Facilities Management Webinar Review: Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail in Facilities

Planning is a top priority for Facilities Managers. The right plans will streamline facilities management, reduce capital spend, and improve asset life expectancy, and the wrong plans will lead to extreme spikes in reactive maintenance needs and costs, as well as lasting damage to the brand image. In a recent facilities management webinar, hosted by Gordian, with guest keynote speaker David Spooner, C.P.E. and Manager of Facilities at Duluth Public School, MN, and moderated by Dwayne Pierre-Antoine, Regional Director of the Great Lakes for Gordian, the ability to plan was defined and explained as a crucial aspect of any successful facilities management program. In fact, Facilities Managers can benefit from the key points of the webinar, including the risk of failure to plan, why planning is critical, and how to plan with an eye on the prize.

Risks Identified in the Facilities Management Webinar

Failure to plan is most associated with reactive maintenance. The squared rule for deferred maintenance still holds merit, but at a minimum, even minor issues with deferred maintenance may lead to end costs of 15-times the original amount.

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Part of the problem with failure to plan revolves around budgeting and ability. Less money and staff to perform preventative maintenance results in higher amounts of deferred maintenance. This contributes to growth of the maintenance backlog, but the budget continues to shrink. Unfortunately, lack of access to maintenance management data is the primary reason Facilities Managers are unable to obtain funding and approval for bigger budgets and investment in facilities management software.

Executive-Level Support is Key to Success in Planning

To be fully funded, Facilities Managers must have the ability to gain insight into facilities management activities. The best-laid plans for maintenance will fail without executive-level support. This may include the school board in educational institutions, boards of directors, business owners, and upper-level managers.

Furthermore, executives are not facilities management personnel, so any plan for success, as noted in the facilities management webinar, must contain information that is digestible to viewing parties. Depending on leadership, this may include private personnel and public agencies.

It can sound like executive-level support is impossible to obtain for developing facilities management plans, but depending on the state, creating a 10-year plan is required by the state. So, it is in the best interest of stakeholders to listen to Facilities Managers.

Ongoing Preventative Maintenance Must Be the Top Priority

According to Spooner, the ability to balance preventative maintenance with less reactive maintenance lies in understanding how to use modern systems. This includes the use of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and providing comprehensive training to staff members using the system.

Documentation is “particularly important” in preventing a shift toward “reactive maintenance” in facilities management. Although the CMMS is great, Spooner still sees a major problem with tapping into enough vendors and field service providers. This is an area where QSI is particularly equipped.

To achieve a plan for success, Facilities Managers should follow these steps:

  1. Understand the needs of maintenance projects, including cost and timeliness.
  2. Use of metrics and data to make the case for executive support.
  3. Audit the facility for safety and function.
  4. Prioritize facility needs.
  5. Define the maintenance schedule.
  6. Input data regarding facility age, asset condition, and “building envelop.”
  7. Calculate cost for both short-term and long-term plans.
  8. Create a plan for implementing preventative maintenance strategies that “non-facilities management personnel can understand.”
  9. Sell your plan to executives through data.
  10. Implement the plan, using a CMMS and analytics to prove value.

Even vacant facilities have value, when audited for issues and maintained properly. Although vacant, the facility should still be part of an organization’s plan for success. Vacant facilities can have additional life through renovation, but renovation must include a similar path to success as the preventative maintenance plan.

“Plan for Success” Through Preventative Maintenance is the Message of the Facilities Management Webinar

The most important side of facilities management is keeping stakeholders informed and reducing facilities spend. Obviously, reduced spend meets the constraints of tighter budgets, and while Facilities Managers have the option of managing remodels and new construction internally, the value of outsourced management must not be overlooked. Outsourcing is a cost-effective way to immediately streamline vendor vetting and tap into the value of dedicated work order management through a CMMS.

As explained by Gordian, outsourcing can save time and maximize budget. Yet, outsourcing still requires the development of a facilities management plan. Planning is everything in facilities management, so stop the delays and maintenance deferment now.  Plan for the unforeseen by implementing a CMMS to capture, track, and leverage data to unlock greater savings and support from the C-Suite. Also, visit QSI Facilities online to learn more.

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