Facility management is often still understood to mean classic janitorial activities. However, this rather young management discipline in business administration is much more than that and often entails a considerable organizational effort.
Facility managers today actually have a wide range of responsibilities.
By definition, the goal of facility management is to improve the existing operational functions of a building, reduce costs and keep the property modern and fully functional – and this in relation to the complete life cycle of a building.
Facility Management Tasks
The tasks of facility management (FM) can be roughly divided into technical, infrastructure and commercial areas.
- Technical facility management includes services, such as maintenance, security and energy management, that operate and manage a building’s systems or facilities and their processes.
- Infrastructure facility management involves the provision and monitoring of needs-based, building-related services. These include, for example, goods receiving, parking space management or waste disposal.
- Commercial facility management ensures the economic efficiency of building operations and covers all commercial services. It includes administrative, controlling and personnel services.
In addition to these areas, which belong to so-called operational facility management, there is also strategic facility management, which is related to strategic corporate planning.
This enormous and wide-ranging variety of tasks alone gives one an idea of the effort involved in managing these: It is almost impossible without technology support. This is especially true when a large number of buildings have to be managed and are distributed over a large area.
The use of appropriate tools can remedy this situation and do great things. For example, the implementation of service management software. Or in this case, it’s better said Facility Management Software.
Well-functioning FM business processes
Crucial prerequisites for such a complex task area like facility management to operate smoothly are, above all, well-functioning business processes that prevent chaos. Therefore, facility managers should take the time to closely look at business processes, document them and, of course, improve them if possible.
A detailed analysis will tell you where the pain points are, what works well and where resources are needed.
The documentation usually takes the form of a process diagram. This is a visualization of all steps that are necessary for a specific process. This makes it possible to identify potential for improvement and to rule out the possibility that process steps are skipped. (In particular, regularly recurring processes tie up resources and are often prone to errors, so this is key.)
With facility management software like OTRS, workflows can be automated. This ensures increased efficiency and helps to avoid errors.
Processes can be driven forward without manual intervention. In other words, capture and forget. Once defined, the process runs without constant supervision. Everyone involved simply has to “do their part” and automation takes care of passing the tasks on to the next instance.
Let’s take a concrete look at how service management software can support facility management.
How software supports facility management
A classic example is housing management.
This is a very complex area of responsibility. A wide variety of requests from different customers have to be coordinated and processed. When dealing with these tasks, one always has to deal with several parties — tenants, landlords, service providers and suppliers. (In some cases, those working in housing management may even change roles themselves; for example, they would become the customer if they are the person placing the order.)
That’s why it’s especially important to maintain an overview and be able to quickly identify whether a request is already being processed and who is responsible for it.
As already mentioned, recurring tasks play a major role and very often have potential for optimization. With the help of the right tools, it is possible to ensure that tasks, such as routine maintenance, are not forgotten.
OTRS as facility management software enables access to all important information about the respective tenants and the responsible maintenance worker. With the help of an apartment database, the service team can immediately determine the right contact person. This is worth its weight in gold, because in the event of incidents such as water damage, other affected tenants can be informed immediately and damage can be limited.
OTRS can also be helpful for the regular owners’ meetings. Topics are defined via tickets and assigned to the entry “owners’ meeting” in the Appointment Calendar. This ensures that nothing important is forgotten. Ticket splitting also helps to immediately involve all parties concerned.
As we touched on in the example of apartment management, proper planning and management of resources is also of immense importance in facility management. Let’s take a closer look.
Among the challenges of building maintenance is the need to rely on many resources to keep the facility running efficiently. These include both full- and part-time staff, and various types of service providers are needed.
Facility management, which is often complex because it affects multiple properties at different locations, requires sophisticated staffing plans that are as efficient as possible. Complications often arise in this process.
Chaos can quickly ensue if the matter is not handled properly. This can be caused by incorrect scheduling, too many orders or inaccurate calculation of the required working time. To counteract this, you need technology and the right digital structures. This can also be achieved by using service management software.
With OTRS, resources, such as the deployment of certain specialist personnel, can be managed efficiently. By defining the ticket accordingly, OTRS automatically creates a calendar entry.
With the OTRS Resource Calendar, all manpower can be assigned to the respective appointments. Thus, bottlenecks and capacities, but also responsibilities are visible at a glance. Each appointment can be linked to tickets. Thus, all relevant information about upcoming appointments can be viewed in one place while staff is on the road.
The appointments are displayed in a calendar, which indicates the time when the worker is available. If assigned to an appointment, the person is notified by mail and the appointment is added to their local calendar. This creates transparency for scheduling, as one can see the availability of all workers, and the person performing the work can see the scheduled appointments for the coming weeks.
In addition, even information such as the type of service or daily rates can be made visible in the appointment, and reports can be generated based on these details.
Calendar resource planning brings structure to the potential chaos of personnel planning and ensures satisfied customers and employees. This is because customers receive adequate and timely assistance, and workers have a manageable workload. Plus, all the information they need is in one place.
In most cases, buildings automatically mean people, because they are the place where people work, live or stay healthy. That’s why building management is also always about security.
When it comes to the maintenance and care of buildings or complexes, the safety aspect is probably one of the biggest challenges.
In order to meet this challenge; take into account all legal and insurance aspects; and to ensure the safety of all people living or working in the buildings, it is necessary to be able to access important information quickly and easily.
This includes, for example, transparency about safety-relevant work or maintenance that is being carried out. To achieve this, it is helpful if all this relevant information is bundled in one place, as in a service management system.
This also ensures that critical work is carried out when required and documented in a traceable manner. In addition, security checks can be integrated directly into processes so that it is certain that security-relevant steps are not skipped.
Facility management in the future
Modern facility management is, therefore, clearly more than just janitorial work. It has become more and more important in recent years, and its image has clearly increased. This also has to do with the increased quality level of services and consumer demands.
In the future, the focus will be on the management of holistic processes and not on individual services. In other words, it will be all about creating a positive overall experience for customers and clients.
Facility management companies can achieve this by using the right tools as well as by improving and automating processes.