Facilities management is crucial in ensuring that buildings operate smoothly and effectively over their lifespan. Today, with the growing emphasis on sustainability, the use of technology has become more important than ever before. Across the industry, we are witnessing a fast and comprehensive shift toward digitisation of building maintenance and operations.
This transformation is helping companies to improve services, adapt to changing regulations, and reduce costs. With smart project management and collaboration software, businesses can better optimise their resources and become more efficient. As a result, they can maintain high standards throughout their facilities, providing optimal conditions for those who live or work within.
Unlocking the power of Facilities management
Given the crucial role of facilities management in keeping a building functional, safe, and resilient, it’s easy to get a sense of its scope and restrictions. It covers not just cleaning and janitorial services but a broad range of other tasks, including electrical and plumbing maintenance, landscaping and gardening, security and access control, and waste management. This aspect requires a large team of well-trained and skilled personnel and a foolproof, sustainable, and cost-effective strategy.
Most building owners have neither the time nor the budget to build and preserve an in-house maintenance team. They find outsourcing more efficient, as it is immediate, requires no separate regulatory compliance, and with considerably less overall costs. It also gives them access to a pool of tech-savvy professionals, which proves pivotal in the digital age.
prevailing challenges facing facilities management
Even with little technological intervention, a facility management team must be able to engineer solutions and methodologies that specifically address the predominant challenges in building maintenance and operations. And with data-driven digital upgrades, these challenges become low-priority concerns or, at best, are automatically ironed out as the processes get streamlined.
For example, they must create a strategy that counters the impact of aging infrastructure on the comfort and safety of occupants. This strategy must be cost-efficient to avoid the need for additional budget and involve less staff. Regulatory compliance is also an inherent challenge in facilities management, which must be accomplished whether or not technological upgrades are in place.
How Digital Technology is Changing the Game
While many current advancements in facility management were meant to address the above challenges, greater forces are driving the digitisation of building maintenance and operations. The race for the most data-driven approach is crescendoing faster than ever. Facility management companies are amped up to secure stability on the market, and while their individual goals may vary, their conviction is driven by the same set of things.
1. Calls for sustainability have never been louder
If there’s one industry where sustainability should be treated with gravity, it’s definitely facility management. The goal of this industry has evolved drastically over the years from being purely task-oriented to being ecologically motivated. It now centres on energy-efficient utilities, green cleaning, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable landscaping, and indoor air quality monitoring, to name a few. Moreover, this amplified call for sustainable practices and methods is steering the industry in a more data-driven and digital direction.
2. Digital transformations in every sector of society
Society is adopting digital technology much faster than predicted. While the intensifying competition and the intrinsic benefits of digitisation are to blame, this is partly due to laws and regulations requiring technology to achieve sustainability and better workplace safety. Once an individual initiative, digital transformations have become communal as we witness the emergence of smart cities worldwide. Building maintenance and operations are now tied with city-wide regulations, further expediting digital integration in the smallest units of society.
3. Facility management considered in planning and construction
Construction projects used to be managed within the confines of building codes. Now, facility management is included in the plan as enabled by the new construction tools available. For example, contractors now use collaboration software, such as BIM, to allow stakeholders to visualize the project more effectively. Coincidentally, BIM also applies to facility management as it provides multiple layers of data necessary to manage building maintenance and operations efficiently.
Digital technology is transforming facilities management as we know it. Pioneers of digitisation in the industry have seen improvements in operational efficiency, asset management, data analytics, workplace safety, and cost savings. Digital tools such as PlanRadar have also improved communication and collaboration among stakeholders, ultimately resulting in better service quality and increased sustainability.
How digital technology helps streamline facilities management
Digitisation has levelled the playing field for facilities management companies, creating equal opportunities for growth through cost-efficient digital solutions. The increasing accessibility of tools like project management software, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality further expedites digitisation and its benefits to the world. The following is how digital technology transforms facilities management.
Facilities management companies combine multiple data-driven tools, including BIM and the Internet of Things, to monitor equipment and systems in real-time, detecting potential issues before they become precarious. This enables facility managers to schedule preventative maintenance, reducing downtime and repair costs.
Installing sensors linked to an AI-powered monitoring and control system helps optimise a building’s energy consumption. For instance, the sensors can be programmed to detect activity in each room or floor and trigger various functions in response. The system can automatically shut off the power or water supply when there’s zero consumption for a certain period or when there’s an accident.
Other building systems can also be automated, including HVAC and security, which are critical to the occupants’ comfort and safety. In addition, this technology can be integrated into the project management software to allow teams to store and analyse data for other applications.
Ensuring all systems function correctly and detecting potential hazards and setbacks require collecting and analysing vast amounts of data. Thankfully, digital tools are designed with immense storage and computing capacities, producing valuable insights into a building’s performance faster and more accurately. They also help identify areas for improvement and optimise building operations.
Facilities management software is accessible on mobile devices, giving facility managers and maintenance staff access to information and allowing them to report issues and receive alerts on the go. This improves the team’s responsiveness, preventing incidents from escalating.
Testing building systems for optimisation can be expensive. With augmented and virtual reality, facilities managers can perform the test and obtain valuable data through simulations. This is also a safer option as it doesn’t expose personnel to physical threats and allows companies to conduct multiple trials.
Overall, digital technology transforms building maintenance and operations, enabling facility managers to optimise building performance, reduce costs, and improve tenant or occupant satisfaction.
How to choose the right facilities management software solution
Facilities management software is the tech upgrade every facilities management company needs. It boosts their data analytics capacity and streamlines their communication and processes. But with so many products available, choosing can take time and effort. While digital tools like this cost less to integrate into a system than traditional options, the cost can still be exorbitant. So purchasing the perfect software takes some considerations.
1. Evaluate the company’s facilities management needs
Each project is different. Facilities managers must choose software that adapts to the project’s unique conditions. So it’s vital to carefully assess the specific management needs of the building when choosing facilities management software.
2. Determine the available software solutions
There is no universal software for facilities management. Multiple software may be necessary to digitise a facilities management system altogether. There’s usually software for each critical facilities management task, including work order management, asset tracking, and integrated workplace management.
3. Look for key features
Evaluate each product thoroughly by comparing their features against the tasks you require and with other products. However, it would be best not to choose based on the number of features. Instead, examine the pros and cons of those features to weigh your options better.
4. Ensure compatibility with existing systems
Some software products are only designed to integrate with modern systems. Companies preserving their legacy systems should choose facilities management software that is compatible even with much older systems and has no problem scaling up.
5. Evaluate data security and privacy.
Some data gathered and analysed through facilities management software are sensitive and must be protected at all costs. There’s also the threat of data corruption or loss, for which the software must be able to provide a backup or prevent such events from occurring altogether.
Like any other industry, facilities management is ripe for the digital revolution. As construction technology advances and new laws are implemented, facilities management companies must be ready to digitize fully. In addition, updating old systems by incorporating various digital tools can significantly improve maintenance and operations, bolstering a building’s safety, comfort, and resilience.
However, effective facilities management through digital integration can only be achieved with the correct facilities management software. Therefore, companies must carefully evaluate their needs to identify the most suitable product. Facilities management software like PlanRadar, which works with most building maintenance and operation systems, is the most cost-efficient option.
Looking to maximise efficiency and reduce operating costs in your facility? Start PlanRadar’s 30 days free trial now.