Selecting the Right Vendor to Service Your Stores, Part III: Reporting and Data Management
Posted by CLS Admin on July 07, 2016
We hope you’ve found the first two installments in our series, “Selecting the Right Vendor to Service Your Stores” informative and helpful. To recap, in Part I, we outlined important criteria to consider as you devise and implement your selection process. In Part II, we shared strategies to use when testing the vendor you select to see whether they do the job right.
Now, we want to focus this installment on reporting and data management. Why, you may ask, would we devote an entire post on just one part of the client-vendor relationship? The answer is, because reporting and data management is really, really important. In fact, the information process is often the deciding factor in determining how successful you as a facility manager are in running a smooth operation and staying within your budgetary parameters.
To help put this in perspective, consider an example: Let’s say you’re charged with overseeing 80 retail stores in regions throughout the U.S. Those stores are in retail centers of varying age; in different climates; and each has building systems – from HVAC to signs and electrical systems – of varying age and condition.
Your stores, and the building systems that run them, must be maintained and cared for. That includes the basic tasks associated with most preventive maintenance (PM) programs. But it also means accounting for the variables mentioned earlier that affect those systems (e.g., building and equipment age, geography, humidity and weather), then analyzing data, and making smart decisions based on your analysis. If you’re managing a dozen or so stores, it’s still work, but it’s not an insurmountable task. But when you’re managing a portfolio of 80 stores – or in many cases, hundreds or even thousands of stores – small decisions add up to big expenditures.
That’s where reporting comes in. Good decisions occur when the following things happen:
- Thoughtful questions are asked up front. For example: Do you know the age and condition of the HVAC units, or the signs, or the lights at all of your facilities? Are there geographic or locational challenges (e.g., marine environments, construction dust) that may affect your equipment’s performance? Do you know when each building system was last serviced? How many emergency calls did you have for specific building systems in a given year, and how much did those calls cost you in total?
- Precise reporting and data management should also include what you are spending on the following:
- Average cost per call.
- Average cost per location.Identify the causes of those locations that require additional service calls or expenditures.
- Solutions are available to reduce the overall cost of your service program.
- Relevant information from the field is fed into a system that’s designed to process it appropriately.
- Recommendations address specific needs cost effectively.
It’s tough to accomplish all that without a top-notch reporting and data management system.
At CLS, we pioneered our proprietary Logics solution in order to take the guesswork out of management and maintenance for building systems. PM Logic® transforms troubleshooting into logical and effective maintenance management. QC Logic® helps quality control (QC) our contractors to help ensure that they are trusted, capable and accountable. And CM Logic® allows facility managers to accurately track the multiple projects that consume their day-to-day business – then make sense of their expenditures and adjust future spending accordingly.
Below is a quick recap of each Logic solution.
PM Logic® Keeps Equipment Humming Along
PM Logic® provides easy, web-based access to industry knowledge that can save you time, keep your equipment healthy and efficient for years, and optimize your facility management budget.
PM Logic® is an easy-to-use online interface that provides comprehensive data-driven analysis and operational recommendations, including:
- PM recommendations for your specific building system portfolio, including situational and environmental variables;
- An in-depth data base of all of your HVAC Assets (Make, Model, Serial Number, Manufacturing Year) at each of your locations nationwide;
- Repair tracking and status updates, including a detailed history of service calls, repairs, open work orders and previous quotes;
- Equipment evaluation and replacement data;
- Development of recommended CapX Unit replacement programs, based upon equipment age, condition, and work history on specific HVAC assets.
PM Logic® provides a wealth of site-sensitive signage asset management knowledge. Just as important, it makes that knowledge easy to access and manage through CLS’ simple online system.
One of the central questions that PM Logic® answers is, what level and frequency of repairs does your equipment – from HVAC to signs and electrical – really need? PM Logic® addresses this through what we call the PM Logic® Score.
Preventive maintenance programs for most building systems are designed to deliver the same frequency of service across a company’s portfolio of stores, regardless of age, condition or other key variables. At CLS, we think this approach just doesn’t make sense.
It’s easy to budget a set number of annual PMs for every store, but it’s not prudent. For example, there is no good reason to schedule four PMs on a brand-new HVAC unit located in arid Utah. If your portfolio also includes older units in hot and humid Mobile, Alabama with a history of problems, wouldn’t you rather take two PMs away from the Utah store and add them to the Mobile store’s annual PM program? We think it’s a sensible approach; but with numerous stores under management, the broad task can be overwhelming.
Enter the PM Logic® Score. As part of our proprietary PM Logic® solution, a separate score is created for each building system unit based on that specific unit’s history, no matter the number of units or stores. Key inputs are derived from CLS’ extensive field experience, as well as from specific customer-supplied information.
Depending on the PM Logic® Score, CLS’ technical team then determines the optimal level and type of repairs needed on the unit. We provide a list of stores that can get by with, say, two PMs per year, and others that may need six. Your budget will stay the same; you’re simply allocating the resources where they are most needed.
In the end, a PM Logic® Score serves as a driver for us at CLS to act intelligently on your behalf when we send a quote to you. PM Logic Score is the personification of CLS working alongside our customers, sharing information so that decisions can be made intelligently about undertaking – or not undertaking – expensive repairs.
How QC Logic® Helps You Identify and Track Trusted HVAC Contractors
QC Logic® answers your biggest questions:
Who screens your contractors?
When was the last PM completed on each of your units?
Who’s checking your contractor’s work to ensure no shortcuts are being taken?
QC Logic® puts these types of questions to rest. Through QC Logic®, CLS maintains a certified contractor database, conducts contractor audits, and provides in-house certified HVAC estimators.
With our proprietary certified contractor database, our clients rest assured that the contractor performing their job has been subjected to our rigorous internal selection process that returns only the highest quality technicians.
Additionally, all of our contractors are subject to audits of their work. We use these audits to help retain only the top contractors to service our clients and their stores.
Lastly, CLS employs a team of certified HVAC estimators that ensure our clients always pay a competitive price for the services provided. Each quote is reviewed by our team prior to any work orders being approved.
CM Logic®: Delivering Real-Time Reporting—All of the Time
CM Logic® is ideally suited to all CLS services, including HVAC, lighting, electrical and plumbing. It provides real-time work order status updates, custom financial reporting, and a dedicated customer service team headed by an experienced CLS business manager. With CM Logic®, our online maintenance work order system provides real-time updates on all open work orders without ever having to pick up the phone. You can also generate custom financial reports at the click of a mouse.
Additionally, CM Logic® integrates our top-notch finance capabilities. Through CM Logic®, our finance professionals work with you and your team on payables and receivables in order to provide expedited and accurate invoicing.
Just as important, CM Logic® integrates the expertise of a dedicated CLS business manager. Our in-depth business reviews, conducted by your business manager with you and your team, analyzes all relevant data from each of your locations as often as you request, discusses the data with you, and works with you to develop strategies to help you operate your stores more efficiently and profitably.
As we said in Part II of this series, if there’s one point out of all this to remember, it’s this: Don’t be afraid to make a change. If service is not at the premium level you expect (and frankly, you deserve), then don’t be afraid to test out another vendor and see what they have to offer. Even if your current vendor is providing good service, maybe you’re not happy with their ability to report information to you. Maybe other aspects of their service fall short. A test phase gives you a valuable opportunity to elevate this crucial element of your facility management operation. It could yield thousands of dollars in savings, and keep tenants happy – and in place – for years to come.
The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to meet your national facility management challenges strategically, so we hope you found this post helpful.
In our last installment of the Selecting the Right Vendor series, we’ll discuss cost validation strategies and tie it all together with some concluding thoughts. In the meantime, if you are looking for a facility management company that will perform to your needs and expectations, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.