What Do Facilities Managers in Canada Know That You Don’t?

by David Markowitz   Nov 06, 2014

Business Intelligence, Contractor Management, Retail

If moving to a more data-focused approach for your facilities management program isn’t something you’ve done - or are in the process of doing, you better get going! ‘Big Data’ has certainly become a trendy buzzword. But regardless of its size, it’s important that data is integrated into all aspects of your daily routine. From our vantage point, we’re seeing this everywhere.

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The ServiceChannel team just returned from PRSM Association’s Canadian Conference in Ontario last week, and as we have each year at this event, came away with some important best practices for facilities managers everywhere - applicable to retail as well as restaurant and convenience store chains, and other multi-site companies. In addition, in both sessions and conversations with numerous the attendees, we saw a lot of what had been emerging trends in the facilities management field continuing to gain traction and become standard operating procedure.

This year’s event was focused on Retail & Vendor Partnerships and Accountability in Retail Facilities Management. From our perspective, and from what we gathered from the folks there, this topic was spot on. The opening session on “The Success Formula” between retailer and contractor partnerships highlighted how important it is for there to be good relations between both - if either are to be successful. Only with trust, common objectives and increasingly objective data can facilities managers be confident they can deliver the quality of services that they need to bring to their organizations.

Whatever Your Flavor - CMMS, CAFM, IWMS - It’s the Data!

Building on these relationships, what many attendees shared was that regardless of particular system they were using or how it was characterized, it all comes down to the data. More and more facilities teams are increasing their use of data in their daily operations to increase visibility across their FM program to reduce costs and improve service levels. Those that are using comprehensive systems are realizing the benefits from taking a data-centric view. For example, understanding which stores, trades, contractors or types of problems generate the greatest expenses help FMs focus on these outliers and get costs under control.

Those FMs that haven’t fully migrated to some type of modern facilities or maintenance management system from more manual approaches are also realizing how they’re falling behind the curve. As all aspects of organizations are becoming data-driven and risk management focused, FMs without full reporting capability for their own department and that cannot provide the requisite ‘smart data’ to their bosses run the risk of being replaced or outsourced.

Contractor Management Should be a Two Way Street - Paved with Data

Another key part of the retailer-contractor relationship is how the partnership is initiated, managed and measured on an on-going basis. There were sessions on sourcing contractors as well as their onboarding and credential verification. With the need for specialized services across what is often a geographically dispersed set of locations, finding qualified contractors can be a challenge.

And once found, FMs are increasingly looking towards their technology system to better manage hundreds to thousands of contractors in a network where they can track their insurance, certifications, contract adherence, etc. (ServiceChannel Private Network is one way retailers can do this.) Attendees learned the importance of being able to quickly and efficiently onboard their contractors into their system, as that further builds on the centrality of data within a facilities management program.

Scorecarding was another area addressed, falling in the “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” department. One session focusing on assessing and improving under-performing service contractors really showed how important it is to have objective data for a mutually beneficial retailer-vendor relationship. There needs to be an agreed set of metrics that both parties can refer to when evaluating performance to ensure everyone’s on the same page. For example, our Contractor Scorecard promotes just these benefits by providing both contractors and retailers a common set of performance data that can serve as the foundation for any performance-related discussion.

As always, the power of data’s use in facilities management programs was in full force. Whether you’re an FM in Canada, California or Croatia, not just having data but having the right data and being smart about your data is critical for more than just keeping the lights on.

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