Modern Facilities Management
Facilities management is undergoing a renaissance, and it could be time your business rethought the entire process. Now that we have access to data and smart tools through the Internet of Things, we can streamline and transform facilities management entirely.
In the past, facilities management required a lot of resources and took a lot of time. Paperwork was slow and unreliable. Communication between departments didn’t always happen. Things like maintenance happened irregularly, and when something failed, it cost the company a ton of money in downtime and lost production.
There’s a new era of Facility management that can help businesses better predict maintenance processes, measure actual building performance such as space utilization and encourage management pipelines that move with the natural activities of the company. Let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pipeline for facility management in the new era.
What is Facilities Management?
Facilities management involves the operation and maintenance of an organization’s buildings and equipment, along with managing digital assets. Managers must balance the needs of day to operations and maintenance with the movements of people and the needs of the business’s production. It’s divided into two primary areas:
- Hard facilities – these are your buildings, equipment, utilities, and other physical assets. The efficient delivery of support services ensures a reliable work environment for your team.
- Soft facilities – These are provided by people and include things like leasing, catering, and security.
Blending these two things in one logical system is a requirement for frictionless day to day operations. We’ve moved beyond the world of paper, and now there are specific technologies that are transforming how we manage facilities and what happens when things go wrong.
Facilities Management – Technologies Transforming the Field
There are four cutting edge technologies currently revamping the old systems of facilities management. They offer speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness that surpasses technologies of the past. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Technically, machine learning is a sub branch of artificial intelligence. AI takes a look at the data streaming in from IoT and the cloud and uses it to learn better ways to measure and manage space utilization, schedule maintenance, handle downtime, and record events.
Machine learning involves a series of algorithms that use training set data to learn. It automatically predicts outcomes based on the analysis of the data available. This learning system has the potential to free up a lot of analysis time and aid managers in scheduling things like preventive maintenance.
Machine Learning provides a logical system of automatic actions, including scheduling maintenance and downtime for the least intrusion. It also orders parts, analyzes usage to gain an understanding of when to order and predict supply constraints and can provide insights into actual space utilization by synthesizing information from multiple data systems. It provides alerts and smart support.
Some of the most significant advances in this technology comes in the form of what’s on your body. Just like your cell phone is now so much more than your phone, a wearable helps with security, giving employees and technicians a definable, and trackable role.
It’s similar to a badge system, and it’s more than just checking up on employees. It allows the machine learning algorithms above to analyze patterns in employee movements and actions to facilitate building maintenance and operations.
Managers can better predict resource needs, augment maintenance scheduling based on employee movement and building occupancy, and better manage security access.
It can allow employees to occupy the space of a building with less friction. They can avoid lines by paying with sensors. They provide credentials for certain floors or activities. And because their movements are supported by smart tech, they can be more productive without expending a lot of extra effort.
Building Information Modeling Tech
BIM is the process of building digital models of physical buildings. A digital model allows companies to visualize a physical space under different types of circumstances, along with different structural elements. This includes the components of the building that aren’t visually accessible in real life.
This digital representation can help improve maintenance planning and space management strategies. It’s precisely this digital copy that allows for some experimentation in controlled settings before fully executing orders. The software helps reduce “gut feeling” planning.
Facilities management would be nowhere in the 21st century without the addition of smart building tech and IoT. Connecting different aspects of the building through the Internet of Things, from HVAC to parking spaces, allows the system to continually monitor and check on building aspects that may go unnoticed.
The tech that connects all aspects of building operations and maintenance through the Internet of Things into a central hub helps provide managers with predictive capabilities. It’s the final piece in 21st-century facilities management. There’s no part of the building that remains out of sight and nothing that can’t be considered off-grid to throw a wrench in daily operations.
Smart buildings are a constant source of intel and data for building operations. This continuous intelligence is a pivotal part of allowing artificial intelligence to learn how to run a building efficiently and with as little friction as possible.
Why is Facilities Management Important?
Using this new tech is a boon to more efficient facilities management. Building maintenance and overhead is a massive part of a company’s operating costs. Unplanned downtime and low company morale only add to that overall cost.
Simple operational costs like heating, cooling, and lighting represent some of the largest energy costs for businesses. Using smart management tools provides businesses the chance to mitigate costs but keep employee productivity (and comfort) high.
The emergence of new leasing requirements can also be a heavy burden to bear for companies and organizations. Bringing facilities management into the 21st century allows companies not only to reduce costs but also to bring themselves into compliance without heavy burdens on productivity.
Facilities Management For The Future
By aligning the needs of facility managers with tech like wearables and BIM tech, facilities management has come a long way since the days of paper and a prayer. The biggest advancements in facilities management come from the artificial intelligence sphere, allowing managers and personnel the chance to keep tabs on everything without a significant increase in human labor.
Data collected as part of an integrated system allows businesses to build a logical maintenance plan while accounting for things like building occupancy and scheduled downtimes. When things like HVAC causes a huge strain on your operational costs, it really helps to have a fully integrated system.
AI can intuitively provide answers and predictions based on consistent data from your connected employees and building sections. The more connected things are, the better the algorithms learn the unique characteristics of your building and its people.
The new era of facilities management is a data-driven model that provides facility managers with an intimate understanding of all their building’s processes. It’s efficient and well worth exploring.