CHOOSING A SUITABLE FACILITY MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR FACILITY
written by OLUWADAMILARE ADEWUMI
Facility Management (FM) has over the years, been transformed by technology advancement, which is necessitated by globalisation. The industry has evolved from what it used to be into a more technologically inclined profession. This statement means aside from it being more of managerial discipline; it also involves using technology to manage facilities. FM technology is the integration of technology into the built environment and the daily administrative process of the facility to keep the facility in good shape while saving both cost and time. FM technology can be categorised into Building technology and management technology. The building technology, which is the technology integrated into the building ranges from Building Monitoring Systems (BMS) to Building Automated Systems (BAS) to host of others; and the management technology which is integrated into the tools used for managing the building has Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM), Building Information Modelling (BIM); as tools used in the category. All FM technologies are practical and efficient but not suitable for all facilities. The major problem most facilities managers encounter is choosing the most suitable FM technology for their facilities. This challenge is inevitable if the facility manager does not fully understand the managerial patterns of the facilities, as these would determine the relevance of the technology. For example, computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) can bring significantly better results than paperwork or spreadsheet system, but the best results can only be seen if the end-user integrates the technology into the daily operations of the facilities. The advantages of using facility management technologies are improved productivity, security, safety, convenience, and cost-effective operations and more, through seamless interface, integration and optimisation of all functional controls systems in real-time, effectively, efficiently and seamlessly.
LET US CONSIDER THE PROCESS OF SELECTING A SUITABLE FM TECHNOLOGY.
The first thing expected of a facility manager is to understand his facility. Many facilities managers don’t have the best practices. Though they want them, want to improve and put them in place, but what they need is an understanding of facilities business missions and performance requirements within the organisation’s success criteria. Understand what is most important to your organisation. The mission and objective must also reflect in the facilities. Have it in mind that FM only exist because of the core business and not vice versa. It is also essential to have a deep understanding of what is vital to those occupying your facilities, especially your customers. Asides from the points mentioned above, there is a need to understand the scope of work, facilities operation modalities under your care, and tasks to achieve. The technology must be able to improve your managerial capabilities, and be proven to accomplish the specific goals/objectives., the technology should be configured or programmed to suit your needs. You have to consider how relevant technology is to solve the challenges in the facilities. For example, if you are finding it difficult to retrieve your operation and maintenance manuals, floor plans and asset information, you can surely go for a Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. If you need to keep a record of all assets, you are responsible for scheduling and tracking maintenance tasks, maintaining a historical record of work you perform, or even maintain a computer database information on maintenance operations then integrating a CMMS is not a wrong decision. However, whatever the decision is taken on the technology to be integrated by the facility manager into the facility, the cost of deployment must be considered; this can directly the approval from top management. The expertise or skills of the end-user must be put into consideration when making the decision. If need be, a training session should be held by a trained and experienced facilitator to familiarise the users with the technology for their effective use of the technology. As the FM technologies evolve, let us take advantage of it while making sure it does not disrupt our laid down business process.