Whether you manage a commercial or residential facility, a key part of your job is looking for ways to improve your operations and maintenance. Facilities management (FM) software is a platform that helps you achieve that goal while reducing costs and increasing productivity.
FM, often also referred to as a computerized maintenance management system or CMMS, stores, connects, produces and reports on all your facility and equipment needs. By adopting a CMMS which optimizes your facilities and property management practices, you can be more proactive and less reactive.
A comprehensive CMMS allows you to easily and efficiently
- Manage assets, maintenance, inventory and vendors
- Automatically generate preventive maintenance schedules
- Manage work orders with little to no effort
- Store all key documents in one centralized location
- Create meaningful reports
- Track labor and material costs
To get the most out of a facilities management software solution, you’ll want one that allows unlimited work orders and vendors and is cloud-based for anytime, anywhere access. You’ll also want one that is scalable with a clean, modern interface and customizable fields.
And speaking of customization, the best solutions offer flexibility to choose the tools, modules and add-ons that work best for your business and that integrate with applications you may already be using.
If you’re new to facilities management software, here’s an explanation of the top features to look for.
# 1 Asset Management
Think about how much time you’d save if you were able to easily find all of the key information about your assets with just a couple of clicks. An Enterprise Asset Management Program as part of your facilities management software solution makes that kind of organized efficiency possible.
It allows you to tag your assets with unique identifiers. You can input an asset’s make, model, serial number, manual and other relevant files. You can even upload an image of the piece of equipment with a link to its location on your property so your team knows what it looks like and where to find it.
The best EAM platform will also offer some advanced functionality like barcoding, warranty tracking, tracking meter readings, nested triggers for generating work orders and the ability to set up parent-child relationships.
# 2 Work Order Management
The days of scribbling a work order on a piece of paper or maintaining a binder to keep up with maintenance requests are gone. And along with the paper requests and binders, you can say goodbye to lost work orders too.
A work order management tool drastically reduces the time you spend handling requests. Users can create a work order which is then synced across all computers, smartphones and tablets. There’s real-time tracking so there’s no question about the status of the work orders. This kind of efficiency is a must-have for facility management today.
A must-have–but you still have choices when it comes to selecting one that meets your particular needs.
Look for a facilities management software solution that offers flexibility in its work order module. From a simple work order tool that allows a request to be made, approved and assigned to one that offers more advanced features like setting priorities, customized workflows, vendor assignments and time, and material and cost tracking, you should be able to pick and choose the features that work best for you.
# 3 Preventive Maintenance
Remember the last time your business experienced downtime because a critical piece of equipment failed? Too often those failures can be traced back to poor maintenance practices or a crucial part replacement not happening when it should have.
The concept of preventive maintenance has been around since after WWII. No one denies its value for prolonging the life cycle of an asset and lowering the total cost of ownership. But making sure those servicings and inspections occur at the optimum time can be a real bear.
A preventive maintenance module helps keep your equipment up and running by automatically scheduling service tasks and generating the necessary work orders.
Automatic reminders and status updates help ensure that the work actually gets done, so you can avoid costly repairs, halted production and inconveniencing your customers.
# 4 Inventory Management
Another cost-saving tool to include in your facilities management solution is one that manages your parts and supplies inventories. More than just a convenient system for real-time tracking of materials, an inventory management module gives you visibility into details like the total cost of your inventory use and how often you use a specific piece of inventory.
With the insights you gain from this valuable tool, you can make smarter purchasing decisions to be sure you’re always well stocked for maintenance tasks. Some features of this component include instant email notifications alerting you to low quantities and integration with your work order system so technicians can know if the part is in stock or not.
# 5 Vendor Management
Managing vendors is just one of all the moving pieces you have to oversee on a daily basis–but it is an important one to pay attention to. An automated solution means critical aspects of your relationships won’t be overlooked.
Without ever having to pick up the phone or send an email, you can easily assign a vendor a work order. With the secure login you’ve provided them, it’s convenient for a service vendor to manage their own activity. They can even track their time and charges which gives you accurate cost tracking per work order.
Imagine how much hassle you’d be spared if you could access everything associated with a particular vendor in one place. Work histories, invoices and other useful data are right at your fingertips.
And by integrating vendor management with your work order management, you’ll streamline your workflows into a well-oiled machine.
# 6 Mobile Applications
Smartphones and tablets may not be hanging on a technician’s tool belt, but mobile devices are definitely a necessary tool for daily operations these days.
This feature is so important that you really shouldn’t consider a facilities management solution if it doesn’t offer a mobile application. It’s an obvious tool to integrate with a work order management system, enabling techs to create and close out work orders and log their time and materials used.
But mobile apps can also give workers who are out on the job performing scheduled maintenance tasks access to helpful asset information like manuals or warranties.
Mobile apps allow field techs to have full use of your database without having to sit in front of a desktop computer.
# 7 Reporting
Let’s face it, when it comes time to forecast, budget or create any kind of report that depends on gathering and analyzing data, you really can’t beat the idea of simply letting your CMMS do the work for you.
Gaining insight into your spend, operations and maintenance trends is just a matter of entering a few dates and other key parameters into pre-built report fields. Or better yet, many CMMS solutions allow you to build reports with your own KPIs for customized reporting.
# 8 Facility Document Storage
Are your offices overrun with file cabinets stuffed with all the documents associated with your maintenance and operations? Or worse, the manuals, floor plans, warranties, work histories and other papers you need aren’t organized in file cabinets. They’re on someone’s desk.
The benefit of being able to transfer and store all these important documents goes beyond saving space. Going digital with your facility documents protects them and organizes them into a system that is easily accessed anytime, anywhere.
Conclusion: Facilities Management Software Solves a Host of Problems
There’s a # 9 top feature to look for when you’re shopping for a facilities management solution: the people behind the product.
As you compare solutions, you’ll find many offer the features we’ve discussed. Most are able to help you transform your facility management practices and optimize your processes. But when it comes down to choosing the right solution, the best one will have a team you trust and enjoy working with.
At NETfacilities, not only do we offer comprehensive and flexible facilities management software, we’re known for being experts who like to get their hands dirty–meaning we won’t leave you staring at a screen wondering what to do next. We’ll get in there and make sure you and your team are up to speed. And we’ll always be available when questions come up.
Want to learn more about our solutions?