Key features to consider when purchasing a facility management system (part 1)
Here are key features as well as a short explanation of what each feature can accomplish. Different systems by different vendors have strengths in different aspects.
The right solution will depend very much on the facility you are managing, and existing process flows that established in your environment. It is essential to know what is essential to your use case.
Work order management
A work order is a task carried out for a customer. It can be created by a customer directly via desktops or mobile apps or triggered from within the organisation.
Once created, you can schedule the work order to activate at a later date or assigned immediately to specific maintenance personnel. The facility management system can automatically assign tasks based on the availability and level of expertise.
The personnel will be notified immediately of the task via the mobile app version of the Facility Management System. He/she will acknowledge the notification and proceed onsite to solve the issue. Once the issue is resolved, he/she can update the system again via the mobile app. Images, video and files can be uploaded directly for record-keeping purpose. Timestamps of events are also recorded. These are necessary for the generation of reports.
The above scenario is a reactive maintenance request. Work orders may also be created as recurring items to ensure recurring scheduled preventive maintenance work is triggered and completed accordingly.
Work Order Management is likely the core of every facility management system. It ensures that maintenance tasks are answered to responsively and carried out in a fast, effective and accountable way. This allows the landlord to maintain the level of safety and comfort promised to tenants in their service level agreement (SLA).
Equipment/Asset data management:
A centralised repository of information about assets in the facility. With Asset Data Management, maintenance workers can access information onsite via convenient and intuitive mobile apps to do their jobs more effectively. Data includes the
- Manufacturer Name
- Warranty details
- Date of purchase
- User manual or blueprint of the equipment,
- When the machine was last serviced,
- The last time it broke down,
- The reason for the breakdown,
- How was it repaired,
- Who repaired it,
- Remarks by the previous technician,
- Next scheduled maintenance
- Which is the storeroom to find spare parts for the equipment
- Details of procurement
- Details of decommission
Having these data can yield insights to facility manager when making decisions to repair or replace equipment.
Workforce & resource allocation
Prioritise tasks based on pre-set decision and settings. In the world of scarce resources such as workforce, the CMMS might recommend or deploy a technician to resolve mission-critical maintenance work, e.g. fixing broken EXIT sign (which is a building safety requirement) instead of a single flickering bulb in the lift lobby.
The advanced facility management systems also track the dimension of time, cost, success rate etc. of work orders to provide insights to managers for optimisation or workforce. A facility management system can also track how long a specific equipment last, e.g. air-conditioning compressors and benchmark it against industrial average or past data to provide insights to management.
In one digital repository, store and track all the contracts made with contractors and sub-contractors responsible for providing maintenance services. Some CMMS can notify users that specific contracts are near expiry or have expired and actions need to be taken to renew the contracts.
Advance Facility Management System can also track other essential information like certificates of insurance (COIs), certifications and history of engagement with the vendor. An internal rating system can also be built-in for the team to share information, survey responses and remarks about vendors they have worked with.
Document and Knowledge Management
A key feature of deploying a facility management system is to have a central repository to store and retrieve records produced in the course of maintaining the facility. This single source of truth will allow the team to work more efficiently by having the most accurate information at their fingertips.
Having a holistic and organised repository of evidence of things that happened is also crucial to completing certification and audits. This is especially important in mission-critical installations such as a nuclear power plant or chemical storage facilities.