Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Can Process Management Tech Help Boost Your Facility Operations?

In the world of artificial intelligence (AI), automation, Internet of Things (IoT), and more, leveraging technology and analytics in facilities management has never been more critical. Integrating these advanced technologies can increase operational efficiencies, ensure compliance, drive scalability, and provide accurate data analysis to measure it all.

While process management apps have been available for some time, rigid structures and uniform templates haven’t previously met the needs of facilities management teams that require unique workflows, specific tech stack integrations, and distinct visualizations. While effective process management can improve outdated processes, implementing a customizable and flexible process management app can drastically improve overall performance, saving time and money in the process.

Operational Efficiencies

While paperwork may seem manageable to meet custom needs in the early stages of facilities management, it can create serious inefficiencies, both for facilities managers and their clients, if used long term. Similarly, outdated software and technology can slow operations down, limiting capabilities, insights, and performance, while also preventing opportunities for integration and more. Digitized process management tools that integrate with a facility’s technology and automate unique processes and workflows can increase operational efficiencies, overall performance, and productivity.

Successful facilities management requires software and technology that is integrated, flexible, and customizable to management’s specific needs and workflows. Implementing a process management app allows facilities managers to operate at higher efficiency levels with increased savings, both in time and resources, and enhanced operational visibility. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), buildings with integrated systems can save up to 30%-50% of their costs. Proper integration through a process management app ensures all operations are communicating and translating accurate data, while using AI to trigger the proper notifications and workflows, and reporting on the results throughout the process.

In practice, innovative and integrated processes can maximize efficiency and transform a facility’s services. For example, reactive scheduling communicated through AI and sensors can automate workflows for a variety of facilities management operations, such as cleaning schedules, allowing managers to directly assign tasks through a mobile job management application. Leveraging sensors, management can track door openings over time to measure foot traffic in a specific area or location. This sensor data, tracked by IoT networks and analyzed by AI, will automate the tasks for the cleaning and ensure resources are maximized to be used when needed most.

Data Tracking & Visualization

Real-time access to data and insights for a facility’s operations ensures facilities management teams can see a live view of the status of their operations to allow for quick and effective problem-solving. For example, traditional workforce management in facilities often requires manual tracking of the comings and goings of the team, which can be very time-consuming and often inaccurate without the use of technology.

Through an intelligent process management app that integrates with solutions, such as Near Field Communication (NFC) or QR tags used by employees at various work locations, facilities managers can access real-time data via live dashboards detailing the status of their workforce. This enhanced visibility allows management to accommodate absences quicker, ensuring facilities are fully staffed in a timely manner, particularly for critical workforce tasks such as security patrolling, cleaning, and maintenance. In addition, the data and visualizations can also be shared with clients, providing further transparency into operations for a smooth partnership. Per MIT Sloan’s research, customers will pay 2%-10% more to companies that provide greater visibility into operations.

Compliance Management

Visibility and transparency are not only crucial when it comes to understanding operational performance. They are also critical for a facility to maintain compliance at any given time. A lack of compliance can expose a business to risks that can be costly, affecting not only the facility itself, but also its clients.

To ensure compliance, data accuracy is critical, as the data informs decision-making, status updates, and performance recaps. That said, errors happen, and data can be input incorrectly into a form or quickly made up to save time. While the intent is often harmless, it can quickly expose a business to time-consuming and expensive compliance problems.

Implementing a process management app that facilitates proper workflow and data entry can ensure compliance occurs throughout the entire process. For example, a process management app can customize workflow processes to require specific questions to be answered in the proper format with time and date stamps on every move in the process. From there, facilities managers can review and interrogate the structured data from the workflow if there is an incident, quickly identifying problems and reducing decision-making time. For facilities in heavily regulated industries, this can be incredibly valuable for saving time, money, and resources, while maintaining compliance.

Tasks related to compliance should also be automated through AI to ensure crucial steps aren’t missed. For example, if a facility is flagged for a missing fire extinguisher as part of a compliance check, a request can automatically be triggered through the process management app to order a new one. A facilities manager can track the progress of the entire task and receive notifications once it is complete for full visibility.

By implementing a process management app that seamlessly integrates with virtually any tech stack, facilities managers can streamline workflows, improve processes, and access enhanced visibility and data-backed reporting to identify operational trends and pain points. In addition, with the ability to customize templates and create unique workflows, facilities can quickly adapt to processes based on their specific needs to increase efficiencies, while also maintaining compliance. By increasing operational visibility, facilities can improve decision-making and resource allocation, driving success for the facility and its clients.

Fred Whipp is the vice president of business development at process management app company mpro5.

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