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Like most things these days, facilities management is under a constant stream of revolutionising influences. Demographic and social changes are only the tip of the iceberg, while its icy body is made out of exactly what you’d expect: digital disruptions. Gone are the days of the cubicle; smart buildings is the phrase everyone comes back to. Part of the greater Internet of Things (IoT) trend and working under the philosophy that technology is here not only to make businesses more efficient but also to create a positive working environment, smart buildings encompasses a diverse set of aspects. Centralising operations, designing innovative spaces that make the most out of available resources, reducing waste in all its forms, and improving communication between individuals, regardless of whether they’re working in the same space or on different continents - they all fall under this umbrella term.
Facilities Managers working with field service companies (and which Facilities Manager isn’t one of these?), as well as the service managers themselves, are usually burdened with numerous repetitive tasks. These are made more difficult and time-consuming by the fact that there is no central system to deal with every issue. Additionally, many companies they come across in their usual business interactions are lacking such systems in turn. The common pain points of Facilities Managers in this situation usually revolve around four dilemmas or challenges:
How to bring all business activities onto one screen
In any company, regardless of the industry it operates in, there will be a series of operations dealing with general office management, customers, employees, accounting, etc. Using different systems for each might work when said company is small and still in the process of establishing itself on the market, but a growing business that is well aware of the fact that operations will only grow in number and complexity as they develop further, knows a central operations system is vital. Ideally, this system will be able to offer an overview of every aspect of the business, ensuring that tracking all these operations is possible and efficient. This way, any issue that arises can be dealt with immediately, ensuring that it will not remain unsolved until it becomes urgent. However, the larger the company, the more types of operations it deals with therefore any management system they employ needs to be able to adapt which takes us to our next point.
How to keep an eye on everything
And good Facilities Managers will know that this means everything. Whether it’s a full-blown office space redesign or minute maintenance tasks, staying in the loop is vital in order to make sure everything is going according to plan. Regular updates on the progress of any managed services, like electrical check-ups for example, can make a Facilities Manager’s life much easier as he knows how to organise the rest of his schedule around this particular job. This implies the usage of more than a simple communications system. After all, you can’t expect all the parties involved to send emails for a minute aspect of a service when they are probably dealing with dozens such jobs during a single day of work. Tracking software is necessary for Facilities Managers and service managers on both sides of the fence to be able to know exactly where engineers are and how long it will take them to fix an urgent issue. Intelligent scheduling ensures that these operations are as efficient as possible, with the Facilities Managers being able to get the quickest time slot available and an engineer with the right skills.
How to record and invoice everything
One of the biggest issues with paper-based systems was that recording everything was inconvenient, time consuming, and prone to human error. Should we add bad for the environment as well? Facilities Managers had a hard time reporting back what had been done to the building - especially when some services were of an advanced technical nature - and ended up with omissions that could lead to larger issues. For example, not recording the technicalities of gas installations could mean that the next time there had to be a service or on intervention, the engineers had little way of knowing what has been done before to the system. In addition to records, invoices are also a priority. Late invoicing is an issue for both field service management companies who don’t get paid and for Facilities Managers who are not able to justify an expense or have to do this months after an operation.
How to identify a software that can handle everything
When it comes to software as a service, business integrations are partnerships between two developing companies that agree to work together in order to boost the power of their products. Commusoft, the job management software, is designed especially to cater to the field service industry. These businesses in need of a service management software often have a cloud accounting package already in place, they require taking payments on-the-go, and they want to stay in touch with their customers, whether it’s for repeat managed services like check-ups, newsletters, or feedback reminders. Therefore we designed a flexible software that can integrate with other programs which offer solutions for all these issues and brings them together on a single platform (a single “screen”). Additionally, there is virtually no limit to the type and number of integrations that a well-designed software can handle if there is a demand from customers. Facilities Managers need to be aware of these facts and choose software with the right business integrations. For companies that deal with FMs, having these options ensures that operations run smoothly and the risk of errors is minimal.
The main takeaway here?
One word: automation. By approaching smart building from the point of view of removing the roadblocks that encumber productivity and employee wellbeing, automation works towards streamlining your operations. Repetitive tasks take a large amount of time out of any Facilities Manager’s schedule and are no one’s favourite therefore they’re the perfect target for a software designed to manage them for you. Same as the email revolutionized the paper-based office of the past and streamlined communication making it easier, cheaper, and faster, so will automation do for any type of management.
Smart buildings will transform workplace technology and software like Commusoft into the norm rather than the exception, allowing all employees of a company, whether it’s Facilities Managers, administrative assistants and office assistants, or on-field employees, to have a stress-free working environment, knowing that the system is there to support them. If you’re looking to start your automation journey, a powerful and flexible job management software is the way to go.