How to choose facilities management software in a changing workplace
The importance of facilities management software has never been more evident than in 2020. Around the world, FM professionals shut down workplaces, reconfigured office floor plans, installed PVC screens at supermarket tills and reorganised warehouses and factories to helps workers socially distance.
Right now, most FM professionals rely on manual processes to do their jobs. That includes tasks like floor walks, visual inspections and face-to-face discussions with colleagues. However, the ever-increasing number of FM tasks are making manual processes simply too time-consuming and costly. If FM professionals must, for instance, continually monitor social distancing measures on top of all their pre-existing responsibilities, their ability to do their jobs effectively is compromised.
And this is where facility management software can help.
What is facility management software?
Facility management software gives facilities managers the tools they need to track, manage, plan and report on an asset’s operations using a mobile or desktop-based application. This technology contains all facilities information including floor plans, task lists, staff contact information, equipment and supplier and vendor details. It acts as a hub for all stakeholders and allows FM staff to monitor and control operations from one screen.
Facility management software brings so many benefits, especially in the post-pandemic world:
- Helps with determining space requirements, equipment location, construction costs, environmental constraints, encroachments and other critical planning functions
- Records asset inventories, usage of space, hazardous material locations, evacuation routes, fire equipment locations and building attributes
- It helps the facility manager ensure the organisation’s assets are fully utilised at the lowest possible cost
- It enables the facility manager to create tasks and checklists and share them with contractors
- Enables managers to avoid manually directing contractors to job locations
- Helps all relevant stakeholders review Covid-19 responses and plan better use of space, desks, floor markings and other health and hygiene considerations
7 essential features of facility management software
Different kinds of facility management software will provide different features. When choosing a tool for your organisation, create a checklist of the activities that you carry out each day, then verify whether the tech can meet your requirements.
At a minimum, facilities management software should support the following seven features:
Ability to track task allocation
A task allocation feature allows facilities managers to monitor the progress of tasks assigned to employees or outside contractors. It allows you to identify a specific issue, then give a task to the responsible person to fix it. This feature also allows you to see when the task has been completed and lets you filter between task types.
Supports interaction with building plans/BIM models
Facility management software should allow interaction with the building plan and assign tasks to specific locations on the model. For instance, if you notice some damaged plasterwork in a corridor, you should be able to pinpoint the precise location on the building plan, attach a photo and send that task to the contractor who is responsible for fixing it.
Facilities management software should provide an automated notification system – after all, you want to be confident that staff have in fact received your requests. Notifications should be possible not only for when individuals receive a working request, but also when working orders are completed.
While facilities managers and staff may spend much of their time inside the building and in reach of Wi-Fi or local servers, a cloud-based facilities management tool provides much more flexibility.
If, for instance, you have to send a maintenance worker to inspect some damage on the perimeter of your estate, a cloud-based tool means they can provide you with updates immediately. Cloud-based facility management software also lets you log in from home or while travelling and check all is well.
The best property management apps are mobile-friendly. They allow the facilities manager to assign tasks and deadlines to employees or contractors. Assignees then receive notifications on their phones and can respond accordingly. This saves you having to continually meet face to face or use walkie-talkies. Using a mobile app means staff can also use their smartphones to take photos of any damage.
Supports communication and collaboration
It is absolutely essential for facility management software to support communication and collaboration. Employees and contractors should be able to ask questions to the facilities manager directly from the app and receive clarification. This can save hours of time, or confusion using walkie-talkies.
Secure document storage
Your facilities are highly valuable assets and you want to be confident that all documentation, plans and any problems found in the estate are kept secure. Choose a facilities management software that encrypts data in motion and at rest, and which is stored on a cloud server in a country with the highest data standards.
Go digital with a CAFM system
Over the past year, facilities managers have helped organisations around the world respond to the challenges of COVID-19. However, if FM professionals continue using manual, paper-based techniques, they risk becoming overwhelmed by an ever-growing list of tasks and responsibilities.
This is where facility management apps like PlanRadar can help. PlanRadar is specially designed to meet the needs of facility managers and can help you assign tasks, create reports, complete inspections, organise maintenance and so much more. To see how PlanRadar can be used on your estate, browse our FM features or contact us for a free demo.