facilities-blogs

6 Blogs Every Facility Manager Should Read

Blogs are a great resource for dynamic and up to date content that can help you deal with some of the challenges you face as a Facility Manager. The list below are some of our favorite facility management blogs, all containing great content and each is updated on a regular schedule.

Wait, there are only 5 blogs in this list – the title says there are six! That’s because the 6th blog is the one you’re reading right now! Enjoy!

FacilityDude Blog

FacilityDude’s blog contains a lot of great information on the maintenance management industry and does not focus only on their own product. They give tips and advice on managing your facility, how maintenance management software can help your business, and much more.

Facility Executive

FacilityBlog shares FMs breaking news and related content daily, and they note on their website as being the first blog specifically for FM! This blog is also easy to navigate through their sections list.

Maintenance World

Maintenance World is a blog specifically for professionals from within the maintenance management and equipment reliability industries. It runs and exists strictly on article submissions from other professionals and businesses. All articles are submitted by these professionals to create archives of posts on a wide variety of topics, such as planning and scheduling, equipment knowledge, and safety advice.

Buildings

Showcasing the tagline “smarter facilities management”, their blog certainly does provide smarter resources. Collaborated especially for FMs and commercial building operators this diverse website features everything from building safety to seasonal maintenance.

FacilitiesNet

FacilitesNet runs two magazines (Facility Maintenance Decisions and Building Operating Management) and generates all sorts of great studies and white papers. The blog covers new products and updates to existing products, gives companies information about their competition and the industry, and publishes daily news.

 

We hope that you find these useful! Are we missing anything from the list? Share your favorite facilities blog with us!

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The Facility Managers Guide to Budget Management

Saving money is always a goal for facility managers, and sometimes, it’s more than just a goal, it’s a necessity. So how do you manage a tight budget?

Unplanned Service Calls
Avoiding unplanned service calls saves big dollars, because these calls are, well, unplanned. This means that there isn’t money (specifically) set in the budget for each of these calls and that your time and attention was most likely supposed to be dedicated to something else when they occur. First thing is to make sure you have “wiggle” room in your budget for unseen maintenance needs. Second, implement systems that help mitigate unnecessary efforts, such as a help desk and call center. Help desks can supply remote facilities basic troubleshooting steps that can resolve simple issues before a work order is created. Call centers can help walk employees through simple steps and also capture more information in the event that a work order actually needs to be issued.

Set Your Price
Prearranging prices for your predictable needs (such as landscaping) will make your budget more accurate and may get you a better deal. It will also help you predicted you unpredicted costs as well. Having a set price will let you estimate extra work that will come up throughout the year. Larger facilities may benefit from having pricing guidelines (such as appropriate price points, who has the authority to override, etc.) will help you stay within your budget and control your spending.

Warranties, Warranties, Warranties
This is so important that we had to list it three times. Cashing in your warranty will help you save unnecessary spending. Best practices for documenting and tracking warranty coverages is how a facility can avoid spending money on something that is covered. Be sure that when new construction projects occur that you file and update your warranty records. Warranty management is important for all facilities, but larger facilities will naturally have more warranties to track and this can add up to a lot of savings.

As an experienced facility manager, a lot of this will come naturally to you, but if may not come naturally to your team and other staff members. Addressing these three subjects on a regular basis will help you and your facility stay organized and focused, keep you within budget and on track to success!

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3 Things Facility Managers Should Look for in New Construction Projects

Not all facility managers have a background in construction, but odds are that you’ve have dealt with (or will deal with) a big construction project at your facility at some point. Knowing what to look for in the Project Manual can help ensure a successful project and prevent the project from going over budget.

Inspections

Structural construction must adhere to the International Building Code, and it requires the verification and inspection of work. It also requires the owner (or design professional) to employ the agency for the verification and inspection. You’ll want to make sure that you are budgeted to pay the cost for verification and inspection to avoid any surprises. You’ll also want to make sure that these specifications are written correctly and included in the project manual. Field quality control for elements of the building envelope and for building fenestration is also good practice!

Warranties

The specifications should call for certain warranties to be included, such as roofing systems. The warranties can vary, so carefully review to see what is included and what is covered by the warranty. At the end of the project make sure that all warranties are in submitted and recorded properly on your side. It’s important for you and your team to be aware of what is covered under warranty so that you don’t waste resources repairing something in the future.

Attic Stock

If you’re organization is a private entity, then the specifications should call for extra stock to be included. As you know, materials will become damaged or worn over time and having extra stock can help speed up the repair time while keeping a consistent look (nothing is worse than trying to match materials if you can’t get the original materials used). We use the term attic stock, but make sure that you have the proper location and conditions to store the extra materials.

Ensuring that these three items are included and that you have an understanding of exactly what is included will help set your facility up for a successful construction project!

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Facility Managers Are In the Clouds

Well, they aren’t literally in the clouds, however, in terms of how they use the technology they are “in the cloud”. What’s the cloud? In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive of on a local server. The cloud is basically a term commonly used to refer to the internet.

So why are facility managers going to the cloud? What benefit does it give them?

Support

Cloud-based technologies are offered as a service. You may hear the term SaaS (Software as a Service) and this model often includes (or offers) a support package for the software. This means that you no longer have to worry about servers crashing or restarting, all of the technical back-end overhead is taken care of for you! This also means that you can focus on the tasks that are important to your role, not keeping supporting third party software.

Security

It’s very important to properly vet your vendors and make sure that they operate securely. Once you do that you’ll find that the vendors that do operate securely are often able to provide a level of security beyond what you can provide internally. This also helps simplify your disaster recovery plan. You’re not responsible for backing up and restoring the data, this falls onto the vendor.

Access From Anywhere

Your facility is big, your desk is not. Your job doesn’t keep you tied down to your desk so your software shouldn’t either. Cloud-based technologies are often able to be used on any device, including web browsers, tablets, and smartphones. This means that you can do your job and use the tools you need at any time, at any location, on any device.

Facilities that use cloud-based technologies can increase workforce and operational efficiencies. These facilities can achieve 25% more efficiency, meaning that they save time and money every single day. The convenience and strong ROI is hard to ignore, so the question is, will you move your facilities applications to the cloud?

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3 Challenges That Every Facility Manager Faces

Facility managers face significant hurdles every single day. From maintenance issues to working on long-term energy efficiency goals, there is a lot to worry about when your job title is Facility Manager. So what are some of the most common and most difficult challenges for a Facility Manager? We’ve broken the huge list down to 4 issues.

Risk of Security Breaches

There are two reasons that this is the first item on the list. First, there are a lot of entry points for hackers to attack Facility Managers, their software, and their team. Preventing cyber attacks can quickly become a full-time job and can also add extra steps for every decision that a Facility Manager needs to make. The Second reason is that your facility data – such as architecture, electrical, HVAC, etc. may be a prime target for criminals as it can be used to commit a variety of crimes.

Disconnected with New Initiatives 

Operational teams are often left out of the design and construction phases of a facility. When these teams and initiatives aren’t working hand and hand, efficiency issues arise and it can also create a lot of rework for a facility manager and their team. This has the potential to damage relationships between particular stakeholders, the Facility Manager, team members and more.

People Don’t Actually Know What You Do

Facility Managers need to wear many hats and this can easily cause confusion for your co-workers. Since the role encompasses a lot of different disciplines the higher ups in the company maybe be confused on your actual role and what projects and initiatives you should actually be responsible for. Not involving the Facility Manager in the right can be a damaging experience for internal teams as well as the Facility itself.

There you have it, three major hurdles that facility managers are always dealing with. Have any other hurdles in mind that we didn’t list? Email us at info@fasttac.com and we’d be happy to consider them for a future blog post!

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The Financial Challenge of Higher Education Facility Management

Campus facilities are an important part of any college and university experience, but in recent years higher education has been faced with shrinking budgets, smaller grants, and fighting to keep tuition increases at a minimum – meaning that facility managers are faced with the task of keeping up with their growing facility costs as the budget gets smaller.

This challenge is not an easy one to tackle, and facility managers at these institutions have been dealing with them for well over a decade. The facilities costs for a public university have grown over 20% in the past ten years, and that’s only going to continue to grow. So what can be done to help manage this paradox?

Data Collection
Having accurate and updated data is essential for your systems to work and for you to make the right decisions. Take the initiative to collect data on your buildings, equipment, assets, etc. so that you are working with the right details.

Replace Legacy Systems
Do you have old-school CAD data? Do you have rolls of drawings still laying around? Are the books of logs? Anything that you are doing now that was done in the 70’s most likely needs an update. Take advantage of digital information and systems that can save you time and money.

Process Improvements
Do you have to different places for asset data? How do you track changes to the facility? Minimizing the places that you store information and the different processes required to work with that data will help improve efficiency and give you a simpler process. When there are simpler, more efficient processes, the result for the facility manager and their team is indirect cost recovery, better planning, and better insight into your facility’s needs!

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3 Ways Facilities Managers Can Save Money In Healthcare Facilities

As a facility manger you can make decisions that can save your healthcare facility a significant amount of money – helping you lower your operating costs and giving you the ability to use that money on other areas of the facility. Ultimately your goal is to run you facility as efficiently as possible and these three simple steps can help you achieve that goal!

Go Generic

Replacing equipment with generic brand equipment can save you big dollars without sacrificing quality. Just because a device doesn’t have a big brand name on it doesn’t mean that it can’t get the job done. Generic brands are becoming more of the standard and can offer nearly the same level of quality as the big brands. Ask your fellow Facility Managers what brands they are using and if the devices are meeting their expectations. Reviews and recommendations will provide some peace of mind when making the switch and guide you to choose the right generic brand!

Invest Into Technology

Yes, to save more you need to spend more! Technology can help you work faster and more accurately and it doesn’t need to be a massive effort to get started. The right technology will rollout quickly and you should be able to see the ROI almost immediately. Solutions exist for every part of your facility: inventory management, drawing management, staff management etc.

Work With Your Doctors

Having a close relationship with the doctors can provide insight into what inventory and equipment they use, allowing you to have an appropriate amount of inventory. Having too much or too little can cost you money in many ways. Establishing a group of physicians that can provide insight into how the doctors operate is a great way to gain control over your inventory!

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3 Ways Facilities Can Leverage Technology To Mitigate Risk

Reducing risk for your facility is one of the most important jobs of a Facility Manager. Not only does this create a safe environment for your employees, but this also significantly reduces costs – specifically costs that are not in your budget. Technology can be a game changer for Facility Managers looking to reduce their risk, specifically when it comes to security, access control, and auditing.

Security
Keeping your information secure from the outside world is not an easy feat. Facilities have a lot of information to keep secure (facility drawings, purchase order, internal documents, etc.) and this information can be used for malicious intent. Unfortunately, with nearly 60% of corporations experiencing some type of data theft by means of physical documents, it isn’t as simple as keeping everything locked up in a file cabinet (the good old days are behind us). Choosing the right tools with the right security can significantly mitigate the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands.

Access Control
Your facility has a lot of moving parts and therefore a lot of staff. Any time we use the word “risk” you can bet that the word “employee” is also being used. It’s the real world and employees make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes cost you a lot of money. Technology can help us ensure that only employees that need to access information can access that information. The last thing you need is Bob from accounting deleting all of the drawings for the third floor of your facility!

Auditing
With all the moving parts of a facility it’s almost impossible for a Facilities Manager to know who’s doing what each second of the day. Ensuring that you have an audit trail of actions allows you to know when changes are made and who is making them. When you take this approach with digital drawings you also have the big benefit of version control – meaning that not only can we see what changes are made and who made them, but we can also view previous version of a drawing!

Using technology to help us mitigate risk can make your life easy and dramatically affect the bottom line. Eliminating risky situations and unforeseen costs is essential to running an efficient facility.

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Using Technology to Save Your Facility Money

In any business, it’s common to focus on where you can save time and money, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by implementing the right technology for your facility and your team. Technology helps us save by saving space, allows us to work faster fit more work into our day, and by performing repetitive tasks.

Saving Space and Time

Paper drawings worked great in the past, but now that we live in a world where every inch and ever second cost money we need to ask ourselves if this is really still the best way to operate. How much space do you need to store your drawings? How long does it take to go through those drawings to find what you need? How many drawings have you never even looked at, but you are constantly digging past them to find what you’re looking for? By eliminating paper drawings we can save valuable space, but also make our employees much more efficient. Physically going to where the paper drawings are stored and then digging through rolls of drawings to find what you need takes time. Our product, FASTTAC, allows you to take all of your drawings with you on your computer and iPad and allows you to instantly pull up the drawings you need. This, combined with other features, can save your team member’s up to 25% of the time every day – that’s 2 hours an employee!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

By having the information we need, where we need it, when we need it, we can achieve our tasks faster and more efficient than ever before. In the example above we referenced that FASTTAC’s total feature set can save us up to 25% of the time. How? Imagine that your facilities workers need to perform work on a certain section of a building. Not only can they instantly access their drawings on their iPad, but they can also move from floor to floor (same spot, same zoom technology) and make markups and notes on the drawing as they perform the work. Saving time and improving how we work makes us smarter – meaning we can get more work done in the same work day!

Repetitive Tasks

How many processes, calculations, or tasks do you or someone on your team perform each day,every week, or month after month? By automating as much as possible we can save ourselves the time and also increase our accuracy. No this doesn’t mean we need robot’s moving around the facility to perform repairs – something as simple as automated reports can save us a lot of headaches! A good best practice is to write down all of the things you have to do on a reoccurring basis, and once you have that list you can start researching to see if there are tools or software that can help you accomplish those tasks quicker and better!

Technology is not the enemy, it’s can make our lives easier and save us significant resources. Finding the right tools for your facility is as easy as a simple Google search!

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Achieving Facilities Management Efficiency: Expecting Standardization

Efficiency is a popular term to throw around because it typically means saving time and energy. Simply put: Efficiency = Profit. The interesting thing about efficiency is that it has a specific definition when used for technology. By itself efficiency is defined as the state or quality of being efficient, but when you talk about efficiency in technology it is defined as the ratio of the useful work in a process to the total energy used for that process. Basically efficiency means that we want to do something better, faster, and sometimes even cheaper.

When we discuss efficiency for managing facilities there are two key components: processes and information. To achieve efficiency we need to have a repeatable process for each task, and each task that we do requires having accurate information available. Implementing these repeatable process is called standardization. Standardization can help maximize interoperability, safety, repeatability, and quality. Being consistent with our actions and handling situations in a consistent manner paves the way for simplicity and efficiency.

So what do we mean when we say “expecting standardization”? We mean that in order to achieve the efficiency goals of managing your facility (ex. save time and energy), we need to standardize how we manage tasks and the staff should be expected to execute these tasks in a consistent way. Now keep in mind this isn’t just the processes we have, doing a task the same way every time doesn’t achieve our goal. We need to standardize the information available for this task and how we use that information. Your facility is a very complex structure that has seemingly endless amount of information available. Training your employees to find and consume this information in a standard way allows them to execute the processes that you’ve put in place – achieving maximum efficiency every step of the way! Having the expectation of a standardized process and information for daily tasks eliminates unnecessary preparation time, making us more efficient.

In the end our formula isn’t Efficiency = Profit, it’s Standardization = Efficiency = Profit.