minus the actual moving part). By making so many people’s jobs easier, the software saves your company’s hard-earned dollars.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of using effective CAFM software:
Workplace management software addresses the problem that facilities management can be a drain on resources. As one expert writes, “Another department makes a request that requires a significant number of person-hours for your team to implement. This strategy leaves FM vulnerable to the usual accusations of not delivering enough or costing the company too much money.” CAFM software can help FMs avoid this problem by coordinating moves. With a move management tool to streamline the process, the move team, IT, and facilities can sync their activities. Moves will take place on time and without issues.
Other features can also help save money, such as the planning tool that allows FMs to try out different setups when rearranging floors. These “what-if”’ scenarios can help them arrange everything perfectly the first time. Without the labor costs associated with multiple moves, facilities can use its money more productively.
Another cost that’s been weighing on companies is the price of resources like paper. Two-thirds of respondents expected to see this cost increase, meaning that sustainability in the office is more important than ever. Software can contribute to green efforts by cutting down on paper use. Instead of having to print out multiple floor plans every few weeks or so, facilities can do everything it needs with the software. This may be a small contribution to a green energy program, but given that 2011 saw 10,000 sheets of printer paper per person used in American offices, software is a small but important step in the right direction.
Space utilization charts in CAFM software can also support these green efforts. With a view of what rooms and spaces are occupied, facilities can make informed decisions on whether the company is using its space effectively. For example, if the report shows that one floor is only at half capacity, they could strategize ways to allocate space so that energy usage isn’t spread out unnecessarily.
Helping workers stay productive is an added benefit of the software. Learning where to find their coworkers and company resources supports the company’s financial health. With the distractions of searching for these things removed, workers can operate at an optimal level, helping the company to earn more dollars, which can then be funneled back into the budget. This is a less overt money-saving measure, but it’s an important one, nonetheless.
It’s true that the facilities managers that expect their budgets to remain the same outnumber those expecting a decrease; however, the efforts to save money and resources are still important, regardless of your budget. In addition to drafting a careful budget for each department, implementing CAFM software will also help the company work with its budget.
Photos: EricGjerde via photopin cc