Many businesses are sold on the promises of a work order management system. However, over time, they realize that they’ve only begun to scratch the surface of their needs. It’s inevitable: They need more to manage their portfolios effectively. Managing a facilities portfolio requires expert attention—ranging from locations, assets, personnel, budgets, technology, and more—and demands a holistic approach. While a technology platform seems like a comprehensive solution for work order management, experience has shown that this approach falls short of meeting the diverse needs of effective facilities portfolio management. We go over some these issues below and what you can do to better support your work order management system.
Technology Expertise: A Prerequisite
Technology creates a need for technology management. By itself, even a very capable work order management system isn’t going to be useful. Without a team of experts, businesses often find themselves investing in technology that goes unused. This doesn't even include technology maintenance, which can be equally demanding. Maintaining an up-to-date repository of work order information and generating insightful reports requires an information flow manager to address these concerns:
- Keeping all work order information current
- Making sure all trends at high-traffic locations are accurately reflected in reports
- Invoicing work orders correctly to avoid double payment
A work order management system doesn't run on its own. The intricacies of a facilities portfolio demand specialized expertise not only in managing the systems but also in interpreting and acting on the generated data.
Provider Management: A Complex Task
A robust provider network is essential for comprehensive facilities management. Lack of provider coverage across locations leads to a backlog of unresolved issues. Consequently, facilities-related concerns accumulate, potentially affecting customer satisfaction and business reputation. Effective provider management involves more than just a technology platform. It requires an in-depth understanding of priorities, trades, skill sets, and workflows:
- Determining the number of technicians needed at various locations and times
- Allocating resources to regions that require urgent attention and specific trades
- Verifying providers possess the necessary insurance coverage
This management extends beyond mere assignment; it necessitates the alignment of providers' capabilities with their assigned tasks. An expert understanding of each provider's strengths, responsiveness, and performance within the portfolio is vital.
Data Interpretation: Beyond Numbers
Any given work order offers hundreds of individual data points, and each of those data points can be used to improve performance and reduce costs. Facilities managers and other decision-makers need to get the most out of every work order, but data isn’t worth anything without a meaningful story. The influx of data generated by work orders offers vast potential for optimization. Yet, data alone lacks value without meaningful interpretation. Analyzing the extensive data requires analytics experts who can:
- Set performance goals and address bottlenecks
- Optimize workflows to maximize efficiency
- Allocate work strategically based on provider strengths
- Establish performance benchmarks and adapt to changing needs
In addition to discovering value hidden in facilities data, these experts can help contextualize and store crucial information. While work order management systems offer document storage, valuable information is effective only when contextualized and up-to-date. Even today, some organizations still rely on analog sources like sticky notes, printed guidebooks, three-ring binders, and file cabinets—not to mention the heads of employees. However, analog sources can be lost, damaged, or simply forgotten. That's why it’s essential to collect and store facilities data in the same place. A work order management system can't provide the level of organization and discovery that an expert can.
Process Refinement: Continuous Improvement
Processes drive efficiency, but their effectiveness wanes over time. Relying on outdated processes hampers returns and can go unnoticed until unintended consequences arise. Ongoing process evaluation and adjustment are essential. A work order management system might be able to provide existing workflows and processes with work order history notes, but no work order management system can provide individualized operational consultation and advice.
A facilities portfolio benefits from industry experience that can examine workflows and procedures in real time. Having experts make small adjustments requires constant attention, review, and insight from experience. A work order management system can help check the boxes, but an expert with the right consultative approach will provide insight into how the work is being done, not that is was just done.
Support Teams and Expertise: Ensuring Uptime
Maintaining location uptime is critical for customer trust. Work order management platforms offer organization and prioritization, yet ensuring prompt support and expertise is a different ask. For example, if a pipe breaks in the middle of the night, a security guard on site should be able to call a support line and have a qualified technician dispatched to solve the problem. This requires more than an off-the-shelf platform. The overhead required to source, vet, onboard, and continuously train facilities support staff could be prohibitive. A third-party facilities maintenance provider could simply handle any emergency requests to provide coverage for any emergency repairs.
A facilities portfolio's complexity goes beyond what a technology platform alone can address. From managing technology expertise and provider networks to interpreting data, refining processes, and ensuring adequate support, expert involvement is indispensable for optimal facilities management.
Facilities management means being ahead of the curve on each of your locations, assets, personnel, budgets, and technology. And while technology is an important part of this equation, it’s far from providing a full solution. Request a demo to see how working with a group of consultative experts will make the biggest difference for your portfolio.