Karolina Tyra 2017-09-14 13:21:08
Communication meets collaboration through FALM What perceived roadblocks are keeping your projects from getting off the ground? Are you wondering where and how to find skilled workers to complete facility management projects? Does the risk exposure of a new project seem so overwhelming stakeholders can’t move forward on planned projects? To find solutions, it takes a well-informed strategy and greater visibility in the planning process. You need to know where to find in-house talent when you need them, and projects need higher visibility to reach completion. More often than you’d expect, leading firms have found problems in facility management come from a lack of communication and collaboration. However, by optimizing facilities operations though software solutions, projects become more predictable and successful. How? Modern facilities and asset lifecycle management, or FALM, solutions hold the key to optimized facilities operations. PERCEPTION AND REALITY Nearly half of construction firms — 47 percent — surveyed by research firm Aberdeen Group reported that a lack of available resources posed a top challenge in managing multiple construction projects. Coming in at a close second at 45 percent was a lack of project visibility. Those concerns were followed by increasing risk exposure across project portfolios and the inability to determine the profit potential of new projects. With large-scale and multiple projects, there’s a lot of room for error when it comes to planning and managing facility operations. Adding to the complexity of these large projects, organization owners must make sense out of complex and disparate data sets from cross-functioning departments and other stakeholders. This leads to a lack of communication among departments and opportunities missed for streamlining processes and aligning resources to be available when they’re needed. COLLABORATION IS KEY A FALM solution lets contractors collaborate with owners in one system. Owners can convey to contractors what they need quickly and easily, while contractors track and share data. FALM solutions provide workflow capabilities to capture and collaborate on documents and approvals in one place, and mobile capabilities allow all stakeholders to work together from any location, meeting today’s fast-paced work environment. Implementing a modern FALM solution should allow the enterprise to manage its entire portfolio of facilities and its inner- workings from one central solution. That means property management of owned and leased properties, preventative maintenance and cost control all in one place, where all stakeholders can access information. A portfolio of technology that supports this level of collaboration and integration should have an information-rich, fully transparent planning process. Whether the project involves new construction, leasing or renovating an existing property, the solution should help project leaders prioritize and budget during the conception and design phases. Once the project is approved, the procurement process, including the bidding and tendering of contract awards, should be integrated into the solution for better visibility and communication with contractors and stakeholders. As the project gets underway, the solution should also give stakeholders a single point of reference for work schedules, contracts and documents, to ensure resources are on the right projects at the right time, and to ensure projects are on schedule and within budget. If delays arise, the solution should be able to identify the problem and its potential impact on the schedule, and then offer workarounds to keep the project on track. This can only be achieved with a single, communicating solution that’s shared among all participants. A successfully completed facility needs to operate as efficiently as possible. Managing real estate contracts, lease administration, payments and commissioning should all be managed from a single platform. With this kind of visibility and cost transparency, owners can forecast each facility’s yearly revenue and expense budgets, allowing them to capitalize on operating investments. Finally, the FALM solution should help owners maintain and optimize the real estate investment. This includes the ability to assess the condition of all equipment and take immediate action when there’s a problem, or better yet, prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. It should also be able help owners plan space more efficiently and optimize occupancy levels. Automating and standardizing these processes at a company’s facilities around the globe is not a simple task, but an integrated FALM platform can make the process more streamlined, predictable and manageable, while driving down operating costs. A UNIFYING STRATEGY To see a modern FALM at work, consider a global real estate developer and management company that knows firsthand the value of a FALM platform. The company manages more than US$1 billion in projects at any given time, covering 550 buildings across the globe, 60 percent of which are leased and 40 percent are owned. More than 1,000 real estate and facilities personnel manage those projects, which represent 10,000 lines of operating budget. Before the company developed a unified facilities management strategy, each stakeholder group used its own disparate systems, such as spreadsheets, ERP software and manual email and phone calls to communicate. Meanwhile, each facility used its own work order management and lease management systems that weren’t connected to third-party vendors’ systems for information and reports. “It was impossible to aggregate the portfolio information,” said Amy Aves, senior director of global real estate operations for the company. To address this lack of aggregation, the company deployed a unifying FALM solution that brought together all the components of a real estate and facilities management project — assets, maintenance, space, capital projects, environment sustainability, real estate and lease management. In February 2015, the company went live with Phase 1 of its implementation at 40 sites in North America, focusing on assets classification and preventative maintenance procedures. Assets across all facilities are now classified by their criticality, location and condition. Job plans and procedures for those assets are documented and standardized, and work order histories are housed in one central location. A single platform for this critical data allowed the company to better communicate and plan for the work to be done and to complete projects more quickly and efficiently. Next, the firm set its sights on a “Big Bang” rollout of the budget management module to all its sites. Once implemented, each project's budget workflow is followed through every step of the process, from creation through revisions, approvals, GVP authorization and inclusion in the current year’s budget. Monitoring budgets every step of the way keeps spending visible and under control, and helps the company reduce risk exposure. Phase 2 also included corrective and preventative maintenance solutions. Work orders are easily entered, and tasks can be monitored and resolved more quickly. Suppliers of the assets are located and contacted through a supplier management module that is linked with maintenance management. Phase 3, now in progress in Europe, adds environment, health and safety process to all facilities. In 2018, the company will roll out facility inspections and condition assessments where environmental inspections and compliance issues are logged, and action items are identified, monitored and resolved. As this real estate and facilities management company moves toward more mobile devices to manage its portfolio of projects, the FALM solution will go along with workers, who can perform inspections, add to and update work orders, access documents and collaborate with stakeholders from the field. THE IOT IMPERATIVE Communication and collaboration in the future will rely heavily on the Internet of Things, or IoT. Facilities managers across many business environments are increasingly adapting their building maintenance strategies in response to IoT, which involves placing sensors on critical assets that can collect and feed data to a centralized server. The combined data can then be analyzed and acted upon. IoT has the potential to significantly increase efficiency when it comes to maintenance management and countless other areas of facilities management. Some 60 percent of surveyed FM professionals predict that IoT will impact their building and maintenance policies within the next year, and 65 percent of respondents are planning to increase investment in IoT-related technologies, including advanced building technologies that manage and glean insights from new data sets, according to a study commissioned by Schneider Electric. This transition won’t happen overnight, however, and real estate and facility managers must prepare their FM solutions for IoT. A FALM with built-in IoT cloud options will be able to integrate all IoT devices into the FALM solution without having to integrate third-party solutions. Something to look for in end-to-end facilities lifecycle management solution is the ability to provide visibility, transparency and collaboration across all parties involved in every phase of the lifecycle process — from capital planning, project delivery and execution, to real estate and lease management to operations and maintenance. A cloud layer makes the system available from anywhere and helps prevent data loss issues that may arise from having everything on an internal server system. An analytics layer and advanced IoT technologies will also bring facilities management into the new digital world. Look for a system with these layers already integrated into the cloud and equipped for complete collaboration and communication. FALM can help project leaders get to the truth behind perceived roadblocks and help stakeholders answer the question, “What if?” KAROLINA TYRA is a senior solutions consultant at Oracle. She has spent more than a decade in project management, guiding companies through software implementations.
Published by International Facility Management Association . View All Articles.
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