There is no shortage of companies utilising spreadsheets to log and manage their property management issues. If there are a small number of tasks, this can be a perfectly adequate method for recording them, but as portfolios and estates grow, so does the challenge of monitoring maintenance requests and minimising the risk of errors inherent with manually entering data on spreadsheets.
We love interviews at the RAM blog! We recently chatted with our expert FM consultant, Andrew Evans, to talk about some advantages specialist software has over spreadsheets.
Why should companies with evolving property/facilities management requirements move over to specialist software?
There are so many advantages that it’s difficult to know where to begin! Software designed solely with the purpose of managing an asset estate will increase the reliability of data immensely. Putting all maintenance details into a system makes sure that the audit trail of works completed is comprehensive – updates being data/user stamped ensures that facilities managers are able to check the status of tasks with the relevant person(s) when required.
Maintaining precise records helps organisations with Health & Safety guideline compliance and will minimise the risk of legal issues. Best of breed software also simplifies the management of high volumes of work orders and servicing requests as well as improving the quality of information regarding inspections and contractors. Document management functionality, with the ability to attach photographic evidence, supports users as they look to improve accountability and processes at their company. Workflows can be configured so that tasks are triggered automatically and sent directly to maintenance teams, contractors or tenants.
Will FM software improve customer/employee experience?
A specialist solution will definitely improve user-experience for both employees and property tenants. Requests can be submitted 24/7, which will enable companies to provide an enhanced service whilst saving customers time that they might usually spend leaving messages and waiting for somebody to call them back. Online portals reduce the manual labour hours required for organisations to field issues that arise. Occupants can access such platforms 24/7/365 and essential information is captured and logged every time they do so. Automated workflow responses can be configured too, in case your FM team is taking a well-earned break or if there is a public holiday!
Automated functionality within FM software will prove beneficial for organisations. Workflow triggers are configurable so that email alerts get sent out to workers or tenants whenever relevant criteria are met. General details on the status of queries can also be sent, e.g. an alert can be set-up to let a customer know that, “Your engineer is on the way” ensures that they are kept up to date. The alerts save on time and reduce the amount of calls that maintenance co-ordinators have to field. Automation improves efficiency and cuts administration costs vastly.
Can we use FM software to help with Contractor Management?
Specialist FM software does help to manage contractors! Vital information can be recorded against each contractor record, such as certification dates, trade memberships and qualifications. Certificates and other documents can be attached to records, ensuring that users can verify that the selected contractor is adequately qualified for jobs they have been assigned. These features assist with Health & Safety compliance and alerts prompt proactive involvement from established contractors.
Will such a system improve the quality of information held at the company?
Of course! In many cases, spreadsheets and legacy systems have been configured by individuals that have left organisations. This will lead to companies relying on information that has been passed on by people that are no longer present to manage these systems. When key members of staff leave or retire, companies often find large gaps in knowledge and it can be a struggle to get other staff members up to speed! To reduce the risk of this happening, FM software suppliers often provide consultancy services and training exercises.