There’s nothing quite like the pain of cobbling together a short-term facilities budget or long-term capital plan if your data’s a mess. Sifting through file cabinets, binders, and siloed software programs to find scattered or spotty data. Working off of 10 different spreadsheets. Making educated guesses to fill in any missing pieces. No wonder most facilities leaders dread it.
What if this time next year you could present a professional-looking capital plan (complete with easy-to-understand charts and graphs) where every single dollar you requested was supported by current facilities data?
That’s not some fantasy of the future. It’s already possible — if you’re willing to ditch the old-fashioned practices that are holding you back and your data hostage.
The Power Of Good Capital Planning Data
Having the right tools and the complete, accurate data to do effective capital planning is vitally important for many reasons.
Smart deferments: Knowing the current stamina of your equipment means you know what items you can safely defer and which ones you can’t. This greatly reduces the chances of being blindsided by unexpected breakdowns requiring pricey emergency repairs or total replacement. Basing your deferments on precise facilities data makes it more obvious which less vital issues can be delayed and spotlights the most important concerns that need to be addressed.
Properly timed asset replacement: Once an asset exceeds its useful lifespan, it’s more expensive to maintain it than replace it. Accurate facilities data shows when an asset will reach the end of its life so you can budget for a replacement. You can also more easily identify assets that are already past end-of-life and are slowly bleeding capital reserves dry thanks to their more expensive maintenance needs.
Correct prioritization: You probably won’t get all the budget dollars you ask for. Thankfully, complete, accurate facilities data makes it much easier to prioritize your budget requests. If you’re asked to reduce your budget request by 20 percent, you’ll already know which things can be dropped without endangering building safety and user satisfaction.
No more starting from scratch: Without a current data feed of facility conditions, you’re forced to reassess capital allocation with every budget cycle. From replacements and major repairs to new construction, starting budget planning from square one on big projects consumes vast swaths of time without adding significant value. When you have access to facility data that’s up-to-the-minute accurate, there’s no need to build a budget from nothing. You already have all the current facility condition data you need to determine where to spend (and not spend).
Getting your data ducks in a row can start benefiting you immediately — but did you know it also positions you for even bigger benefits in the coming years?
The Emerging Possibilities Of AI In Capital Planning
New technologies such as AI have the potential to take capital planning to an entirely new level.
What if your facilities budget could be “smart” and take into account data from outside sources, such as weather predictions and trending energy prices? From the Nasdaq to the NOAA, there’s so much valuable information that could make capital planning more precise and inform better decision making. AI can retrieve and analyze loads of information to help predict your buildings’ future needs based on what’s happening inside your facilities and out in the world at large.
It’s exciting (and maybe a little anxiety-inducing) to think about what the future may hold for capital planning. But at the end of the day, it all depends on getting a handle on your data — and that’s something you can start doing right now.
A lot of the predictive technology that could impact facilities management and capital planning in the years to come will require years of good structured data. So the sooner you jump in and start organizing your data, the sooner that future could be a reality for you. Don’t wait to have that technology in your hands before you get to work on your data.
4 Old-Fashioned Practices To Ditch And What To Do Instead
Old way: Scattered, siloed, or otherwise difficult-to-access data
Better way: All of your data in one place
Capital planning requires data from multiple sources: facility condition assessments, reactive work orders, preventive maintenance tasks, inspection results, and the list goes on. All of that data should live in one system.
No more data silos. No more using multiple separate tools for different FM functions that require you to move data back and forth. And no more valuable data falling through the cracks.
Imagine all of your capital planning, condition assessments, maintenance, and inspections together in one cohesive platform. And all of it fully accessible to everyone on the FM team. AkitaBox Pulse is an example of this type of system.
Bonus benefit: With all of your facilities data and activities in one place, it’s easier to add new data and reference or update existing data. As a result, your data stays accurate and current.
Old way: Incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated data
Better way: Living facility condition assessments (FCAs)
FCAs have always been a critical component of capital planning. However, so much of the data captured in traditional, static FCAs goes to waste. With a living FCA, your FCA data can be incorporated into the rest of your facilities management data.
Software makes it possible – in particular, software that connects your FCA data with the rest of your facilities data in one system. With all of your data in one platform, your data is interconnected. Your maintenance history can feed into your FCA data, your FCA data can inform your preventive maintenance planning, and on and on.
Your FCA becomes a truly connected part of your facilities – and your capital planning benefits as a result. You’re able to easily access all the invaluable insights in your FCA for more accurate capital management you can feel confident about.
Old way: Obsolete, inadequate software tools or mostly paper processes
Better way: Modern facilities management and capital management software in one tool
Facilities management software and capital management (CM) software work together to deliver data-driven budgets.
FM software tracks, collects, organizes, and shares accurate, up-to-date facilities information. It pulls together multiple data streams (maintenance activities, asset conditions, etc.) to give you a clear picture of your overall situation.
CM software then uses your facilities data to help you identify key areas for investment, prioritize spending needs, and run various budget scenarios.
AkitaBox Pulse is one example of this kind of software. It’s capital planning, asset management, work orders, assessments, and inspections in one system.
Using modern software like AkitaBox gives you:
- Reliable cost and spending projections based on YOUR data from YOUR assets
- More exact facilities budgets
- Every item in your budget justified with accurate data
- The costs and risks of deferring capital purchases and projects clearly illustrated
- Meaningful, easy-to-understand visual illustrations of your budget to share with leadership
Old way: Difficult, time-consuming, manual, mistake-riddled data collection processes
Better way: Integrated, easy-to-use mobile data collection app
Equip your field team with a simple way to gather data while they’re out working on assets or making rounds. That way, any time they touch an asset or notice a problem, they can immediately log it in seconds.
The easier it is to collect facilities and asset data, the less data falls through the cracks. More accurate data = stronger capital planning.
A mobile data collection app like AkitaBox Capture lets you take photos, add notes, log any work done, and much more. And since it’s integrated into the AkitaBox Pulse FM system, that data is immediately incorporated into the rest of your facilities data and ready to support your capital planning.
Free Download: Facility & Asset Data Collection Checklist
Let’s Do This
Taking action now to get control of your facilities data can result in a much better capital planning experience next year. Not sure where to start? An experienced partner like AkitaBox can help. Data management is our jam. Chart a course to more organized, accessible, and accurate facilities data by contacting us today!