Facilities management: why a reactive service is no longer good enough

The Facilities Management (FM) industry is a challenging market to operate in with a vast number of competitors and ever expanding customer expectations. To stay ahead of the curve, FM companies must challenge the status quo and look beyond providing a reactive service.

The facilities management industry is still suffering a legacy from the economic downturn as end users seek better value for money. This heightened price competition results in tighter margins, which is challenging in itself, but more recently, clients are also putting emphasis on value for money: what else do they get as part of their service?

To avoid being left behind, facility management businesses need to reevaluate their relationship with clients and provide a strategic, rather than transactional role. But how can this be achieved?

Start with the basics

For every FM company, meeting, and preferably exceeding, customer expectations is at the forefront of their service delivery. But in an industry that is labour intensive, your workforce productivity needs to remain at a high level if you are to cost effectively meet your KPIs. Likewise, you need complete visibility of your entire service operation so that you can immediately react to issues and quickly implement improvements.

Facility management software achieves this by delivering the following essential efficiencies:

Schedule jobs efficiently – to achieve optimum productivity, your team need to complete jobs quickly and move to the next job in the most efficient manner possible. Intelligent scheduling via facility maintenance software, provides engineers with all the information they need on their mobile device, whilst automatically planning the most effective route. Meanwhile, the office team use a dashboard to manage engineer schedules and monitor job progress, helping to ensure SLAs are met.

Capture all data efficiently – paperwork or multiple systems cause bottlenecks and inaccuracies. Data such as timesheets, parts usage, photos, compliance forms and satisfaction surveys are all vital in your bid to effectively meet customer demands. By storing and recording all of this information in a single system, you can respond quickly and create a complete audit trail of your work.

Invoice efficiently – assuming you select facilities management software that can effectively integrate with your finance package, the data the system collects will enable you to quickly and precisely process invoices. You will also be able to monitor job and activity costs to ensure profitability is maintained.

Analyse data efficiently – having a single location for all your data provides a sound base for performance analysis – whether that is analysis of individual performance, KPIs or customer satisfaction. Facility management solutions such as Oneserve include intuitive analytics dashboards that interrogate this data for you, automatically emailing reports to relevant team members.

The above will give your team the tools they need to work collaboratively and exceed customer expectations, whilst also eradicating unnecessary costs. But, to avoid being left behind, you need to deliver more. You need to provide your clients with an innovative service that will continually deliver added value.

Challenge the norm

With the UK FM industry expected to grow 3.2% and be worth £13.9bn by 2021, competition is set to increase. As such, to prosper, FM companies need to not only look at how they can help their clients run more efficiently, but also present innovative ideas and drive change.

Imagine if you could fix a problem for a client before they were aware of it. Currently, you either receive a call from your client requesting work, or you schedule regular maintenance. The former will usually mean your client has already experienced inconvenience and it may well be damaging their business performance.

If you knew about a potential issue before it causes any inconvenience, you could attend the site and resolve the issue before it escalates.

Up until now, the only way this would be possible is to be on site regularly, if not permanently, monitoring everything within the building that you have responsibility for.

But times have changed. Thanks to technological advances, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can now link up with IoT sensors in your client’s assets (whether in-built or added retrospectively) and monitor a vast array of elements; from temperature to water detection to vibrations. Should an asset display signs of decline, an alert will be raised giving details of the potential problem.

At Oneserve we have married this technology with our existing job management software, to provide a full-circle solution. Once the alert has been raised, our software will automatically schedule an engineer with the right skills to attend the site and resolve the issue.

By converting your responsive service into a predictive service, you will far exceed your customer expectations, delivering a solution that will continually add value whilst also making your business more efficient.

But what if my facilities management business isn’t responsible for assets? You can still bring innovation to your clients using the same Artificial Intelligence technologies. Facility management systems store a vast amount of data, which, if interrogated correctly, unlocks an array of opportunities.

Our technical team has developed deep learning algorithms that monitor and learn from your data to uncover patterns within the jobs you book. Its purpose is to find potential efficiency savings for both you and your clients. For example, the algorithms may find that a specific site historically causes delays in efficient scheduling due to access difficulties. By establishing this pattern, the predictive maintenance software will alert your team when they next book in a job for that site. The alert will advise of the potential issue, enabling your team to take corrective action, before productivity has been hampered and inconvenience has been caused.

Stay ahead of the game

It is this level of innovation that facilities management businesses need to embrace, if they are to deliver a service to their clients that adds more value than their competitors.

To discover how Oneserve can help you prosper in your marketplace, get in touch today.