Data Analytics In Facilities Management – Could There Be A Role?
For too long, facility management remained a reactive process.
Facility managers would jump into action only when they observed damage in the facility. They were rated on how fast they addressed employee complaints. Isn’t that why so many SLAs are based on metrics like “response time” and “resolution time”?
Maintenance often got the short shrift. In fact, it’s still quite normal to delay the maintenance process to avoid short-term inconvenience even if this could lead to unplanned downtime later. This lack of foresight often spilled over to other areas too. For instance, over 69% of companies don’t even know when their assets must be upgraded.
Things got more challenging when facility managers had to manage multiple facilities.
Thankfully, those days are becoming a distant memory.
Facility managers are now leveraging sophisticated tools and data analytics to identify key trends within the facilities, improve visibility, and develop strategies to manage the facilities efficiently and sustainably.
Every facility generates data in the form of employee interaction, energy usage, space usage, etc. Data analytic tools capture this data and provide rich insights to the facility managers to make informed decisions.
To my mind, there are four approaches to using data analytics for facilities:
– Descriptive analytics shows what’s happening in the facility. For example, how much space has been utilized?
– Diagnostic analytics shows why a certain event occurred. For example, diagnosing why there are repair delays?
– Predictive analytics forecasts future events, such as what could lead to unexpected downtime later?
– The last is prescriptive analytics that uses data to inform the facility managers how to make changes in the facility. For example, based on the data on repair delays, facility managers can define new processes.
What Role Does Data Analytics Play In Facility Management?
1. Improves Operational Excellence
Data analytics can provide real-time insights on how assets are being utilized within the facilities, what resources are being used and wasted, what challenges employees are facing in optimizing asset utilization, and how efficiently processes are running? Based on these insights, facility managers can plan better to fix the issues. They can identify potential bottlenecks in the processes and remove them for operational excellence. This will have a massive impact on employee’s productivity too.
2. Creates Sustainable Facilities
As the world battles greenhouse emissions and climate change together, every company has the signal responsibility of ensuring that facility operations are green and sustainable. On average, a commercial building wastes 30% of its energy. Unfortunately, for a long time, companies failed to capture this data, so they had little to no visibility about energy usage (and hence, wastage). However, with data analytics, they can improve efficiency and resource utilization. From predicting future usage of energy to adjusting temperature settings according to the occupancy in the rooms, and also predicting power surges and outages, data analytics can help them control energy consumption. It can reduce the cost of energy audits and even fix inefficiencies by replacing certain energy-guzzling assets in the facility. This helps the company reduce its carbon footprint (in some countries, companies are rewarded emission credits for taking conscious steps towards reducing carbon footprint).
3. Cut Cost
There’s no argument that identifying problems early and fixing them is faster, easier, and less expensive than doing so later. This is true across all kinds of equipment and processes. Excess expenditure can be avoided if facility managers use analytic tools to predict repair and follow proactive maintenance practices across the facility. According to Aberdeen Group’s report on facilities management, companies that reviewed their data and implemented best practices based on the insights were able to reduce the maintenance costs for a work order to $4.18 per order as compared to average and laggard companies that had to spend up to $33 for completing that work order. Data analytics gives the facility managers a clear vision about where the money is being drained the most and enables them to create a solution to reduce such wastage.
4. Improves Visibility of the Facility
Facility managers usually calculate (and allocate) occupancy according to cost per head/seat. It enables them to know the cost of housing employees within a particular facility. Without proper tools and measurement, facility managers may not be able to accurately predict if the facility has been used to its optimal level or if it is being underutilized. They won’t know where to direct their energy for maximum impact. That’s why data analytics is crucial. It gives the facility manager visibility on the occupancy. It helps them to save costs on wastage and improve space utilization. It enables the facility managers to address expansion better too.
5. Improves Asset Management
A facility has various assets, such as infrastructure assets, employee-related assets, and facility-specific assets. Managing this portfolio can be a herculean task. Inaccuracy or inefficiency in managing them could lead to disastrous outcomes and even increase the expenditure of the company. With data analytics, facility managers can track the portfolio, condition, effectiveness, and utilization of the assets regularly. They can schedule maintenance smartly and ensure that all assets work well when needed. Using data analytics, facility managers can optimize asset efficiency and plan for its long-term sustainability. They can maximize the ROI if the assets are managed well and perform as planned.
So yes, data analytics plays an absolutely pivotal role in facilities management. In fact, the more the data, the better. This will help facility managers identify trends, patterns, and decide on ways to create a sustainable facility. When combined with powerful tools like SeQure Asset Management, facility managers get the ability to track the life cycle of assets and intelligently create predictive maintenance strategies that help reduce breakdowns and downtime.
However, data analytics is just one part of the solution. If the company wants to make a real change, it will have to ensure that the findings lead to structural change. Insights should be converted into workable solutions and implemented within industry best practices and standard operating procedures of managing facilities. The outcome could be a facility that empowers employees and enables employee performance.