Using Actionable Data for Effective Long-Term and Short-Term Capital Planning in Facilities Management

The use of actionable data lies within the ability of an organization to track, manage, analyze, and apply data. Actionable data holds excellent potential for capital planning in facilities management, and Facilities Managers need to understand how the application of data is critical to the success of both short-term and long-term capital planning.

Challenges in Short- and Long-Term Capital Planning in Facilities Management

Capital planning reflects a process that is an inherent risk within facilities management. Natural disasters may occur, and unforeseen events may render the most effective plans useless. Some of the leading challenges in short-and long-term capital planning and facilities management include:

  • Redundant maintenance. Redundant maintenance is perhaps the most significant antagonist of effective capital planning and facilities management. Minor issues, including the replacement of filters, changing of sensors and other factors, affect facilities maintenance costs. Unfortunately, a lack of visibility to distributed assets and control into facilities management and maintenance activities will result in redundant maintenance.
  • Inability to distinguish future needs from reactive maintenance. It is easy to believe future maintenance needs will always involve reactive maintenance; however, the implementation of data-driven decisions will allow Facilities Managers to plan proactive maintenance better, reducing the likelihood of reactive maintenance in the first place.
  • Trouble managing risk for natural and human-made disasters. Disasters are an inevitable aspect of facilities management, and the right process will give Facilities Managers the ability and insight to make informed decisions and properly prepare for potential issues.
  • Decreased ability to manage warranties versus normal wear and tear. Every asset in your facility will experience normal wear and tear, such as reduced asset function, poor energy efficiency, and lower return on investment. Facilities Managers need to plan for normal wear and tear, as well as unexpected consequences of extenuating function, such as continuous runtime beyond manufacturer specifications and more.
  • Diminished capacity to report current status to others within your organization. Your entire organization needs access to the same data as your department, and the inability to readily access and apply data across your distributed portfolio will result in lost opportunities and dramatically decrease your ability to proactively reduce total facilities management spend.

Actionable Data and Its Positive Impact on Capital Planning

Actionable data is the cornerstone of adequate facilities management. It gives Facilities Managers a data-driven process for making informed decisions. Instead of merely relying on reactive maintenance in the maintenance backlog to make decisions, Facilities Managers can apply data to reduce the overall degree of maintenance necessary, lower its total costs, and much more. In capital planning processes, the application of actionable data can refine the current preventive maintenance schedule, consider the costs of routine, scheduled maintenance tasks and help Facilities Managers make better decisions as to whether to repair or replace an asset.

How to Effectively Leverage Actionable Data to Boost Capital Planning Processes

Any process for leveraging the potential of actionable data and improving capital process management should follow a few best practices, including:

  1. Retrofit all existing assets with wireless capabilities. Wireless capabilities reduce the cost of sensor implementation and empower Facilities Managers.
  2. Take advantage of descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to understand what is happening, what may happen, and what is necessary to achieve the desired outcome. According to FacilitiesNet, analytics provide immediate insight into the best steps to reduce facilities spend, the so-called "low-hanging fruit."
  3. Leverage information by comparing both internal and external data to ensure an accurate benchmark of your facility management department. Proper management means working with the Facilities Manager to judge current operations and industry standards, as well as make informed decisions about how to proceed with the best-in-class standards to reduce overall facility management spend.
  4. Avoid the pitfalls of home-grown platforms. In-house or home-grown platforms can hold great value, but their capacity is also limited by the inability of an organization to understand data truly. Instead of worrying about managing in-house data, Facilities Managers should take advantage of external resources, including third-party integrators and facilities management technology and solutions providers.

Implement Actionable Data Processes in Your Facilities Now

The best-laid plans for actionable data application will fall on deaf ears if the Facilities Managers do not understand its tremendous value. Facilities Managers should implement the technologies and resources to track, manage, analyze, and apply actionable data and all processes.

Eric Crabb

Eric Crabb