By Lora Mays
Imagine this: When a piece of equipment breaks down, you log into a database that can tell you whether it’s worth repairing or if you should replace it altogether. In this world, you can request more funding for your department because you have a detailed analysis of the volume of requests you received last year and how much these cost.
In short, imagine a world centered on data—which has become the buzzword of the decade no matter what industry you work in. However, having data serves only as one piece of the puzzle. The more important question stems from how you are using your data.
For facility management and real estate professionals, having access to metrics provides insight into the operations of the real estate portfolio. Beyond that, instituting a process to analyze the data can help achieve operational goals while cutting costs.
Not convinced? Here are six reason to love facilities data:
1. Know that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
An old adage, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” holds true in the real estate life cycle. Without having metrics for objectives or responsibilities, it makes it nearly impossible to manage it.
After all, what would you be managing to? What goals would you be trying to hit? For example, setting service-level agreements—even among internal stakeholders—can set a bar for your team to reach. Before you even set your service-level agreements, you do need insight into how the team performs today and where they can improve.
Furthermore, a greater opportunity lies in the ability to track this data over time. In doing so, you can clearly understand where the team may be falling short. Improvements based on data-driven decision making serves as a more effective way to manage the team effectively, in order to drive success across the team.
2. Uncover weak spots.
Experts reveal that one of the key data trends for 2015 is “datafication,” or when your technology gives insight into other processes that may not have been otherwise obvious.
Particularly among facilities management, which has traditionally been managed by spreadsheets and manual methods, the datafication of processes can result in “ah ha” moments across the board—eading, ultimately, to more efficient processes and better customer service for the organization.
A key issue for many who manage the work order process manually stems from the time investment required for several members of the team. Through the analysis of key performance indicators, it can reveal gaps that are causing delays and previously misunderstood time investments. As a result, you can institute clear fixes and see measurable progress.
3. Gain insight into costs—and reduce them.
It’s no secret that facilities and real estate are often an organization’s second largest expense item. By leveraging data from your facilities, you can understand where you have room for improvement, such as reducing the number of reactive work order requests by spending more time on preventive maintenance.
Reducing the time your team spends on breakdown maintenance and investing more time in preventive maintenance offers an opportunity for the facilities team to become more strategic. On top of that, the general operations of your equipment and facilities improves, which can be linked to significantly reducing your maintenance costs.
4. Understand the life cycles of your assets.
As any technician on your team will tell you, not all assets are built the same. For some reason, there’s always that cantankerous chiller that needs a few kicks every few months to get it working just right.
Tracking and analyzing data related to assets, such as inspection dates and key repair details, can help you understand and predict the life cycle of an asset. In return, you won’t have to justify a surprise or unexpected repair that blows the budget.
5. Streamline processes.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of facilities data is seeing how you can streamline processes that will improve your team’s operational efficiency—and as a result, reduce costs. Taking a look at how the team has spent their time over the past week, for instance, can reveal where there may be efficiencies, such as people swapping places in buildings to complete work orders assigned to them rather than using travel time to get more done.
6. Make smarter decisions about resources.
Research shows that companies that use analytics are five times more likely to make faster decisions, offering a competitive advantage and better insight into how resources are being used.
After all, the focus on “doing more with less” continues to be a focus for all organizations and staff at all levels. Having insight into how you are using resources can help you understand where you may be able to improve. In addition, when you can back up requests with quantitative information, the chances of approval are much better.
Mays is a product marketing manager at Accruent, which provides real estate and facilities management solutions to more than 4,000 customers in 120 countries.