Cost Savings Come from More Than Just Properly Executed Services
While implementing a building energy management system, conducting an LED retrofit program, or proactively maintaining HVAC/R systems all lead to long-term cost savings, it’s important to recognize that facility management expenses come from multiple sources. In reality, the information your team has to work with and the time they invest into managing those facilities and assets make an equally meaningful impact on the bottom line. Leaders looking to minimize the cost of facilities management should dedicate close attention to these areas.
Here, we’ll explain what these entail and provide an example for how proactively gathering, centralizing, and streamlining information and processes can make a measurable difference on a facility asset management program. Let’s dig in.
Understanding What Impacts Facility Costs
There are a number of factors that influence the cost of a facility asset maintenance program. However, just a few higher level aspects that make a far-reaching impact include:
- Asset Inventory — Do you know how many assets you have across all of your locations, and what the concentrations of HVAC/R, lighting, plumbing, and other assets are? Moreover, is this information easily accessible for your team? A centralized asset database containing model numbers, serial numbers, service records, warranty information, and other relevant details is essential and saves your team incalculable time because at any moment, they can look up asset details for any system at any location. Additionally, this information allows teams to filter assets by various criteria to make strategic decisions about where to prioritize resources.
- Vendor Base — Unless you happen to have an army of experienced traveling service technicians on staff, you’re likely using vendors near your locations to service HVAC/R, lighting, signage, plumbing, and other assets. And if you are, it’s also likely that you’re spending (i.e., wasting) countless hours managing service calls, estimates, invoices, COIs, payments, and more. This is a significant operational cost for your team — one that, to be direct, is preventing them from doing more valuable, strategic work. Fortunately, there is a solution that we’ll explore shortly.
- Program Design — If you don’t have a centralized asset management solution, you’re likely leaving maintenance in the hands of each location or addressing needs reactively. Both of these approaches put each location’s assets (and much, much more) at risk. The last thing that you need to be dealing with is inconsistent performance and work execution. It opens the door for even more problems down the road, creating an unforgiving cycle in which assets degrade faster, performance suffers, and program costs climb ever higher.
How can you offset these challenges? While you can certainly look to enhance these areas internally, the best way is to work with a facility management aggregator. An aggregator is a company that works with self-performing companies on your behalf to execute an enterprise-level facility asset maintenance program (as opposed to your team working directly with various self-performing companies wherever and whenever needed). The advantages of working with an aggregator are numerous, and you can learn more about them here.
Example: How an Aggregator Helps to Minimize the Cost of a Facility Maintenance Program
Recently, a national chain of 200+ health and beauty facilities approached us to serve as a backup partner for service calls in roughly 10% of their locations. We worked with them to design an HVAC preventive maintenance pilot program for those specific regions. We onboarded the client, their asset information, and location data and successfully completed all preventive maintenance work ahead of schedule — totaling more than 150 service calls. We assigned dedicated team members to the account and kept them apprised at all times on where the program stood.
The client was so happy with the communication and dedicated contacts that the partnership quickly expanded, and we have since completed hundreds more service calls. Now, let’s tie this all back to those three important aspects we mentioned earlier:
- Asset Inventory — By building a complete asset list, we ensured that all asset data was known and were able to more seamlessly execute the program. This information was made available to the client in our easy to use online portal. Their team knew the status of all service calls and work orders at all times.
- Vendor Base — Because we’re an aggregator, our client didn’t have to waste countless hours seeking, coordinating, and managing vendors for HVAC, plumbing, electric, and signage needs for its locations. Thanks to our national network of proven service vendors, we handled everything on their behalf.
- Program Design — Dedicated contacts, uniform scopes of work, consistent and clear estimates and invoicing, and a strategic approach to the program ensured that every case was covered and expedites the completion of work at all pilot locations.
Remember, if you’re looking to minimize the cost of facilities management, look beyond the cost of the services themselves. Look at how your team is managing this important function. Look at the data and tools being used. Look at the strategy employed to bring it all together. If you notice any gaps, or if these aspects are missing altogether, now is the time to make a change for the year ahead.